27 November, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 07/13/2012
The Japanese Church apologizes to Papua: "Peter To Rot’s death is our fault"
The President of the Episcopal Conference Nippon writes a letter to the Catholic community of Oceania for the 100th anniversary of the birth of the blessed, who died for defending marriage against the brutality of the Japanese invaders: "We have no excuses, he was and is a model for all".

Rabaul (AsiaNews) - Japan "has done terrible things during the last war" and especially "deprived the Blessed Peter To Rot of his precious life. Ideological and religious differences are not an excuse, and that is why the Japanese Church apologizes", writes the president of the Japanese Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Leo Ikenaga, in a letter to the Catholic population of Papua New Guinea, gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the blessed.

The celebration took place last July 7 at the shrine of Rakunai, in the province of East New Britain. The faithful and the clergy who met were very impressed by the sincerity of the apology of the Japanese prelates, and applauded the letter at great length. Archbishop Ikenaga also apologized for "the barbaric actions of the Japanese occupation forces" in Papua New Guinea. Here is the complete text of the letter:

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of blessed Pete To Rot, I would like to convey a message of apology to all of you in Papua New Guinea from Japan, which is responsible for his death.

First of all, I would like to reflect on Blessed Peter To Rot's life for a while.

Since Oceania covers a vast area, it is difficult for the Catholic Church to proclaim the Gospel there. When Peter To Rot was young, missionaries were rarely seen in Oceania, so he started to study to become a catechist. He was a model student respecting the Sacraments, praying regularly, and working hard as a faithful.

After graduation, he was qualified as a catechist by his bishop, and started to work earnestly at once. He married Paula Ia Varpit, a young Catholic from a neighboring village and lived an ideal family life.

During World War II, Japanese troops invaded Papua new Guinea, and imprisoned priests and the religious, whose number was already limited, in a concentration camp. He assumed responsibility as a catechist since there was no priest around, and devoted himself to pastoral services such as administering infant baptism and funerals, and assisting at marriages. Japanese troops even interfered in the Church's activities and destroyed Church buildings. They even forbade some systems based on Catholic teaching, especially monogamy, and forced people to return to polygamy.

However, Peter To Rot strongly insisted about his own marriage that the original meaning of marriage is being united by God, and it must be fulfilled only when married couples are united as one. He decisively refused to change this view so that he was arrested, imprisoned, tortured and killed.

Japan is not a Christian country now and then. Catholics and Protestants in total account for only 0.09% of its population. Therefore the views on humanity and human life are totally different from those of Christian nations. The Japanese military during World War II did not share the Christian view on marriage at all. Putting aside the difference in religions and ideologies, it is true that Japan inflicted enormous damage from a humanitarian perspective on many nations including Papua New Guinea. Japan deprived Peter To Rot of his precious life by wielding inhumane power at will. I convey my heartfelt apology for such conducts on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the life of Blessed peter To Rot. As a Japanese bishop, I would like to offer a Mass and prayers on the anniversary day.



e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/24/2014 JAPAN
Tokyo assemblyman admits to sexist taunting, bows in apology
11/26/2008 JAPAN – VATICAN
Beatification of 188 martyrs embodies the faith in Japan and Asia
by Pino Cazzaniga
08/12/2010 JAPAN – KOREA
Tokyo apologises for its colonial rule over Korea
by Pino Cazzaniga
07/24/2014 JAPAN - KOREA
Tokyo government to make “officially apology” to Korean comfort women
06/10/2014 JAPAN
Nagasaki, government launches website to "rediscover" Japanese Christians

Editor's choices
Paris Massacre highlights the failure of Muslim integration in Europe
by Catherine FieldThe attack in the heart of France highlights the crisis of Europe’s model of coexistence. Social unrest, poverty and marginalisation feed youth extremism and radicalisation. A New Zealander journalist, expert on expertise in religion and interfaith dialogue, talks about it after undertaking a journey through the French Muslim world.
For Nîmes imam, Islam should not be held hostage by extremists
by Hochine DrouicheFrench imams condemn the Paris terrorist attacks and disassociate themselves from violence committed in "the name of our religion." At the same time, they ask Muslim communities to dare leading a life of dialogue and friendship with Europeans, without fear or arrogance. For centuries, Muslims have ruled out reason from their religious life. The vice president of French imams bears witness.
AsiaNews marks 12 years: Persecution and hope
by Bernardo CervelleraDespite a worldwide increase of ignorance, indifference and superficiality, many signs of love and hope resist even in the most gloomy situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who became a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.