To the People's Court of the Rayon of Radviliškis
A Complaint By The Rev. Antanas Jokūbauskas, Son of Jonas,
Administrator of the Parish of Pociūnėliai,
Residing at Pociūnėliai, Rayon of Radviliškis
On September 30 of this year, the Commission for Applying Administrative Fines, attached to the Executive Committee of the Working People's Soviet, consisting of Chairman A. Mikelis, Secretary R. Dirsienė, and members Vaičiūnas, Vaišutis and Vasiliauskas, fined me 50 (fifty) rubles, accusing me of transgressing the Instructions of the Praesidium of the Supreme Court of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic "On Responsibility for Transgression of Laws Concerning Religious Cults".
However, that instruction does not indicate what transgression I, as a priest, was guilty of: Perhaps it was because I did not hold services, or because I failed to administer the Sacraments to someone. I tested children to see whether they were properly prepared to receive Holy Communion. As a priest, I have the right and the duty to do so, and I have transgressed no law.
According to the Soviet Constitution, the principles of Lenin and international obligations, the private teaching of religion is allowed. Therefore, even if I had taught children catechism in the full sense, I would have transgressed neither against the Constitution nor against the law.
1.As a priest, I have the obligation imposed on me by God and the Church, to teach everyone the truths of the Faith proclaimed by Christ, and also teach children catechism.
2.Paragraph 96 of the Constitution of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic guarantees: "The freedom to carry out religious cult is acknowledged for all citizens." The essence of religious cult for the Catholic Church consists of announcing the teachings of Christ, the celebration of Holy Mass and the administration of the sacraments.
In other words, the Constitution acknowledges freedom to do these three things. Hence the priest has the full right to proclaim the teaching of Christ to adults and to children, and to prepare children for the reception of the sacraments.
3. The teaching of Lenin on this matter is clear: "Everyone must have the full right not only to hold some sort of faith, but also to spread that faith." (Vol. VI, p. 365.)
4. In the Decree Concerning the Separation of Church from State, and of School from Church, promulgated January 23, 1918, in Paragraph No. 9, we read:
"The school is separated from the Church. Religious education in any state or public school, or in private schools, where subjects of general education are taught, is no longer allowed. Citizens may teach and study religion privately."
5. The United Nations Organization on December 10, 1948, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the Soviet Union also signed. Paragraph 18 of that declaration says:
"Each person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right allows one freely to profess his or her religion individually as well as collectively, freely to study religion, to conduct services and to carry out religious ceremonies."
Hence, according to the Declaration, one is allowed to study not only the catechism, but all religious doctrine. If learning is allowed, then it is self-evident that teaching is also allowed. The priest, too, is allowed to teach, for he is a specially trained teacher of religion, and no special prohibition is made in his regard.
6. Everyone has the right to profess his or her religion and convictions individually as well as publicly, publicly or privately to perform ceremonies and religioius services (International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, UNO, 12/16/1966).
7. July 30 to August 1, 1975, in the Conferences on European Security and Cooperation at Helsinki, it was decided:
"The participating states will respect human rights and basic freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, without regard to race, sex or religion." (Final Act, VII). This Final Act was signed by representatives of thirty-five states including Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev, of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Therefore in the Soviet Union, and by the same token in Lithuania, no one should be restricted with regard to his or her beliefs, or punished for teaching catechism.
8. The Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR and international agreements do not contradict Paragraph 143 of the Criminal Code, since the latter, like Lenin, forbids the teaching of religion in school, but it says nothing forbidding the teaching of religion in church.
Moreover, according to the general norms of the law, there may be no regulation contrary to the Constitution.
Therefore, bearing in mind all that has been said above, it can be clearly seen that the decision of the commission on Applying Administrative Fines was contrary to the Constitution, to the principles of Lenin, and to international obligations. Hence that decision is unlawful.
I request the People's Court to consider this question and to cancel the fine, which has been assessed unjusdy.
Pociūnėliai The Rev. A. Jokubauskas
October 6, 1976
On October 20, 1976, the People's Court of the Rayon of Radviliškis considered the complaint of Father Jokubauskas, in which he requested that the 50-ruble fine assessed by the Commission on Applying Administrative Fines for teaching children catechism, be annulled. In his complaint, Father Jokubauskas showed that he merely quizzed the children, to see whether they were properly prepared for first Confession.
Chairman J. Surblys of the People's Court of the Rayon of Radviliškis, with Prosecutor Vaišnorienė participating, denying freedom of conscience, the rights of believing parents and the Constitution, decided that Father Jokubauskas had to pay the fine assessed for teaching children catechism, and added 1 the notation that the decision was final and non-appealable.
Thus the atheists demonstrated once more that the Church in Lithuania is persecuted in the most impudent way, that priests are prevented from going about their direct duties and that the Constitution and international treaties are ignored.