Ci sono tantissime cose hanno sconfitto lo scorrere del tempo, vieni a parlarne su Award & Oscar.
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11/30/2009 9:07 PM
 
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I should add that Catherine is home now, she came home earlier this year and has decided to complete her degree in London. She is loving London and her life is very different again....
12/1/2009 5:14 PM
 
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Wulfrune,

Regarding your charitable trust, if you have everything set up according to all the financial and legal regulations in Britain and you have a website with details about who the money will help, I would suggest that you write up a kind of press release with photos (either from the website or from your trip to India) and send the release to Catholic newspapers in Britain (also possibly secular ones) and maybe even to local church newsletters. Right now, you just need to spread the word about the existence of the trust and the need it hopes to address. Once the word gets out, people will donate, especially at this time of year. Best of luck with it all. [SM=g27811]


7/19/2010 9:28 PM
 
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Papa Facts Sheet
I found a "fact sheet" about Papa on this website last night before I went to bed.

www.culturalcatholic.com/PopeBenedictXVI.htm

There is one "fact" that I had never heard of:


Fun Fact about Pope Benedict XVI: Pope Benedict XVI has a pilot's license for the papal helicopter and likes to fly from the Vatican to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, but the pope does not have a driver's license as he never learned to drive a car. In Germany, the costs for driver's education and driver's license fees are in the thousands of euros, so the pope decided to walk.



Is this true about the helicopter?!? [SM=g27833] This is the first time I have ever heard of such a thing. (I have been off the internet for almost three years though) I know that Monsignor Georg Gänswein flies planes... [SM=g27829]



"To believe in the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God would make men a race of bastards." -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
7/19/2010 11:28 PM
 
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Bood: I would think this is definitely not true. I think it was Peter Seewald in his recent book "Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait", who wrote that Papa would have had a nervous breakdown if he'd even had one driving lesson!!!!! So, I can't picture him flying a helicopter.
Yes, little Georg has a pilot's licence, so we are told, and I believe that. I'll now go to the link you posted - thanks very much for that!

We do know that Papa used to cycle when he was a professor and somewhere there's a photo of him with his bicycle when he was a very new, young priest......must look for that.

7/20/2010 7:38 PM
 
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Bood: I would think this is definitely not true. I think it was Peter Seewald in his recent book "Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait", who wrote that Papa would have had a nervous breakdown if he'd even had one driving lesson!!!!! So, I can't picture him flying a helicopter.
Yes, little Georg has a pilot's licence, so we are told, and I believe that. I'll now go to the link you posted - thanks very much for that!

We do know that Papa used to cycle when he was a professor and somewhere there's a photo of him with his bicycle when he was a very new, young priest......must look for that.



I was definitely thinking the same thing. I knew about him not knowing how to drive and the driver's license story. The helicopter story was just so out there, I had to double check! I remember the pic of the young Fr. Joseph standing next to a bicycle! [SM=g27830]

Do we know who drove his Volkswagon Golf? [SM=g27833] I remember when it was sold on eBay...It was on my watch list [SM=g27824] [SM=g27824] [SM=g27827]



[Edited by The_Bood 7/20/2010 7:40 PM]


"To believe in the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God would make men a race of bastards." -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
7/20/2010 8:30 PM
 
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The Golf was driven by wonderful, loyal, charming, intelligent and very witty Mons. Josef Clemens.

It was driven very, very fast at times, with Mozart blasting from all available speakers at top volume, while a certain Cardinal would cling on to the handhold of the passenger door and sing along from the top of his lungs.

I image they had lots of fun at times. Almost like a father and son relationship
7/20/2010 8:38 PM
 
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Cowgirl: There's a photo of Papa blessing the Golf, isn't there? I've no idea if it was posted on the forum, but I've definitely seen it. Seems as if he and Mons Clemens had fun indeed.

Do you know the story behind Papa giving the post of Private Secretary to Mons Georg Gaenswein? I know that Mons Clemens was made a bishop and he is often at the Vatican now, because we see him at Papal Masses. I'd love to know more details.

7/21/2010 9:31 AM
 
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The Golf was driven by wonderful, loyal, charming, intelligent and very witty Mons. Josef Clemens.



Thanks for the info Cowgirl! [SM=g27811]



"To believe in the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God would make men a race of bastards." -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
7/25/2010 12:51 PM
 
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Mons. Clemens
I don't know about Gänswein. Not really sure why Clemens was picked, either.As far as I have read, Clemens took the job of private secretary because the original secretary, who had come to Rome with Card. Ratzinger from Munich, was homesick and wanted to go back to Bavaria.

Why the Cardinal selected Clemens… don’t know. Possibly because he liked his personality and intellect.
It is said that they had developed a father-son relationship during the years and are still very close.

It seems that Card. Ratzinger had encouraged Clemens to move ahead into a different position, instead of being simply the secretary of a Cardinal who would soon go back to Bavaria for retirement.
He wanted him to move ahead and take on challenges worthy of his abilities. I assume it must have been an emotional moment for both when the cardinal consecrated him Bishop in 2004.

A funny side note: it seems that JP2 had always referred to Clemens as ‘Benjamin’ during meetings… sort of referring to the father-son-like relationship they had.

