IN THIS ISSUE:
What Will 1980 Bring?
Exiles Congratulate the Holy Father
In Support of the Declaration of Human Rights
Lithuanians Defend Their Language
The Ordinaries Support the Temperance Movement
Protests by Priests and Believers
Regarding the "Fabrications" in the Foreign Press
Anilionis: The Executioner of the Church
Discrimination against Believing Students
The Struggle for the Klaipėda Church
News from the Dioceses
In the Soviet School
Catholics in Other Soviet Republics
New Underground Publications
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN LITHUANIA
No. 41 January 1, 1980
Read and pass on!
Published since 1972
This issue is dedicated to
the FAITHFUL OF KLAIPĖDA,
who are resolute in their struggle
for the return of their church
Top. The confiscated church of Mary, Queen of Peace, in Klaipėda; bottom left, Petras Plumpa-Pliuira, tried and sentenced for duplicating the Chronicle; right, Vladas Lapienis, sentenced for his memoirs about life in a Soviet labor camp.
Because the KGB intensified its campaign against the free underground press in Lithuania, the second half of 1979 was especially unsettling. Many searches were made at the homes of: Antanas Terleckas (arrested after the search); Julius Sasnauskas (arrested after the search); [Miss] Liucija Kulvietytė, [Miss) Vitalija Žvikaitė, Instructor Vytautas Skuodis, Povilas Pečeliūnas, [Miss] Dana Keršiūtė, and others. These actions of the KGB show how destructive to Soviet propaganda the free press is. Therefore, all efforts are being made to destroy it.
Official government agencies, especially the Soviet press, constantly threaten that"the Soviet government will never tolerate deliberate violations of its laws" (F. Laurinaitis, Pokalbiai 3 [Conversations 3], 1979, p. 23). The arrests of Antanas Terleckas and Julius Sasnauskas confirm that these are not idle threats.
In addition to the searches, interrogations, and arrests, the so-called ideological struggle was also intensified in 1979. The following facts attest to its nature. The atheistic book Pokalbiai 3 was published at the end of 1979. Its author, a former secret policeman and former Religious Affairs Council official, F. Laurinaitis, defended the Soviet government's violence by arguing that "Soviet government agencies react with compassion to the just wishes of believers." (p. 19).
Even priests aid the escalation of the lies of Soviet propaganda in the West. For example, Father Gediminas Blynas attempted to prove to emigre Lithuanians that the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania prints lies.
On October 10, 1979, the exiled bishops, Julijonas Steponavičius and Vincentas Sladkevičius, sent the Holy Father the following telegram:
"Most Holy Father:
"Encouraged by filial respect and love, we congratulate Your Holiness on the first anniversary of Your Pontificate and sincerely hope that through you, Holy Father, Christ's Church will be blessed with abundant graces and shine with the mercy of Divine Providence.
"Our nation's believers love and admire Your Holiness. We desire and hope to see Your Holiness visiting our country as a loving Father.
"Using this opportunity, we thank Your Holiness for showing us your paternal concern and humbly ask that you grant us Your Apostolic blessing."
The Moscow Group to Assist the Implementation of
the Helsinki Accords
December 8, 1979, Document 69
The Thirtieth Anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations thirty years ago was the most important step in the development of the humanistic principles of present-day society. Shortly before it was accepted, World War II ended, destroying Nazism. With Stalin's death, a dictatorship no less criminal terminated.
"Yet even today in many of the world's countries, the USSR among them, the principles proclaimed by the declaration are not being implemented.
"Many of the important articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are especially being violated in the USSR:
"Article 19: the freedom of opinion and the freedom to receive and impart information;
Article 13: the right to freely choose one's country of residence and within that country, the place of residence;
"Article 18: the freedom of religion;
On November 24, 1979, KGB officials conducted a search in the home of Povilas Pečeliūnas, residing in Vilnius at 2 Skorinos St. It was begun at 9:15 a.m. and completed at 6:30 p.m. The search was directed by Lt. Col. Liniauskas. The four KGB employees did not show their identifications; the witnesses were Vilius Čiapas and Andriejus Dropovas. Confiscated material included:
—personal notes, letters, creative writing, manuscripts
—the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania
—Lietuvių archyvas (Lithuanian archives)
—notes from books read, a personal notebook
—typewritten books, for example, Atlaidų rinkinys (Collection of indulgences), Stigmatizuotoji Teresė Neumanatė (Theresa Neuman, the stigmatic), etc.
