Moscow orders: 'Step up fight against religion' THE Russian newspaper Pravda last week called upon all Communist Party organisations to step up the fight against religion. "Not a few Russian people," it said, "are still shackled by religion. Past prejudices and superstitions prevent them from fully utilising their creative forces in work, public life and the construction of Communism.
"The work of atheist education has noticeably increased in recent years. This has helped to wean a proportion of believers away from religion. However, the scope and content of scientific-atheist propaganda is not yet in line with the demands of the time and the resolutions of the 22nd Party Congress.
"All Party organisations must carry out scientific atheist propaganda systematically and purposefully, and patiently and convincingly expose the groundlessness of religious beliefs."
A report of the Pravda statement by Moscow Radio added that, in the press and on radio, in lectures and talks, "hypocritical morality and the attempts of clergymen to adapt themselves to the demands of the time must be exposed."
The spokesman called for a demonstration of the incompatibility of "scientific Communism" with religion. so that "all Russian people may rid themselves of the yoke of religious prejudices and become active creators of the brightest and most just society on earth."
The Vatican has broadcast the following comment: "Involuntarily, Pravda has made a triple admission, Its appeal and the objectives which it outlines, openly admit the unconquerable force of the religious faith and feeling entertained by the Russian people; the radical, absolute incompatibility between Communism and religion; and an admission of the universality of the Church. capable of adapting itself. while not betraying the unchangeable deposit of faith, to men of all ages and all places."
On the eve of an Ecumenical Council, Vatican Radio continued, which will amount to an invitation to all non-believers, Pravda seem % to he "entertaining some strange concern, onconfessable fears, which are at odds with the sympathy, great expectations and hopes which the great event has atoused in all other parts of the world."
UR English priests are in
eluded in a first list of 195 experts nominated by Pope John last weekend to participate in the Second Vatican Council's General Congregations. They are Mgr. Lawrence McReavy, who was a Consultor of the Preparatory cornmittee for the discipline of the clergy and the faithful; Mgr. Peter Whitty, who was a member of the same committee; Mgr. Henry Francis Davis, Consultor of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, and Canon John O'Connell who was a member of the preparatory commission on the Liturgy. The experts also include the names of some theologians who represent the most advanced trends in religious thought, such as Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J., Fr. Yves Congar, 0.P., and Fr. Rahner,
all of whom have had difficulties with the Holy Office in the past because of their "progressive" tendencies.
The experts come from all over the world and are specialists in theology, law, sociology. apostolate, the Latin language, and history. They will not speak in the assembly unless they are asked questions. They may be invited by the Chairmen of the various committees to elaborate and correct texts and prepare reports.
CARDINAL WYSZYNSKI has declared that all Polish Bishops have a duty to go to Rome for the Ecumenical Council. It was expected that the Cardinal would leave Warsaw this week on his way to the Council, together with some other members of thc Polish Hierarchy. There are 25 dioceses in the country.
The Cardinal last went to Rome in February, in connection with preparatory work for the Council.
A debatc is going on between the Catholic and Communist press in Poland about the attitude of the Second Vatican Council towards Communism. The Communists are arguing that the Council marks a major crisis within the Church, to be fought out between traditionalist and progressive factions in the ranks of the Bishops.
The progressive group, the argument continues. are all in favour of co-existence, of a rapproehement and an understanding between the Church and the Soviet Union. (Communist propaganda consistently tries to present the Holy Father as a supporter of this trend).
Polish Premier Gomulka's paper Polityka adds, however, that "the main objective of Vatican policy, seeing godless Communism as its principal enemy, has not suffered any weakening," and that the conservative elements in the Papal Curia intend to intensify the fight with Communism.
DOLITICAL commentators are
attributing the cessation of hostilities between dissident sections of the Argentine army In the personal intervention of the Holy Father. In a cable sent to the Archdiocesan Curia of Buenos Aires, Pope John declared ; "In these moments of anguish for the noble Argentine nation, we raise with fatherly solicitude ardent supplications to the Most High that those responsible for the fate of this Catholic country speedily find a way of peacefully reaching a concord of hearts, an authentic guarantee of the wellbeing of the beloved Argentine people; while, in the light of divine grace, we grant from the depths of our own heart a special apostolic blessing."
