The atheist ideology officially promoted in Communist countries is merely a “temporary phase of communism,” according to Professor Joseph L. Hromadka, dean of the Amos Comenius Theological Faculty in Prague.

At a meeting in Cologne, Germany, several weeks ago, Hromadka argued that “what the West often considers as a danger to the Church is in reality rather an opportunity, because in these countries atheists can be confronted with Christianity.”

Frequent target of Western churchmen because of what they call his continuing defense of the Czechoslovak Communist regime, Hromodka was one of several speakers at a three-day conference arranged by the so-called Prague Peace Conference, sponsors of the Communist-backed All-Christian World Peace Congress to be held at Prague in June.

Other speakers included Professor H. Bandt of Greiswald in the Soviet Zone of Germany; Dr. Heinz Kloppenburg, onetime leader of the Evangelical Church in Oldenburg; and Professor Heinrich Vogel, a member of the faculty of East Berlin’s Humbold University.

Bandt said he regretted that churchmen negotiating with the Soviet Zone authorities were often considered Communists by the West. He said that at first the Church regarded the Communist state as merely temporary and did not bother to pursue active contact, “but now we must reckon on having to finish our lives under socialism and the Church’s situation can only be improved through negotiations for which we need the confidence of Western Christians.”

Kloppenburg, one of the vice-presidents of the Prague Peace Conference, described Prague as a “place of dialogue between Christians separated by the Iron Curtain.” “The conference,” he said, ...

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