Saturday, November 29, 2008

RESTORING FOOD SECURITY AND A DYING WAY OF LIFE: Getting To Know Your Local Farmer, By Carolyn Baker
2 from Twitch: Johnnie To Goes To Russia! First Teaser For NEWSMAKERS Arrives! and IP MAN Sequel Gets The Green Light!

Edit. Should have kept browsing first--The Sensei Speaks: A press conference with Hayao Miyazaki and Johnnie To: Busiest Director On The Face Of The Planet.
NLM: A Manifesto For A Return To Monastic Tradition: Details From the German Trappists

So Sarge, think this will ever happen over at Gethsemani?
NLM post on OLG Seminary. (Photos of the construction.)
Just returned home not too long ago. I flew into SFO this morning from PHX--the flight wasn't too full, so we were able to get seats rather easily, and in one of the exit rows as well. It was a nice trip to PHX to see my mother's mother. My sisters and their families drive to PHX from SLO, so almost everyone was there. We won't be going to AZ in December, so I don't know when I will be going there next. Last night was a bit disappointing, since we didn't meet up with the cousins as we would have liked. (And they didn't call back, either.) Ah well. At least we saw them on Thanksgiving Day.

I had breakfast this morning with my mother over at Top Cafe (Tsim Fung) in Milpitas. I think it is related to the one in Cupertino; a third is being opened on Dixon Landing Rd. We had congee and yau tieu (which was fresh). The congee was ok, though the one I had in SF a couple of weeks ago was better. The won ton mein... the mein was bland. The won ton was ok.
Benedict XVI's Address on Monastic Life

"Its Aim Is at the Same Time Both Simple and Essential"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 27, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI gave Nov. 20 upon receiving in audience the participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

* * *

Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I meet you with joy on the occasion of the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which is celebrating 100 years of life and activity. Indeed, a century has passed since my venerable Predecessor, St Pius X, with his Apostolic Constitution Sapienti Consilio of 29 June 1908, made your Dicastery autonomous as a Congregatio negotiis religiosorum sodalium praeposita, a name that has subsequently been modified several times. To commemorate this event you have planned a Congress on the coming 22 November with the significant title: "A hundred years at the service of the consecrated life". Thus, I wish this appropriate initiative every success.

Today's meeting is a particularly favourable opportunity for me to greet and thank all those who work in your Dicastery. I greet in the first place Cardinal Franc Rodé, the Prefect, to whom I am also grateful for expressing your common sentiments. Together with him I greet the Members of the Dicastery, the Secretary, the Undersecretaries and the other Officials who, with different tasks carry out their daily service with competence and wisdom in order to "promote and regulate" the practice of the evangelical counsels in the various forms of consecrated life, as well as the activity of the Societies of Apostolic Life (cf. Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, n. 105). Consecrated persons constitute a chosen portion of the People of God: to sustain them and to preserve their fidelity to the divine call, dear brothers and sisters, is your fundamental commitment which you carry out in accordance with thoroughly tested procedures thanks to the experience accumulated in the past 100 years of your activity. This service of the Congregation was even more assiduous in the decades following the Second Vatican Council that witnessed the effort for renewal, in both the lives and legislation of all the Religious and Secular Institutes and of the Societies of Apostolic Life. While I join you, therefore, in thanking God, the giver of every good, for the good fruits produced in these years by your Dicastery, I recall with grateful thoughts all those who in the course of the past century of its activity have spared no energy for the benefit of consecrated men and women.

This year the Plenary Assembly of your Congregation has focused on a topic particularly dear to me: monasticism, a "forma vitae" that has always been inspired by the nascent Church which was brought into being at Pentecost (Acts 2: 42-47; 4: 32-35). From the conclusions of your work that has focused especially on female monastic life useful indications can be drawn to those monks and nuns who "seek God", carrying out their vocation for the good of the whole Church. Recently too (cf. Address to the world of culture, Paris, 12 September 2008), I desired to highlight the exemplarity of monastic life in history, stressing that its aim is at the same time both simple and essential: "quaerere Deum," to seek God and to seek him through Jesus Christ who has revealed him (cf. Jn 1: 18), to seek him by fixing one's gaze on the invisible realities that are eternal (cf. 2 Cor 4: 18), in the expectation of our Saviour's appearing in glory (cf. Ti 2: 13).

