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Professor from my pocket as a Christian who lives and works in an atmosphere shaped and formed by the Communists What is your reaction to the situation in Czechoslovakia where you live and work. Well Professor made my and some won't be seem. However I wish to speak to you to answer your questions us briefly and as possible and that's as clear as possible. First of all you know or you may know that I made a quite definite decision in favor of the present day situation. I didn't hesitate for a moment.
Ninety four voices of Europe today Milton Mayer interviews a Christian theologian from a communist country Professor yourself of Czechoslovakia. Perhaps it is necessary to add the professor from Marco is not a refugee or an exile. He lives and works today as he has almost all of his life in his native land and he visited Lund Sweden this past summer where Mr. Mayer interviewed him in his capacity as representative of the Evangelical Church of Czechoslovakia in the World Council of Churches. You also have from Marco was born in the Czech province of Moravia which was then part of the old Austria-Hungary. He was an evangelical pastor until he joined the Theological Faculty of Prague university in the capital city of Czechoslovakia in one thousand twenty. In 1939 he came to America to join the faculty of the theological seminary of Princeton University. Returning to Czechoslovakia in 1047
a year before the communist party took over power today he is dean of the Theological Faculty of the University of Prague. Here is Milton Mayer to interview Professor Yossef L. professor from out. As a Christian who lives and works in an atmosphere shaped and formed by the Communists What is your reaction to the situation in Czechoslovakia where you live and work. Well professorial maybe my answer won't be simple. However I wish to speak to you to answer your questions as briefly and as possible and just as clearly as possible. First of all you'll know or you may know that
I made that quite definite decision in favor of the present day situation I didn't hesitate for a moment. Nineteen forty eight. How to approach and what kind of decision to make in the view of the new situation. I am not going to speak about it any in any longer way. However I wish to stress that I see it in the present day situation in many ways. The historical advance of my people. Whether we accept many measureless or don't accept them we cannot deny that under the present day regime our country has made in a great social in many ways even the economic and political underclass.
But now the present day in reading part Dean has taught us to look into the situation as realistically as possible and they have to pry stars of any idealistic self your delusions we Christians may have about ourselves. We see the situation of the Christian church very clearly. I may speak about it later. But I wish to say that very many of our Christians have come to realize it at the present moment. Our great responsibility for many wrongs which had to be done. Before now I cannot deny I cannot dispute the advance of our working class.
In barriers between the various strata of our society are disappearing and people of various classes are coming closer together. That means for me as a Christian theologian a step forward. Now of course I may tell your professor I'm the mayor of that ideologically I am a Christian theologian. I don't identify myself with the present day of the show. Communistic ideology might be the basis on which I stand be the basis of that really believing Christian theologian. My Highness also leaked it to which I look and in the light of which I try to make my do do my work. Yeas my Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope you don't see the need to any pious Framus any sanctimonious expressions I mean really as I have never realized as deeply as possible what it means to have Jesus Christ as he's the highest law and has supreme already. There's the ultimate tribunal ball which I look. Now being a Christian theologian of course I cannot accept many of the Marxist tenets and Marxist philosophical ideas and even my conception of men differ us from you know the conception of Marxist ideology although I may say that in many ways. Somehow the dignity of man of the common man
has so been uplifted. But I myself I see clearly that on the increased US I believe in him. The ugly made dignity of men can be preserved. And now I know we all are seamless. And I have not you Lucian's that even in that talk totally socialist the classless society that people will be seen there was and that the real mean to the message of Christ. Notice just to point only on to the fact that although I accept in the many ways in the present day reconstruction of our society I feel very happy about it. I have never ceased to be a lawyer. I believe and faithful Christian theology professor Homa as a Christian citizen
of a communist governed country. Where in your view has the Christian church as a whole. West and East. Where has the Christian church failed and where is it failing today. There is a very difficult question for the rest of my year but that I shall try to answer the tests clearly as possible. First of all I don't believe that the Christian church or we Christians but the ppl saying are responsible for the critical situation in which we believe and in which the whole lot of leaves. I think we have to not have done enough. We Christians therefore approach again for a really reaching with the
working class the working classes the most destitute people. And I do believe and I see very clearly today where we had to beam associate that more you know with the middle class or with a higher class of society. And do we didn't understand the mind and the desires and longings of the common man and all of that. You know who wear your glasses. And I think it was not only my country but it was everywhere. I do believe it to a certain extent it is true even of America or of any European European country. Now that was one of our great failures and so the people who are now taking over for instance the responsibility for you know our country or for our neighboring country don't know very much of Christian if they have false ideas about Christianity but
