Archbishop missing for 11 years
A SYMBOLIC "Amnesty Candle", sur rounded by barbed wire, was lit by Archbishop Roberts, S.J., at a Mass in Farm Street Church, London, on Sunday, the eleventh anniversary of the arrest of Archbishop Beran of Prague.
"Amnesty" is a non-religious movement that seeks to free political prisoners all over the world. Last month former Irish foreign minister Sean MacBride, who went to Prague on behalf of the movement in an effort to interview the Archbishop, was prevented from seeing him by Czechoslovak officials.
They promised to consider permitting an independent observer from the West to visit him, and said that at the moment he was in good health and at a monastery in Slovakia.
Archbishop Beran was arrested in 1951, after refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Communist government, and nothing further was heard of him until 1955, when the Czech Prime Minister, Mr. Siroly, denied that he was in prison.
In December last year the Czech Embassy, under pressure, from "Amnesty " said that the Archbishop would be reinstated in his cathedral as soon as he had taken the oath of allegiance, but refused to say where he was being kept.
At the London Mass, which was celebrated by Fr. Rochla, a Czech priest working in Britain, a large congregation of Czech exiles sang hymns in their own language. The ceremony was recorded, and will be broadcast by Radio Free Europe.