Post by Admin on Aug 17, 2018 11:30:01 GMT
I - In Hungary, the Cross for the Church and her Chief
(translated from the French via Google Translate)
The first of the two countries mentioned in this dossier is Hungary, an emblematic nation by the depth of its Catholicism and the figure of Cardinal Mindszenty. He was like the incarnation of fidelity under the red winepress.
Known worldwide for its uprising in 1956 savagely suppressed by Soviet tanks, Hungary is honored to have, as leader of the Catholic community, one of the most emblematic prelates of resistance to the steamroller of communism Cardinal Mindszenty, whose heroic and painful struggle merges with that of the whole Hungarian Church.
A FLOWERING CHURCH
In 1945, when Soviet troops managed to fully occupy the country, from which they drove the German army, Hungary had a population of about 10 million, 7 million Catholics (68.1%). ), the other denominations being distributed as follows: 26.8% of Protestants, 4.4% of Jews and 0.6% of Orthodox. That is to say that the Church benefited, in this deeply catholic country, of a strong spiritual authority, including 3 archdioceses (including that of Esztergom, traditional seat of the cardinal primate), 8 dioceses, 2 apostolic administrations and 2 vicariates. This set of ecclesiastical constituencies included 2,265 parishes served by 4,012 diocesan priests. In addition, a Benedictine "nullius" abbey, 18 male religious orders (2,456 members, including 1,422 priests) and 39 female orders (7,525 members).
The Catholic Church had 3,344 schools of all kinds and at all levels (including a law school, a theology faculty, 20 popular high schools attended by 35,000 rural youth, 167 colleges with boarding schools), or about 45 percent of the structures. training of the country. It also managed 191 asylums, 99 hospitals and 120 orphanages. The Catholic press was considerable with 2 daily newspapers, 18 weeklies, 25 monthly magazines, 3 quarterly periodicals, about 20 journals, not to mention the edition of textbooks and religious books.
The Catholic Action was most developed, testifying to the dynamism of the faith: 5,000 groups engaged in the apostolate, such as the popular Catholic associations (social associations and mutual aid) with 300,000 members, Kalot and Kalasz, peasant youth movements with 700 groups (about 100 000 enrolled) on which depended the 20 popular schools, the Gardes du Sacré-Coeur (170 000 members divided between 800 parishes), the Association of Young Catholics (11 295 members of the industry and trade), Emericana (10,000 members of university youth), Dolgonzo Lanyok for young Catholic workers, etc.
FIRST ANTICLERAL MEASURES
Communism will be responsible for destroying in almost a decade the almost totality of this secular heritage, soon after the expulsion of the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Angelo Rotta (April 4, 1945). The land reform that followed was an opportunity to expropriate the church from most of its land (the diocesan houses were left with only 57 hectares), which had enabled it to run its activities. educational and social (hospitals, orphanages, asylums) as well, of course, as his apostolic action. In the aftermath, it was easy to transfer 80% of the Catholic press to the hands of the communist authorities and, in April 1948, to nationalize all the ecclesial printing works (about twenty). At the same time, enormous debates were organized against religion, particularly in the official press, and the Church was deprived of the means to respond.
At the first attacks against Catholic education in 1946, the government added in the following years a long and violent campaign against religious associations from two murders committed against Russian soldiers by students who were found to be members , one from a Marian association, the other from the Kalot association. The communist press echoed the Russian general's talk of conspiracy, weapons discoveries (even an atomic bomb!) In some schools and religious associations.
This was the signal of the first arrests that affected almost all the leaders of Catholic associations, which were dissolved and their property (buildings and furniture) given to communist organizations.
In the name of the episcopate, the cardinal-primate raised, at each false accusation, public denials in favor of pastoral letters supported by evidence and, with every destructive measure, vigorous protests to the authorities. But nothing helped, and in early 1947 the government attacked the Karitasz association, a very active social organization, which it criticized for being fed by foreigners. This did not suffice, he began, in May 1948, the process of nationalization of private educational institutions prepared since the beginning of the year by a campaign of signatures literally torn from teachers and students by various pressures, and continued in companies and offices, those who refused to sign the petition being kicked out of their school or fired. 3,163 schools and 177 colleges and institutes, nearly all schools and 600,000 students were removed from the Church.
The energetic condemnations of the cardinal only determined the power to proceed to the next stage: the clash with the Church in the religious domain itself. The Marian year decreed by the primate in August 1947, and held until August 1948, was an opportunity to show the strength and fidelity of Catholics: there were a total of 4.6 million faithful who participated in various pilgrimages and ceremonies, despite the obstacles sown by the public authorities (use of loudspeakers forbidden, refusal of ticket clerks to issue tickets, prohibition of coaches to transport pilgrims, etc.) and attacks by disruptive groups partners.
THE COURAGE OF CARDINAL MINDSZENTY
In order to overcome this resistance, it was only necessary to make a decisive blow to the union of priests around Cardinal Mindszenty's person and to the unity of the episcopate. Against this cohesion, the government made every effort and many priests were successively arrested under various pretexts, including their disobedience to the injunction not to read pastoral letters in the pulpit. In the same way, officials were sent to the bishops to dissuade them from supporting the "warlike policy of the Primate", dangerous for the dialogue with the national authorities. But by a declaration of November 3, 1948, the episcopate renewed its full confidence in Cardinal Mindszenty.
