11/10/2014, 00.00
JAPAN - VATICAN
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Ukon Takayama, the 'Samurai of Christ', to be beatified in 2015

Card Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, confirmed reports to a Japanese delegation that visited the Vatican a few days ago. A big celebration is the works for the 400th anniversary of the death of the feudal lord, who gave up fame and fortune in order not to repudiate Christ. The announcement also increases the likelihood of a papal visit to Japan.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Ukon Takayama, a Japanese feudal lord who set aside fame and fortune in order not to repudiate Christ, will be beatified in 2015, Card Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told a Japanese delegation that visited the Vatican a few days ago.

Mgr Yoshinao Otsuka, bishop of Kyoto and president of the Episcopal Commission in charge of the Samurai of Christ's case, headed the delegation. In his view, Takayama's life "can serve as a useful lesson for people today, especially the Japanese."

For the prelate, the future beatus "placed his faith above any desire for success or good health, and this says a lot to people who live in a highly competitive society. His courage and faith overcame everything."

In August 2013, the Bishops' Conference of Japan submitted a 400-page beatification dossier with all the necessary documents to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which is expected to give a final answer this December, just a few months before the 400th anniversary of his death (February 2015), which occurred just 40 days after his flight to the Philippines.

For his part, Pope Francis should decide in the New Year on a visit to Japan, but Takayama's beatification should make a papal trip to Japan that more likely.

In addition to the now certain beatification of the Samurai of Christ, the Japanese Church will also mark 150 years since the re-emergence of the Kakure Kirishitam, the so-called "hidden Christians".

On several occasions, Francis cited them as an example of survivors who outlasted persecution, holding fast to their Christian faith.

In view of this, the Japanese government and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan have already formally invited the Holy Father to visit Japan.

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