How things have changed in two short generations…
I’ve been doing some reading lately concerning the late József Cardinal Mindszenty, the former Primate (leader) of the Catholic Church in Hungary, and what a great man he truly was.
During WWII he spoke out against Nazism. The Nazis promptly threw him in prison.
During the Soviet Occupation, he spoke out against Communism. The Communists promptly threw him in prison, and tortured him.
Only after being freed from prison by rebelling Hungarian troops and civilian militias was the Cardinal finally able to breath free. Yet his freedom was short lived.
Within days, the Soviets launched an all out armored attack on Hungary, crushing the Magyar nation’s brief flirtation with liberty.
Cardinal Mindszenty requested and was granted asylum in the American embassy in Budapest, where the Communists refused him to leave embassy grounds until he was eventually allowed to leave for Austria in 1971, where he soon died just a few short years later.
But before the smoke even cleared from the Battle of Budapest, Cardinal Mindszenty had a powerful ally and fellow anti-Communist in Rome; Pope Pius XII.
The following is what Pope Pius XII said to the crowd at St Peter’s Square regarding Communist persecution of the Church, specifically against the Soviet and Hungarian Communist imprisonment of Cardinal Mindszenty. Please keep in mind how Francis already has responded to the rhetorical arguments put forth by Pope Pius; (emphasis mine)
“Do you want a Church that remains silent when She should speak; that diminishes the law of God where she is called to proclaim it loudly, wanting to accommodate it to the will of man? Do you want a Church that departs from the unshakable foundations upon which Christ founded Her, taking the easy way of adapting Herself to the opinion of the day; a Church that is a prey to current trends; a Church that does not condemn the suppression of conscience and does not stand up for the just liberty of the people; a Church that locks Herself up within the four walls of Her temple in unseemly sycophancy, forgetting the divine mission received from Christ: ‘Go out the crossroads and preach the people’? Beloved sons and daughters! Spiritual heirs of numberless confessors and martyrs! Is this the Church you venerate and love? Would you recognize in such a Church the features of your Mother? Would you be able to imagine a Successor of St. Peter submitting to such demands?”