George Weigel

To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Tyrants Like Putin Can’t Tolerate Truth

A friend once posed an intriguing hypothetical to Pope John Paul II. Suppose the entire Bible were destroyed. What one sentence or phrase would you want preserved for humanity’s future? He didn’t hesitate: “. . . the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

The same conviction about the liberating power of seeing things as they are—and describing them honestly—inspired Václav Havel and other human-rights activists to promote “living in the truth” as a powerful antidote to the communist culture of lies during the Cold War. It also animated the myriad samizdat publications produced at great risk in the old Soviet Union. One of the most extraordinary of those underground publishing efforts was the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, whose first issue was published 50 years ago, on March 19, 1972.

The Soviet Union’s absorption of Lithuania in 1944 was followed by the usual Soviet program of repressing a subjugated people’s national identity. In Lithuania, this included severe strictures against the Catholic Church. Parishes and monasteries were closed. Bishops, priests and religious sisters were shipped to the gulag or executed. A brief but short-lived “thaw” after Stalin’s death in 1953 was followed in the early 1960s by draconian anti-Catholic measures. Priests could not catechize children, bring the sacraments to the sick, or do pastoral work outside the local churchyard. Pilgrimage sites were destroyed, and atheistic propaganda was a staple of the state school curriculum.

Click here to continue reading this article at the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Latest Articles

International Affairs

India, China, and the Future

The September 2 issue of The Spectator featured a cartoon of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak riding an ascending rocket. Inside, the lead article—a preview of

Catholic And Vatican Affairs

The Blessed Ulma Family and Our Catholic Moment

It’s a rare occasion when the word “unprecedented” can be used for a Church whose history extends over two millennia. Yet something unprecedented happened in the Polish village of Markowa


Stay in the know by receiving George Weigel’s weekly newsletter