For Card Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Blessed leaves an “extraordinary witness of the Christian faith". Catholics rejoice for the Blessed, a 17th century martyr. The Gospel is not "foreign to Japanese culture".
Osaka (AsiaNews) – Japanese martyr Justo Takayama Ukon (1552-1615), also known as the "Samurai of Christ’, was beatified this morning.
A feudal lord and a samurai in Japan in the age of persecution of the ‘western religion’, he chose the path of humiliation and exile rather than renounce his Christian faith.
He lost his properties, position, social status, honour and respectability, and became a wanderer forced into exile. With his family and 300 other Japanese Christians, he fled to Manila where he died on 4 February 1615.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, celebrated the beatification.
In his homily, after reflecting about martyrdom and the Christian civilisation of love, the cardinal noted how the Church in Japan has been "blessed with the wonderful testimony of numerous martyrs" and the Blessed Justo himself leaves "an extraordinary witness of the Christian faith in difficult times, of contrasts and persecution. "
The celebrant went on to describe to the assembly the Blessed’s life and his work as a "tireless promoter of the evangelisation of Japan", highlighting his distinctive features. He was "Educated to honour and loyalty, a true warrior of Christ, not with weapons of which he was an expert, but with words and example. "
Noting that his conduct was deeply evangelical, the cardinal stressed that Justo Takayama Ukon did not consider the Gospel something foreign to Japanese culture. Like the Jesuit missionaries, he shunned the apologetic controversy. He lived his faith as a Japanese, making the most of the edifying traditions of his culture.
"Justo’s beatification is an evangelical seed that Providence sowed in Japan and around the world,” Card Amato said in concluding. “The example of our Blessed pushes all of us to a life of faith and fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."