Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

Source: Ion Ratiu, "The Communist Attack on the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Rumania", The Eastern Churches Quarterly, Vol. VIII, No. 3 ( July-September 1949), pp. 185-186.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. Broun, Conscience and Captivity, Religion in Eastern Europe ( London, 1982), pp. 199- 207.

O. Chadwick, The Christian Church in the Cold War ( London, 1992), pp. 51-69.

A. Cretzianu (ed.), Captive Rumania: A Decade of Soviet Rule ( New York, 1956), pp. 165- 203.

V. Gsovski (ed.), Church and State Behind the Iron Curtain ( New York, 1955), pp. 253- 293.

K. S. Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age ( New York, 1958- 1962), IV, 207- 208, 533-537.

Source for this document, pp. 163-197.


160
Czech Law on Church Affairs September 14, 1949

Czech Communists, in power after the coup of February 1948, attempted to exploit a national tradition of qualified loyalty to Roman Catholicism arising from the Hussite Reformation and from patriotic resistance to Catholic Austria in the nineteenth century. They suppressed Catholic schools, press, and lay organizations, seized landed property, and launched a schismatic progovernment "Catholic Action" movement. In October 1949 the state established a Government Bureau for Church Affairs to "see to it that Church life develops in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of the people's democratic order. . . ." It was competent to supervise all churches, but was concerned chiefly with Catholicism. In addition, the National Assembly passed this law, to take effect November 1, providing for state financial support of the churches, political approval of clergy, and general surveillance. Four days later a cabinet decree interpreted the act in detail for Catholics. The Catholic bishops' petition of October 21 was ignored, and later resistance led to ruptured. diplomatic relations with the Vatican, the suppression of monasteries and free seminaries, and the arrest of bishops and priests.

Sec. 1 -- . . . the Government shall grant emoluments to the clergymen of Churches and religious associations who with the consent of the Government either perform strictly religious functions, or are employed in Church administration or in establishments for the training of clergymen. The Government Bureau for Church

From Vladimir Gsovski (ed.), Church and State Behind the Iron Curtain ( New York, 1955). Copyright, 1955, by the Free Europe Committee.

-420-

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