I do assume that Card. Ratzinger was certain that he'd go back home quite soon. I don't think he was looking for a long term secrety in 2003.
[Edited by cowgirl2 7/25/2010 12:55 PM]
7/25/2010 6:29 PM
 
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More ...
One thing that occurred that would cause the Card to look for another secty was the episcopal ordination of Mons Clemens by the Cardinal himself who wrote (sorry, I forget where) that it was one of the happiest days of his life.
7/26/2010 10:57 PM
 
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I have never really understood why Cardinal Ratzinger chose Georg Gaenswein as his new private secretary. How did he get to know him? All I know is that GG was a canon lawyer who was a lecturer/professor? at one of the pontifical universities.

Did he need a new secretary merely because Clemens had been ordained bishop? One wonders why he replaced Clemens, if he assumed he'd be retiring to Regensburg. As it turned out, GG really jumped into a key position didn't he.
[Edited by maryjos 7/26/2010 10:57 PM]

7/27/2010 9:15 AM
 
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He urged Clemens to take on a different position, because he thought he was cut out for 'bigger things' than simply being a private secretary.
Clemens is certainly very capable and would have been 'wasted' in his secretary job. Ordaining him Bishop was a great highlight of their relationship. I'm secretly hoping for Mons. Clemens to be given a
German Dioceses. We definitely need men of his character, loyalty and firmness in faith!

Surely it was a painful step for both of them, but it was a very rational, wise decision back then.

Even though I certainly would prefer Clemens to Gänswein as the current secretary!!
In many ways, Clemens seems to be a carbon copy of J. Ratzinger - at least in the way he carries himself, in his kind of humor and his humility.
Well, he had nearly 20 years to learn from the master of humility, kindness, wit and gentleness. [SM=x40790]
8/7/2010 3:53 PM
 
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6th AUGUST
I've pasted below a rather long e-mail. It starts with my usual letter from Andrew Rabel. Yesterday's date links with the post I put in the Popes Before John Paul II thread, about Paul VI.
Controversy over whether or not the atomic bomb should have been used [and twice, at that],continues to this day. One school of thought believes that it shortened the war and saved many thousands of lives, both Japanese and American. The other school of thought believes that the act was evil. Then again, there are others in the world who will have nothing to do with any wars [members of the Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society for example], still others who will go into the battlefield as stretcher-bearers and drivers - perhaps these last are the most courageous, because they have no means of self-defence [Quakers are notable among these]. I have always believed that we had to fight the evil that was Hitler and I'm proud that my husband fought in the British Army and that my father was in the RAF.
Any thoughts on all of this from forum members?



Dear friends,

On the day that commemorates the A-bombing of Hiroshima (but more importantly the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord), my editor has written a good reflection of this tragic event.

To add to what he says, may I also mention what I told one of my leftie friends some time ago, that I am one with English Professor Elizabeth Anscombe (and convert to Catholicism) who in 1956 while a research fellow at Oxford University denounced ex-President Harry Truman receiving an honorary doctorate from there as a mass murderer, by kneeling outside praying the rosary silently, for his actions in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

God bless
Andrew

PS But a funny twist to this story. In my city, some time ago a religious education teacher asked her pupils on the day, what was the significance of the August 6. The child answered, "The feast of the Transfiguration". The teacher said no, it was the anniversary of the bombing. A microcosm of how the teaching of religion in Catholic schools, has become so inverted.

Also, I was also inspired by the small group of Jesuits only a few miles away from Ground Zero, including Spaniard Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ (who later became its worldwide leader) who survived the bombing, and never suffered any radiation poisoning. What were they doing? Putting into practice in their religious house Our Lady's requests at Fatima, with a family.


"We Are Become as Gods..."




We begin our quest for Jesus on the anniversary of the day thousands, mostly civilians, were killed in a blaze of light and heat in Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Also today we commemorate the mysterious event we call the "Transfiguration" of Christ on Mt. Tabor — when he seemed to his apostles to be transformed, for a moment, into a being, not of ordinary flesh, but of light...



By Robert Moynihan

=====================================


“We are become as gods, destroyers of worlds.”
— J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita after watching the first nuclear explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
—A slightly different version of the verse from the Bhagavad Gita that Oppenheimer recalled while watching the test

“The time has come… for destroying those who destroy the Earth.”
— Revelation 11:18


===================================

And They Named it "Trinity"


J. Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the American team of physicists that in 1945 developed the atomic bomb, was a close student of the Hindu scriptures (he even learned Sanskrit to study them in the original language).


And when the first atomic bomb ever was tested, on July 16, 1945, in a portion of the southern New Mexican desert known as the Jornada del Muerto — the "Journey of the Dead Man" — the pre-dawn sky was lit with the light of a thousand suns, like no light anyone had ever seen before, observers said.

The scientists that day were not sure at all of what would happen. There was a type of "office lottery" prior to the blast in which they guessed what the result of the test might be. A few said the bomb would be a dud, and not explode at all. Others guessed, correctly, that it would explode more or less as it did, with more or less the temperature and shock wave that was produced. But others said they thought it might set off an unstoppable chain reaction which might even consume the earth itself.

