On December 15, 1982, the Editors of Tarybinis mokytojas (Soviet Teacher), printed Vytautas Mockevičius' article, "Advokatas be įgaliojimų" (Lawyer without a Brief), in which he accuses the Gargždai parish Associate Pastor Antanas Šeškevičius of complaining without mandate to the Klaipėda Rayon Division of Peoples' Education concerning the atheistic education of pupils in Gargždai middle schools, and thus, violating the directive of the Presidium of the LSSR Supreme Council. On December 18, 1982, the aforesaid article was reprinted in the Klaipėda Rayon newspaper, Banga (Wave).
Teacher (Mrs.) J. Skurskienė, of Gargždai Middle Schools I and II and their parents (about two hundred signatures), sent a petition to the Department of Education of the LSSR, in which they bring up examples of discrimination against believing schoolchildren.
Teacher (Mrs.) J. Skurskienė, of Gargždai Middle School I, asked her sixth class pupils who of them believed in God, who is doubtful, etc. On February 2, 1982, Teacher (Miss) Berčytė of Gargždai Middle School I, organized an anti-religious contest. Into the school auditorium, she drove fifth and sixth class students, all together, about one hundred fifty boys and girls. All of them were told to write compositions and to draw sketches on anti-religious themes. They promised to give prizes to the best.
Everyone had to respond to the questions. "What is a seminarian?" "How did religion originate?", etc. The committee received only three drawings. No one won first prize. In 1981, (Miss) Berčytė, with the assistance of Pioneer Leaders (Miss) Šarkaitė and (Miss) Labokaitė, organized an anti-religious show for lower grade pupils. To act the part of a saint, the teacher had her homeroom pupil Petrosti get dressed and stand on a chair. Pioneer girls acted the part of devout women, adoring and praying to the statue of the saint, "offering" eggs and rolls. Afterwards another student, acting the part of a drunk, knocked the "statue" over, stood up in its place himself, and ate the rolls with relish.
On March 18, 1982, Middle School II Teacher (Mrs.) Birutė Sturvenkienė ordered Class 3C pupils to make anti-religious drawings, portraying a church, an altar, a priest... students of 3A and 3B also had to make anti-religious drawings.
In 1982, Teacher (Mrs.) Feigobienė of Middle School I, lowered the conduct mark of one Class One student to satisfactory, just because he is not a Little Octobrist. Middle School II Teacher (Miss) Daiva Jakutytė also lowered the conduct mark of four of her homeroom students, because they would not join the Pioneers.
Gargždai Middle School I Teacher (Mrs.) Buozienė told her homeroom students: "You must all join the Pioneers, otherwise, it's going to be bad for me."
On November 22, 1982, Teacher (Mrs.) Buozienė told one believing pupil to recite the Ten Commandments before the entire class. The pupil would not listen.
On December, 1982, Teacher Buozienė tried, during the atheistic hour, to convince pupils that there is no God. "What we do not see, does not exist," said the teacher. One of the pupils asked, "Teacher, do we see the mind?" For this, he got a "2", and was taken to the office of the Principal, who said that he had the right not to allow children to go to church, and threatened to lower their conduct mark if they tried to tell anyone anything.
So in the Middle Schools of Gargždai, there is neither freedom of conscience, nor free profession of religion, nor atheistic propaganda, but just atheistic force: All the schoolchildren are expected to be atheists, beginning with first graders who have to belong to atheistic organizations. Finally, this is being done throughout Lithuania. So why do we need the Constitution? Is it no longer in effect, they ask in the petition.
People are scandalized over the medieval state inquisition for adults, but should one not be even more scandalized by the atheistic inquisition for children and adults in the Twentieth Century? Enough of this worthless atheistic experiment, which has damaged our nation so much. We should have learned a long time ago from history. When the churches were being closed, we should have opened jails.
To the words of the author, Correspondent Mockevičius, that parents agree to atheistic education in the schools because "that is shown by the statistics of 55 parents, "in the petition it is asked why that same correspondent cannot see that most mothers weep when the Faith is uprooted by force from their children. Look at the signatures of parents under the petition. It's not 55...
"The correspondent faults me for protesting against artistic programs during Lent," writes Father Šeškevičius. On Good Friday, during the services, in the House of Culture, atheists arranged dances for pensioners, among whom were those who go to church, and forced them to participate. This is an insult to the faithful.
When Hitler occupied Austria, the Hitler Youth used to parade through the streets as Mass time on Sundays, and cause an uproar with their drums. At that time, they felt big and smart, but how does the world look on their subhuman behavior now?
In the opinion of Vytautas Mockevičius, the greatest offense of Father Šeškevičius was "practicing law without a license". The Tarybinis Mokytojas correspondent calls me an associate pastor, and yet demands a license!" Father Šeškevičius marvels. "I have been delegated in writing by the bishop to concern myself with the faithful of Gargždai. Can a priest look on cooly while atheists in the schools, spreading atheism by force, want to tear the Faith out of the hearts of his little parishioners?