you know that we are responsible for these false ideas of Christians. We cannot blame them. We have to blame ourselves. But then again you know this is how you see it in your OP and it may be true even of America that we Christians even at the present moment not only the self-complacent. We are so self assured of our own decency and we always see the evil on the on the on the other side. We have our preconceived ideas about evil and whatever. We consider this as evil and bad. Somehow we project it you know into the other side where it's not. I cannot bear very well the easy way in which the Christians all over the world now associate or identify
the evil or the devil or that anti-Christ with communism. I think that's a theological you are wrong. That's from the Christian point of view that's a very wrong because and decreased. See it's all a case in our own sanctuary in our own hearts and we are we are not you know. All right. If we project who somehow our early you know at the time we get out of any oratory you know the evil you see in all the other another sign. Now he's kind of for he put crazy or the kind of self assurance self complacency I think is a very wrong. And it's really contributing very much to all our weakness and to many of our failings and now I wish to point to any other any other some other
aspect of our you know his situation. I have come to realize not only in my country but so in some other countries that the Christian Christians are inclined always whenever they hear about communism to say not. They concede there are a prophetic message of the Christ as identical with the emphatic not now and not mocking whatever you what you seemed about communities no matter what our ideas about communism. I think it is wrong that Christian churches first step and first proclamation is not nor say yes yes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First of all who are Leafs in our meets who came to safe not only us who profess
to be Christians but who came to save and to help even the communists or the unbelievers. He said you knew there was a lot of the wound up and we Christians we have not no right to the right movement to the right dividing line between Jesus Christ and the people whom we believe are on the other. Round and under the lot of air of an anti-Christ that's that sarong Eve we have to see this union for a lot of Christ and we have to carry this gospel these positive constructive God gospel of Jesus Christ of the crucified and the reason even taught our communities and we have to understand even what the communities are doing to understand them. It's not so easy but we have got to do it because if anybody here in the lab with a responsible to understand other people. It's a Christian. Because he has no right only to sit in judgment of other people but he
is primarily primarily responsible to sit in judgment about himself. Now you see that's what I consider a very important and here I see a tremendous weakness of the exchange. Professor amount. In your experience with Communism do you feel that that where Christianity is saying no and is failing to say yes that communism is in some form or other. Saying yes in the world. Yes indeed. You see that's exactly what I mean and what I haven't touched up on that. Communists have a quite deaf you meet your ideology and they know what they want. They have a positive program for the wealth and for the transformation of the world. And if we fail to
understand this positive message all of these positive programs from the west. One of the while the communists got it with them then we necessarily failed because and not a purely not a negative message. He's an empty shell in which nothing you'll see there exists and which I'm able to help the police and thank you money. And do you do you Professor Monica do you want Christianity to bring forward a plan or a program which is not only they plan and program of the salvation of the individual soul but also a political and an economic program. I am thinking that that communism
communism is yes is a political and social and economic yes is Christianity's Yes. In addition to being a religious a theological Yes is it also to be a political social and economic. You drive me Professor Mayer into some straits and I'd say very very difficult to feel it. The problem the Christian church you know has another mission of them to establish social economic and political programs. We Christians are not in a position to do it because the political and social and economic program must be based on a very careful study and on a very good extensive experience and the Christian church has to deal with that man's relation to God and to Jesus Christ. It
does mean it has to point out all the bases of eesa life and at the end of his life and to the Lord the whole thing has come into this awhile to identify himself with him and help him from his soul Ross and from his semen and from his guilt. However not real vital the Seton Christian gospel has quite definite social or economic or political implications and at the same moment to understand the situation. In the light of Jesus Christ as I did quickly as possible as a realistic alias possible not to leave in the out of illusions and of and the ideals. But if you believe in Jesus Christ you understand yourself you will understand the who is your lot and you understand even of the situation and the man. And now if you are
doing that then you I think you will have as some now you will realize the responsibility to maintain your decision even in the round of social economic or political political. I don't know whether I am clear. Yes you are clear. But Professor Omar do I. Do you mean also that the Christian church as a whole has failed to make. Christian decisions in political social and economic life. Yes and I wish to stress it emphatically. I know it from my own experience I know it from our European experience. The Christian Church had withdrawn behind the walls of her Stipe deep end and you petrify doctrines and
cult ricotta cheese and pious sentiments and beliefs on the floor herself. You know that if that was so one of the greatest news of failing us of the Christian church the Christian charity had thought well the piece just for you she said just for herself but she's for the latter. She's responsible for the latter. She has the look she has got to understand the world that man is and he's he's needs his difficulties he's struggles and his hopes and desires and now the Christian church had forgotten it is now she's a danger to all to overlook and to leave or only for herself and she has failed to make the right decisions. And whenever even now she's doing a political decision it is up on the ground of a duty or more days as a sheep for the Christians in the Arab ules of the
