On the Occasion of Ten Days for Peace 2011 Comments of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ja […]
On the Occasion of Ten Days for Peace 2011
Comments of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
To All Who Wish For Peace,
Ten Days for Peace has come again this year. The Catholic Church in Japan observes the days from August 6 to 15 as an annual period of Ten Days for Peace, and invites all to learn about and pray for peace and take action.
The historical events of the world seldom happen during the lifetime of men and women who usually live for less than one hundred years. In Japan, however, we have faced an unprecedented disaster this year, and the day, March 11 will surely be inscribed in the world history. In the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake more than twenty thousand people died. A lot of people lost their loved ones, evidence that they had lived, their jobs, and everything that they had accumulated. The reconstruction has a rough and long process ahead of it. On the occasion of Ten Days for Peace 2011, I would like to pray for victims of this disaster, express my heartfelt sympathy to numerous afflicted people, and pray that the reconstruction will take place as soon as possible. Moreover, the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima remains to be done, so I pray for those who are still living in anxiety that they can once again live safely in peace.
It seems impossible for us to know the reason why this tragedy has happened. However, our faith guides us to know that a new hope will rise even from the difficulties and agony. The power of the gigantic earthquake and tsunami was so huge that the preparation for the disaster, which had been thought perfect, was useless. Faced with this reality, we bow our heads and humbly accept the powerlessness of humankind before the might of nature. At the same time, this powerlessness makes us realize the huge power of God, which transcends human knowledge by far. We must review previous lives and seek a lifestyle that will help us to become humble before all the creations of God.
Meanwhile, thirty years have passed since former Pope John Paul II, who was beatified last May 1, visited Japan. He visited Hiroshima during his stay in Japan, and announced the Appeal for Peace, in which he said: “Let us together create a new future of fraternity and solidarity; let us reach out towards our brothers and sisters in need, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, free the downtrodden, bring justice where injustice reigns and peace where only weapons speak. Your young hearts have an extraordinary capacity for goodness and love: put them at the service of your fellow human beings.”
Then the former Pope invited all who believe in God saying: “Let us be strong in his strength that infinitely surpasses our own; let us be united in the knowledge that he calls us to unity; let us be aware that love and sharing are not faraway ideals but the road to enduring peace – the peace of God.”
Now many people from home and abroad try to extend a helping hand to those who have been afflicted, and become their neighbors. These people who work wherever and whenever they can, are realizing the attitude toward “love and sharing”. Amid this terrible tragedy, we are witnessing the fact that movements toward “the road to the peace of God” are developing in Japan with hope in God. Christ the Lord, who loves people to the extent that He completely devotes himself to them, is precisely the ideal peace that we are looking for. When we help each other, we cease to hate or seek revenge, are convinced of the futility of wars, and are firmly determined to protect the dignity of humans who have been given life by God.
The Ten Days for Peace begins on the Anniversaries of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and ends on the Commemoration Day for the End of World War II. On the occasion of these ten days in the special year 2011 of the Japanese history, I stress again the necessity of the efforts to generate peace, and call all who wish for peace to deeply promote the spirit to respect each other.