Venerable József Mindszenty

Venerable József MindszentyAlso known as

  • József Pehm
  • Mindszenty József
  • Pehm József


Ordained a priest in the diocese of Szombathely, Hungary on 12 June 1915. Parish priest in Felsopaty, Hungary. Taught religion in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. Founded the newspaper Zalamegyei Újság (Zala County Newspaper) in 1918, helped found the Catholic People’s Party, and was arrested on 9 February 1919, all due to his opposition to Communism. In October 1919, he was assigned to Zalaegerszeg where he served 25 years as a parish priest. There he spoke and wrote in defense of the faith, and against the influence of Communism and the state; when antiCommunist forces became too radical and violent, Father József helped found the National Policy Service to oppose them. He opposed the repression of the Jews in the area, and publicly supported the area rabbi. Awarded the title of papal prelate by Pope Pius XI in 1937.

Chosen bishop of Veszprém, Hungary on 3 March 1944 by Pope Pius XII. Imprisoned by Nazis from 27 November 1944 until 1 April 1945 for his support of local Jews. Chosen archbishop of Esztergom, Hungary and primate of Hungary on 2 October 1945 by Pope Pius XII; he served for over 28 years, retiring on 2 February 1974. Elevated to CardinalPriest of Santo Stefano al Monte Celio on 18 February 1946. In April 1948, the Communist government seized control of all schools; Cardinal Mindszenty prohibited his clergy to work in them as they spread atheism. Imprisoned on 26 December 1948 for his stance, he was tortured for weeks to get him to sign a fake confession; he did not. Following a show trial from 3 to 8 February 1949, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the “treason” of opposition to Communism. He spent six years in prison, and when his health failed, his spent two years under house arrest.

He was released in 1956 during the Hungarian war for independence, but when the Soviets began their repression, Cardinal József took sanctuary in the American embassy; he lived there for 15 years. At the request of Pope Paul VI, he left Hungary in 1971, moving to Vienna, Austria where he spent his remaining years, writing his autobiography and speaking against Communist oppression.




MLA Citation

  • “Venerable József Mindszenty“. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 February 2019. Web. 4 March 2021. <>