I would like to welcome each of you equally as guests, faith leaders, and friends, to my home.
As you may know, there is a tradition in the United States of the President meeting with religious leaders on the first Thursday of every February. This has happened every year since 1953. It is such an important tradition, I decided to reflect it here in Budapest.
When we began putting together this invitation, we wondered about the role religion plays in public life and how the two can go hand-in-hand in finding the common good. As you all know, government and religion are separated in my country by the First Amendment to our Constitution, but, of course, religion can affect our political lives.
Indeed, our faiths guide us to find just, moral, equitable solutions to many of the problems our communities face. We must use our faiths to see our own reflections in each other and to foster love and respect for one another.
Today I’ve invited all of you to my residence to have thoughtful conversation about the social and humanitarian good religion can do for all of us and to take a moment for a spiritual reflection on the past year.
I hope you will join me in the dining room where we can feed not just our souls, but our stomachs as well, and where I would like to invite Cardinal Erdő to offer a prayer over the food.
Thank you very much for coming.