In other words, the scientists were, in a sense, "playing games" with the fate of our entire world.

And yet, they set it off.

The code-name for the test was "Trinity" — yes, "Trinity," the name of the Christian God, the "three in one" — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And so, in a sense, this test bore the name, at least in part, of Jesus Christ, the "Son" in the Holy Trinity.

Was the name "Trinity" chosen in mockery?

Or did perhaps the choosers of the name imagined they were greater than the Trinity itself, since they were the planners, organizers and the executors of this unprecedented "Trinity"?

The exact origin of the name "Trinity" for this test is unknown, but it is most often attributed to Oppenheimer himself.

It is thought to have been drawn from the poetry of John Donne (1572-1631), an English preacher and the leader of a group of so-called "metaphysical poets" in his time, whose poetry is by turns witty, profound, mystical and beautiful.

Oppenheimer knew the poetry of Donne well; he was steeped in it.

Almost 20 years after the "Trinity" test, in 1962, General Leslie Groves (the military head of the Manhattan Project to build the bomb), wrote to Oppenheimer (the scientific director), asking about the origin of the name "Trinity," and elicited this reply:

"I did suggest it... Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation:

'As West and East,
In all flatt Maps (and I am one) are one,
So death doth touch the Resurrection.'

"That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem, Donne opens, 'Batter my heart, three person'd God;—.'"


The phrase "three-personed God" is, of course, a reference to the Trinity, the God in three persons.

So, in this correspondence, Oppenheimer acknowledges that he chose the name "Trinity" under the influence of Donne's poetry, as a reference to the Christian God, then detonated the first atomic bomb.

And, at the moment the bomb went off, Oppenheimer thought of some lines he had studied in the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna, an incarnation of the Hindu divinity, tells Arjuna, "Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."

Man had harnessed the power at the heart of matter by dividing what the Greeks, by definition, taught was indivisble, the atom itself.

And with that power, they could bring instantaneous and certain death...

"I am become Death"


Three weeks later, the Americans dropped their new bomb on a Japanese city — without any prior warning whatsoever, so as to ensure the highest possible number of casualties.

Today is the 65th anniversary of that bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

On this day 65 years ago, a bomb dubbed “Little Boy” exploded above that southern Japanese city (Monday will be the anniversary of the August 9, 1945, explosion of a second atomic bomb, dubbed “Fat Man,” over Nagasaki).

Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 — the Feast of the Assumption.

The population of Hiroshima had reached a peak of over 381,000 earlier in the war, but prior to the atomic bombing the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Japanese government. At the time of the attack the population was approximately 340,000–350,000.

The release of the bomb came at 08:15 (Hiroshima time) — early morning.

The bomb contained just 60 kilograms (130 lb) of uranium-235 — this means that the material which destroyed Hiroshima was only about the size of an average briefcase.

The bomb took 43 seconds to fall from the aircraft to the predetermined detonation height about 1,900 feet (580 m) above the city.

The bomb instantly killed as many as 100,000 people in Hiroshima, most of them civilians.

The blast, many millions of degrees in temperature, hotter than the surface of the sun, instantly vaporized those near its epicenter.


People, including many thousands of school children who had just arrived at school and were sitting at their desks, were simply incinerated — turned into tiny particles of dust — in less than a second.


======================================


Dorothy Day on the Atom Bomb at Hiroshima

by Dorothy Day

(Note: This is the article that the American Catholic convert Dorothy Day wrote just after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. She begins by commenting on the reaction of US President Harry Truman to the news of the destruction of the two Japanese cities. The figure of 318,000 she gives for the number killed was what was first reported in the press; the figure was later reduced. This is how one serious Catholic at that time reacted to these events; I make no further comment.)

Mr. Truman was jubilant. President Truman. True man; what a strange name, come to think of it. We refer to Jesus Christ as true God and true Man. Truman is a true man of his time in that he was jubilant. He was not a son of God, brother of Christ, brother of the Japanese, jubilating as he did. He went from table to table on the cruiser which was bringing him home from the Big Three conference, telling the great news; "jubilant" the newspapers said. Jubilate Deo. We have killed 318,000 Japanese.

That is, we hope we have killed them, the Associated Press, on page one, column one of the Herald Tribune says. The effect is hoped for, not known. It is to be hoped they are vaporized, our Japanese brothers, scattered, men, women and babies, to the four winds, over the seven seas. Perhaps we will breathe their dust into our nostrils, feel them in the fog of New York on our faces, feel them in the rain on the hills of Eaton.

Jubilate Deo. President Truman was jubilant. We have created. We have created destruction. We have created a new element, called Pluto. Nature had nothing to do with it.

The papers list the scientists (the murderers) who are credited with perfecting this new weapon. Scientists, army officers, great universities, and captains of industry — all are given credit lines in the press for their work of preparing the bomb — and other bombs, the President assures us, are in production now.

Everyone says, "I wonder what the Pope thinks of it?" How everyone turns to the Vatican for judgment, even though they do not seem to listen to the voice there! But our Lord Himself has already pronounced judgment on the atomic bomb. When James and John (John the beloved) wished to call down fire from heaven on their enemies, Jesus said:

"You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of Man came not to destroy souls but to save." He said also, "What you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do unto me."

(Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXV, No. 5, July-August 2005. (Reprinted from The Catholic Worker, September 1945)

====================================

"Skin Melting"

“If you cut off a piece of fingernail and burn it…that’s what burning human flesh smells like,” said Seiko Fujimoto, who was just three years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Even so, her memories of that day are vivid: “If you ask me to draw a picture of what I saw, I could do it perfectly. There were people holding their hands out in front of them, skin melting off their bodies…watering holes overflowing with corpses.”

She pauses and adds, “To this day, I can hear people moaning “mizu… mizu” (water, water).

(from a recent article by Tara Shiina Morimoto Wakely in the Nichi Bei Times in San Francisco)

==================================


The Only Time

Only on these two occasions, 65 years ago, have atomic weapons ever been used.

But since 1945, man has devleoped thermonuclear bombs thousands of times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and there are thousands of these weapons in the major nuclear arsenals around the world.

8/7/2010 4:13 PM
 
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Thanks, Mary. What horrible weapons we have been able to construct ever since... but calling the test bomb Trinity... that makes my skin crawl!!

Very sorrowful about the final result was the great Albert Einstein. A very pacifistic, peaceful man.
8/9/2010 1:47 AM
 
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Thanks for sharing Mary. I do agree that the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th and Nagasaki on August 9th were horrible and terrible. I've seen documentaries on the "race to the A-bomb" and how Albert Einstein was greatly saddened. I have also seen documentaries on how US President Harry Truman struggled with the decision to bomb the 2 cities. He had reports from battle field troops stating that when they entered villages they found all civilians dead. The Japanese government told their cilivilian population that the Allied troops would rape and murder everyone they found alive. Facing this, mothers would murder their children and then commit suicide. In order to prevent this, from taking over the entire country President Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima in hopes of a surrender; when none came he ordered the bombing of Nagasaki. On August 15th Emperor Hirohito addressed his people over the radio and announced the unconditional surrender of Japan. Only God knows for sure what was in Harry Truman's mind, heart and soul at that time and only God has the right to judge him. Also sometime between August 15th and September 2nd (the day the formal surrender was signed) the ship carrying a 24 year old man from Minneapolis Minnesota USA entered Tokyo Bay. He sent a letter home to his wife and 2 young children (the youngest of which was born while he was at sea) stating that he hoped to be home in time for Christmas. That young man was my father... 4 more children were born after his return... including me.

8/9/2010 11:22 PM
 
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Nan, your post jogged my memory of at least one documentary I've seen about the final stages of the war in the Pacific. It showed Japanese civilians throwing themselves from cliffs on the islands [Iwo Jima, Okinawa and others] as the Americans fought their way towards the mainland islands of Japan. Though dreadful to watch, this seemed to be the culture of Japanese at that time, linked also to the Kamikaze pilots and their Zero planes - human bombs.
Did the Japanese people believe that the Americans had their values, or lack of values? The truly dreadful "Rape of Nanking" is just one of the atrocities carried out by the Japanese against the Chinese. Of course, the Americans were there to liberate. It's a bit like Berlin earlier that year: the Russian soldiers raped and murdered; the Allied soldiers did not.

In those times the world certainly saw the personification of evil. We must pray that it doesn't happen again and that nuclear weapons are really a deterrent. Today was the anniversary of Nagasaki.

8/19/2010 11:47 PM
 
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Article in Homelitic and Pastoral Review article
There was an article about the bombing in this magazine that I subscribe to, and I was happy to be able to find it online to share:

www.hprweb.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=250:the-catholic-holocaust-of-nagasaki-august-9-1945why-lord&catid=34:curre...


The Catholic Holocaust of Nagasaki—“Why, Lord?”

The witness of the Catholics
of Nagasaki shows
God’s providence in the darkest of times.
By Brother Anthony Josemaria

On August 9, 1945, God’s inscrutable providence allowed an atomic bomb named “Fat Man” to be dropped from a B-29 into the heavily populated city of Nagasaki. The epicenter of the blast was the Urakami district, the heart and soul of Catholicism in Japan since the sixteenth century. My purpose in this article is to share an insight into God’s purpose in allowing this horrible event, a discovery made from reading (the recent Ignatius Press reprint of) Fr. Paul Glynn’s marvelous book A Song for Nagasaki. The book is subtitled, The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb.1

Nagasaki is the oldest open-port city of Japan and one of the most beautiful, situated in the southernmost part of the country, on the western side of the island of Kyushu and only about fifty miles from South Korea. A natural harbor, the great port of Nagasaki is protected by several islands at its entrance, and consists of a heavily populated residential and commercial area extending a few miles up the valleys feeding the harbor and also along terraces up the hillsides. Though commercial activity declined in the twentieth century and especially after World War II (because of the closing of trade with China), industry increased greatly during the twentieth century as Nagasaki became the shipbuilding capital of Japan.
Nagasaki’s Catholic heritage

Nagasaki was first evangelized in 1549 by Jesuit missionaries from Portugal, led by the Spanish Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, who arrived in Nagasaki on August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.2 Providentially, perhaps, exactly four hundred years later in Nagasaki on August 15, 1949—and exactly four years after Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945—there would be a great celebration of Japan’s evangelization by this great preacher, with high Church officials and a delegate from Pope Pius XII in attendance. The coincidence of these three “Assumption events” is quite striking and, as we shall see, not isolated.

