In this issue:

    Dr. V. Butkus' Interview

    The "Truth" about the Catholic Church in Lithuania Intended for Foreigners

    Death and Funeral of Rev. Z. Neciunskas

    Complaint by the Rev. Z. Naciunskas

    From Nijolė Sadūnaitė's Trip to the Labor Camp

    News from the Dioceses

    In the Soviet Schools

October 1, 1976


A Translation of the Complete Lithuanian Original, LIETUVOS KATALIKŲ BAŽNYČIOS KRONIKA No. 24 Documenting the Struggle for Human Rights In Soviet-Occupied Lithuania Today

Translation Editor: Rev. Casimir Pugevičius Published by the Lithuanian R.C. Priests' League of America 351 Highland Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11207

©Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests' League of America 1978 Printed by

Franciscan Fathers Press 341 Highland Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11207



Since 1972, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania has scrupulously documented the struggle for human rights in that Soviet-occupied country, on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea.

Laboriously typed in carbon copies, and passed secretly from hand to hand, the Chronicleis ultimately smuggled out to the west­ern world, where it has caused a sensation.

The Chronicle describes the heroic efforts of some 3 million Lithuanians, 85.5% Roman Catholics of the western rite when the country was forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, to preserve the faith of their forebears.

It is a story of six dioceses with no resident bishop and no normal contacts with the outside world, trying to maintain traditional ecclesiastical forms of administration. In reality, all decisions are made by the state-appointed Deputy for Religious Affairs—an atheist.

It is the story of the struggle between clergy who have decided for one reason or another to cooperate with the regime, and stubborn dissident priests and faithful insisting on their rights under the Soviet Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Na­tural Law.   .

It is the record of heroic parents of children, who insist on rearing their offspring in the Catholic Faith, against all efforts by teachers and government youth leaders to dragoon youngsters into various Communist youth organizations.

The Chronicle is the record of mere school children risking the wrath of atheistic teachers and even of Security police, to go* to church or sing in a choir.

Constantly harassed in one way or another, the religious be­lievers of Lithuania find themselves in the position of second-class citizens.

Denied access to mass media to tell their story, or to religious literature to nourish their faith, the Catholics of Lithuania find it necessary to photo-copy such religious literature as they can lay their hands on.

Ironically, the Soviet Constitution, under which the people of Lithuania are forced to live, contains glowing guarantees of freedom of conscience, of assembly, of press, and of speech.

In practice, such constitutional guarantees are over-ridden by un­written administrative decrees, verbal interpretations, and galling bureaucratic high -handedness, giving atheism the position of the es­tablished religion of the Soviet Union and its subject territories.

The message of the Chronicle, loud and clear, is that the atheist­ic government is slowly strangling the Church in Lithuania, while doing its best to make it look like the Church is dying a natural death. The people of Lithuania are risking imprisonment, labor camp, and torture to make sure that we are not deceived.

In this translation, every effort has been made to remain faithful to the original in every respect, even at the expense of style in some instances. When absolutely necessary, a brief Translator's Note pro­vides background within the text itself.

Rev. Casimir Pugevičius Translation Editor