"Christo omnino nihil praeponere" [prefer nothing to Christ] (cf. Rule of Benedict 72, 11; Augustine, Enarr. in Ps 29: 9; Cyprian, Ad Fort 4). These words which the Rule of St Benedict takes from the previous tradition, clearly express the precious treasure of monastic life lived still today in both the Christian West and East. It is a pressing invitation to mould monastic life to the point of making it an evangelical memorial of the Church and, when it is authentically lived, "a reference point for all the baptized" (cf. John Paul II, Orientale lumen, n. 9). By virtue of the absolute primacy reserved for Christ, monasteries are called to be places in which room is made for the celebration of God's glory, where the mysterious but real divine presence in the world is adored and praised, where one seeks to live the new commandment of love and mutual service, thus preparing for the final "revelation of the sons of God" (Rm 8: 19). When monks live the Gospel radically, when they dedicate themselves to integral contemplative life in profound spousal union with Christ, on whom this Congregation's Instruction Verbi Sponsa (13 May 1999) extensively reflected, monasticism can constitute for all the forms of religious life and consecrated life a remembrance of what is essential and has primacy in the life of every baptized person: to seek Christ and put nothing before his love.

The path pointed out by God for this quest and for this love is his Word itself, who in the books of the Sacred Scriptures, offers himself abundantly, for the reflection of men and women. The desire for God and love of his Word are therefore reciprocally nourished and bring forth in monastic life the unsupressable need for the opus Dei, the studium orationis andlectio divina, which is listening to the Word of God, accompanied by the great voices of the tradition of the Fathers and Saints, and also prayer, guided and sustained by this Word. The recent General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in Rome last month on the theme: The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church, renewing the appeal to all Christians to root their life in listening to the Word of God contained in Sacred Scripture has especially invited religious communities to make the Word of God their daily food, in particular through the practice of lectio divina (cf. Elenchus praepositionum, n. 4).

Dear brothers and sisters, those who enter the monastery seek there a spiritual oasis where they may learn to live as true disciples of Jesus in serene and persevering fraternal communion, welcoming possible guests as Christ himself (cf. Rule of Benedict, 53, 1). This is the witness that the Church asks of monasticism also in our time. Let us invoke Mary, Mother of the Lord, the "woman of listening", who put nothing before love for the Son of God, born of her, so that she may help communities of consecrated life and, especially, monastic communities to be faithful to their vocation and mission. May monasteries always be oases of ascetic life, where fascination for the spousal union with Christ is sensed, and where the choice of the Absolute of God is enveloped in a constant atmosphere of silence and contemplation. As I assure you of my prayers for this, I cordially impart the Apostolic Blessing to all of you who are taking part in the Plenary Assembly, to all those who work in your Dicastery and to the members of the various Institutes of Consecrated Life, especially those that are entirely contemplative. May the Lord pour out an abundance of his comforts upon each one.

© Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Photos: Shania Twain


Shania Twain arrives at the 42nd Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP/Peter Kramer)



NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 12: Singer
Shania Twain attends the 42nd Annual CMA Awards at the Sommet Center on November 12, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty)

Shania Twain walks on stage to present an award during the 42nd Annual CMA Awards show on Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP/Darron Cummings)


NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 12: Singer
Shania Twain presents the award for Entertainer of the Year on stage during the 42nd Annual CMA Awards at the Sommet Center on November 12, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty)


Singer
Shania Twain presents the award for "Entertainer of the Year" during the 42nd Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee November 12, 2008. (Reuters)

Presenter
Shania Twain announces that Kenny Chesney won "Entertainer of the Year" during the 42nd Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee November 12, 2008. (Reuters)

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Shania Twain made her return to the public eye at the 2008 CMA Awards
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SuperiorPics Celebrity Forums: *ADDS* Shania Twain
Photos of Shania Twain at the 42nd Annual CMA Awards


Daily Stab: 42nd Annual Country Music Awards Mega Picture Post
Out of town until Saturday...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Miss International 2008



Spain Takes Miss International 2008

The top five contestants for the 2008 Miss International Pageant are pleased with their success, 08 November 2008, Macau, China. The title went to Alejandra Andreu from Spain.

