“This is an important step towards beatification as it now opens the way for examining prayer responses and miracles,” Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő said from Rome.
Mindszenty was the leader of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Church from 1945 to 1973, during the Soviet occupation of the country. He was convicted of treason by the country’s Communist authorities in a 1949 show trial and spent eight years in prison before the 1956 uprising made it possible for him to seek refuge in the American embassy in Budapest where he lived for 15 years.
Mindszenty became a symbol of resistance to Communism, and he was eventually permitted to leave Hungary in 1971 through the personal intervention of St. Pope John XXIII. He died in exile in Vienna, Austria, in 1975,
A decree of “heroic virtue” means that Mindszenty is now entitled to be called “venerable,” and that his sainthood cause must await one approved miracle for beatification and another for eventual canonization.
At the same time, the Vatican also ascribed a miracle to Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), perhaps the most renowned Anglican convert to Catholicism of all time. A theologian, poet and essayist, Newman was beatified in 2010, meaning the new miracle clears the way for his canonization, the formal act of declaring him a saint.