Equal in area to New York State but with a smaller population, Czechoslovakia was taken over by the Nazis in 1939 and by the Communists in 1948. Today it reflects all the good and bad features of a Soviet satellite. It takes four years and a large deposit to get a car, but there is a superb state health and welfare program. A system of informers operates against those churls who find life even in a Socialist Republic less than idyllic; but there is no serious juvenile delinquency, and people can walk the streets of the city of Prague at night in perfect safety.
About nine million Czechoslovaks (65.5 per cent) are baptized Roman Catholics, and 1¼ million are Protestants. Prominent among the latter is Dr. J. L. Hromadka, dean of the Comenius Faculty (current student enrollment about thirty-five). A fulsome eulogy earlier this year by New Testament professor J. B. Soucek purports to show how Hromadka by successive steps found liberation from various kinds of bondage. These stages included “the complacent glorification of culture prevalent in the years of his youth,” his “entanglement in the nationalistic sentiment,” “timid anti-bolshevism,” the equally narrow-minded anti-catholicism” current after World War I, and his “desperately clinging to the past forms of social and political life.” Thus, says Soucek, he has reached his present position courageously and without regret, seeking “the way of a christian and of the church in the midst of the rising socialist society.…” We might have hoped for more precise definition of terms here, as Soucek builds up the image of a man battling his way gamely through intellectual perils, toils, and snares, trying ...1
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