The security police accused Pečeliūnas, a Lithuanian-language teacher, of editing the publication Alma Eater as well as collaborating on other underground publications. They questioned about the methods used to send underground publications abroad; about author R. Lankauskas and university instructor V. Skuodis; they asked Pečeliūnas to "help" the security police and mentioned that General Petkevičius and Internal Security Deputy Minister General Žemgulys were interested in "this" case. After the interrogation, Pečeliūnas was released "to think things over."
1. Petras Plumpa
No news has come from Petras Plumpa since March 1979. Replying to her inquiry, the camp administration informed his wife, Aldona, that Plumpa "as a result of a change in the conditions of detention has the right to write one letter every two months" (August 15,1979) and that he is forbidden to receive his allotted parcel (September 31, 1979).
These replies from camp authorities attest that Petras Plumpa is imprisoned under the harshest Soviet labor camp conditions and is constantly detained either in a punishment cell or the camp's prison.
"How important it is that from us others would know about Jesus, experience his Resurrection, and share in his joy. That is why we are here among strangers in distant lands, where men thirst for salvation. Our patience is the path through which Christ will come into their hearts" (from Plumpa's latest letter, spring, 1979).
Antanas Terleckas was arrested in Vilnius on October 30,1979. The KGB has not informed the Terleckas family of the reason for his detention. It is thought that his arrest came in retaliation for the signing of the Memorandum of 45 Baits condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
On July 1,1979, the wife of Vladas Lapienis, a prisoner of conscience, petitioned the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR asking that her husband's exile be terminated because of his old age. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet replied that the prisoner himself must make such a request.
"To: The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Central Committee of the LSSR Communist Party
The Education Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR
The Higher and Specialized Middle Education Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR
The Committee for Professional Technical Education under the LSSR Council of Ministers "Until now children attending general education secondary schools in the Lithuanian SSR were taught Russian from the second half of their second year. In schools of higher education they were taught mostly in their native language. The recommendations of the All-Union Scientific Conference entitled 'The Russian Language: The Language of Friendship and Cooperation between Nations' (held in Tashkent during May 22-24, 1979) suggest that Russian be taught in preschool institutions beginning at the age of five and that the upper grades of general education schools, all professional and special secondary schools, and the second and third years of higher education schools be taught in Russian if the school children and students request it.
"Because a child's orientation in his native language is formed in the elementary grades, a second language taught too early makes the child learn both it and his native language poorly. A less gifted child develops even more slowly. When taught or read to in a foreign language, all children have difficulties understanding and remembering.
"My dear priests of the Archdiocese of Kaunas and the Diocese of Vilkaviškis:
"Advent is a time of penance. To proclaim the need for penance is a priest's important obligation. Make ready the way of the Lord' (Mt 3:3). 'Unless you repent, you will all perish' (Lk 13:3). Even as traditional fasting is disappearing or losing its significance, the obligation to do penance is not. Its old forms are merely being replaced by new ones. And so it is today. As drunkenness is spreading ever more menacingly, like a cancer devouring a living organism, and destroying the morality of God's nation, these times urgently require a new type of penance: temperance, abstinence, restraint from alcohol.
"Today abstinence and temperance must be viewed as very serious penitential virtues. To abide by them, to proclaim them, means to go against the current with a strong will, to break established habits. Yet that is the essence of penance: to reform one's habits, to return order to one's life, to rise above the routine. This is not easy for everyone, but it is necessary and essential. That is why we are asking priests during the upcoming Advent season to invite the faithful — during retreats, from the pulpit, in the confessional, and at every other opportunity — to join in this holy penance of temperance, to themselves go without alcohol in the rectories, and to personally show an example of abstinence so that you, along with the Apostle Paul, can fearlessly tell everyone: 'Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ' (1 Cor 4:17).
November 9, 1979
(signed) Bishop L. Povilionis
Apostolic Administrator of
the Archdiocese of Kaunas and
the Diocese of Vilkaviškis"
"To: The General Secretary of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Leonid Brezhnev
"A Statement from the Priests of Lithuania
"The news has spread widely that on November 1 the Russian Orthodox priest Gleb Yakunin was arrested in Moscow. He is a faithful son of the Orthodox Church who has dedicated many years to the defense of the Church and the rights of believers. Father Gleb Yakunin's work has not been directed against the government and has been fully within the scope of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the USSR. The arrest of this honourable priest cannot but anger all justice-loving persons, regardless of their convictions. This arrest can achieve only one purpose: the further weakening of the Soviet Union's prestige throughout the world.
