Feb 20, 2011

Bishops met in Tokyo for the GA

Extraordinary General Assembly of Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) was held in Tokyo from 14 to 18 February.  In fact, this "Extraordinary" meeting is nothing but one of 2 annual meetings of Japanese bishops in February and June.  The meeting in June is called the "Ordinary" and February one is called the "Extraordinary" in order not to be confused.  Therefore the meeting was not called for emergency issue as such.

Completion of the Japanese translation of the Roman Missal has been our priority for past several years and again, during this meeting, a section from the Holy Week liturgy was brought up as one of the agenda.  We also had discussion on the 10th anniversary of the publication of the "Inochi-eno-manazashi (Reverence for Life)" which is "a Message for the Twenty-First Century from The Catholic Bishops of Japan".  Our life which is a gift from God has been threatened and in crisis in present world.  In Japan, for past 12 years, more than thirty thousand people a year commit suicide. In fact, many of these people were drove to the point where they could not think about any other choices than to take one's own life. In daily news reports, there are frequent stories of incidents that someone took other's life without any specific reasons.   Life is in crisis.  In 2001, 10 years ago, Japanese bishops wrote as follows.

Japanese society is marked today by anxiety and sadness. Economic stagnation due to the collapse of the "bubble economy," the weakening of family bonds, violence in schools, shocking crimes by children and an increasing number of suicides by middle-aged and elderly people have led many people to think that there is no answer to our longing for light and support.

Yet, God made and loves people. Human life, God's one-time gift to each of us, is sacred. That is the main reason the Catholic bishops of Japan have decided to present this message regarding life and humanity to the world.
Then 10 good years have passed since this message had been delivered to the Japanese society and the situation of life in Japan is getting worse.  We also know that quite a number of new issues have arose which were not included in the message, such as the bioethics issue. Therefore, we felt that Catholic Church who knows that our life if a gift from God has obligation to speak out to Japanese society again.  We entrusted a "4-bishop's ad hoc commission" which has been working on the issue of evengelization in Japan to work out on our answer to this call and will discuss about it again in June.  You may find the entire text of the 2001 message in English in the HP of the CBCJ.

We also had study session on Okinawa during the meeting in response to the message by Bishop Oshikawa of Naha on the issue of military base and history of Okinawa.


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