Page 8, 24th June 1949

24th June 1949
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Page 8, 24th June 1949 — Events In Prague From Day To Day
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Events In Prague From Day To Day

FROM , PAGE ONE

agreement which would infringe the rights of the Church and the Bishops.

"Maybe you will hear it front the radio, morning till night. But I declare before God and the nation that nobody shall force me to do that. No true Catholic can exist where the Biishops are not in the Church."

Concluding his sermon with a prayer, Archbishop Reran asked forgiveness for " those unfortunate priests who were not strong enough to resist all attacks and who signed for the new Catholic organisation (the Government-sponsored Catholic Action) against their will."

He also prayed for e all Czechoslovak youth who are in terrible peril." The Archbishop was applauded loudly as he left the church. Nearly 1.000 people tried to press near him and the crush was so great that it took 20 minutes to clear an avenue for him to pass.

SUNDAY, JUNE 19: In the morning during Mass Mgr. Beran was shouted down when he attempted to address the great congregation keeping the Corpus Christi Octave in the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague. Six thousand were in the cathedral and more outside.

Shouting and whistling came from about 250 Communists who were among the congregation. It appeared to be part of an organised plan.

The Archbishop's sermon was completely interrupted and he had to give up trying to make himself heard when he began to discuss the present predicament of the Church. Small children tossed flower petals at him as he left.

The Joint Pastoral Letter of the hierarchy, signed by Archbishop Beran on their behalf, was read in other churches in the Archdiocese. In it the Bishops tell the Government that they have been and are loyal, that no compromise on the rights of the Church is possible and warn their flocks that the " testing time is come." (Reported fully on page 5.) Police searched at least three churches dining the morning in an attempt to confiscate the letter before it was read. In one small town, it was reported. police had forcibly seized the letter after a priest had started to read it from the pulpit.

MONDAY. JUNE 20:

The Congregation of the Holy Office excommunicated members of the false "Catholic Action " group.

The Rector of the parish of Tach

lovice, near Prague, was arrested for reading the Joint Pastoral Letter issued by the bishops.

A second priest, whose identity is not given, was also taken into custody for defying the Government ban on reading the letter, said Catholic spokesmen in Prague, and they believed that still others have been seized.

Czech newspapers on Monday and Tuesday printed no word of the Pastoral Letter. the arrests or the searches. Nothing has been published about Sunday's disturbances in St. Vitus's Cathedral.

At night the official Czech News Agency suddenly stopped issuing the names of priests who are said to have supported the excommunicated Catholic Action group.

Instead the agency substituted lists of " faithful believers" and "Catholic organisations" a few hours after the excommunication decree had been announced. The announcement was not published or broadcast in Czechoslovakia.

There were nearly I.500 names of priests and others in lists published earlier on Monday. Some of the lists contained the names of priests who are dead.'

All over Czechoslovakia, however, priests have been denouncing the lists as false. They have told their faithful that they did not know they were on the lists until they read their names in the newspapers.

TUESDAY, JUNE 21: Mr. Zapotocky. the Communist Premier, took the unprecedented step of interrupting the evening news bulletin with a five-minute radio attack upon Mgr. Benin.

" Law and justice." he said, " must be enforced against Archbishop Beran to prevent his terrorising local Catholic priests who want to support the Government." He claimed that the Church was " violating the laws of the Republic." His broadcast followed a Cabinet meeting at which Church-State relations had been discussed.




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