On September 2, 1982, nine priests of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, members of the Priests' Council, addressed a petition to all the bishops of Lithuania, outlining the problems of the seminary in Kaunas which require speedy and effective action.
In the sky of a bright new future, there has appeared a threatening sword of Damocles, the priests of Vilnius write. Because of poor screening of candidates, and the interference of the civil government in the seminary, a large number of unsuitable candidates has gotten into the seminary. This destructive element is a real Trojan horse in the seminary, and its deadly role is already clearly visible; in the future, the fruits of its activity will be even more bitter.
"Alarming signals concerning the undermining of discipline have reached our ears," writes the Priests' Council, "some seminarians even dare to bring liquor into the seminary; devout seminarians are ridiculed and receive anonymous notes."
Ordination ceremonies at the Kaunas Basilica in May, 1982. Bishop Liudas Povilonis (center) officiating.
The priests regret that the seminary administration and the Ordinaries fail to show resolve with regard to unsuitable seminarians; on the contrary, they are even considering a return to the seminary of candidates irrevocably expelled for amoral behavior. Obsequiousness toward civil government, note the members of the Priests' Council, is a great injustice to the Church and a mortal blow to the seminary itself.
One cannot help thinking that the Kaunas Seminary is run by the civil government. In the light of such obseqiousness by the seminary administration and the recalcitrance of certain seminarians, it is unreal to talk about education.
One hears, say the members of the Council, that the Ordinaries themselves using the shortage of priests as an excuse, are opposed to the expulsion of unsuitable students. But whom do unsuitable priests serve more: the Church or atheism? With a couple of hundred elderly priests retiring from work, their places will be taken by new priests, a significant number of whom will be mere hirelings,, and some of them, even active destroyers of the Church. Supported
Graduates of the Theological Seminary in Kaunas at their ordination in May, 1982.
by the civilian government, they will take over the leadership of the seminary, the Ordinaries' posts and responsible positions.
The members of the Priests' Council of Vilnius request all bishops, regardless of any difficulties, to restore the spirit of the inter-diocesan seminary.
1982. The following seminarians are in the first year of the seminary:
Jonas Baliūnas Antanas Putramentas
Ricardas Birbilas Jeronimas Petrikas
Kazimieras Grašulis Vytautas Projara
Jonas Sadauskas Antanas Seniutis Antanas Šimkus
Edvardas Ridzykas Romualdas Ručinskas Robertas Rumšas Algimantas Tutkus Valius Zubavičius
Antanas Jasonis Liudas Jurevičius Jonas Kasiukevičius Rolandas Kaušas Vilius Kiškis-Zajančauskas Vytautas Kurtinaitis Jonas Kusas Algimantas Petkūnas
The KGB has intensely recruited those entering for spying purposes.
On September 7, 1982, Commissioner Petras Anilionis of the Council for Religious Affairs came to the seminary, and summoning the first year seminarians, he "lectured" them for a long time. This is the first time in the history of the seminary that the seminarians have been crudely pressured by government officials from their first days to prepare to be not priests, but ministers of cult.
In the beginning, Anilionis read former seminarian Aloyzas Volskis' statement of regret over his conduct in the seminary. (Aloyzas Volskis was convinced by the "diplomat" priests to sign such an act of "contrition", so that perhaps the government might allow him to return to the seminary. Even though the Soviet government rejoiced greatly at this statement and is constantly quoting from it; nevertheless, they did not allow Aloyzas Volskis to return to the seminary. Perhaps it hopes to break the young man's idealism completely.)
Afterwards, the Commissioner scolded the active priests, saying that they seek revenge (!), disinform those abroad, do not allow a factory for devotional items to be established, etc. Anilionis claims that the Soviet government is not preparing to make concessions with regard to the Regulations for Religious Associations, and will not allow extremists to show off.
The Commissioner, at the end of his talk, warned that they would still be meeting with him many times.