Trace of Cardinal Mindszenty in a Vienna hospital

Fr Florian

On 25 November 2006 a bust of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was unveiled in the hall of the Vienna hospital run by the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God. Cardinal Mindszenty died in this hospital in 1975. Jozsef Mindszenty was ordained in 1915, became Bishop of Veszprém in 1944. A year later, Pius XII consecrated him Archbishop of Esztergom, which was connected with the title of the Primate of Hungary. On 18 February 1946 Pope Pius XII appointed him a member of the College of Cardinals. Soon Mindszenty became a symbol of resistance against the atheistic communist authorities. In 1948 the head of the Hungarian communist party accused the cardinal, several bishops and numerous Catholic priests of anti-state activities. The secret police arrested him on 26 December 1948. In a several month show process he received life sentence to a penal prison, which he left after 8 years, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Imre Nagy, during the Hungarian Uprising in October 1956. After years it was revealed that he had been tortured, humiliated and stupefied with drugs.
On 31 October 1956 he resumed his pastoral duties. On 3 November he delivered a radio speech to the nation, appealing for peace and unity. On 4 November Russian tanks entered Budapest to crush the uprising. Cardinal Mindszenty found shelter at the American Embassy in Budapest and was granted political asylum at the US Embassy. Cardinal Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna, dispatched by the Pope, visited him during his 15-year stay at the embassy.
On 28 September 1971, Cardinal Mindszenty could go to Rome, which resulted from an agreement between the Vatican and the Hungarian government. He was sorry to leave Budapest since he wanted to stay with his faithful. He chose to live in Vienna and from there he visited various Hungarian immigrants' centres all over the world.
He died in Vienna on 6 May 1975 at the age of 83 and was buried in the Marian shrine in Mariazell. In May 1991 his body was transferred to Hungary, to the metropolitan and primatial cathedral of Esztergom. In order to commemorate the Cardinal Martyr the Hungarian Academy of Sciences organized a special session in Budapest. 'Today, after the fall of communism, the testimony of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty and of other people tells us that the truth of the Gospel is always vivid and strong, bringing light to the path of all people', said Cardinal Achille Silvestrini. He also mentioned the figures of two Czech cardinals: Jozef Beran and Frantisek Tomasek as well as the Polish Primate Cardinal Stefan Wyszynki and the Croatian Archbishop Alojzij Stepinac and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archbishop Josyf Slipyj as symbols of suffering of the local ecclesiastical communities.
The present Primate of Hungary Cardinal Péter Erdo started the beatification process of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty.

"Niedziela" 53/2006

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: