At the end of 1977, there appeared a samizdat leaflet entitled The Church and the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. All the articles in this publication attack the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania in one way or another. The most serious charges are that the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania divides the Church's unity, that it slanders, undermines confidence in priests and bishops, offends "the prestige of a powerful nation" and so on.
Until the appearance of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania,KGB collaborators had an ideal situation: they could commit the most public crime—for example, publish lies in the press about the "freedom" of believers in Lithuania, "defend peace" in Berlin—and no one stated publicly that such behavior is unacceptable. The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania disrupted the plans of many people and is determined to continue disrupting them in the future.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is taking the opportunity to state the following:
The unity of the Church is divided not by the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, but by the KGB and its collaborators.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania does not.. discuss the secret personal misdeeds of either the clergy or government officials, but only those offenses which are public knowledge. Authority can only be redeemed by making amends and not through hypocrisy.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania does not have any private scores to settle with either bishops or priests. When a Soviet official, teacher or priest who has publicly erred mends his ways, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania will commend him.
If the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania were to publish facts only on individual instances of persecution of the faithful and on the tactlessness of teachers toward their students, but were to remain silent on the offenses of priest collaborators with the KGB, who no less undermine the Church, it would transgress against truth and would serve not the Church but the atheists.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania does not encourage unfounded suspicion, division and disrespect for Church officials, but blocks the way of those who consciously or unconsciously serve the destroyers of the Church.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania repeatedly thanks all our brethren in the free world, whose voice does not harm, but helps the Lithuanian Church. The countries about which the free world speaks the least are the ones which suffer most from atheist government tyranny. In Moldavia, as an example, churches are currently being torn down by bulldozers, and priests do not have the right, in effect, to visit patients in hospitals because they need five permits.!
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania believes in Divine Providence and the power of prayer, but this same belief considers silence and cooperation with the destroyers of the Catholic Church in Lithuania to be a crime.
We reprint below a reader's reply to charges against the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania:
1) If the Chronicle reports on negative aspects in the lives of the clergy itself, these aspects are not unknown to the community at large, therefore, this is not "soiling one's nest." To try hiding what cannot be hidden is a childish ostrich policy. For the "good of the nest", we must precisely fight negative aspects by airing them in public. Cobwebs gather where there is no self-criticism, the air is stale where there is no cross ventilation. In this instance, it is not those who speak who are causing outrage, but those whose low character gives basis for such talk. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians: "Many among you act like enemies of Christ."
2) Unity is essential, but with whom and for what? "To advance or destroy" (2 Cor., 10-8) the Church? It is acknowledged that the center of unity is the hierarchy, the bishops. But does the hierarchy always promote the word of the Gospel, does it always serve the interests of the Church?
Bishop M. Valančius wrote about Bishop Petkevičius (16th century). The latter was interested in hunting; from dawn to dusk he roamed the fields with his dogs(Žemaičių vyskupystė).
This type of hierarchal dynasty has not yet died out. Are we to fall in behind this type of hierarch in the name of unity?
In Kaunas, Bishop M. Valančius devoted all his savings to the poor, the press, the support of repressed priests, while the then Vilnius administrator Msgr. P. Žilinskas, appointed by the Czarist government, used all his capabilities to amass a fortune, to build and purchase homes. At the government's demand, Vilnius administrator P. Žilinskas ordered Russian to be used in all churches, while Bishop Valančius opposed this.
Which hierarch should the priests and the faithful have supported then?
St. Paul wrote to the Galatians (2, 11) that he had "opposed Peter in public, because he was clearly wrong" . . . "he had strayed from the truth of the Gospel." In other words, not every move of a hierarch can be taken at face value. "Do not believe all who claim to have the Spirit, but test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God." (1 Jn. 4, 1).
3) The Chronicle is berated for saying that it does not need bishops. We have bishops, if only they could perform their duties! But does the Church need bishops who blindly carry out the directives of atheists?
4) It would be ideal to co-exist with the government, if this "co-existence" were not purchased by betraying the Gospel's principles. Great wisdom is not needed for the art of "co-existence," we need only obey the atheists. The apostles of Christ "did not know how" to co-exist with the government: the world considered them foolish. This label is now being attached to some people . . . So be it.
5) The Chronicle sincerely tries to avoid inaccuracies, lies. Under present conditions, it is impossible to verify everything; it is necessary to rely on the testimoty of honorable persons. Besides, the Chronicle corrects mistakes which occur. It must not be forgotten that there are individuals who, under threat by the Security police, deny a certain report in the Chronicle and we thus read in Tiesaabout the lies of the Chronicle and the Vatican.