A Tortured Cardinal
Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty
Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty, who was appointed by Pope Pius XII on Sept. 16, 1945, as Primate of Hungary, is the legendary hero-priest who came to be regarded as the symbol of Catholic resistance to Communism. Hungary, at that time a nation of nine million people with six million Catholics, was an enslaved Catholic land and Cardinal Mindszenty personified his people.
Arrested two days before Christmas, 1948, for conspiracy and espionage, false charges laid against him by the anti-God communist government, he refused to compromise with darkness. At the notorious Secret Police Headquarters at 60 Andrassy St., Budapest, he was tortured and brainwashed. Stripped of his cassock and sacramentals and dressed in a wide multi-colored Oriental clown's outfit, his sadistic tormenters interrogated him relentlessly demanding he sign a false confession. Scoffing him they said, Here the police decide what is confessed, not the defendant. Twice each night for 29 days he was beaten with a rubber truncheon all over his naked body until he passed out. During the day he was deprived of sleep and drugs were put into his food to break his will.
After a month of this indescribable mental and physical conditioning that he termed, beyond the imagination of a normal human being, he was subjected to the mockery of a show trial and condemned to life imprisonment. The world was able to witness the spectacle on television of the saintly Cardinal in the courtroom, humbly struggling to hold up his beltless trousers. Eight years of solitary confinement followed until the occasion the 1956 abortive Hungarian uprising, when, sharing in diplomatic immunity, he became a semi-voluntary prisoner for fifteen years in the American Embassy in Budapest. The whole Catholic world remembered him in prayers said on his behalf after Mass. Children all over the world prayed for him. His suffering was a cause of unity among Catholics everywhere.
In prison he had only a small prayer card of the Crucified Christ to console him and in front of which he said Mass during his internal exile in the embassy. He had a firm hope for the coming of the Reign of Christ the King, however he took a dim view of the immediate future of his native land being crushed under the domination of Marxism-Leninism: We shall be free only when this country becomes the land of truth and justice, when peace and truth embrace, as taught by Our Lord.
We know that the tragedy of Communist enslavement has only one solution, a supernatural one provided by Our Lady of Fatima, namely the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Bishops of the world on one day, together with the official promotion of the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays by the Church and the promise of its widespread implementation. Naturally Cardinal Mindszenty was in favor of the Consecration of Russia and had a personal share in the great sufferings caused by its delay. His dramatic and well-publicized story can be found documented in Look Magazine, December 25, 1956, written by Leslie Bain, as well as in his Memoirs and portrayed in a movie called, Guilty of Treason.
In 1974 he was deposed from his archiepiscopal office by Pope Paul VI and spent the rest of his life traveling around the world giving solace to dispossessed Hungarians. He died on May 6, 1975, in Austria, at the age of 83.
Surely he is one of the most well-known contemporary examples of persecution against the Catholic Church. The diabolical character of Communism using calculated methods of brutal mental and physical torture together with broadcast false accusation may possibly have no parallel in the history of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Mindszenty, Pray for us.