"To: The Catholic Committee For The Defense Of
"Copy to: The Rector of the Kaunas Theological
"A Statment from Gofman, Aleksandras, Residing
in Vilnius at 37-2 Pranskus St.
"On December 5 and 13, 1973, the newspaper of the Committee for Cultural Contacts with Lithuanians Abroad, Gimtasis kraštas (Native Land), printed an article by J. Aničas entitled 'In the Struggle against Misleading Lies.' In it the author attempted to prove on the basis of statements made by certain clergymen that there is full freedom of conscience and religion in Lithuania. After reading Aničas's article, as well as many other essays published in Lithuanian on the subject of the freedom of religion and conscience, I am convinced that all literature dealing with this subject consists of lies, deception, and slander. The clergy of Lithuania could not and cannot say that the faithful have freedom of conscience and religion. It would be an obvious lie! If they did make such statements, they were probably forced to do so, or perhaps someone attributed these statements to them falsely, for truth and integrity do not exist for the authors of atheistic articles to whom the Communist party has granted complete freedom regarding these questions.
"For example, how could the Rev. Dr. V. Butkus, rector of the Kaunas Theological Seminary, state that when new candidates are admitted to the seminary it is the seminary administration which decides whether or not a candidate is suitable for admission? It is a lie that the suitability of the candidates is decided by the seminary administration and not by state security agents. I have personally experienced this.
"My major goal in life is and always has been to be a priest. Thus after graduating from secondary school and completing the compulsory military service in the Soviet armed forces, I presented an application and all necessary documents to the Kaunas Theological Seminary on June 11, 1979. After a week I was visited at work — I worked as a manager at the Polyclinic Section of Vilnius Clinical Hospital no. 2 — by a man whom I did not know. He addressed me by name and asked how my job was going and whether I was satisfied with it. In other words, he acted as if he were an old friend of mine. Because I had been told by others that once one submits documents to the seminary one can expect the state security employees to show up immediately, I asked him to produce his identification. He got flustered and tried to evade my request. When I insisted, he glanced around to see whether anyone was looking and showed me from a distance his red state security employee booklet. He did not give me his name but asked to be called ‘Antanas.' He said he wanted to talk with me seriously and that the subject of our talk was a state secret.
"I noticed that he tried diligently to avoid people. He asked me to step out into the street and walk with him. I agreed. I asked him to wait a minute while I informed by superior. He seemed to become agitated and repeated that no one — absolutely no one — must know about this and postponed the walk to the next day. Because I worked in the afternoon, he asked me to come to Lenin Square at 9 a.m. and wait for him on a bench near the Lenin Monument.
"The following morning we met at the appointed time. He took me to some type of headquarters whose windows were all shuttered. We entered a dark room. He turned on the radio, switched on the lights, took out several sheets of clean paper, and begin to question me about my plans. He told me not to hesitate or to be afraid, for no one would find out about them. When I admitted that I had submitted an application to the Kaunas Theological Seminary, he acknowledged that it was difficult to gain admission. To enter the seminary one had to overcome more than one barrier. The seminary selected only the candidates it liked, but if he were to put in a good word for me, they would certainly accept me. I declined. Oddly enough, he began to praise me and suggested another meeting on June 27. He asked for my telephone number at work. I gave it to him. He called me on June 27 and suggested that we meet again. I answered that I would meet him only after I received an official invitation. When he began to try to talk me out of an official invitation, I hung up. This is how the investigation of my suitability for the theological seminary ended. Naturally, I was not admitted to the seminary.
"Thus I have personally experienced that candidates to the seminary are chosen not by the seminary administration but by the security police. Furthermore, as far as I know from my friends — I will not name them for obvious reasons — the security police attempt to turn some applicants into spies by promising to help them enter the seminary and later helping them in being assigned the best parishes. Others are dissuaded from their chosen path, and still others are offered bribes to renounce the seminary. All are obligated to keep the secret. They are even made to sign that they will tell no one about the talks which take place. They treat the disclosure of such talks as a betrayal of state secrets.
"I respectfully ask the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights to encourage priests, all of whom, I believe, underwent this ordeal by fire conducted by state security agents, to disclose that it is basically not the seminary but security agents who choose candidates and to reveal which priests, tempted by good parishes, became tools of the security police in the fight against the Holy Catholic Church.
Vilnius, March 31, 1980
(signed) A. Gofman"