József Mindszenty bigraphy, stories - Catholic cardinal

József Mindszenty : biography

March 29, 1892 - May 6, 1975

József Mindszenty (29 March 1892 – 6 May 1975) was the Prince Primate, Archbishop of Esztergom, Cardinal, and leader of the Catholic Church in Hungary from 2 October 1945 to 18 December 1973. For five decades he personified uncompromising opposition to fascism and communism in Hungary in support of religious freedom. During World War II he was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi authorities. After the war, he opposed communism and the communist persecution in his country. As a result, he was tortured and given a life sentence in a 1949 show trial that generated worldwide condemnation, including a United Nations resolution. After eight years in prison, he was freed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and granted political asylum by the United States embassy in Budapest, where Mindszenty lived for the next fifteen years. He was finally allowed to leave the country in 1971. He died in exile in 1975 in Vienna, Austria.


Mindszenty's [[death mask in the Mindszenty Museum, Esztergom]] Eventually, Pope Paul VI offered a compromise: declaring Mindszenty a "victim of history" (instead of communism) and annulling the excommunication imposed on his political opponents. The Hungarian government allowed Mindszenty to leave the country on 28 September 1971. Beginning on October 23, 1971, he lived in Vienna, Austria, as he took offence at Rome's advice that he should resign from the primacy of the Catholic Church in Hungary in exchange for a Vatican-backed uncensored publication of his memoirs. Although most bishops retire at or near age 75, Mindszenty continuously denied rumors of his resignation and he was not canonically required to step down at the time.

In December 1973, at the age of 81, Mindszenty was stripped of his titles by the Pope, who declared the Archdiocese of Esztergom officially vacated, but refused to fill the seat while Mindszenty was still alive. Mindszenty died on May 6, 1975, at the age of 83, in exile in Vienna. In early 1976, the Pope made Bishop László Lékai the primate of Hungary, ending a long struggle with the communist government. Lékai turned out to be quite cordial towards the Kádár regime.

In 1991, his remains were repatriated to Esztergom by the newly democratically elected government and buried in the basilica there.

Early life and career

Mindszenty was born on 29 March 1892 in Csehimindszent, Vas County, Austria-Hungary to József Pehm and Borbála Kovács. His father was a magistrate.Mindszenty, József Cardinal (1974). Memoirs. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. He attended St Norbert's Premonstratensian High Grammar School in Szombathely, before entering the Szombathely Diocesan Seminary in 1911.

Mindszenty was ordained a priest by Bishop János Mikes on 12 June 1915, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1917, the first of his books, Motherhood, was published. He was arrested by the republican Mihály Károlyi government on 9 February 1919 and held until the fall of the communist Béla Kun government on 31 July.Mindszenty, József Cardinal. Memoirs. pp3-8. 1974. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

He adopted his new name—part of his home village's name—in 1941. On March 25, 1944, he was consecrated bishop of Veszprém. He was arrested on November 27, 1944, for his opposition to the Arrow Cross government's plan to quarter soldiers in parts of his official palace. In April 1945, with the collapse of the Arrow Cross power, he was released from house arrest at a church in Sopron.http://www.freeweb.hu/eszmelet/34/baloghs34.html


The Mindszenty Museum in [[Esztergom]] Mindszenty is widely admired in modern-day Hungary, and no one denies his courage in opposing the Nazi and Nyilas gangs, or his resolve in confinement, which is often compared to that of Lajos Kossuth in exile. However, Mindszenty is seen as the archetypal figure of "clerical reaction" by his communist critics. He continued to use the feudal title of prince-primate (hercegprímás) even after the use of nobility, peerage and royal titulature were entirely outlawed by the 1946 parliament. His aristocratic attitudes and continued claims for compensation against nationalization of vast range of pre–World War II church-owned farmlands supposedly alienated large groups of the Hungarian society, which was composed of a majority of agricultural workers at the time.Chip Berlet, "Cardinal Mindszenty: Heroic Anti-Communist or Anti-Semite or Both?" The St. Louis Journalism Review, Vol. 16, No. 105, April 1988. However, he was very grateful to faithful Catholics who supported the parishes and Catholic schools. Since the main source of income for the Church was their agricultural lands, arbitrary and uncompensated appropriation of land by the Communist government left many Church-run institutions destitute.Mindszenty, József Cardinal. Memoirs. 1974. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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