Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

Novak expresses ‘personal commitment to national unity’

Katalin Novak, the incoming president of the republic, said in an interview on Friday that it was her personal commitment to express national unity.

In the interview on public radio hosted by Zoltan Balog, Bishop of the Hungarian Reformed Church, Novak said her job of promoting the unity of the nation would be difficult — as there were many fault lines to rise above — though not impossible.

She said she was convinced that the majority of Hungarians longed for national unity.

Novak said her duty to promote national unity was not only prescribed by Hungary’s Fundamental Law “but it is also my own personal commitment”.

She said her points of reference were God, faith, family and friends.

The incoming president emphasised the importance of the family, saying that “our common history embraces the history of Hungarian families”.

Novak also said she was conscious of belonging to a generation that had not be born into freedom but had lived part of their lives in freedom.

Noting that “it can often be divisive [when a public figure] talks about religion and faith,” Balog asked Novak what her faith meant to her. Novak replied that her faith in God was an integral part of her life and decisive in all areas, adding that “we must find a way of expressing our personal faith without excluding others”. It was possible to address people “who may not have woken up [to faith] yet,” she said.

On the subject of the war in Ukraine, Novak said Good Friday was an appropriate time “to feel the pain of those who are suffering losses”. She added that the resurrection also “gives hope that there will be a Hungarian in Transcarpathia in a hundred years’ time.”

Finally, Novak praised Balog’s initiative to turn Good Friday into a public holiday in Hungary.

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