On July 16 of this year, the Catholics of Lithuania again sent a petition to Moscow demanding freedom for the Catholic Church in Lithuania:

 "To: The Central Committee of the CPSU

A Petition from the Catholics of the LSSR

"We, the faithful of the LSSR, appeal to the highest authority of the USSR asking to set right certain irregularities in our lives.

"The Constitution of our land guarantees the freedom of religion and of conscience, but our children find it impossible to study religion. We have no religious textbooks, and we ourselves know little about religion, but when we ask that our children be taught by those who do know about it, they are punished, for example, the court recently sentenced priests from Prienai and Girkalnis to prison for teaching religion to children. Recently the priest from Valkininkai was on trial for this, and somewhat earlier, the priest of Dubingiai.

 "The Constitution assures freedom of worship, but we are not allowed enough priests: candidates who wish to enter the seminary are hampered, while many parishes are served by old, invalid priests. There are quite a few parishes without any priests. Our children are forbidden to go near an altar—to serve Mass.

 "There are no such restrictions in other neighboring countries—Poland or the German Democratic Republic.

 "We observe with apprehension how the cancer of amorality is gnawing at our society—alcoholism, divorces, juvenile delinquency. These did not exist previously. Such are the fruits of a nonreligious upbringing: when religion is taken away and nothing of higher worth is provided in its place, for atheism does not encourage the uplifting of morality.

 "We believers work equally with nonbelievers, but we do not feel that we have equal rights—our religious needs are being restricted. And this is distressing to us. It is even more distressing to note how the moral standards of people are gradually becoming lower and lower, which is something only religion can halt. Therefore we request that no one be punished for teaching religion, and that whoever wants to, could enter the seminary.

July 1, 1972"

 This petition was signed by 1,100 believers from Lithuania, most of them from the Vilnius Archdiocese. For a reply the address of the Vilnius Archdiocesan Curia was provided: Vilnius, Kretinga Street, No. 14.