Christianity spread quickly from Nagasaki, so that by 1580, just over thirty years, there were two hundred thousand converts in Japan. The multiplication of Christians proceeded despite the opposition of Buddhist priests and local rulers. However, in 1587, after a sizable number of Japanese feudal barons and a great number of samurai became Christians, along with the tens of thousands of peasants and townsfolk, Emperor Hideyoshi reversed his previous admiration for the Jesuits, ordering that they be banished and that all Japanese Christians renounce their religion. Nevertheless, in 1593 six Franciscans, led by the Spanish friar Fr. Peter Baptiste, also entered Japan and worked zealously amid persecution, converting many to the faith and even building some churches and a hospital.
In 1596 the Emperor cracked down on the Christians, ordering twenty-six of the leading offenders to be arrested in Kyoto, the capital city, and force-marched to Nagasaki for the penalty of death by crucifixion. The offenders consisted of three Jesuits, fifteen Franciscan Tertiaries, two other laymen, and the six Franciscan friars. Each had part of his left ear cut off before the forced march to Nagasaki, a distance of about five hundred miles taking thirty days, all in the midst of winter. In Nagasaki they were tied to crosses with their necks held in place by iron rings. As they awaited death, the singing of psalms broke out from the twenty-six. The great crowd that had assembled to watch the spectacle quieted and began to listen. Then one of the twenty-six began the Sanctus, a fitting oblation: for here, as in the Mass, they were offering themselves for the glory of God and were about to have their lives crushed out, just as the bread and wine offering is made by the crushing of wheat and grapes. Then one of the Franciscans, from his cross, began singing the simplest of litanies, “Jesus, Mary…Jesus, Mary….” The event is beautifully re-told in A Song for Nagasaki

The Christians in the crowd took up the prayer, four thousand of them. Hazaburo Terazawa was the official in charge of the execution, and he would have to give a personal account to the dictator. He was growing apprehensive, as it was becoming a show of Christian strength rather than the bloodcurdling spectacle Dictator Hideyoshi had ordered.

One of the twenty-six asked leave to speak. He was the thirty-three-year-old Jesuit Paul Miki, son of a general in Baron Takayama’s army, an accomplished catechist and preacher. Dying well was tremendously important for samurai, and they often met death with a jisei no uta, or farewell song. Miki’s strong voice reached the edges of the crowd.
“I am a Japanese and a brother of the Society of Jesus. I have committed no crime. The only reason I am condemned to die is that I have taught the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am happy to die for that and accept death as a great gift from my Lord.” Miki asked the crowd if they saw fear on the faces of the twenty-six. He assured them there was no fear because heaven was real. He had only one dying request: that they believe. He said he forgave Hideyoshi and those responsible for his execution. Then with deliberation and a ringing voice, he gave his farewell song. It was the verse of Psalm 31 that Christ quoted from the Cross: “Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Terazawa gave a sign, and the samurai moved in with their steel-tipped bamboo lances. The samurai gave deep-throated cries, and their lances ripped into the twenty-six. The deadly silence of the crowd suddenly erupted into an angry roar, and Terazawa hurriedly withdrew to complete his report. The spectacle of humiliation had gone awry. The prestige of Christians rose dramatically, and baptisms increased.

It was February 5, 1597, the day of Japan’s first martyrs, now celebrated in the Church as a memorial on February 6. Christianity continued to spread in Japan, especially after the Emperor died. However, in 1614 a new persecution began and Christians in great numbers chose death rather than renouncing the faith. Within a year all churches and missionary centers were destroyed. With government agents, soldiers and spies everywhere, priests and catechists were executed, and new priests arriving from Europe were easily identified by their foreign accents and executed. With the introduction of new and refined tortures to break the Christians, Nagasaki Christians migrated to offshore islands and inland, up the nearby Urakami Valley. They devised ways of handing on the faith without priests: they became farmers and fishermen and formed an underground church. They appointed a “waterman” to baptize, a “calendar man” to keep the dates of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and so forth, and a chokata, or “head man,” as overall leader.