"We further protest the arrests of Tatyana Velikanova and Antanas Terleckas. Their activities, which sought to ensure that the rights and convictions of all citizens in the Soviet Union are respected, were also purely humane.
"One can already guess in advance that these three individuals — Father Yakunin, Velikanova, and Terleckas — will be charged with slandering the Soviet government and its social order. It is also understood by everyone that such a charge is ludicrous and unconvincing.
J. Aničas and J. Mačiulis in their book Katalikybės evoliucija (Evolution of Catholicism) complain that the religious Lithuanian press abroad is reporting fabrications about religion in Lithuania (Mintis, Vilnius, 1979); for example, "religious practice in the Soviet Union is considered a punishable offence," and "believers are considered suspect citizens" (p. 206).
Let the authors explain the following incident. A Saldutiškis Secondary School student, sixth-grader Juozas Valiulis, served at mass during the summer of 1973 at the Labanoras church. The student was ranked first in his class, but the new academic year had barely started when he brought home a "D"!
His mother, [Mrs.] Veronika Valiulienė, taught at the Plaučiškiai Elementary school. On October 20, 1973, she had visitors: Education Department Director Ribokas, Methodology Department Director Untulis, and Communist Youth League Secretary [M-ss] Kadzickaitė. They did not question her students about the curriculum but about prayers and the catechism. Considering their age, the children knew their religion and replied fearlessly. Then the visitors flooded them with questions: Who had taught them the catechism? The children again replied: father, mother, brother, sister . . .. The questions then became even more ambiguous: "And where does your father work? What does he do?" Now the children sensed something was wrong and avoided giving direct answers. The commission then turned to the teacher herself: "Do you, Comrade, believe in God?"
No sooner had Hungarian Laszlo Cardinal Lekai arrived in Vilnius than a reception was held at the residence of Orthodox Bishop Viktorin. The reception was also attended by Religious Affairs Commissioner P. Anilionis, who read a speech. He began with a lesson on Lithuanian geography and later concentrated on matters of Church life. Anilionis stressed the fact that in Lithuania there are many undisciplined priests who are disregarding Soviet laws. He placed the Jesuits of Lithuania among the ranks of the undisciplined. The Commissioner could not resist mentioning that a Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights had been formed in Lithuania but that it would be better not to meet with its members.
Later, the Provincial of the Hungarian Jesuits remarked to the Lithuanian bishops: "If he speaks this way to us, how does he speak to you?"
In truth, Religious Affairs Commissioner Petras Anilionis is a fierce enemy of the Church who follows the hard Stalinist line. This type of Commissioner is appointed in order to force the Lithuanian Ordinaries and priests to observe, however reluctantly, the Soviet decrees aimed at destroying the Church. Thank God, the priests have shown the necessary strength. It only remains for the Ordinaries, who are presently being harshly terrorized by Anilionis, to display similar fortitude.
The Psychiatric Conference held in Honolulu, Hawaii, condemned the use of psychiatry to punish an individual for his beliefs, his search for freedom, or for following his conscience. Human rights violations are not ceasing, however, but have acquired new methods.
The expulsion of students from schools of higher learning for religious convictions is an obvious violation of the most basic human rights. It is for this reason that in the Soviet Union more and more disguised methods, which cannot be traced, are being used. "Undesirable students" are given "unsatisfactory" grades during state examinations. They are deprived of a diploma and of work in their chosen field.
In the spring of 1978 at the Kaunas Medical Institute during a state examination on scientific communism, sixth-year student [Miss] Zita Veizbergaitė was given an "unsatisfactory" grade. (Veizbergaitė is not a member of the Communist Youth League, and in the spring of 1977 she was interrogated about her religious activities by the State Security Committee [see The Chronicle, no. 27] This incident was reported by Vatican Radio).
When she retook the exam in the spring of 1979, her knowledge was again evaluated as "unsatisfactory." Thus, she is being kept from working as a physician even though she has passed all her examinations in medicine.
In the spring of 1979 sixth-year student [Miss] Valė Maršėnaitė received an "unsatisfactory" grade in the Public Health and Social Hygiene exam (Department Head: Professor Kindziulis). She was not allowed to retake the exam until the results of her scientific communism exam were determined. As expected, she received an "unsatisfactory" grade on this examination. (Marlėnaitė is not a member of the Communist Youth League and has been known to be a believing and practicing young woman since entering the Kaunas Medical Institute). She had diligently prepared for and participated in every scientific communism seminar. The results of the state exam in her field of specialty were rated "good."
