March 25, 2011

What was in the news on March 24, 1961? Trouble in Hungary and musings on Lenten fasting

By Brandon A. Evans

50 Year LogoThis week, we continue to examine what was going on in the Church and the world 50 years ago as seen through the pages of The Criterion, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Here are some of the items found in the March 24, 1961, issue of The Criterion:

  • Polish Church-state tension approaches exploding point
  • Trouble in Hungary: Archbishop risks arrest
    • “VIENNA—The acting head of the bishops’ conference of Red-ruled Hungary has protested against the arrest in February of nine priests accused of conspiring against the state and has dared the communist regime to jail him, too. The protest was made by Archbishop Jozsef Kroesz of Kaloesa, who was arrested in May of 1951 and sentenced to a 15-year prison term for ‘acts of espionage.’ He was granted ‘clemency,’ and allowed to return to his archdiocese in the middle of 1956. According to reports reaching here, he has now stated in a letter to Hungarian Premier Ferene Muennich: ‘These men have been my collaborators for years. I personally assume responsibility for everything they have done. If these priests are convicted, then I should be convicted. I request that you arrest me too and jail me with my friends.’ ”
  • Jesuit and Jew: Debate school aid issue
  • Archbishop’s letter for Easter
  • Pope John pays tribute to Irish missionary zeal
  • Fight segregation, Knights are urged
  • Fish by decree
    • From an editorial: “We yield to no one in the alacrity with which we snap up a dispensation from fast or abstinence. Let Friday be declared a holiday, or an Ember Day have its teeth pulled by the Archbishop, and we are off and running to the butcher shop. But as we struggle through these last weeks of the modified Lenten fast—and discern the approaching light of Easter—we are a little worried that some day soon some kindly ecclesiastics will cancel this whole Lenten fast in favor of some ‘voluntary’ individualized penance. This would be our undoing. Voluntary penance, we have discovered, is always done tomorrow. Only the very devout ever discover on their own initiative that today would be a fine day for a little penance. The rest of us need a calendar marked with large stupid-looking fish. Make the Lenten fast completely voluntary and you would not only wreck the fishing industry, you would dangerously enfeeble the spirituality of a lot of us little Christians whose only significant penance now is what we ‘have to do.’ ”
  • A new look at anti-trust laws
  • ‘Catholic women today’ chosen as ACCW theme
  • Austrian bishops ask more laity in Council work
  • U.S. laymen asked to offer prayers for coming Council
  • Feed bags, sacks will be modeled by Westside ladies
  • Governor to veto N.H. abortion bill
  • Chinese Jesuit dies in prison

(Read all of these stories from our March 24, 1961, issue by logging on to our special archives.)

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