The cable was signed: Juan XXIII, Papa".
The Auxilrary Archbishop of Buenos Aires immediately issued a public statement condemning fratricidal strife. and the Chaplain General to the Forces demanded: "Cease Fire immediately . . everything can be achieved by peace, nothing is gained by fratricidal struggle ... only the enemies of God and the Fatherland benefit."
These move have been wholeheartedly supported by almost the whole of the Argentine Press, and commentators regard it as certain that the decision to cease hostilities was influenced by the knowledge that all shades of political opinion were supporting the Church in this matter.
DAPAL Volunteers. lay mission aries mainly from the U.S., have now firmly established themselves in Latin America, where they work for social justice in the countries below the Rio Cirande. Fr. Victor Fernandez, Si., national director of PAVLA, has declared in Lima. Peru: "There is a vital reawakening of the Church in Latin America. The Church is not dead or dying here. Rather, it is on the move. And in this vibrant action of reconstruction to meet modern progress, the P4VLA volunteers are contributing valuable assistance in these new religious gains." By next year. there will be 200 PAVLA workers at Latin American mission posts, after current candidates have finished their training.
The Pavia lay missionionaries help priests and religious in youth, educational, social welfare and clinical work. They are also working to organise native apostolic actionists, and they are establishing rural assistance service programmes. Through 1,200 radio schools, Brazilians are spreading newsocial, economics and ed (tonal ideas among working people.
One of the most notable achievements is the Techo Movement in Chile, which has built homes for many natives. Now a producers' co-operative is flourishing. With 220 sewing machines in operation in low income homes, overalls for miners arc being produced in a business now turning over £5,000 a month.
Mgr. Rafael Larrein's programme in Chile for agrarian reform is instructing more than 3,000 farm workers at 18 training centres.
THE POPE SPEAKS . . .
To President Maga of Dahomey (in solemn audience): "In your person. Mr. President, it is our pleasure to welcome a very lovable people . . . we have the joy of greeting the Catholic corn
munity of Dahomey as one of the most fervent in Black Africa • . .
"The Church — you, Mr. President, are the first to recognise it
by means of her work for education and social service, its activity in hospitals, and the civic and humanistic training she gives, is pleased to make a useful contribution towards the well-being and the stability of civil institutions . . .
"We are pleased to note that in your country Cnurch and State are on excellent terms."
To Biblical scholars (attending the study week of the Italian Biblical Association): "A student of the sacred texts is not, must not be, simply a learned admirer or an anxious explorer of unfathomable wealth. He might, indeed, confine himself to 'that. But he would be greatly limiting the scope of his work and he would not be doing honour to his vocation.
"Before and above any display of learning, there must be hunger and thirst for the Divine Word. because it is life for souls, light for minds, a vivifying breath.
"The second hope is that the Divine Word may penetrate the life of nations, families, communities. Is not the Gospel the good news, that they are waiting for? Is it not the epistola Del ad hornines, which should free them from too many sentimental superstructures. too coldly scientific and technical? Is it not the 'revelation of new skies and new lands' Which attracts human hearts, almost a foretaste of heavenly blessedness?
"Men today, no less than the men who read the Biblia pauperam on the walls of the ancient churches, have living desire for the Word of God. Man awaits this. and listens to it with the same devotion as that with which the Hebrew people welcomed the reading of the Holy Book, made to them by Esdras, aftes the return from captivity."
"It is not your aim to practice unproductive proselytism, not to force the religious feelings of young people. It is up to you to live according to the plain imperative principles of the Gospel: to bear witness towards the world, with the charming serenity of upright hearts, the solidity and harmony of faith; and to offer a consistent reflection in your thoughts and lives.
"That which is Christian does not offer any opposition to any noble and legitimate aspiration of man: it respects man's individual freedom, his inclinations and tastes; it also knows how to wait and be patient."