THE conference of the Christian Democratic Union party in the Eastern Zone of Germany gives ample evidence that, purged of its natural leaders, it is no longer able to resist Communist policy.
Principal speaker in favour of a " People's Church '' was Pastor Melmert, an Evangelical clergyman alleged to have been relieved of his office on account of financial irregularities.
" Father Plojhar," the ex-communicated Catholic Czech priest. and other clergymen from Communist countries were present at the meeting to voice the demand for a national People's Church.
Throughout the Conference no voices—Catholic or Protestant—were raised in opposition to this new movement, which is regarded by Catholics in Berlin as one of the most serious moves against the Church since 1945.
Catholics in Germany's Eastern Zone are in a very weak position. Numbering over 3 million, they are everywhere in a minority of 10 per cent. of the population, or less; and outside Berlin, more than half are refugees from further East.
This means that they have insufficient priests, no organised parochial system, and are mostly in extreme poverty.