It was too much for the communist government. On the order of the Vice-President of the Council, Matyas Rakosi (his real name Rosenfeld), he was arrested on December 26, 1948 and taken to number 60 Andrassy Street, the sinister place of the "muscled" interrogations of the AVH - the secret police - "instrument of red terror" that he will describe in his memoirs as "a monstrous torture workshop, a real center of horror", and supported by Colonel Peter Gabor himself (of his true name Benjamin Eisenberger), who had succeeded Janos Kadar as head (absolute and sadistic) of the AVH and responsible for the great communist purges of the country. He is put into the hands of an anonymous executioner, stripped of all his personal belongings, then "under the shrieks and laughter of the audience," of his clothes and underwear and wearing a Polichinelle tunic.
As shown in the famous movie L'Aveu , the individual "brainwashing" (to be distinguished from the long process of collective "brainwashing" used over very long durations - sometimes years, especially in China - as technique of "reeducation" of the masses) consists of a skilful assortment of physical tortures of all kinds, of inoculation of various drugs in food (to which, as a result, Cardinal Mindszenty barely touched), finally - supreme cruelty - of sleep deprivation. All this, alternating with multiple endless interrogation sessions (box below) during which the prisoner is overwhelmed, by several characters at a time, humiliating insults and messages mixing some truth and many false , referring to his past actions and his relations with his relatives, which he is assured that they themselves have confessed.
The aim is to succeed in destroying the prisoner's personality and lead him to recognize, in a second state, the accusations that will be made public during his trial - in the case of Cardinal Mindszenty: espionage, high treason, attack on security of the State (with the complicity of a friend, Professor Justin Baranyay), currency traffic (donations to associations).
It was necessary to have a temper of steel to support such a regime: "It was seventy-two hours that I had not slept, when I was led to my fourth night interrogation" (Cardinal Mindszenty, Memoirs , Round Table, 1974, 222). But all resistance has its limits, and that of Cardinal Mindszenty could not go beyond what human nature can bear. "Only me, the commander and his rubber club were there every night. My physical strength was decreasing visibly. I was worried about my health and my life. (...) One certainty remained to me: there was no more possible way out of my situation. My shaken nervous system weakened my resistance, disturbed my memory, annulled my self-consciousness, disrupted my will-those controlling faculties of the human being "(ibid., Pp. 228-229). More horrific and humiliating night-time torture was ultimately the reason for him: "At last, the policemen reached their goal: they made me confirm some gross lies. I revolted at first, despite my exhaustion, but I was no longer able to fight. I trembled in advance at the thought of being bludgeoned and I signed, using however a last trick, practiced formerly by the Hungarian prisoners in Turkey: I followed my signature CF initials which mean coactus fecit ["I l ' I did it under duress "]. The colonel asked, suspicious: "What to say?" I replied that it was an abbreviation of cardinalis foraneus designating a provincial and non-curial cardinal "(ibid., 232).
Of all the confessions that had finally been snatched from him and some falsified documents, documents to which was added false testimony, and extorted accusations of his relatives (including his faithful secretary, the abbot Andras Zakar, subjected to the same treatments) the government set up a yellow book (January 1949) to become the centerpiece of the charge of the most illustrious of the prisoners of the Church of Silence. The communists had succeeded, at the end of a physical, mental and chemical martyrdom of 40 days, to make the cardinal an "invertebrate". This was the most sinister side of his trial, as evidenced by a photograph that went around the world. He was, according to The Yellow Book , "his own accuser".
It was before a pretended People's Court that the cardinal was translated, together with five other accused, including his secretary. The show-trial to which he was entitled deserves a book by himself. The account was collected in a second specific document, The Black Book , the content of which is similar to the Yellow Book. Afforded by a public defender and visibly in cahoots with the prosecutor, totally ignorant of the indictments filed by the prosecutor, the cardinal-primate was already convicted before being tried. On 20 December (six days before his arrest), he was informed that he was going to suffer a letter to his clergy in which he said: "Since I have not participated in any plot, I will never resign. will not speak. If after that you should learn that I have admitted this or that, that I have resigned from my office (even though it would be authenticated by my signature), you must know that such a statement will only be a consequence of the fragility of human nature ... In the same way, I declare null and void any confession from this day "( ibid ., 198).
Its signature, it has appeared in more than one document, often preceded by a few handwritten lines: the Party had obtained for this the services of a couple of talented graphologists, Hanna née Fischof and her husband Laszlo Sulner. Hanna's father had invented a device, known as Fischof's process, which could extract letters, fragments of words and phrases from a manuscript, arrange them at will and thus make a new manuscript. Having been able to flee to Austria on 6 February 1949 during the trial, the Sulner couple testified four days after the sinister farce of the written confession of Cardinal Mindszenty, showing a microfilm of falsified documents on which they had worked. for example, one of the cornerstones of the accusation reproduced in the Yellow Book, concerning agrarian reform. The report of the debates published in the Black Book also revealed a montage of elements stamped with the seal of infamy, as the so-called "final allocation" of the prelate at the end of the trial, testimonies torn out under torture (Secretary Zakar, Professor Baranyay), the travesty of the words really held, to which were added the manuscripts imitating the writing and the signature of the cardinal. Shortly after The New York Herald Tribune published an article in 1950 in which the couple explained that they had no choice but to cooperate with the communist authorities or hang them, Laszlo Sulner died. at 30 years old, an unknown disease ... The letter of Pius XII (box above) to the Ecclesial authorities of Hungary on February 14, 1949 expresses the disgust of the objective observers of this trial.
The cardinal was sentenced to life imprisonment, Mr. Baranyay at 15 and Father Zakar at 6.
Sources : Fideliter No. 243 / The Latin Door of August 2, 2018