Skip to comments.Sanguis Martyrum.... (Vatican beatifies Japanese Martyrs in Nagasaki)
Posted on 11/24/2008 10:06:32 AM PST by NYer
In the largest beatification ever held in Asia, earlier today 188 Japanese -- all but five of them laity (including children) -- killed for the faith in the 17th century were raised to the penultimate honor of the altar at a Mass attended by 30,000 in Nagasaki.
Signifying the Vatican's close interest in the event, the Holy See's Saints Czar Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins made the journey to preside at the celebration, held on a ballfield.
They all died 'in odium fidei,"' the Japanese Bishops have said, for defending the right to profess faith in God with a free conscience.In an interview leading up to the rites, the city's archbishop thanked the Japanese media for "awaken[ing] interest" in the story and voiced his hope that, for his community, the moment would serve as "an occasion for rediscovering the importance of the faith and of bearing testimony to the love of God."
The bishops say the beatification of the 17th century martyrs is being seen as a source of inspiration for the Christians of Japan. The 'martyr families' are a reminder that every family, as a domestic church, is called to live and bear witness to the faith.
The 188 Japanese martyrs to be beatified are classified in the Canonical Process as "Fr Peter Kibe and 187 companions." They were killed between 1603 and 1639.
Peter Kassui Kibe was born in 1587, when Japan still suffered persecutions. In February 1614, an edict declared the closing of all Catholic churches and the internment of all of Nagasaki's priests. Immediately following this act, the priests and laity who led the communities were exiled. Kibe was ordained a priest on November 15, 1620 and made his vows, as a Jesuit, on June 6, 1622. He was captured in Sendai in 1639, along with two other priests. He was tortured for 10 days, and refusing to renounce the faith, was martyred in Tokyo.
One of his companions in martyrdom was Michele Kusurya, named 'the Good Samaritan of Nagasaki.' He marched up the 'hill of the martyrs,' located outside the city, singing psalms. He died, as did many of the others, tied to a pole and burned at a slow fire.
Another of the soon-to-be blesseds was Nicholas Keian Fukunaga. He died after being thrown into a muddy well, where he prayed in a loud voice until the very end, asking forgiveness 'for not having brought Christ to all the Japanese, beginning with the shogun.'
Among the martyrs, there are 52 faithful from Kyoto, martyred in 1622, and 53 from Yamagata, who died in 1629.
One of the most moving testimonies is of an entire family of Kyoto John Hashimoto Tahyoe and his wife, Thecla, martyred along with all their children on October 6, 1619.
The Catholics who survived the persecution had to remain in hiding until the arrival of the European missionaries in the 19th century.
Like a lot of Americans I get my history from pop culture (I know, I know)... I recall reading in “Shogun”, by Briish author James Clavell, that Nagasaki was a major center of Catholic dating from the late-1500’s. It should be noted that Nagasaki was the secondary target, however. I believe Kokura was the primary, but it was obscured by clouds. I don’t know what the religion break-down is for Kokura, so it might not make any difference.
of Catholic = or the Catholic Church.
Whew, this flu is killing me...
I hope Christianity comes to all of Japan soon. More than any other Asian Country, they reflect western values.
I like your frankness ;-) I am not a great reader but could not put down Clavell's book, 'Shogun'. Here's your 'penance' for the pop culture history.
The Christian faith was first introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century by Jesuit and later by Franciscan missionaries. By the end of that century, there were probably about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan.
Unfortunately, this promising beginning met reverses, brought about by rivalries between different groups of missionaries and political intrigues by the Spanish and Portuguese governments, along with power politics among factions in the Japanese government itself. The result was a suppression of Christians.
The first victims were six Franciscan friars and twenty of their converts, who were executed at Nagasaki on 5 February 1597. (They were tied to crosses, the crosses were raised to an upright position, and they were then quickly stabbed to death by a soldier with a javelin.) After a short interval of relative tolerance, many other Christians were arrested, imprisoned for life, or tortured and killed; and the Church was totally driven underground by 1630. However, when Japan was re-opened to Western contacts 250 years later, it was found that a community of Japanese Christians had survived underground, without clergy, without Scriptures, with only very sketchy instructions in the doctrines of the faith, but with a firm commitment to Jesus as Lord. (I remind you that 250 years is a long time -- 250 years ago Americans were loyal subjects of King George II. The preceding statement is valid only until 2010.)