In 1858, Commodore Perry’s gunboats forced a commercial treaty on Japan with the United States. Though Europeans built churches in Yokohama and Nagasaki, the military leaders (shoguns) allowed only non-Japanese to enter. In 1864, Fr. Petitjean of the Paris Missionary Society, who since his seminary days had been an admirer of the Japanese martyrs, completed a church in Oura, a southern suburb of Nagasaki. On a busy market day, one of the Urakami Christians slipped into the Oura church undetected and saw a statue of Mary holding the Christ child. After questioning local officials and learning that the priest lived without a wife, the Urakami Christians realized that they had two of the necessary signs taught them by their parents. It was an oral tradition given by priests during the great persecution two hundred and fifty years before: “The Church will return to Japan, and you will know it by three signs: the priests will be celibate, there will be a statue of Mary, and it will obey Papa-sama in Rome.”
Disguised as a farmer, Fr. Petitjean visited the clandestine Christians and celebrated their first Mass in their hidden meeting place, a spacious cattle shed. Sensitive to the symbolism of the Christ Child’s actual birth in a cow shed after being refused a place to stay by townspeople, they gave the cows extra hay on December 25. But the peace did not last long after Nagasaki officials got word of the clandestine Christians and their visiting French priest, for the country was still ruled in 1867 by the Tokugawa dictatorship, the same dynasty that had wiped out Japanese Christians in the 1600s. Thus orders came to Nagasaki civic officials to stamp out these smoldering embers of Christianity. Considered traitors to Japan, the government sent them to prison camps scattered all over Japan to destroy their unity.

Less than a year later, the Tokugawa dictatorship was overthrown, and the Emperor, held in his “gilded cage” at Kyoto for centuries by the Tokugawa rule, was reinstated in the person of Emperor Meiji. This did not immediately help the Christian cause, however, because there was a movement for Japanese unity in the face of the great Western colonial threat to Asia. The efforts to de-program the imprisoned Christians became even more brutal, and many died. It was only after Europeans living in Nagasaki alerted the Western press that the Meiji government abandoned its policy in 1872. This was not out of sympathy for the Christians, but simply because the government wished to increase trade with the United States. Thus, after five years in prison, the Urakami Christians were freed. About 20 percent of the prisoners, 664 of the 3,414 taken in captivity, had died. Upon returning to their lands, they found everything gone—their farming equipment, boats, furniture—with their once-neat rice paddies overtaken by wilderness.

By 1895 the Urakami Catholics had saved enough to build a stone and brick cathedral under the direction of their amateur architect priest. It was a colossal effort, all done by poor people who had to learn everything, from the making of cement to the sculpture of statues. The project was stopped several times as money ran out. Finally, twenty-two years after the first foundation stones were dragged up the hill, the cathedral was completed. The year was 1917. It was 230 feet long, accommodating five thousand worshippers—the largest cathedral in the Far East, with two bell towers more than one hundred feet high. It was named St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Among the central features of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Nagasaki were statues of Jesus and Mary together. As in every healthy Christian culture, this was greatly appealing to the Japanese, for the mother is central to the Japanese family, where maternity and femininity are especially honored and treasured. This strong Japanese appeal to the motherly and the feminine—in the virtuous sense of tender, selfless care for others—was manifest in Japan by the popular images portraying the Buddha, a masculine figure, as the maternal, feminine figure Kannon. Thus, in the two and a half centuries when Christianity was outlawed, the Hidden Christians had in their homes statues of Mary, but made in such “Kannon likeness” that they would be mistaken by non-Christians as images of Kannon.

This fullness of Catholic doctrine was vigorously re-emphasized for Japanese Catholics in the twentieth century by the great Marian-Franciscan evangelist Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, whose magazine The Knight became the largest Catholic publication in Japan, with a circulation in 1933 of 50,000.6 Japanese Catholics knew, therefore, that by God’s holy will, Mary suffered tremendously with Jesus for our salvation. Thus devotion to Mary among the Urakami Catholics was based on a great and proper respect for the Mother’s suffering for them, as her children. This was clearly manifest by the statue outside the entrance of the Urakami Cathedral—Mary standing beside her Crucified Son. Most significantly, devotion to Mary as Mother of God and their Mother was manifest by widespread, daily devotion to the Rosary.7 These facts—that the Urakami Catholics of 1945 had a correct understanding and a deeply devoted practice of their Catholic faith—are quite central to our understanding of what follows.

The atomic event
The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 was considerably more powerful than the one dropped three days earlier on Hiroshima, where 140,000 of the city’s 255,000 inhabitants were quickly killed. However, technical and weather-related difficulties confined the Nagasaki count to 35,000 dead. Of the 12,000 Catholics in the Urakami district, 8,500 were killed. Many of those not killed, as in the case of Takashi Nagai’s two young children, were spared simply because, by anticipation of the firebombing that came on nearly all the large cities of Japan, they had gone to the countryside; others were serving in the military. Of those who died in the bombing, some were actually worshiping in St. Mary’s Cathedral. Besides these immediate deaths, an estimated 200,000 people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima died from the effects of atomic radiation. Of those who survived, a high percentage lost family members or suffered permanent disabilities.
Hiroshima suffered the greater death toll, but with relatively less physical damage to the city’s infrastructure compared to Nagasaki, because the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, though less powerful, was intentionally exploded at 1,850 feet in the air above the city. Nagasaki, on the other hand, suffered a direct hit in its Urakami district, the historic Catholic area, so that much of the surrounding city and population were relatively more protected by terrain. Spared from the Nagasaki blast, for example, was the famous Catholic mission church founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in the 1930s, the seedbed for Kolbe’s proposed “City of the Immaculate” in Japan, which he built, providentially, in the foothills facing away from the blast. Interestingly, Kolbe called the friary there the “Garden of the Immaculate.” Another interesting fact is that four Jesuit priests stationed in Hiroshima at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was only blocks from the epicenter of the Hiroshima explosion, were spared when virtually everyone around them was killed. The miraculous nature of their preservation was widely explained as due to their solid devotion to the Blessed Mother, manifest by faithfulness to praying the Rosary.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the world, Kolbe’s great Polish City of the Immaculate was fiercely dismantled by the Nazi holocaust, with Kolbe himself martyred at Auschwitz. Interestingly, Kolbe, whom witnesses say died in a state of ecstatic joy, was killed on August 14 and his body vaporized in the Auschwitz ovens on August 15. Again we have the feast day of the Assumption of Mary in our liturgy of signs. But any less a gift to Kolbe would be quite incomprehensible, since he was, like Christ, so mystically united to Mary, radiating her sweet gentleness to such a profound degree, that he was known to literally “breathe Mary.”9 The brutally atheistic Nazis also completely destroyed Kolbe’s famous Christo-Marian-Franciscan apostolate, the largest Christian publishing operation of the world to that date—operated by nearly eight hundred fervent friars in his City of the Immaculate, which was the largest Christian monastic community the world had seen since the great Benedictine monasteries of medieval times.

