Sloboda-Rashkovo, Moldavia

The Catholics of this village are outside the law—they are con­demned to die without religious ministrations. Here are some examples:

The children of ailing Teofile Oleinik appealed to the Red Cross organization in Moscow asking whether the Soviet government has the right to forbid the dying woman to summon a priest. On September 6, 1978 the Red Cross forwarded the Oleinik statement to the Moldavian Religious Affairs Commissioner, with the request that the Oleinik matter be resolved. The letter was signed by A.L. Samoi-lov, head of the chancery.

Oleinik received the following reply on September 13, 1978: "In reply to your letter addressed to the Red Cross, we inform you that the Rayon of Kamenka does not have a registered Catholic religious community nor any priest registered to minister to them; the question of summoning a priest from another Rayon is to be re­solved by the local government" (in this case, the Rayon of Ka­menka). It was signed by Assistant Commissioner for Religious Affairs, A.I. Reneta. The Kamenka Rayon government does not even want to hear that the only Catholic priest in all of Moldavia has not only the right but also the obligation to minister to all Catholics, es­pecially those in danger of death.    

The Rev. V. Zavalniuk received a telegram from Rashkovo, asking him to come to the dying Domininka Pogrebnaya. The priest took the telegram to the Commissioner, who strictly forbade him to go to the ailing woman. With great sorrow, the priest reported in his sermon that he had strictly been forbidden by the government to visit sick persons. Two days later another urgent telegram— asking that he come give a Catholic burial to the above-named patient.

How long can such mockery of the most sacred feelings of believers continue?!

Moreover, Secretary Kozhukar of the Kamenka Rayon Executive Committee often comes to believers' services in Rashkovo and has frequently imposed monetary fines on the more zealous Catholics because they attend the communal village services with their children.

On the other hand, that same Secretary Kozhukar holds the Catholics up as examples to others. A club has been under con­struction in Rashkovo for several years, now, but there is little to show for it. Kozhukar imposed a monetary fine on the builders, berating them for not being able to build a club though they have access to the best, while a group of women built a church in a few months (which was so barbarically demolished last year).