"Is a license necessary where there is a duty? Does a shepherd need a license to defend his flock from wolves? And who licensed the atheists to take from us freedom of conscience and of religion? Did the Constitution?" asks Father Šeškevičius. At the end of the petition, the Associate pastor of the parish in Gargždai, Father Antanas Šeškevičius, and the faithful, demand that you:
— "Stop persecuting believing teachers and pupils for going to church.
— "Not force believing children to join atheistic organizations.
- "Allow the teaching of religion to children in the churches, and after lessons, in the school, as is done in democratic countries.
- "Allow printing of religious textbooks, religious books and newspapers, because, 'What we have received heretofor is just a crumb from the table, and not freedom of the press'."
Tverai (Plungė Rayon)
On November 21, 1982, Fathers Jonas Paulukas and Konstantinas Velioniškis, reacting to the article, wrote a long declaration to the editorship of Tiesa. From their statement, it became clear that on November 17, 1982, in the article, "Saldainiai su piktu įdaru"
(Candy with a Poisoned Heart), there is not five per cent truth. Here we present some thoughts from their statement:
If the parents of schoolchildren being persecuted for religion had written their petition to the Offices of Plungė Rayon at the deceitful urging of their priests, then the correspondent, Stasys Budraitis, would obviously have mentioned the surnames of the fathers and mothers. As it was, no matter how persistantly the parents were intimidated, even with the help of the prosecutor, all of them stuck to their point unanimously, "We wrote the truth!" The checkers easily found all the parents who had signed, because they knew the names of all the children who served at Mass and sang in church. Some of the parents gave the checkers supplementary facts, showing how crudely teachers treat pupils who go to church.
The priests did not teach the children to be hypocrites. On the contrary, this is how the teachers taught them to act, by persecuting them for going to church.
Which parents were opposed to their children's participation in religious services? Please give us just one name! We look for them in the article in vain. Let the writer produce but one name of a pupil whom the priests tried, without the parents knowledge and against their will, to bend to the Faith. Nor did he find a single pupil who, when sent by parents to school, would have gone to church.
Supplementary facts concerning the persecution of schoolchildren in the Tverai Middle School during the 1981-82 school year:
Teacher (Mrs.) Rubavičienė (Home room Teacher for Classes Six and Seven), beat the fingers of pupil Alfredas Šniauka with a ruler, in such a way that he walked around with a bandaged hand for a long time. To Vilma Jurkutė, she said. "You must be beaten again and again with a strap, held down with one foot." She wrote a conduct mark of "2" for (Miss) Gražina Šniaukaitė for going to church. When the mother came in to discuss it, (Mrs.) Rubavičienė told her "it's for calling another girl spy!" Even though the other girl called Gražina "churchmouse", she did not have her deportment mark reduced.
On March 12, 1982, pupil Alfredas Šniauka stated, "On Sunday during services, I will not be going to free-time activities." (Mrs.) Rubavičienė, taking him by the ear, used her other hand to slap his face. To frighten Vilma Jurkutė concerning her church attendance, she was told to bring in her father. Her father told the teacher, "My daughter will not be going to free-time activities on Sundays, because this would prevent her from hearing Mass."
Class 3 Homeroom Teacher (Mrs.) R. Ceplinskienė, on March, 1982, assigned active believing pupils to prepare for an event in school, to be held at Mass time. Assigned to recite poetry were: (Miss) B. Skrinskytė, Gražina Šniaukaitė, Rasa Juciūtė and (Miss) A. Žemgulytė. During the presentation, four girls were told to sing, "Iš muzikos parašių penkis" (In music I'll get a perfect mark). When the girls would not sing, (Mrs.) Ceplinskienė herself began to sing, mimicking them. To pupil Sonata Tonaitytė, she said, "If you don't go to church, you'll get top marks in everything."
The schoolgirl did not hesitate, "It's better I go to church."
On March 19, 1982, (Mrs.) A. Sudžiuvienė, the Assistant Director, questioned pupils G. Jonnu, Vilma Jurkutė and (Miss) J. Juozapai-tytė: "Who was in church on March 7?" On November 22, 1982, she questioned Vilma Jurkutė and Laima Latakytė, asking what what the priest taught.
Teacher A. Simanauskas took a student to the geography office and asked, "On which ear do you want to get it?" Afterwards, he beat him. Pupil Kazys Liksa went to the Dispensary for treatment. The teacher also ridiculed Alfredas Šniauka,"That little god of yours did not put knowledge of geography in your head."
(Mrs.) M. Grievienė, Class 1 teacher, constantly warned, "If you go to church, I'll beat you all!" (in the past, she barely survived at the school because of the beatings children got.) (Mrs.) Mirgerienė relates: "They pulled my daughter's hair when she was in Class 1."
