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The Vatican’s Congregation of the Causes of Saints has been given the okay by Pope Francis to publish a decree “recognising the heroic virtues” of the late Cardinal József Mindszenty, clearing another hurdle in his beatification process, the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference said. The pope’s decree marks the end of an important stage in Mindszenty’s beatification process. The process may be continued when a miracle is attributed to the venerated bishop. Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, welcomed the publication of the decree, noting that Mindszenty can now officially be referred to as “venerable”.
Mindszenty was appointed to Bishop of Veszprém by Pope Pius XII in 1944. Protesting against the Nazi genocide, he was arrested in late 1944 and kept in prison in Sopronkőhida. Following the Second World War, he was appointed to archbishop of Esztergom, then to cardinal. In late 1948 he was arrested by the Communist authorities and sentenced to life imprisonment under false charges of conspiracy, espionage and financial abuse. He was freed during the 1956 revolution, but on November 4, 1956, the first day of Soviet intervention, he had to take refuge in the US Embassy in Budapest which he could not leave until 1971. Mindszenty was then allowed to leave Hungary and eventually settled in Vienna, where he died in 1975. After Hungary’s Supreme Court declared him innocent in May 1990, his remains were returned to Hungary and reburied into the crypt of the Esztergom Basilica.