THE DIOCESE OF TELŠIAI
On January 8, 1974, the curate of the parish in Šilalė, the Rev. A. Šeškevičius, sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs inquiring why the vice-chairman of the Šilalė Rayon Executive Committee had forbidden him to assist the chairman of the parochial committee in taking up the collection.
"Does not the chairman of the parochial committee have the right to select any citizen to assist him in taking up the collection?" asked Father Šeškevičius. "And is not the priest a citizen?"
"I have been told that a priest may participate in taking up the collection, but that in no case can he carry the plate. It is useless for a priest to 'assist' in taking up the collection, if he has no useful function, for then he will appear to be an overseer, which only irritates the faithful."
"How can these prohibitions be coordinated with Article 96 of the LSSR Constitution, which provides for the separation of Church and State? For here the state is telling the Church how to conduct its collections. Do not such actions make a thinking-2oth-century-man's head spin?" (The letter has been condensed—ed.).
With the approach of Soviet Constitution Day in 1973, [Mrs.] Jurgaitienė, a teacher at the secondary school in Upyna, posed the following question to the students of one class:
"Which holiday is approaching?" "Christmas," they replied.
The teacher blushed and stated, "Nowhere will you find such ignorant parents and students as in Upyna."