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article imageVictim of Stalinist Church Persecutions Beatified

By Christopher Szabo     Nov 2, 2009 in World
A Hungarian Bishop, Zoltán Meszlényi, has been recognised as a martyr for his faith by the Catholic Church. Meszlényi is the first of the Hungarian victims of the Stalin-era anti-church persecution to be beatified.
The mass marking the Beatification of the one-time Bishop of Esztergom, Zoltan Meszlenyi, was celebrated by Hungary’s Cardinal Péter Erdő at the Esztergom Baszilica at the weekend, according to the Caboodle.hu website. Esztergom is Hungary’s historical religious capital, as Canterbury is in England. Cardinal Erdő, head of the country’s Catholic Church, said at the mass:
Meszlenyi is the first of the Hungarian victims of Stalinist anti-church persecution to be beatified.
Beatification is the first step in the Roman Catholic Church’s process of making someone a saint, after which the person is referred to as “Blessed.” If certain further steps take place, such as a miracle that the church recognises, he or she will be declared a saint of the church.
Bishop Meszlényi took over the reigns of the persecuted church from Cardinal József Mindszenty in 1950 when Mindszenty was jailed on trumped-up charges. His show trial was widely followed in the international media in the 50s.
In a move typical of the times, the Stalinist regime of Mátyás Rákosi took Meszlényi from his home at night. He was taken to the infamous forced-labour camp at Kistarcsa, where he was tortured to death. Typically, his death was kept a secret for three years, after which he was buried in a closed ceremony 12 years later.
The martyred bishop is the 28th Hungarian to be called ”Blessed” by the Catholic Church.
The period is a fertile one for martyrs as the region was occupied both by the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists. Meszlényi’s beatification was preceded by that of Sister Sára Salkaházi in 2006, who was murdered in 1944 by Hungarian Nazis for trying to protect Jews. Bishop Vilmos Apor was beatified in 1997 for giving his life while protecting young girls from rape by the Soviet Red Army in 1945
Salkaházi is also recognised by Israel as a Righteous Among the Nations.
More about Persecution, Victim, Stalinist, Communist, Hungary
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