These two facts taken together—the destruction of Kolbe’s Polish epicenter for Catholic evangelization of Europe and the Americas, and the destruction of Catholic Nagasaki—have led many to ask: “Why, Lord? Why, did you permit the horrendous bombing of this illustrious Catholic epicenter in Japan, which, after the war, would have been central to the Catholic evangelization of Asia?” Of course, the same “why” may be asked regarding any number of difficult circumstances that seem, at first glance, opposed to God’s good providence. However, I shall confine our question to Nagasaki because we have a satisfactory answer in the story of Takashi Nagai, a survivor of the Nagasaki bomb. It is an answer more profound than the answer given by God to Job.

When the Nagasaki blast occurred, Dr. Nagai was working in the x-ray department that he had helped found at the Nagasaki Medical University, a half-mile from the epicenter. Though the blast did not completely level the reinforced concrete hospital, 80 percent of the occupants were killed. Nagai’s wing was in the southeast corner, furthest from the blast. Nevertheless, he was blown completely across his office and quickly suffered severe loss of blood from cuts made by flying window glass. He also began suffering greatly from high exposure to radiation and was later told by doctors that he had only a short time to live. Curiously, Kolbe enters our story again as Nagai hears a voice in his mind, perhaps from his guardian angel, telling him to pray to Fr. Maximilian Kolbe. He understood this strange guidance to mean that he should pray to the holy Franciscan priest who, in the 1930s, had been so well loved by the Nagasaki Catholics. Kolbe had left Japan nine years previously in 1936, and Nagai had, because of the news blackout in Japan, no knowledge of Kolbe’s death at Auschwitz in 1941. But, curiously, he had known Fr. Kolbe well in the early 1930s and had actually x-rayed him to determine the extent of his chronic tuberculosis. Nagai prayed to Maximilian Kolbe and was cured. As physicians, he and the others knew it was an obvious miracle from God. He attributed it to the friar’s intercession.

A truly biblical holocaust
Meanwhile, and for the next five years of his life, Nagai lived with his two young children in a primitive hut, and spent these years devoted to helping the victims of the atomic bomb, partly by writing books on the topic. One of his books, The Bells of Nagasaki, evoked an extraordinarily deep response in the hearts of the Japanese people and became a national bestseller, despite its Christian tone, and a famous movie was based on it. The Japanese people rediscovered in this book something they had long lost through war—love.
The unique message that Takashi Nagai communicated, both in his writing and by the way he conducted himself, was peace. It was the peace of Jesus Christ, obtained as a great gift, finally, through the colossal suffering he experienced and accepted, without bitterness, as God’s holy will. These are cheap words—“accept your cross”—easy to say by someone who has not experienced great suffering and loss. Indeed, many who heard Nagai remained bitter. But because of Nagai’s books and lived example, many gained an astonishing peacefulness through this holy understanding and acceptance of suffering. The difference between the two groups of people is still noticeable today at the annual A-bomb anniversaries in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the regular participants in 1985 expressed the difference in this way: “Hiroshima is bitter, noisy, highly political, leftist and anti-American. Its symbol would be a fist clenched in anger. Nagasaki is sad, quiet, reflective, nonpolitical and prayerful. It does not blame the United States but rather laments the sinfulness of war, especially of nuclear war. Its symbol: hands joined in peace.”10
Nagai fully discovered this profound message of the Cross three months after the holocaust. Asked by the bishop to speak at the funeral Mass for the victims held in the courtyard of the bombed cathedral, Nagai prayed for guidance on something meaningful to say. Then he remembered two strange stories, one by a nurse and some others in his radiology department telling of some women singing Latin hymns on the midnight after the blast. The next day they found the twenty-seven nuns from the nearby Josei Convent. The convent was demolished and all were dead, horribly burned to death; and yet they died singing! The other incident concerned girls from Junshin, a school where his wife Midori had taught, run by nuns that he knew well. During the dark days of 1945, when the people worried of being firebombed, the girls had been taught by the principal nun to sing, “Mary, my Mother, I offer myself to you.” Remarkably, after the bombing, though many of the Junshin girls were instantly killed, Nagai heard several reports of different groups of Junshin girls who had been working in factories, fields and other places, singing, “Mary, my Mother, I offer myself to you.” Many would be dead within days, but they were heard singing.11 Nagai now knew what he must say to the people:

“At midnight that night, our cathedral suddenly burst into flames and was consumed. At exactly the same time in the Imperial Palace, His Majesty the Emperor made known his sacred decision to end the war. On August 15, the Imperial Rescript, which put an end to the fighting, was formally promulgated, and the whole world saw the light of peace. August 15 is also the great feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is significant, I believe, that the Urakami cathedral was dedicated to her. We must ask: was this convergence of events, the end of the war and the celebration of her feast day, merely coincidental, or was it the mysterious Providence of God?
“…It was not the American crew, I believe, who chose our suburb. God’s Providence chose Urakami and carried the bomb right above our homes. Is there not a profound relationship between the annihilation of Nagasaki and the end of the war? Was not Nagasaki the chosen victim, the lamb without blemish, slain as a whole burnt offering on the altar of sacrifice, atoning for the sins of all the nations during World War II?”

Nagai used hansai, the Japanese word for the Bible’s “holocaust,” or whole burnt offering. The angry reaction of some mourners is well captured by the famous director Keisuke Kinosita in Children of Nagasaki, the most recent movie on Nagai’s life. Some of the congregation stood up and shouted in protest that Nagai should try to dignify with pious words the atrocity perpetrated on their families. Nagai showed neither anger nor surprise. Having traveled through the dark valley they were in, he was sympathetic to their response. He continued with a quiet authority that compelled silence.

“We are inheritors of Adam’s sin…of Cain’s sin…. Hating one another, killing one another, joyfully killing one another!… but mere repentance was not enough for peace…. We had to offer a stupendous sacrifice…. Cities had been leveled, but that was not enough…. Only this hansai in Nagasaki sufficed, and at that moment God inspired our Emperor to issue the sacred proclamation that ended the war. The Christian flock of Nagasaki was true to the Faith through three centuries of persecution. During the recent war it prayed ceaselessly for a lasting peace. Here was the one pure lamb that had to be sacrificed as hansai on His altar…so that many millions of lives might be saved… Let us be thankful that Nagasaki was chosen for the whole burnt sacrifice! Let us be thankful that through this sacrifice, peace was granted to the world and religious freedom to Japan.”

When Nagai finished and sat down the silence was deep. His finding of God’s Providence at work even in the horrors of August 9 had a profound effect on his listeners and, when repeated later in his books, on non-Christians in Nagasaki and throughout Japan.12
When Nagai addressed the A-bomb mourners at the Nagasaki funeral Mass, he used the startling word hansai, telling them to offer their dead to God as a whole burnt sacrifice. Many were shocked and even angered by this. Sensitive Nagai examined his conscience about this in a book he wrote not long before he died. He concluded he was right in urging people to accept the deaths as hansai. The proof? The peace of heart this acceptance brought. Nagai had become a Word-of-God man, discerning major matters according to the words of Scripture. He concluded that the hansai insight was authentic because it brought him and many others “the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” For Nagai, Gal. 5:22 said it all: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.” Nagai, standing at the crossroads of death, averred that hansai spirituality had brought great peace.13
In Nagai’s final book, which he completed in great pain before being carried on a stretcher to his alma mater, the Nagasaki University Hospital, his last line was a quotation from the third-century North African theologian, Tertullian: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” Nagai died shortly thereafter on May 1, 1951, the first day of the month of Mary. He prepared for death by repeating, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” in Japanese Nenbutsu style, the Buddhist mantra style used as the mainstay of samurai in dire straits. Then he quietly uttered the last words of Christ: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”


Brother Anthony Josemaria is a member of the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a new Franciscan Order of Pontifical Rite founded under Pope John Paul II in 1998 according to the instructions and example of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe. Brother Anthony teaches the Catechism of the Catholic Church and has most recently compiled and edited a two-volume book titled The Blessed Virgin Mary in England: A Mary Catechism with Pilgrimage to Her Holy Shrines, iUniverse, 2008 and 2009. This is his first article in HPR; it appears in the August/September 2010 issue.


"To believe in the brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God would make men a race of bastards." -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
8/20/2010 4:45 AM
 
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Bood,

Thanks for posting. The article was very interesting and enlightening.






11/7/2010 12:40 AM
 
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I think the unbelievable has happened and my computer is working properly
Hey peoples :D

I tried to join you months ago....and my computer "says no" and crashed a few times.. :O but now its worked I think? YAAY :]

From Peaz (thats not my real name...my parents not that mean lol..Im Hannah :]!)

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11/7/2010 1:10 AM
 
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@Hannah: I thought you'd been a member here for ages, though you haven't posted! Now you really must post a lot! It's great to have you here. You and I are old friends, but most peeps on this forum don't know you yet.

I love your saying: Why be normal when you can be weird?

I like being weird - it's more fun !!!!!
! [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]

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