On May 10, 1982, in the Vilnius University of Marxism-Leninism, Deputy Juozėnas of the Council for Religious Affairs delivered a lecture to future propagandists on the topic, "Government and Religion". The purpose of the lecture was to intensify the war being waged by the atheists against the Catholic Church in Lithuania. Hence, in his lecture, Juozėnas attempted to delineate in general relations between state and religion and to bring up the defects and mistakes in the work of the propagandists, while, at the same time, pointing out ideas for the future.
In the opinion of Juozėnas, the Vatican Radio has great influence on the people, transmitting to the Soviet Union in as many as seven languages: Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian and Armenian. Lately, their production quality has been high, a regular youth program has materialized, programs often depend on material presented in the Chronicle and the people are somewhat more interested when they hear about this or that person living nearby and known to them.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, Juozėnas emphasized, has correspondents in various places throughout the republic, and it is not supported solely by extremist priests. To the lecturer's knowledge, there are twelve hundred women religious registered in the republic, whose numbers increase every year by ten percent, and it is estimated that there is an equal number not registered.
The Deputy Commissioner for Religious Affairs suggested that the propagandists forget the name of obscurantist still quite frequently applied by them to the clergy: the Vatican has seventeen institutions of higher learning in Rome and there are forty-five Catholic universities in Europe.
"In our republic," explained Juozėnas "there are more than ten members of the Jesuit Order. How they became Jesuits most often remains unknown. It is thought that neighboring Poland plays a large role. In general," to use Juozėnas' words, "the Poles have a great influence in Lithuania, especially in Vilnius and the surrounding region."
Speaking about the degree of religious practice among the residents of Lithuania, Juozėnas reported some statistical data. According to them, forty-one percent of the residents of Lithuania have their children baptized. Thirty-five percent are buried with church services, twenty-two percent of weddings take place in church and between 22,000 and 23,000 youngsters annually receive their First Communion and Confirmation.
"These data are obtained from the clergy, but they are drastically minimized," the lecturer complained.
Much attention in the talk was directed to the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, organized in 1978, which joins seven priests, in the opinion of Juozėnas, and all extremists.
It was suggested that the propagandists write down their names and addresses.
"The formation of this group was not accidental," Juozėnas said. "Its appearance coincided with agitation for human rights and the dissident movement in Moscow; it is obvious that there had to be instigation from the outside. Worst of all is the fact that around that group are clustered sixty priests, also extremists. Of twelve hundred religious women, the majority are also under their influence. There is no one operating autonomously of the extremists. The official activist group of the Church is quite different; moreover, not only church committees but also individual choir members come under the influence of the priests." The lecturer was annoyed that people do not agree to speak out publicly against their priests.
In his lecture, the Deputy Commissioner tried to include the areas of activity engaged in by the priests-extremists:
— The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania — fifty-two issues have appeared. This is a publication of up to forty typewritten pages. Along with it, about twenty other publications are produced underground. Their combined circulation is very small; their purpose is to be sent abroad.
— Agitation of people against the Regulations for Religious Associations and against the law.
— Suitably prepared sermons. Petitions are circulated in church for signing, first of all to be sent abroad, and only pro formt addressed to the government.
— They ignore the law against organized teaching of religion to children.
In Juozėnas' opinion, extremist priests cleverly make use of "occasional isolated, unplanned" incidents and mistakes, such as "misunderstandings" in hospitals (the speaker confirmed that the hospital administration not only may, but must provide separate quarters for patients wishing to accept religious ministration), various abuses in the schools: atheistic sketches of an insulting nature, which only incite the parents, the recording of religious convictions in the students' files; poor discussions by teachers with believing pupils on atheistic themes, when the pupil is humiliated before the class; harassment of believing students and lowering of their conduct marks It could be very embarrassing, he said, if parents take teachers who act this way to court.
"Explain afterwards," said Juozėnas, "in what way the pupil's conduct is less than exemplary they will know abroad."
"The day has passed when 'little' transgressions go unnoticed."
In the lecturer's opinion, extremism is encouraged also by unsophisticated atheistic propaganda. It is unpleasant when articles appear in rayon newspapers based on completely unfounded statements. There are many occasions when priests take rayon newspaper editors to court. The Judges are placed in an embarrassing position, and immediately Vatican Radio reports it all. There should be no such incidents. The poorly thought-out statements of the officials involved only cause damage. They think, said Juozenas that everything will remain secret, forgetting that they have wives, and mothers-in-law who run right to the priest; and immediately the Vatican is broadcasting everything.
Summoning pupils to the principal's office for brainwashing cannot always be justified. It is not better with regard to the re-education of workers. After all, the believer works alongside the non-believer at the loom. When the believer is summoned for talks, it can appear to the nonbeliever as persecution, and sympathy is generated . . .
In ideological work, it is necessary to take on specific educational tasks: to explain the alw and the real situation, to give special attention to church committees.
"I would like to invite the future propagandists to come to our aid," said Juozėnas, "it is necessary not only to explain the facts, but also to direct their attention more to atheistic lectures, to make those much more practical, with a view to local conditions — it will not be possible to give the same lecture at the university and the collective farm.
"Therefore, bear in mind that the phenomena taking place in the Catholic Church will not be destroyed by administrative measures. Careful work is necessary," Deputy Commissioner Juozėnas ended his lecture.
P.S. From the words of Deputy Commissioner Juozėnas of the Council for Religious Affairs, one gets the impression that the Office for the Council for Religious Affairs knows many facts about the excesses of atheists in carrying on their propaganda, however, it has never been heard that they have been penalized for breaking the law, even though complaints of the faithful constantly flow through various state agencies.