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Feb 15, 2019

Pope Francis declares Hungarian Cardinal József Mindszenty “Venerable”

Cardinal Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and primate of Hungary, said the Hungarian Church has “learned with immense joy” the news of the papal decree

Pope Francis has authorized the promulgation of a decree declaring that Hungarian Cardinal József Mindszenty possessed heroic virtue.

According to tradition, this now means that he will be known as “Venerable,” the first and an important step towards beatification. 

Cardinal Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and primate of Hungary, said the Hungarian Church has “learned with immense joy” the news of the papal decree.

Cardinal Erdő said the move will show Cardinal Mindszenty to be not only an example of Christian heroism, but “someone who can support us with his effective intercession.”

For more than fifty years, Cardinal Mindszenty fought for religious freedom in Hungary and was opposed to both fascism and communism in the country. 

During the Second World War, he was imprisoned by the Nazis and then tortured by the country’s Communist regime. In 1949, he received a life sentence for his opposition to Marxist rule and persecution. 

Freed in 1956 following the Hungarian Revolution, he was granted political asylum in the United States embassy in Budapest, where he spent the next 15 years confined to the embassy compound.

Cardinal Mindszenty regained his freedom in 1971, lived in exile in Vienna, and died at the age of 83 in 1975.