At the beginning of 1978, Rayon newspapers reprinted an article by Religious Affairs Commissioner K.(azimieras) Tumėnas entitled "Socialism Guarantees Freedom of Conscience." Tumėnas' article shows that the policy of the occupation government toward the Church remains essentially unchanged. The Church and the faithful are persecuted—but only more subtly, although there are some places where even brutal terror is used—and attempts are made to cloak it all in beautiful words.
Tumėnas writes that "the state does not interfere in the canonical and liturgical activities of the Church," while he personally visited the Kaunas Seminary on Holy Saturday (March 25) and compelled seminary authorities to expel two seminarians—P. Ra-žukas and V. Pūkas—although they had committed no offense. Their only crime was that Pūkas had lent his typewriter to Ražukas, who tried to copy some religious material. The KGB saw these two seminarians as potential enemies and decided to break up the "anti-Soviet hotbeds" at the seminary.
On the other hand, the KGB is making efforts to have its agent, the former seminarian R. Jakutis, readmitted to the Seminary. The KGB is given considerable help in this matter by Msgr. Č.(eslovas) Krivaitis, Rev. A. Gutauskas and other priests. From now on, seminary authorities will no longer have the right to'expel a student from the Seminary without the consent of the Ordinaries. This decision will prove beneficial only to the KGB, for when the government wishes to eliminate a good seminarian, the Ordinaries will remain silent, as they did on Holy Saturday when P. Ražukas and V. Pūkas were expelled, and when it becomes necessary to oust KGB agents from the seminary, Ordinaries, like Msgr. C. Kri-vaitis, will come forward to support the KGB collaborators, and the remaining Ordinaries will remain silent out of fear, as they recently did.
The Religious Affairs Commissioner writes that the Catholic clergy participates in the "peace movement." It is true that certain clergymen do participate, but they represent neither the faithful nor the priests of Lithuania, but obediently travel to peace congresses, sign petitions or vote as ordered by the KGB. The Catholics of Lithuania want peace, but wish to shake off the shackles of slavery. Is there a greater degradation than to take a religious man, and especially a clergyman, from whom everything has been taken, around whose neck a noose is tied, and order him "to defend peace"!?
"The Soviet government gives serious consideration to the needs of believers" continues Tumėnas—he who knows best that the Soviet government is interested only in the needs of atheists and allows believers to breathe only in proportion to the voice public opinion raises in protest. The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania has continually noted that atheists give full vent to their rage in those places in Lithuania from which news almost never reach the Chronicle.
"Children can pray and receive First Communion," the article cites the duties of believers, while religious children are forcibly enrolled in the pioneers or the communist youth league, ridiculed for attending church and even intimidated by KGB officials (see reports in this issue). A religious student feels discriminated against, humiliated and constantly driven—a second-class citizen of the Soviet Union.
This past Easter, the Religious Affairs Commissioner came with his family to the Kaunas Cathedral, probably for the purpose of proving that "children and their parents can attend church" and attended sunrise services (of course, not as a worshipper, but as the right hand of the KGB).
Tumėnas writes that "recently a rather large printing of a prayer-book was published." Alas, rare was the Catholic who was able to obtain it. The security police itself acknowledges that there is a lack of prayerbooks and religious literature for the people, for "there is a shortage of paper and funds."