Inaugurating the freshly constructed Mindszentyneum, a memorial center established in honor of Cardinal József Mindszenty in Zalaegerszeg, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that “the greatest figures of the Hungarian ecclesiastical world are not only a point of reference for Hungarians in matters of faith,” adding that Cardinal Mindszenty, who “took up Hungary’s national cause,” was one of the greatest among these figures.
“The greatest Hungarian church leaders have always led the Hungarian people as prophets and have fulfilled the task of spiritual leadership alongside political leaders, or, when necessary, and it was often necessary, in place of political leaders,” Prime Minister Orbán said. According to him, Cardinal Mindszenty “showed us the way in '56, and we Hungarians will never forget his service. In the face of stormy headwinds, he stood up for justice for Hungarians.”
“It was he who first called the events what they really were. He did not speak of an uprising, but of a fight for freedom,” PM Orbán said. He added that, by erecting a memorial center in his honor, “we want to be worthy of the community-building legacy of Cardinal Mindszenty, and we want to take advantage of the death-defying courage of the heroes of 1956 to show that today we do not have to die for our country, but we can live for it.”
Today, the PM continued, we remember not just the “beloved archbishop” but also the heroes of 1956. “We remember the Hungarians who, 66 years ago, showed what a true freedom-loving nation is like. The heroes of the revolution were very different, but their actions were driven by the same idea: They were all lovers of a free Hungary. They took every danger and risk because they believed they could succeed. Their hope and faith were not unfounded. In 1956, we had a real chance to win our independence,” Prime Minister Orbán said.
In PM Orbán’s view, had “the West” not abandoned us once again, following 1945, Hungary would have stood a real chance of succeeding in 1956. But in the absence of Western support, the Soviet leaders changed their minds halfway through, turned back the tanks, imposed military repression, and installed a communist puppet government for another 35 years.
“Our cause had become hopeless, and a country waited in despair for its fate,” the prime minister said, adding that “the people of Hungary have given enough blood to show the world their attachment to freedom and justice.”
“The lesson is clear: Only Hungarians can show the world the truth of the Hungarians, and only we can defend our own truth against the threats that loom over us,” Prime Minister Orbán said. According to him, this should be enough to make the world understand that “whoever wants to sit on our shoulders is doomed to fail. We were here when the first conquering empire attacked us, and we will be here when the last one collapses.”
Devictus vincit. We win even when defeated, as we learned from Cardinal Mindszenty, the prime minister said. According to him, “if you are a Hungarian, you need the courage of a lion, the cunning of a snake and the gentleness of a dove. This will be especially true in the coming year.” He then cited the threats Hungary currently faces: the war in Ukraine, the financial and economic crisis in the European Union, and the increasing “migrant invasion” in the south.
“Fortunately,” PM Orbán continued, “we have a national government that is strong, united, and does not flinch when trouble strikes. We are capable of defending Hungary's interests at home and abroad.”
“Since Hungary has had a national government, we have come out of every crisis stronger than when we went in. Now we are prepared. We will keep the economy stable, everyone will have a job, we will be able to protect the cuts in utility bills, and families will not be left to fend for themselves. We have the strength and, most importantly, the experience,” Prime Minister Orbán concluded.