To: K. Tumėnas, Deputy for Religious Affairs, Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian S.S.R.
Copy to: Bishop L. Povilonis, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Kaunas
Statement of the Catholics of the Parish of Simnas
In the fall of 1975, the large parish of Simnas lost a priest — a curate—who was transferred on the order of the government. Only one priest — the pastor — was left to take care of the religious needs of the faithful. We have not been able to get another priest.
There are 85 parishes in Lithuania already, which do not have a permanent priest. In our diocese alone, there is no permanent priest in five parishes (Laukeliškiai, Patilčiai, Išlaužas, Riečiai and N. Uta).
Last year, after a long delay, by permission of the government, twelve candidates were accepted for the seminary; however during that same year, nineteen priests died in Lithuania. Two years ago, twenty-two priests died. Hence, the injury by the government to the faithful of Lithuania is obvious.
The Declaration of the European Council on Security and Cooperation, held in Helsinki in 1975, which was signed by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, L. I. Brezhnev, states that the "participating nations will honor the rights of man including freedom of thought, conscience, religion and convictions, ragardless of race, sex or religion" . . .
We the undersigned believers of the parish of Simnas, ask you, the Deputy for Religious Affairs, whose main duty it is to mediate between the government and the Church, to take the steps that:
1.The quota of candidates to be admitted to the seminary be abolished, that the bishops themselves might select and admit all young men who wish to become priests, so that the church of Simnas might get another priest — curate, who is greatly needed.
2.At least a small catechism be published. Such a catechism was last published before World War II.
3.A larger edition of prayerbooks and of the New Testament ot the Holy Bible be published.
Simnas, April 8, 1976
Signed by Several Hundred Parishioners of Simnas