Two Czech Catholic priests of imprisonment by a Bratislava rites to Communists, reports th PRAGUE. have been sentenced to long terms court because they refused the last C Czech Communist Government news agency.
Fr. Stefan Balaz was sen
tenced to 12 years' imprisonment. He was accused of " refusing absolution to Czechoslovak citizens who sympathised with the People's Democratic Order."
Fr. Frantisek Lapp was sentenced to four-and-a-half years because " he joined the persistent crusade of the Church hierarchy against the People's Democracy." He had, it was stated, told Catholics not to choose Communists as godfathers for their children.
These were the first public announcements of imprisoned Czech priests for some months, but Catholic spokesmen have reported that priests are being arrested at the rate of one a day.
An indication of how far Dean Jan Deana ex-communicated by the Vatican because he accepted a high Church post from the Slavak State authorities, has travelled is contained in a statement he has issued in which he declares that the Vatican's action was one of " political terror and violence." He was the first priest to accept a responsible Church position offered by the State authorities.