Dáil Éireann - Volume 114 - 16 February, 1949
Motion on the Proceedings Against Cardinal Mindszenty and Others.
The Taoiseach John Aloysius Costello
The Taoiseach: I move the motion on the Order Paper standing in my name:
Dáil Éireann, shocked by the unjust and violent measures taken by the Government of Hungary against the persons of His Eminence Cardinal Mindszenty and the leaders of other Christian Churches in Hungary;  sympathising deeply with the people of Hungary in their subjection to a religious persecution so unworthy of their noble traditions of Christian culture;
and convinced that respect for fundamental human rights, including the right to worship God truly in the manner He Himself has ordained, is an essential condition of international peace and understanding;
HEREBY PLACES ON RECORD its solemn condemnation of the iniquitous actions of the Government of Hungary in violation of the freedom of the Christian conscience, as well as its conviction that the sufferings of His Eminence and the other victims of this persecution will but serve to ensure the ultimate victory of Christian civilisation over the forces of evil.
It is only in circumstances of a most exceptional character that a House of the Parliament of one country would feel itself called upon to comment on proceedings by way of charge or trial in another country. The circumstances of the condemnation of His Eminence Cardinal Mindszenty are entirely exceptional. We have seen in him a great prelate, a Prince of the Catholic Church, arraigned like a common criminal, subjected to the greatest indignity and sentenced to imprisonment for life as a result of proceedings which it would be an abuse of language to describe as a trial. The issues involved are fundamental to the general human conscience, and they have deeply moved not alone our Catholic people, but the members of every religious community in the country. The Government are conscious, therefore, not only that they are justified in taking the unusual step of proposing a motion of this kind, but that they would be failing in their duty if they did not invite the Dáil to place formally on record a solemn protest against the persecution and unjust trial of Cardinal Mindszenty and his fellow-sufferers, and against their condemnation by methods which are shocking to our ideas of natural justice as well as to Christian principles.
The case of Cardinal Mindszenty has justly attracted the particular attention  of all the free peoples of the world by the great eminence of the victim and the overwhelming evidence of abuse of the forms of justice which has shown itself in the course of the so-called “trial”. We do not forget, at the same time, the similar sufferings of leaders of other Churches, including, in Hungary, those of the Lutheran Bishop, Louis Ordass. It is clear that the attack is aimed not only at the Church to which the great majority of our own people belong, but at the whole Christian concept of life and morals, and the belief in God.
I feel that this motion does not call for any advocacy on my part. The facts are so well known to all Deputies that there is no need for me to recapitulate them. From the earliest stage of the proceedings against Cardinal Mindszenty, the Irish Government have made known to the Government of Hungary the deep concern of the people of Ireland, and we have not failed to impress on the Governments of the various States with which we have diplomatic relations the anxiety felt in this country, or to urge how important it is that the treatment of the Cardinal should not be regarded with passive indifference by freedom-loving nations. The conscience of the world has been profoundly stirred by the occurrences in Hungary, and I know that the elected representatives of the Irish people will not be slow to express, by formal resolution, their feelings of abhorrence and condemnation.
This is a period of great trial and suffering in many countries for those who profess the Christian faith. We can only trust that, as the Cross came before the Resurrection, so may the persecutions of these dark times be a prelude to a glorious day when Christian charity will inform the relations between man and man, and nation and nation, throughout the world.
Mr. de Valera Mr. de Valera
Mr. de Valera: Every Deputy will agree with the Taoiseach that it is only in circumstances of extreme gravity that it would be proper that the Government of one country and its Parliament should solemnly condemn as iniquitous the actions of another.  Every one of us here, however, knows that the circumstances are such as to demand such a condemnation, and I feel confident that this motion will be accepted unanimously by the House, and that it corresponds to the feelings not merely of every Deputy, but of every citizen.
The facts are known. We have all seen, since the war ended, one powerful State using its influence and strength to affect neighbouring countries, to put into power in these countries a minority who could never have got into power by democratic methods, or maintained their position were it not for the active assistance of that foreign State. We have seen the steps by which that was done. By the aid of the army of this State, the democratic representation of the people had the minority group forced upon it —into the Government. Once they got in, pressure was used to compel the others to accept them as the ruling body. The rule of the minority has been maintained since then—maintained by force and by tyrannical methods. What has happened in this case—that of Cardinal Mindszenty— has come to the notice of the whole world because of the eminence of the victim. There have been similar tortures in thousands of other cases, but that is not so well known and so well recognised.
Nothing offends human feelings so much as the use of methods of torture, particularly when used for the purpose of forcing so-called confessions and so-called admissions of guilt which are perversions of truth. Cardinal Mindszenty, knowing in advance the methods that would be employed, and knowing how they were operated against others, warned the people of Hungary and, indeed, of the whole world, that if confessions were to be made by him, these confessions could not be taken as voluntary or the truth. He warned the people that any such confessions could only be those wrung through the destruction of his real self and as a result of the attacks made by infamous methods.
We all know that his warning had the fullest foundation. We know what has  happened. We sympathise deeply with him and with the people of Hungary. We appreciate that the majority of them would rise up and end the present situation had they the power to do so. We know that those powers which might have been strong enough through the world organisations to put an end to this situation have not done that or, at any rate, have not done so up to this. Through our own history we have some knowledge of what religious persecution can be. When we read of the events that are taking place on the Continent of Europe, we read with the understanding of a people who know what happened in their own country in the past. The methods used to-day are not those that were used heretofore. They are more infamous still. The general attempt to compel people to abandon their religious beliefs and to abandon what is dearer to them than life itself is similar in character to that which obtained in our own country at certain stages of our history. We of all peoples fully appreciate then what is being attempted. We fully realise how infamous are the methods adopted. We hope that the people of Hungary will not suffer too long. We hope that help will come to them speedily so that those who wish to live in accordance with Christian traditions may be enabled so to do.
That is my hope. That is the hope of every Deputy here. That is the hope of all our people, and I am sure that it is the hope of all right-thinking people throughout the world. We have no difficulty in voting for this motion. As the Taoiseach said at the outset, it is altogether exceptional. I hope that this fact will itself demonstrate how iniquitous in our opinion is the trial of this great Catholic prelate, and how intolerable are the conditions under which the people of Hungary now live.
Motion put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 114 Motion on the Proceedings Against Cardinal Mindszenty and Others.