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Young Czechs turn to church, punk music to escape harsh regime

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* Four of 20 Franciscan monks scooped up in Eastertide police raids in Prague and several other Czechoslovak cities are held and charged with ''illegal religious activity.''

* The Czech Communist Party newspaper Rude Pravo prints a scornful attack on an extravagant new wave of punk-rock music among the young.

These recent news items might seem unrelated. But both are closely linked to a major problem of special concern for some time to an economically beleaguered Prague regime - the apparent ever-spreading disaffection among the nation's youth.

The Franciscans and other small or relatively loosely organized religious groups have been a special target of the campaign against religion in recent years, often because of their identification with the young.

As on previous such occasions, books and papers were confiscated from homes the police entered Palm Sunday. The Catholic news agency here reported the police did not have search warrants. (One young priest who challenged their right, the agency said, was handcuffed to a radiator while his room was searched.)

''Illegal'' priestly activity for such groups as the Franciscans usually means working in a considerable ''underground'' church developed in recent years. This church continues strongly despite harassment and, moreover, is apparently proving particularly attractive to the young.

The Communist authorities choose to see it as a direct challenge. They allege it is part of a general Vatican endeavor under its Polish Pope to build up a ''fifth column'' dangerous to the Czechoslovak state in line with the Reagan administration's ideas of ''destabilizing'' East-bloc regimes.

Many of these clandestine clerics are young ordained priests whom the government refuses to license; others are older ones whose authorizations have been annulled. The ban is often laid on those who oppose or refuse to join the government-sponsored religious organization ''Pacem in Terris.''


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