18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 1

The Attack on Christianity

The action of the Bulgarian Government in accusing fifteen leaders of the United Evangelical Church in that country of espionage and illegal currency dealings was exactly what might have been expected. It is also a swift vindication of the unbending policy pursued by Cardinal Mindszenty up to the time of his arrest. The logic of his stand was always that the thin edge of the entering wedge must be resisted. Yesterday it was a matter of nationalising the Church schools and tightening the grip of the State on the Catholic peasantry. Tomorrow it would be the general attack on the Church as an institution and on Christianity itself. He was right. Now the attack has begun there is no knowing where it will end. Before Cardinal Mindszenty was arrested, the persecution of Hungarian Protestants, including the Lutheran Bishop Lajos Ordass, had begun. The fifteen Church leaders now accused in Bulgaria are Congrega- tionalists, Methodists and Baptists. It makes no difference that they are indicted for the usual miserable string of political and financial "crimes" It makes no difference that the Bulgarian Government, like the Hungarian before it, is pledged to respect elementary human rights and has hypocritically asserted that religious freedom is guaranteed by its constitution. It makes no difference that the ministers concerned are said to have made full confessions during preliminary investigation, except that the real and horrible meaning of the phrase " preliminary investigation" is underlined. These men are Christians ; therefore they must be removed. Christianity competes with Communism for the souls of men ; therefore it must be destroyed. The whole sickening process is made clear. And yet there are so-called progressive persons and journals in this country who choose to focus their attention solely on some real or imagined change of front in the Vatican newspaper Osservcaore Romano, forgetting that what is really at stake is not merely the lives of a few men, nor even the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church, but the faith and freedom of millions of Christians.