“An exemplary model of the priestly life and of apostolic zeal, so whom I owe much”; Cardinal Beniamino Stella spoke of Cardinal József Mindszenty with great emotion during the Mass celebrated on May 2, 2018, for the 43rd anniversary of the Hungarian prelate’s death.
“The strong images of my childhood,” explained Cardinal Stella, “were of these priests who accomplished their ministry in the shadow of what we called the Iron Curtain, living through troubled and difficult times, marked by the persecution of the Catholic Church.”
What struck the Roman prelate the most about Cardinal Mindszenty was “the indomitable courage of his faith, the fidelity with which he lived as a disciple of the Lord”, even in times of persecution, “his pastoral care entirely turned towards the people and his authentic availability, always ready to give his life for the Church and for his country, like the Good Shepherd.”
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy quoted Cardinal Mindszenty’s spiritual testament, dated October 19, 1962, that begins with an exhortation to the Hungarian people: “In your tormented destiny, until the infinite mercy of God shall allow a new day to dawn, remain faithful to God, to the Church, to your earthly homeland.” The testament shows beautiful doctrinal firmness, denouncing “the lies of the Communist ideas and the violence of the regime.”
Cardinal Stella concluded by recalling that the Hungarian prelate persevered in the Faith until the end of his life. He compared him to St. Athanasius, the intrepid defender of the Catholic Faith in the face of persecution.
May this perseverance and this clarity in denouncing the errors of his times become a very concrete source of inspiration and imitation for the pastors of the Church today!