(Photo: batgwa.com/Tungstar)


The Venetian® Macao The 48th Miss International Beauty Pageant 2008
Finalists
Photos
Miss International 2008 :: A Missosology.Org Coverage
GlobalBeauties.com - Miss International 2008 Special
miss international beauty pageant
The Global Miss Contest: Spain crowned MISS INTERNATIONAL 2008
Thomas Peregrinus: Photos of the FSSP ordinations in Australia. (via NLM)

Photos: Benedict XVI and Aram I


Pope Benedict XVI (L) and Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, walk side by side during their meeting on November 24, 2008 at the Vatican. (AFP/Getty)

Pope Benedict XVI attends services at the Redemptoris Mater chapel with Catholicos Aram I, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church (See of Cilicia) in the Vatican November 24, 2008. (Reuters)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24: Armenian Ortodox
Pope Aram I sits as he attends an ecumenical meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel, November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI sits as he attends an ecumenical meeting with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel, November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (L) meets with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel, November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

Pope Benedict XVI (L) greets Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, during their meeting on November 24, 2008 at the Vatican. (AFP/Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (L) walks with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I, (C) during an ecumenical meeting November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, the Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

Pope Benedict XVI, left, talks with Catholicos Aram I, the spiritual head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, right, during a private audience at the Vatican, Monday, Nov. 24, 2008. (AP Photo by DANILO SCHIAVELLA)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (L) meets with Armenian Ortodox Pope AramI (R) November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, the Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (L) meets with Armenian Ortodox Pope AramI (R) November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, the Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (C) walks with Armenian Orthodox Pope Aram I, (2nd L) during an ecumenical meeting November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (2nd L) walks with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I, (3rd R) during an ecumenical meeting November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (C) walks with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I (2nd R) during an ecumenical meeting November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY - NOVEMBER 24:
Pope Benedict XVI (2nd L) walks with Armenian Ortodox Pope Aram I, (2nd R) during an ecumenical meeting November 24 , 2008, in Vatican City. In a quote from a letter in the book "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian," that was published in an Italian newspaper this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI calls the possibility for interfaith dialogue doubtful. (Getty)



Pope Benedict XVI views relics of Saint Andrew during a special mass by pilgrims from the Diocese of Amalfi at the Vatican November 22, 2008. (Reuters)

Photos: Beatification of the 188 Japanese martyrs


Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (L), Representative of
Pope Benedict XVI carries a wreath as he visits the center of the A-bomb explosion in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. Cardinal Saraiva Martins will attend the beatification ceremony of 188 Christians martyrs killed in the 17th century for practising their religion. The ceremony comes more than a quarter of a century after the Japanese Catholic Church submitted a request to the Vatican for a beatification ceremony, a public act of blessing martyrs. (AFP/Getty)

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (2nd L), Representative of
Pope Benedict XVI, prays in front of a monument of the A-bomb explosion in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. Cardinal Saraiva Martins will attend the beatification ceremony of 188 Christians martyrs killed in the 17th century for practising their religion. The ceremony comes more than a quarter of a century after the Japanese Catholic Church submitted a request to the Vatican for a beatification ceremony, a public act of blessing martyrs. (AFP/Getty)

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (C), a representative of
Pope Benedict XVI arrives at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki to attend the beatification ceremony of 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the 17th century, on November 24, 2008. The Roman Catholic Church on Monday beatified 188 Japanese martyrs from the 17th century in the western city of Nagasaki, the first-ever ceremony of the kind held in the country. More than 30,000 Christians from Japan and numerous Asian nations gathered at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki for the spectacle.
(AFP/Getty)

A Japanese girl prays at a mass after the beatification ceremony of 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the 17th century at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. Cardinal Jose Saraiva, the representative of
Pope Benedict XVI, attended the ceremony with some 30,000 Christians from Japan, South korea, Philippines, Vietnam and India. (AFP/Getty)