church or in use or only for some kind of other terrorists. Ease up till you present it as a status quo of society or political plays religious or economic. Well as private property no private enterprise and they fail to understand that the mission of the church and the mission of the Christians is something quite different. The Jesus Christ Friess US rate at us from our own selves from our going ism from our desires to protect only oneself and to Jesus Christ's Gospel ECE to believe in him in the forgiveness of sin and to do that and to take upon oneself the Sadducees form no matter what it costs. Professor let me go finally what Sure
and American Christian do and be you know art. But if I listen to this question you'll see I have to say well this is the same to do what we have to do. You see I have somehow no right to prescribe an American Christian what I cannot demand from myself that I have a very high respect for many many American friends of whom they have sought. Is this something that mainly in the States now. I wish to stress perhaps one or three points if you will permit me. Please do. I hope you'll want to take it as an intrusion or as and self elevation above the American people not not I myself in this but at the very moment I identify myself with an American
Christian and say to him whatever I have to say to myself. Now first of all I will tell us that many in the many can appreciate him just as I am asking myself to scrutinize one's own heart. Once on conscience to ask oneself whether he and I really are obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ or whether we are attending yet the church says if he says we try somehow to protect ourselves or whether we are driven by some are to your motives that this self-knowledge nice very very thought that I meant it can you. Church members American Christians somehow Sure yeah go into judgement with themselves. Now the second point I wish to stress
is that they should try to understand them. For instance they should understand us. In our countries which they call the companies behind the Iron Curtain I may say You see I don't feel myself. Separated by the Iron Curtain. May be that they are coming from a much more dangerous for the American Christians than for ourselves. But they have no right to pass any definite and definite judgment that they should try to understand. I have also learned all over again not only from the Americans but from other people in Western Europe that the Christian Church cannot possibly carry on under the communistic regime and instead of being encouraged. Buy me out a bit as I'm in the West we are.
Over and over again been discouraged warned against possible and impossible dangers. Now you see that's that's a scandal to think that the Christian church can carry on under a communistic regime it the Christian churches cannot be can. She must do it. And she can't do it even in a more adequate way that perhaps under a liberal democracy it's something good is going on in my country under the communist regime. Now you see I want to enlarge upon this point. I wish only to us and our American friends not to yield to any primitive program to any primitive Yeah. Common preconceived conceptions about our lives and about the way that they shoot. I understand as the moon in the light of the Gospel that they use that they
should use the power of imagination to see us in our way and that they should pray for us that they should help us. Through him they go through they sympathy and through they are understanding and then perhaps the last I don't know whether I am right or speak about people and it is you know very dangerous idea to identify the Christianity with some kind of political regime or social regime or with any economic system or OS with any form of civilization. The Christian Gospel goes beyond in the Christian Church has 10 other missions than do all say for Manson private property private enterprise. The Christian Church has a great mission.
But even the bad command through Jesus Christ into the upper study church and Professor mayor is not what these the acts of the apostles. What was the Apostolic Church. So we have we cannot repeat the he started but we have to confront ourself with the Church of the opposite sex and to trying to understand what the real mission of the Apostolic Church Fuz. And now perhaps. But really the last point we have are we Christians we have a great mission to contribute something to all the mutual understanding between the people and to peace. I myself am very much taken by this very issue. I am trying to do my very best to preserve some of the peace peace and real
understanding of other people and so I wish you might Christiane. But as I'm in the States would try to do very much along these lines to not to yield to any hysteria but to try to understand us behind the Iron Curtain and to contribute what they can to the peaceful solution of all the great problems of our times. He said great a great time Professor Mayer. He's a very dangerous time. But it is a great time. And if we Christians really do what we ought to do in our obedience to Christ then we can review the help of the present day humanity and we can that we help to overcome that tremendous the dangerous and perils of the present human.
Voices of Europe
Josef L. Hromadka
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
An interview with Professor Josef L. Hromadka about conditions in Czechoslovakia.
Other Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Czechoslovakia--Social conditions--1945-1992.
Media type
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Interviewee: Hroma_dka, J. L. (Josef Lukl), 1889-1969
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-22 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:21
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Josef L. Hromadka,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 17, 2022,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Josef L. Hromadka.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 17, 2022. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Josef L. Hromadka. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from