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The protesting bishop

In 1942, he decided to change his name to a more Hungarian-sounding one, thus protesting against the abhorrent propaganda going on in Germany that tried to prove, under the pretext of the frequency of German-sounding names, that Hungary was largely populated by Germans.

Mindszenty József aláírása


XI. Piusz pápa


In 1937, Pope Pius XI awarded him the title of papal prelate, which made him eligible for an episcopal appointment. Pope Pius XII appointed him to the episcopal see of Veszprém on 5 March 1944.

In June 1944, the Sztójay government forced the Hungarian Jews to move into ghettos. József Mindszenty demanded that the conference of bishops protest against such measure, and when, despite all his efforts, the Jews were displaced from Veszprém, he prohibited the celebration of the mass of thanksgiving that the town leaders, who belonged to the Arrow Cross Party, requested for the occasion.

On 31 October 1944 he handed over the memorandum of the bishops of Western Hungary, demanding the termination of the war, to the Arrow Cross government: "In Budapest I tried to have the Upper House of the Parliament convened to discuss how to proceed in that extremely difficult situation, but I found no other bishops in Buda, and the secular members of the Upper House were far too intimidated to take action, for in those days of the Nazi occupation the Arrow Cross party terror had reached its height. Bishop Vilmos Apor was also of the opinion that we could scarcely count on any sort of hearing from the fanatical leaders of the Arrow Cross party. Yet we thought that we ought to make the attempt anyway, in order to protect our flock and our nation insofar as we could and to carry out our responsibility to the country and the Church. I personally took the memorandum, signed by the four bishops, to Budapest."