“The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral -a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. . . The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. .. What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”
~ Venerable Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty (source)
The pen that wrote such a beautiful tribute to motherhood belonged to the Venerable Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty (b. 1892- d. 1975). This small paragraph details the traditional Catholic view of motherhood; a view which is constantly undermined in our utilitarian, materialistic world. Cardinal Mindszenty experienced the effects of this world as he fought a lifelong battle against atheistic Communism. His life was completely disrupted by Communism: he was arrested by the Communists, tortured, put on a sham trial, and imprisoned. He was subsequently held under house arrest for fifteen years. Despite the brutality he encountered, this great princely prelate did not waver: he did not lose his Catholic Faith, nor depart from his traditional Catholic beliefs. Because of his heroic practice of the virtues, his cause for canonization is underway:
Joseph Mindszenty was born in Hungary on March 29, 1892. He was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Sacred heart of Jesus on June 12, 1915, and was consecrated Bishop of Veszprem on March 25, 1944. From November 27, 1944 to April 20, 1945, he was imprisoned by the Nazis. Pope Pius XII appointed him Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary on October 2, 1945. Just a few months later, on February 18, 1946, the Holy Father raised him to the Cardinalate. As Pope Pius XII placed the Cardinal’s hat on his head, the Pope said: “Among the thirty-two, you will be the first to suffer the martyrdom whose symbol this red color is.”
When the Communists arrested Cardinal Mindszenty in Budapest on December 26, 1948, his twenty-three long years of persecution, suffering and enforced isolation began. Throughout his ordeals, he was unwavering in his faith, hope and love of God.
Upon the request of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Mindszenty departed from his country of Hungary, still occupied by the Communists, on September 29, 1971, and settled in Vienna, Austria. He died there at the age of 83 on May 6, 1975.
In February 2019, Pope Francis authorized a decree declaring that Mindszenty possessed “heroic virtue,” thus qualifying him to be known as “Venerable,” the first major step towards beatification.
Today, Cardinal Mindszenty is buried in the Church of the Assumption, the Basilica of Esztergom, Hungary, where pilgrims visit daily and pray for his intercession in their needs. (source)
In 1974, Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (b. 1908- d. 1995) wrote about Cardinal Mindszenty in Folha de S. Paulo:
“In this twilight of mud and disgrace, the whole world is allowing itself to be dragged, sleepy and embarrassed, down the successive abysses of a gradual acceptance of communism. However, in view of the general devastation, Cardinal Mindszenty has risen as the great nonconformist, the author of the great international case, of an unbreakable refusal that saves the honor of the Church and of the human race. By his example — with the prestige of his Roman purple intact on the robust shoulders of a courageous and abnegated shepherd — he showed Catholics that it is not licit for them to go along with the multitudes that bend their knee to Belial.”
Venerable Cardinal Mindszenty, the great nonconformist, pray for mothers, that they would know their dignity before God; and pray for us all. And, today, I ask with you: “What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”