A Sensitive Soul Suffers, Not Knowing What to Do to Remain Just Both Before God and Before the Law of the State”: Religious Freedom in the Letter of the Diocesan Leadership of the Catholic Church in Soviet Lithuania
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A Sensitive Soul Suffers, Not Knowing What to Do to Remain Just Both Before God and Before the Law of the State”: Religious Freedom in the Letter of the Diocesan Leadership of the Catholic Church in Soviet Lithuania
Annotation
PII
S207987840010758-2-1
DOI
10.18254/S207987840010758-2
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Nadezhda Belyakova 
Affiliation:
Institute of World History RAS
Sechenov University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract

In the article the author analyses a letter containing proposals for amendments to the draft of the new Soviet Constitution of 1977. The letter was written by the Apostolic Administrators of the dioceses of the Catholic Church of Lithuania and sent to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. This analysis allows us to trace the evolution of the epistolary legacy of Soviet Catholics: from the petitions of the mid-twentieth century, when their authors spoke about the rights of the Catholic Church, to 1977, when the Catholic hierarchs spoke about religious freedom, viewed as an inalienable human right. This discourse has its roots in the process of doctrinal development that took place in the Catholic Church during the Second Vatican Council and later in the development of the KSZE-process. However, the author also sees in the letter a traditional Soviet-dissident human rights discourse, suggesting that the authorities return to the “Leninist” norms of separation of Church and State and providing opportunities to privately teach and study religion. The article familiarises the reader with the peculiarity of the position of the Church leadership in the Lithuanian Church, the development of Church-state relations in Soviet Lithuania, and the relationship between the official Church leadership and religious dissidents. The appendix contains a translation of the letter in Russian.

Keywords
Catholic Church of Lithuania, religious-dissent movement, history of resistance, soviet religious policy, Soviet Constitution of 1977, KSZE-process, religious freedom, freedom of conscience
Received
16.03.2020
Publication date
14.09.2020
Number of characters
53641
Number of purchasers
10
Views
106
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
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