Page 2, 2nd April 1948

2nd April 1948
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Page 2, 2nd April 1948 — A CZECH EXAMPLE
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A CZECH EXAMPLE

StR,-In the heart of Europe, at Prague. that once was the scene of the greatest religious struggles, the representatives of all Christian Churches and denominations mat in fraternal agreement. They organised a common manifestation for peace and against viedent methods, held on February 2, 1948, in the overcrowded hall of the "Slav Island " at Prague. Masses of people who could not find access into the large hall and the spa. cious staircase, crowded outside the building on the island listening for two hours to the voice of the megaphones in spite of the rain. On the large platform were seated the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague, Dr. Beran, and to his sides the Exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Jelevferej, the Bishop of the Old Catholic Church, the Bishop of the National Czechoslovak Church, and the representatives of all Protestant denominations in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. Below the platform sat as invited guests leading members of the Government and the Parliament as well as the Chief Rabbi of Bohemia.

The common challenge for world peace made by the Christian Churches was introduced by several leading clergymen and ministers. Some of the Churches had agreed on a common spokesman.. which is another very significant proof of their genuine attitude.

There were nine speeches, all carried by the same spirit of fraternal understanding and framed by musical items of the choirs of the Roman Catholic, the Russian Orthodox, the National Czechoslovak Churches and the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren. At the end the Archbishop, Dr. Beran, called the Protestapt professor, Dr. Bednar, to read the common manifesto in the name of all. In a very convincing, though rather long text, this manifesto points out the sincere longing of all peoples for peace and co-operation which must be respected by all. Whatever the differences of opinion on the political and economic structure of human' society, whatever the different interests of powers, no problem can really be solved by violence. War only brings inevitably more cenfusion and destruction. But the manifesto is not content to call war an irresponsible criminal method, it also

condemns a situation in which,

though arms be quiet, humanity is divided into mistrusting groups lacking spiritual contact and economic and cultural co-operation. Such dismemberment is the first step to warlike conflicts. Therefore the Churches of Czechoslovakia call first of all to their own people to give an example of peaceful solution of world problems in the spirit of democracy and social justice. They also appeal to all Christians of the world to work and pray with them for the brotherhood of all people making Christendom more than any others responsible for the present chaos.

This manifesto and the chief speeches were broadcast on the same evening by the Prague radio.

The initiative for this historical event came from Dr. Bednar, former Dean of the Theological HusFaculty of Prague. It met with the deep understanding and full agreement of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, Dr. Beran. It was a really memorable event when on January 16 for the first time in history the representatives of all Christian Churches in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia met in the Archbishop's residence on the famous Prague Castle.

The Prague manifestation of February 2, 1948. was a powerful challenge to the conscience of the Christian world. Will it find followers in other nations ? May its spiritual strength help to create an atmosphere of confidence in which all thoughts of war and violent methods arc blown away t'

PREMYSL PITTER.

(The writer of the above letter 'is not a Catholic.--Enrroit, C,H.).




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