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Cardinal József Mindszenty was almost the first post-war European figure to become a symbolic victim of totalitarianism. His arrest and trial were almost simultaneous with the Greek crisis, the Truman declaration and the Czech communist coup that between them marked the start of the Cold War. He was selected by the Hungarian communists under Mátyás Rákosi to be an example of the allegedly criminal past and to establish the permanence of their new order. They succeeded instead in erecting a vast international question mark against their rule.

    Both the Venice and Cannes film festivals refused to show the film The Prisoner for fear of offending cultural officials of Eastern bloc states. And after the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt in 1956, Cardinal Mindszenty spent many years in the US Embassy in Budapest and refused to give up his position as prelate of Hungary even after he was relocated to Vienna.

Final Betrayal

Now a NKVD torture dungeon, the Cardinal was taken to the same location the Nazis used. The communists made him stand in a spotlight in a darkened room while his unseen interrogators accuse him of plotting to restore the monarchy, speculating with American money and working with the Pope to start another world war with Russia. After weeks of torture the Cardinal collapsed without making a confession. Their use of the hypnotic drug scopolamine effectively reduced his mind to jelly. While Guilty of Treason is an extraordinary time capsule, the Cardinal's tragic saga, served more as a tool in the Cold War battle against world communism than as a chronicle of a religious hero.

Even in his Vienna exile, Mindszenty had become an albatross around the neck of the Vatican. In the fall of 1973, as he prepared to publish his Memoirs, the Cardinal suffered the final betrayal. Fearful that the truth would upset the detente with the Marxists, the Pope asked Mindszenty to resign his office. When he refused, the Pope declared his See vacant, to the delight of the communist regime.

Obedient to the end, the Cardinal felt deceived by the Vatican policy of rapprochement with communism. He spent the rest of his life caring for the spiritual welfare of his scattered Hungarian flock around the world. The Cardinal continued to make it clear that he had not abdicated, but had been deposed.

I viewed the film The Prisoner  in the early 1960s, it made a deep impression. Brainwashing is not a term for the 21st century ... been replaced by targeted disinformation and censorship.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Mar 11th, 2022 at 11:11:32 AM EST
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