The Marytrs are:
Thanks from a flu-ridden Freeper...
of Catholic dating
LOL, at first glance I thought 'what about Catholics dating?' Hope you feel better! ;-)
Eight Jesuit Fathers who were less than a mile from the epicenter survived with no injuries and no after-effects. One of them attributed their survival to their devotion to the Rosary.
I didn’t know that. Chuck Sweeney, the pilot of Bock’s Car, gives a pretty good accounting of the mission. They were to under orders bomb “visually” even though they had a crude ground mapping radar.
Due to bad weather they had to shift to Nagisaki (Kokura was the primary & it was socked in.) Sweeney was low on fuel having missed a rendevous with a photographic plane. Add in the fact that the bomb was armed prior to take-off, you can pretty much guess that Sweeney’s ‘miracle’ was that the clouds ‘parted’ just enough to allow visual bombing. They really needed to get rid of that puppy as they didn’t have enough fuel to bring it home. (They might have vaporized the Island of Tinnian & all the US servicemen there if they’d crashlanded.
Bottom line: Sweeneys drop was wide of the mark and a more powerful bomb (than Hiroshima’s) did less damage.
I wouldn't discount South Korea...very westernized and much more heavily Christianized.
I wouldn't have wanted to carry that unwelcome guest home either. I would have dumped it in the sea if I had to (just like that nuke that was dropped a few miles offshore of Savannah - it hasn't bothered anybody and has been there for years - periodically the environmentalists raise a stink, but since nobody knows where it is now and it's probably sunk deep in the mud, nobody can do anything about it.)
You’re absolutely correct about the topography. I’m not sure that jettisoning the bomb at sea would have been as ‘safe’ relatively speaking as later “broken arrows”.
The Savannah bomb was the result of a collision between a bomber & a SAC fighter (they had escort fighters back then, though I don’t think the planes were operating on the same mission). It’s DEEP in the mud of the Savannah river estuary.
I will need to research further the relationship of these recently canonized to the original twenty-six Martyrs of Japan
for those interested in the history/story of the early Catholics in Japan..I recommend looking into the book "Silence" by a famous Catholic author Shusaku Endo...
be forewarned, it tries one's heart and will make you think deeply about the meaning of your own Faith
Yes. I forgot about them.
A lot of Korean Christian Churches around my area.
Thankfully nobody had to make that call.
I think with the Savannah 'broken arrow' it's best to let sleeping bombs lie. We have lots of friends and family there, and nobody seems too exercised about it other than the envirowackos, the antinukes, and the newspapers.
Does anybody have a breakdown on the percentages of the various Christian denominations in the country itself?
Reading the link, I believe the same is said for the Monastery that St. Maximilian Kolbe was involved in though he perished in Auschwitz.
“Between 1930 and 1936 he took a series of missions to Japan, where he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a Japanese paper and a seminary. The monastery he founded remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan. Kolbe decided to build the monastery on a mountain side that, according to Shinto beliefs, was not the side best suited to be in tune with nature. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Kolbe’s monastery was saved because the blast of the bomb hit the other side of the mountain, which took the main force of the blast. Had Kolbe built the monastery on the preferred side of mountain as he was advised, his work and all of his fellow monks would have been destroyed.” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Kolbe
Oh, I see your link is about Hiroshima, Kolbe’s Monastery was in Nagasaki.
I knew that St. Maximilian Kolbe had been active in Japan, but did not know the exact place. That's an interesting story. I guess the Shinto location of buildings as 'auspicious' is similar to the Chinese feng shui.
Thanks, I was just curious. Don’t know any Korean Catholics, myself, do know some Presbyterians, but that’s a small sample!
I heard a priest give a talk once about the Eucharist, and he mentioned the Church Underground in Japan, saying that without a priest, they could celebrate only the Liturgy of the Word, and when it came time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, they would weep.
Yes .. I recall a similar story. IIRC, these people went for many generations without a priest but passed down the faith to their children. When a priest finally arrived, they greeted him like a king. I had to say this but we Catholics in the US have taken our Church for granted. Perhaps an Obama administration is just what is needed to wake these Catholics from their deep slumber.