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (C), a representative of
Pope Benedict XVI blesses Japanese martyrs during the beatification ceremony of 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the 17th century, at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. The Roman Catholic Church on Monday beatified 188 Japanese martyrs from the 17th century in the western city of Nagasaki, the first-ever ceremony of the kind held in the country. More than 30,000 Christians from Japan and numerous Asian nations gathered at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki for the spectacle. (AFP/Getty)

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (Top, C) attends a Roman Catholic Church beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs who refused to give up their religion despite persecution centuries ago in Nagasaki November 24. At the ceremony, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins delivered blessings on behalf of
Pope Benedict XVI on those killed between 1603 and 1639. Beatification is a stage that comes before sainthood in Catholicism. (AFP/Getty)

People attend a Roman Catholic Church beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs who refused to give up their religion despite persecution centuries ago in Nagasaki, Japan, November 24. At the ceremony, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins delivered blessings on behalf of
Pope Benedict XVI on those killed between 1603 and 1639. Beatification is a stage that comes before sainthood in Catholicism. (AFP/Getty)

People attend a Roman Catholic Church beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs who refused to give up their religion despite persecution centuries ago in Nagasaki November 24. At the ceremony, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins delivered blessings on behalf of
Pope Benedict XVI on those killed between 1603 and 1639. Beatification is a stage that comes before sainthood in Catholicism. (AFP/Getty)

Nuns attend a Roman Catholic Church beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs who refused to give up their religion despite persecution centuries ago in Nagasaki, Japan, November 24. At the ceremony, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins delivered blessings on behalf of
Pope Benedict XVI on those killed between 1603 and 1639. Beatification is a stage that comes before sainthood in Catholicism. (AFP/Getty)

A girl receives the communion from a Japanese priest during a mass after the beatification ceremony of 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the 17th century, at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. Cardinal Jose Saraiva, the representative of
Pope Benedict XVI, attended the ceremony with some 30,000 Christians from Japan, South korea, Philippines, Vietnam and India. (AFP/Getty)

A girl receives the communion from a Japanese priest during a mass after the beatification ceremony of 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the 17th century, at a baseball stadium in Nagasaki on November 24, 2008. Cardinal Jose Saraiva, the representative of
Pope Benedict XVI, attended the ceremony with some 30,000 Christians from Japan, South korea, Philippines, Vietnam and India. (AFP/Getty)


There are still some Catholics left in Japan. If I ever visit, I will have to go to Nagasaki. (Tokyo just isn't as important; Kyoto, with its history, would have more appeal.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is it an exaggeration to use 'parasites' metaphorically of most academics? Worse than useless, they live off of others (or their parents), and do so to their detriment, infecting them with bad ideology or philosophy and killing their souls. Once one gets tenure, it's a cushy life. (And even before then, if one is has a tenure-track position as an assistant professor, life is pretty easy, even if one has to work to meet the career requirement of getting published.)
On the Final Judgment

"Not a Question of Honors and Appearances"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today we celebrate, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. We know that in the Gospels Jesus rejected the title of king when it was understood in a political sense, along the lines of “the rulers of nations” (cf. Matthew 20:24). Instead, during his passion, before Pilate he claimed a different sort of kingship. Pilate asked Jesus plainly, “Are you a king?” Jesus answered, “You have said it; I am a king” (John 18:37). A little before this, however, he had declared, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

The kingship of Christ is, indeed, the revelation and the implementation of the kingship of God the Father, who governs all things with love and with justice. The Father entrusted the Son with the mission of giving men eternal life, loving them to the point of the supreme sacrifice, and at the same time he has given him the power to judge them, from the moment that he was made Son of Man, like us in all things (cf. John 5:21-22, 26-27).

Today’s Gospel insists precisely on this universal kingship of Christ the judge, with the impressive parable of the final judgment, that St. Matthew presents right before his account of the Passion (25:31-46). The images are simple, the language is popular, but the message is extremely important: it is the truth about our ultimate destiny and lays down the criteria by which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” and so on (Matthew 25:35).

