If We Chose The Way Of
Judas . . . ' Warn Bishops
Last Sunday's pastoral letter accused the Communist Government of deceit, fraud, kidnappings, robbery and repressive measures designed to crush the Church and destroy religious liberty.
It described Mgr. Beran as a virtual prisoner of the secret police, and declared that religious activity was for many becoming impossible.
The pastoral letter stated " The residence of the Archbishop has been placed under surveillance by the secret police, thus completely curtailing the freedom of the chairman of the Bishops' Conference. On the whole, it can he said that religious activity, apart from attending church, is now impossible and often the faithful are afraid to go publicly to church because they might be accused of reaction and their means of existence threatened."
The fetter warned priests and laymen to ignore all communications from the Archbishop's office, which is now controlled by a Government official. It also banned formation of new branches of the excommunicated Catholic Action body. "There is no question of lack of a positive attitude on the part of the Church towards the State." it said. " There is no question of it being a reactionary force because the form of government and the system of social life is not the object of our interest.
" We must be interested in whether reform is favourable to the development of religious life and whether reform is favourable to the society in agreement with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
CAPITALISM " It is not a question of favouring Capitalism. We know that not even a Liberal-Capitalist society corresponds to the Christian ideal and Capitalism has often been condemned by the Church.
" You yourselves know best that your present Bishops are not Capitalists and they would certainly get along better today if they were capable of choosing the way of I udas.
" We desire all social amenities for our working people and an improvement of their social standard. We want their standard of living to be truly improved, in harmony with the growth of material prosperity.
"We would like an improvement of moral and religious life. But the seriousness of the times forces us to admit that there is a well-planned and carefully carried out persecution of the Catholic Church going on in Czechoslovakia.
" The Church has been deprived of the majority of its free rights and is publicly and secretly persecuted on the radio and in public speeches. Agents of the State are being placed in Catholic publishing houses. Any kind of assembly for teaching Catholicism outside the Church has been forbidden under threat of punishment.