During 1979 signatures were gathered throughout Lithuania demanding that the Catholic Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace Church in Klaipėda, which the atheists had confiscated, be returned.
The collected 148,149 signatures were bound in a 1,589-page book and sent to Leonid Brezhnev, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Included in the book were fifty-six photographs.
We are presenting here the text of the statement placed at the front of the book and a copy of the declaration which 148,149 Lithuanian believers signed.
"To: Chairman L. Brezhnev of the Presidium of the
Supreme Soviet of the USSR
1.The Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR
2.Commissioner Anilionis for the Lithuanian SSR of
the Council for Religious Affairs under the USSR Council of Ministers
3.All Lithuanian Bishops and Diocesan Administrators
4.The Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights
"From: The Catholics of Klaipėda and the entire Lithuanian SSR (Address: Klaipėda ind. 235800, 41-5 Tarybinė Armija St., Chairman of the Parish Council, Saunorius, Jonas, son of Petras).
On October 17,1979, Father Jonas Kauneckas, while on duty at the sacristy of the Telšiai cathedral, was visited by an employee of the Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers, the leading atheist Pranas Mišutis. He questioned Father Kauneckas on whether or not this was his first assignment, for he had, it seemed, worked as a pastor in Viesvenai. Father Kauneckas explained that he had only ministered to the Viešvėnai parish.
After that, Mišutis explained that he himself had been an altar boy once. He had lost his faith because of bad priests, but he still had acquaintances among priests and maintained sincere relationships with them. He acknowledged that the Soviet government had made mistakes regarding the Church; that in Russia many Orthodox churches had needlessly been closed or demolished. He continued that many churches in Vilnius and Kaunas should probably not have been closed, but there were certainly enough churches at the present time. He pointed out that fewer churches were closed in Lithuania than elsewhere; Sniečkus (long-time Lithuanian Communist party leader — Tr.) had actually defended the churches; Lithuania's atheists are doing the same. And now, all the churches in Lithuania have been repaired and are heated, which was not true in the prewar years.
In 1979 in Prienai Secondary School no. 1, homeroom teacher [Miss] Ambraziūnaitė several times attempted to force grade 8C pupil [Miss] Dalyte Bruzgaitė to join the Communist Youth League. The schoolgirl objected boldly: "I don't want to, and I won't!" On October 13 during a parents' meeting held at the school, the homeroom teacher interrogated Dalytė's mother about the reasons the girl refused to join. Even though her daughter was a very good student, if she did not join the Communist League Youth, Ambraziūnaitė would be forced to mention the fact that the
girl was politically immature in her reference letter, and the girl would not be able to enroll in any school of higher learning.
The mother assured homeroom teacher Ambraziūnaitė: "What is important to me is that my daughter is a good student; the Communist Youth League is my last concern."
In a meeting with Bruzgaitė the following day, Ambraziūnaitė told the girl to join the Communist Youth League because her mother had given her permission.
Soviet educators use deceit without any qualms, just so that their classes would have 100 percent membership in the Communist Youth League.
Kishinev — Belt'sy
This is not the first year that Catholics of the city of Belt'sy have urgently asked Moscow and the local government to register their parish council and their house of worship. Finally, the long-awaited day of victory arrived. On November 27, 1979, the Catholics of the city of Belt'sy received an official notice stating that they were being granted permission to have a house of worship and that their community and its council have been registered. According to the document, the council and the house of worship were legalized as of September 6, but the local government had continued to torment the people, keeping them in suspense for some three months.
The happy news spread quickly throughout the republic. Father Vladislav Zavalniuk for the first time openly ministered to the Catholics on Sunday, December 2, 1979; the joy was boundless.
On December 5, however, the Religious Affairs Commissioner summoned the chairman of the Kishinev Parish Council and informed him that Father Zavalniuk would no longer be able to work in Moldavia.
1.Aušra (Dawn), no. 18.
2.Perspektyvos (Perspectives), nos. 13, 14, 15, 16. The issues are published monthly.
3.Rūpintojėlis (The Pensive Christ), nos. 11, 12.
4.Ateitis (Future), nos. 2, 3.
5.Tiesos kelias (The Path of Truth), no. 14.
Fellow Lithuanian, Do Not Forget!
Petras Plumpa, [Miss] Nijolė Sadūnaitė, Sergei Kovalev, Vladas Lapienis, Balys Gajauskas, Viktoras Petkus, Petras Paulaitis, Antanas Terleckas, Julius Sasnauskas, and others are enduring the yoke of bondage in order that you may live and believe in freedom.