The distinguished guest
The history of the Church of the 20th century cannot be written without one book: the Memoirs of Cardinal Mindszenty, published in 1974. This 500-page-long book is the result of an outstanding work. In his Memoirs, he did not accuse anyone, he simply told about his experiences to stir the world’s public and warn them of the inhumane and anti-God nature of the communist ideology as well as to inform them about the sufferings of the Hungarian people. The content of his book is not only captivating but it is filled with sincere hope and deep confidence in God.
On 26 April 1975, at the end of his pastoral tour in South America, which turned out to be the last one, the Archbishop of Bogotá turned to him with the following words of farewell: "Stay always as young as you are!" Cardinal Mindszenty answered with the following Latin text of a student song: "Gaudeamus igitur juvenes dum sumus!" "Then let us be merry as long as we are young!" However, when he returned to Vienna, he was already ill. The operation performed in the Hospital of the Brothers Hospitallers was successful. However, his exhausted heart did not endure another trial. In the early afternoon on 6 May 1975 the Viennese radio interrupted its programme to communicate the news of the death of Vienna's distinguished guest.
The requiem was celebrated by Cardinal Archbishop Franz König in the Cathedral of Vienna. In his sermon, he called Cardinal Mindszenty a martyr "who endured with miraculous resistance all kinds of spiritual and physical sufferings while he stayed loyal to his Church and people." (Cited in István Mészáros, „Állok Istenért, egyházért, hazáért”, 212.) One single wreath ornamented the bier, with a short inscription: "From your grateful Hungarian people!"
Cardinal Mindszenty was buried in Mariazell on 15 May 1975. According to his will, his remains were to return to Hungary only when the star of Muscovite atheism had fallen from Hungary's sky and the last Russian soldier had left the country. In the sequence of reburials accompanying the fall of Communism, one was of special importance: the return of the metal coffin of the Prince Primate to Hungary and its laying in the archiepiscopal crypt of the Primatial Basilica on 4 May 1991.