After the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in Japan (1549), the Catholic Church grew rapidly, and the faith was accepted by people of all states of life. Those who ruled were displeased and responded with persecution, leading to tens of thousands of martyrs giving up their lives. Many Christian communities chose to go underground to preserve their faith.
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The inculturation of Christianity in Japan has not been an easy process. Its history is full of encounters and contrasts, conflicts and compromises. Among the reasons for this difficult history is the complexity and uniqueness of Japanese culture.
We tend to nurse a certain naiveté about what faith means in the face of death. The common notion among us as Christians is that if someone has a genuine faith she should be able to face death without fear or doubt. The implication then of course is that having fear and doubt when one is dying is an indication of a weak faith. While it’s true that many people with a strong faith do face death calmly and without fear, that’s not always the case, nor necessarily the norm.
The entire journey of the John Paul II Theological Institute therefore expresses the commitment to respond in the best possible way to the insistent request of Pope Francis “to have light and flexible structures that express the priority given to welcoming and dialogue, to inter- and trans-disciplinary work and networking.
International collaboration on global issues has become a faint memory, hardly a possibility under current conditions.The Liberal World Order that was put in place after the Second World War and came to maturity in the quarter-century following the revolutions of 1989 has suffered severe shocks from the rise of populist nationalism and revanchist authoritarianism.
After the end of the Soviet Union, both the pro-Western Russian elite and the vast majority of the population had the hope of becoming part of the Western community, or rather, of becoming once again part of Europe after having travelled a different path since the October Revolution. It was thought that Russia would naturally follow this route.
It is helpful to understand this agreement as a true harmony of notes. That is to say, the beginning of a composition that has yet to be developed. This is not, then, the conclusion of a process, but it is a real starting point that needs to be implemented through instruments of control and improvements to the text.
The internet allows us to access a wealth of information that was unthinkable a few decades ago. On the web and on social networks this information is created and exchanged in real time. A user may be disoriented when faced with such a quantity of news and data that corresponds to multiple points of view, each of which attempts to establish itself as truth.
In The Gambler, Dostoevsky describes Alexey’s human drama after playing: “The player is a victim regardless of his social class, a victim who becomes an executioner for others and for himself.” In the history of gambling, the “what,” the “how” and the “where” reveal the relationship between politics and the gaming industry, between culture and the values of a society.
The religious congregation to which I belong, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, has had a long relationship with the indigenous peoples of North America. Admittedly it hasn’t always been without its shortcomings on our side, but it has been a sustained one, constant through more than one hundred and fifty years. I write this out of the archives of that history.
How ministering with a parish's youngest and oldest members reveals the mystery of God. When I first started going to my parish about four years ago one of the things I was looking for, other than a schedule of Masses in English (I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Upper Manhattan), was community—though I freely admit I hadn’t a clue what community meant.
Seventy years ago, Chinese communists ended a long-running civil war with victory over the Kuomintang, charted a course that secured China's borders but turned the country inside out and wrought havoc across the region as successive leaders sought to impose their will.
We quite naturally tend to think of the word “Christ” as Jesus’ second name. We think of the name “Jesus Christ” like we think of names like “Susan Parker” or “Jack Smith”. But that’s an unhealthy confusion. Jesus didn’t have a second name.
How do we communicate in a polarized society? How do we promote unity, encounter and reconciliation while remaining faithful to diversity? What is the attitude, the mindset required to be good communicators in a context where polarization seeks to impose itself on every public or private discussion?
Soon after World War II, the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, a legally binding multilateral treaty, defined who is a refugee, what rights they have, and established the obligations of nations in their regard. In the broader field of migration, however, apart from a convention on migrant workers, until now there has been no comparable international agreement regarding migrants in general.
A topic like Luther’s vocation does not capture the attention of his biographers. It is taken for granted. Everyone talks about it, but only in a generic way. In truth, the facts are not so apparent. Luther entered the monastery when he was 21 years old, after a storm. On July 2, 1505, while returning to Erfurt from Mansfeld where he was visiting some relatives, he was caught in a storm near Stotternheim, a few kilometers from home.
It’s no secret that today we’re witnessing a massive decline in church attendance and, seemingly, a parallel loss of interest in religion. The former mindset, within which we worried, sometimes obsessively, about sin, church-going, and heaven and hell no longer holds sway for millions of people.