The glorious Cardinal Josef Mindszenty, Archbishop-Prince of Esztergom and Primate-Regent of Hungary, has been fully rehabilitated from the legal, moral and political standpoints by legislation passed by the Parliament in Budapest and by a ruling of the Hungarian Supreme Court.
Both powers have recognized the Primate’s complete innocence and declared null and void all the charges trumped up against him by his Communist persecutors.
Cardinal Mindszenty was arrested by the Communist regime in 1948.
By injecting drugs, the Cardinal’s socialist torturers got him to sign a “confession” of conspiring against the Communist dictatorship and stealing Hungarian crown jewels in order to crown the legitimate heir to the Hungarian throne, Archduke Otto von Habsburg, as Emperor Eastern Europe, and also of planning to launch a Third World War against Moscow.
The illustrious Cardinal was released by the anticommunist uprising of 1956 and obtained asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest for 15 years.
But the mere presence of the Cardinal at the U.S. Embassy continued to disrupt the Marxist regime. Therefore, the latter pressured the Vatican, eager to implement its “Ostpolitik,” to have the Primate taken out of Hungary and renounce his ecclesiastical posts. These events took place in 1971 after intense diplomatic pressure from the Holy See under the authority of Paul VI.
“Ego debuissem mori in Hungaria” (“I should have died in Hungary”), the Cardinal lamented, looking at the reality he found in the Vatican after leaving his country, as Cardinal Casaroli wrote in his Memoirs.
As the same Memoirs reveal, Mindszenty felt betrayed by the Vatican policy of rapprochement with communism led by Paul VI through Msgr. Casaroli.
Cardinal Mindszenty died in exile in Vienna, where he went after surreptitiously leaving the Vatican in 1975. His process of beatification is in progress.
The Catholic Church never accepted his condemnation by the Communist court and excommunicated the Communist judges and everyone involved in his ideologically rigged judgment.
The current Hungarian Catholic hierarchy has participated in Cardinal Mindszenty’s rehabilitation process and augured that it be a sign of the moral restoration of the Hungarian people, who suffered so much under communism and are now threatened by the European Union for having enshrined Christian values in their new Constitution.
This heroic example by a Cardinal of Holy Church makes it easy to see how timely were the words by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in Folha de S. Paulo, praising the Cardinal when he found himself struggling amid the storm:
“In this twilight of mud and disgrace, the whole world is allowing itself to be dragged, sleepy and embarrassed, down the successive abysses of a gradual acceptance of communism. However, in view of the general devastation, Cardinal Mindszenty has risen as the great nonconformist, the author of the great international case, of an unbreakable refusal that saves the honor of the Church and of the human race. By his example — with the prestige of his Roman purple intact on the robust shoulders of a courageous and abnegated shepherd — he showed Catholics that it is not licit for them to go along with the multitudes that bend their knee to Belial.” (Folha de S. Paulo, March 31, 1974).