A. Juška, Teacher of Russian, on April 23, 1982, tried to convince children not to say that they had suffered fro their faith. "When they ask you when you filled out the questionnaire about religion, say that it was two years ago, in the Fourth Class."
On April 26-28, 1982, monotors from the Rayon showed up to ask the children, "Does no one bother you in class?" they always "happen" to call on those who have not suffered. But the teachers mixed their signals and Eugenijus Rapalis told the monitors: "The teacher tore my shirt." Rayon Vice Chairman Buivydas interrupted, "He tore it himself, and now he's trying to blame the teachers." Also questioned were pupils: (Miss) Zosą Dambrauskaitė, (Miss) Rasa Juciūtė, (Miss) Audra Žemgulytė, (Miss) Sonata Tonaitytė, Gedas Jūnika, (Miss) A. Žalapūgaitė and (Miss) B. Skrinskytė, but separately, when the others were unable to hear, he questioned pupil Gražina Šniaukaitė who was courageously defending her convictions. Vilma Jurkutė, who always tells the truth, they locked in Teacher (Mrs.) Sudžiuvienė's office during the questioning, and announced, "She did not come to school."
On May 3, 1982, (Mrs.) Sudžiūvienė and (Mrs.) Rubavičienė took the Sixth Class out to the school vestibule, to check clothing, and afterwards, told them to go one by one to the methods office. There they were questioned about church attendance.
On May 12, 1982, Rayon Vice Chairman Buivydas, a prosecutor and area representatives, visited many parents who had written a statement to the Rayon and warned them, but none of the parents denied their signatures. Rapalis' parents, (Mrs.) Margerienė and others confirmed the testimony on the teachers' arbitrariness.
Upyna (Šilalė Rayon)
On February 11, 1983, Teacher (Miss) Stefa Geštautaitė, in front of the whole class, ridiculed Second Class pupil Arkadijas Vaitkus. The teacher called the pupil a "little priest" and scolded him for going to church and serving Mass. Unable to restrain herself, Teacher Geštautaitė took Arkadijus by the ear and began threatening him, 'If you continue to go to church, I will catch you in town and bring you to my home. Even your parents won't know where you disappeared!"
Mosėdis (Skuodas Rayon)
On July 10, 1982, a new pastor, Father Adolfas Pudžemys, arrived in the parish of Mosėdis. The priest quickly became involved in pastoral work, working especially actively with children: he taught them religion, how to serve Mass. etc.
On August, 1982, as the pastor was playing soccer with some boys, school principal Juozas Jurkšas came running to the playing field and calling the priest names, seized him by the hand, attempting to pull him off the playing field. When Father Adolfas Pudžemys calmly said, "We haven't met yet, let's be introduced," Principal Jurkšas calmed down. At the end of the conversation of approximately two hours, school principal Jurkšas announced that he would take the strictest measures in the struggle against religion and the believing pupils. Principal Jurkšas is in the process of carrying out his promise to the pastor: Together with Teacher (Mrs.) Jurevičienė, he often visits the churchyard and Teacher Paulauskas goes into church to terrorize pupils.
On February 11, 1983, Principal Micka of Prienai Middle School II interrogated Class 5C pupil Algirdas Buzas, concerning which boys served Mass, whether Father Antanas Gražulis visits homes, and the like.
The next day, the boy's mother, (Mrs.) Regina Buzienė called on the principal and reminded him not to question her boy without his parents' permission. The principal asked her not to allow the boy to serve Mass, but the mother would not give in: "My boy will continue to go to church as he has, and he will not give up his place."
A few days later, the boy's father, Kazimieras Buzas, was summoned to the Office of the "Lenino Keliu" Communal Farm. Party Organization Secretary (Mrs.) Grigaravičienė asked the father not to allow the boy to serve Mass, and promised always to help in the future. The father did not allow himself to be tempted by the promises and reaffirmed his wife's position, "As it is, so it shall be!"
On February 15, 1983, Chief of Staff Jakubsevičius of the Prienai Rayon Hospital summoned the hospital cook (Mrs.) Izabelė Juo-denukienė and said, "If your son Valdas continues to serve Mass, submit your resignation!"
"I will not submit my resignation, and my boy shall continue to serve Mass," (Mrs.) Juodenukienė insisted.
On January 29, 1983, pupils from Jurbarkas and Girdžiai rode on the scheduled bus with their parents after school to pray at the tomb of the Servant of God Archbishop Jurgis Matulevičius. At the Kapsukas bus station, five officials awaited the arrivals, but the children had already left the bus. Thanks to this coincidence, the children avoided terrorization.
Principal (Mrs.) Janina Pocienė, of Girdžiai Middle School, interrogated the pupils, "How many pupils went, who went, where did they stay, who read the prayers, and so forth." The pupils were forced to write statements which the principal herself dictated.
In Jurbarkas, one chekist interrogated the pupils.