Who does not know this passage? It has become a part of our civilization. It has marked the history of peoples of Christian culture, their hierarchy of values, their institutions, and their many benevolent and social organizations. In effect, the Kingdom of God is not of this world, but it brings to fulfillment all the good that, thanks to God, exists in man and history. If we put love of our neighbor into practice, according to the Gospel message, then we are making room for the lordship of God, and his kingdom will realize itself in our midst. If instead each of us thinks only of his own interests, the world cannot but be destroyed.

Dear friends, the Kingdom of God is not a question of honors and appearances, but, like St. Paul writes, it is “justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord has our own good at heart, that is, that every man have life, and that especially the “least” of his children be admitted to his feast, which he has prepared for all. Because of this he has no use for the hypocritical ones who say “Lord, Lord,” but have neglected his commandments (cf. Matthew 7:21).

God will accept into his eternal kingdom those who have made the effort every day to put his word into practice. This is why the Virgin Mary, the most humble of his creatures, is the greatest in his eyes and sits as Queen at the right of Christ the King. We desire to entrust ourselves with filial confidence once again to her heavenly intercession, so that we might realize our Christian mission in the world.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the crowds in several languages. In Italian, he said:]

Tomorrow in the city of Nagasaki in Japan, the beatification of 188 martyrs -- all of them Japanese, killed in the early part of the 17th century -- will take place. I pledge my spiritual nearness on this occasion, which is so significant for the Catholic community, and for the whole country of the Rising Sun. Also, in Cuba next Saturday, Fray José Olallo Valdés, of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, will be beatified. I entrust the Cuban people to his heavenly protection, especially the sick and health workers.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus. In today’s Solemnity of Christ the King we pray that the Lord may reign in our hearts. Sustained by his grace in faith and love, we trust that by bearing witness to him on earth we may be found worthy of his promises in heaven. I wish you all a pleasant stay in Rome and a blessed Sunday! Let us also rejoice in anticipation with our brothers and sisters in Japan, who celebrate tomorrow in Nagasaki the beatification of the Venerable Servants of God Peter Kibe Kasui and his 187 companion martyrs. May their victory in Christ over sin and death fill us all with hope and courage!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

AN: In Japan 188 martyrs to quench the thirst for God

In Japan 188 martyrs to quench the thirst for God
The martyrs who were beatified today in Nagasaki are a spur to bear witness to the faith. For the Japanese they are also a possible answer to problems like suicide, youth crime, the crisis of the family and the economy.

Rome (AsiaNews) – At least 30,000 people took part this morning in the beatification of 188 Japanese martyrs in Nagasaki’s Big N-Baseball stadium. They included delegations from the Churches of Korea, Philippines and South-East Asia. The ceremony was led by Card José Saraiva Martins, a representative of Pope Benedict XVI and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Under pouring rain Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that martyrdom was an element ever-present in the history of the Church, something that accompanied the lives of the faithful.

The new blessed martyrs died between 1606 and 1639, but anti-Christian persecution lasted for more than two centuries in Japan.

Some of the martyrs died on the cross; others were drowned, burnt or beheaded.

AsiaNews asked Fr Giorgio Ferrari, a PIME missionary in Japan for the past 17 years, a few questions about them.

What value does the Japanese Church place in this beatification?

I explained to my parishioners in Miura (Tokyo) the value of martyrdom and told how important this event was. It is the most important thing for the Japanese Church, second only to John Paul II’s visit in 1981. Catholics are edified and proud of this event.

At times the Japanese Church seems involved more in dialogue with religions and with society, papering over differences. These martyrs remind us that faith and the world can be in conflict . . . .

This is an element that we highlight in our catechesis to parishioners. For their part their raise questions and show wonderment that these martyrs could give their life for Jesus Christ.

Does the beatification resonate with the Japanese population?

Today in Japan people are looking for strong values. Every day they are faced with painful problems like suicide, youth crime, families in crisis, a declining economy . . . . All this tends to undermine old certainties and brings people to seek out values that seem more stable and challenging. People are truly seeking God. The beatification of the martyrs can offer an answer to this desire for the truth in life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008