At the invitation of the press agency Novosti, the editor of an Italian Catholic weekly, Rugiero Orfeio, visited Soviet Lithuania. The guest from Rome toured the Vilnius home construction combination, viewed Lazdynai, Karoliniškė, the architectural landmarks of the old-town section, and spent some time in several churches during services. At the end of his visit, R. Orfeio stated, "Of great interest to me was the condition of Catholics under socialism. I was in [Saints] Peter and Paul's as well as [Saint] Ann's churches during services. After seeing the religious rites with my own eyes, I became convinced that Catholics are not being persecuted but are free to fulfill their duties. This impression of mine was confirmed by a lengthy and open discussion with Msgr. Česlovas Krivaitis, the ecclesiastical administrator of the Vilnius Archdiocese. This distinguished clergyman gave me an objective account of the field of action of the Roman Catholic Church in Lithuania and of the situation of the clergy and the believers. The concrete facts that he presented convinced me that the Catholic Church in Soviet Lithuania functions normally. Unfortunately, in Italy many individuals provide inaccurate information, with the goal of distorting and blackening the reality of this socialistic country. Upon my return to my homeland, I shall relate at great length my impressions of Lithuania, which has attained a number of worthy achievements" (Gimtasis kraštas [Native land], Nov. 8, 1973).
To enable the formation of a more comprehensive picture of the situation of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, we shall present the following remarks:
1. For some reason the editors [of Gimtasis kraštas"] failed to mention the title of the Catholic weekly, and therefore the thought comes to mind that the aforementioned editor is a member of the staff of L'Unita [Italian Communist newspaper]. Since when has the press agency Novosti become concerned about presenting "objective" information to the world through Catholic journalists?
2. Did the above-mentioned guest search for the truth on his own, or was he "assisted" in finding it by K. Tumėnas, the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs? There isn't a Catholic in Lithuania who believes in Tumėnas' good will as far as the Church is concerned.
3. Were not Orfeio's suspicions aroused because the same handful of priests has been trying for a number of years to sell to the world "objective" information about the situation of the Church in Lithuania?
4. We ask the guest from Italy (that is, if he has a conscience) to acquaint himself with all issues of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.
5. After visiting only two churches in Vilnius, Orfeio managed to form an "objective" picture of the situation of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. How unfortunate that he failed to notice that the architectural masterpiece of Stuoka-Gucevičius, the Cathedral of Vilnius, has been converted into an art gallery, whereas other artistic churches, among them the churches of St. Catherine, the Trinitarians, and All Saints, have been turned into concert halls and warehouses, and St. Casimir's—into a museum of atheism.
6. It would be desirable that the small group of Lithuanian priests who have for many years been giving interviews to various foreign journalists would update their "objective" information with the latest facts of Lithuanian Catholic life. To them is dedicated this issue of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.