Ten of Japan’s sixteen bishops are gathering Aug. 6 for their annual  commemoration of humanity’s first use of an atomic bomb in an act of war  and the first since the March meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

Bishop Paul Otsuka of the Kyoto diocese thinks there is need for careful consideration.

Speaking in a letter on behalf of his diocese to the entire Japanese church, Otsuka wrote this month that Japan, “which is the only country in the world to have been attacked with atomic weapons,” now “stands in danger of becoming a country fundamentally damaged because of atomic energy generation.”

That possibility, Otsuka wrote, should cause Japan to use the occasion to “discern whether atomic energy, which threatens mankind and the environment, comes within the acceptable limits of our legitimate use of science and technology.”

Otsuka’s letter was issued as part of the Japanese church’s annual celebration of ten days of peace during the month of August. From Aug. 6 (the date of the destruction of Hiroshima) to Aug. 15 (the date of Japanese surrender at the end of the Second World War), the Japanese church asks Catholics to pray and take action for peace causes.

The bishop has some very thought-provoking questions and insight in his full length interview with the National Catholic Reporter. Visit NCR online for more from the conversation, which also saw the bishop talk at length about the unique struggles facing the Catholic Church in Japan.

In the meantime here might be some questions for the followers of Vincent and Louise, Elizabeth and Frederic…

  • Given the massive impact on the poor not only Hiroshima but of the failure the Fukushima plant is nuclear energy something that should enter into our focus on systemic change?
  • The bishop suggests the issue is deeper than even renewable energy but rather an issue of our addiction to energy and it implications . Do our eyes glaze over at that kind of probing question about lifestyle?
  • Should the Vincentian Family engage in and foster such discussions of simple life style.
  • What do you think our founder’s attitudes would be if they lived today?


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