By a Staff Reporter A pastoral letter which was, in fact, a forthright condemnation of Marxist materialism, was read in every Catholic church throughout Poland on Sunday.
This letter, coming so soon after Cardinal Mindszenty's courageous stand in T-lungary, will undoubtedly assist in stiffening the resistance to attack of Catholics in the countries now on the wrong side of the iron curtain.
Taken together the actions of Cardinals Mindszenty and Hlond show that, undeterred by threats and intimidation the Church in the Sovietdominated countries of Eastern Europe is increasingly asserting the right of Christians to practise their religion and educate their youth in their own schools, A simultaneous campaign against Church schools has now been launched in the teeth of strong Catholic resistance in Hungary and Poland and Czechoslovakia.
NO MENTION OF MARX
The Polish pastoral called on the youth to resist materialism with all their determination and strength. Although no mention was made of Marxism as such it was abundantly clear that it was this that the Hierarchy had in mind.
" Materialism," says the letter,
" does not recognise God's commandments, His eternal laws or Christian ethics. It is the cult of the worldly and sensual. It is the teaching of hate."
Of the new educational system in the schools, it says, "There are voices saying that education based on Christian principles must be replaced by a materialist world outlook. that to prepare man for new conditions, it must be done without God and outside the Christian traditions of the nation."
To this, the bishops declare, the Church can never agree. The Church will not agree to the bringing up of youth without God.
Following up Cardinal Mindszenty's stand against the Hungarian Government's determination to nationalise the schools, the Hungarian • Catholic Party. the People's Democratic Party, led by Istav Barankovics, which gained 16 per cent of the votes in last year's ekedon, has decided openly to oppose the Government's Bill secularising all the schools.
After the passing of the Bill, the Cardinal's letter attacking it will be read from every pulpit. About 65 per cent. of the country's schools are run by the Church with their own curriculum.
A• priest. who was suspended by Bishop Lewis Shvoy, of Szekesfehervar, for co-operating with Communists, has become the hero of the Left-wing Press. Said one paper: "Hungarian democracy will stand at the side of the priest with all the power and authority of the State."
Bishop Shvoy has, of course, become the object of Communist attacks, but the Catholic authorities have issued a statement in his defence recalling his heroic resistance to the Nazis and imprisonment by them.
A striking tribute to the role of the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe was contained in a leader in last Saturday's Times.
"The Communists in Eastern Europe have found," it said, " no opposition to their drive for revolutionary change more stubborn or more constant than that of the Roman Catholic Church."