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Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty
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Religious Figure
    (March 29, 1892-May 6, 1975)
    Born in Csehimindszent, Hungary
    Birth name was Jozsef Pehm
    Consecrated Bishop of Veszprem (1944)
    Appointed Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary (1945)
    Named to the College of Cardinals (1946)
    Convicted on charges of treason and conspiracy against the Communist government of Hungary (February 8, 1949)
    Released during the Hungarian Uprising (1956)
    After the Soviet invasion, granted asylum at the US Embassy in Budapest (1956-71)
    Went into exile in Vienna, Austria (1971-75)
    He told a Daily Mail reporter he would urge the US to intervene militarily in Hungary (1948); when the reporter remarked that such a move could lead to a nuclear war, the Cardinal replied, 'Even that would be better than Bolshevism.'
    The Hungarian government refused to grant permits for the US embassy to expand as long as Mindszenty was living there.
    The Hungarian government repeatedly offered him amnesty and a chance to leave the embassy, which he refused because he was holding out for a full pardon.
    He finally left at the behest of Pope Paul VI, who said 'Mindszenty was an obstinate man who was difficult to handle.'
    He was arrested for treason by both the fascist government that ruled Hungary during WWII and the Communists who replaced them, so he must have been doing something right.
    He was beaten, drugged and deprived of sleep by the Communist secret police until he made a confession.
    As part of Vatican efforts to improve relations with Communist bloc countries, Pope Paul VI wussed out and annulled the excommunication placed on politicians involved in Mindszenty's trial and called the Cardinal 'a victim of history' (instead of Communism).
    After his release, he refused a request from the Pope to not comment on politics in Hungary, saying 'I shrank from the thought of having to keep silent in the free world.'
    A Hungarian priest said, 'He is as stubborn as an ox. But I think all our saints were like that.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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