Thursday, June 19, 2014

Japanese Christians Survived Without Priests

Pope Francis went to Japan and spoke with some of the Japanese Catholics in the country.  Compared to the other religions, Christianity is very small in Japan.  Nevertheless, Christianity survived in Japan even when there were no priests.  I found an interesting story on the Internet about these Japanese Christians who were in hiding for almost 250 years until missionaries once again arrived in their country.  According to Catholic Online: 

Francis highlighted the extreme way these early pioneers kept their faith alive. "Not a single priest was left in Japan: they were all expelled. Then community then went underground, keeping the faith and prayer in hiding. And when a child was born, the father or the mother baptized him, because we can all baptize.

"When, after about two and a half centuries - 250 years later - the missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians came out of hiding and the church could flourish. It had survived by the grace of their Baptism: but this is great! God's people transmit the faith, baptizing children and moving on."

Francis cited this as a fine example of ironclad loyalty and faith. "And they had maintained, even in secret, a strong community spirit, because baptism had made them become one body in Christ, they were isolated and hidden, but they were always members of the People of God, members of the Church. We can learn much from this story," Francis said.

Pope Francis shared this heroic tale at his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square. The pope highlighted the importance of Baptism, the sacrament which "makes us enter into this people of God . a people of God who walks and transmits the faith . the People of God that marches throughout history."

Francis called upon the Christians in Jordan and the Holy Land to learn from the Japanese Church. "Japan is a country that is very dear to Jesuits and Bergoglio had also hoped to go there as a young missionary: Learn from the Japanese Church that because of the persecutions of the seventeenth century retired in obscurity for about two and a half centuries, passing on from one generation to another the flame of faith, keeping it alive. Difficulties and persecutions, when experienced with expectation, trust and hope, purify and strengthen the faith," Francis said.

The survival of Japanese Christians

Imagine that!!!!!  Not a single priest was there in the Catholic community of Japan, but Catholicism survived!!!  You can read the rest of the story in the weblink I provided.  God is truly the Head of His Church that even when there is no priest, He continues to guide His Church. 

Of course, this does not mean that we do not need priests.  Those who are against the Way often accuse Kiko Arguello and the NCW of preaching that we do not need priests.  If that were true, then why did the NCW set up RMS seminaries around the world?  So much for that accusation. 

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