Tokyo (Agenzia Fides) - "This is a year in which peace has been trampled upon. The dignity of life and its protection are neglected. During our ten days of prayer for peace this year we find ourselves in the midst of a new crisis of life" , said the President of the Japanese Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo, in his message entitled "Ten Days of Prayer for Peace", which the Japanese Church is celebrating from August 6 to 15, to mark the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August 1945) and to ask for the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August.
The Prelate recalled that Pope Francis emphasized the importance of solidarity in protecting life and dealing with the crisis. Regarding the conflicts shaking the world, the Archbishop expressed concern that the impact of the pandemic is being exacerbated by the crisis of war. Referring to the conflict in Ukraine, Archbishop Kikuchi condemned "the violent act of a great power that tramples on the growing efforts of the international community for peace" and recalled "the desires of so many who want to protect life and seek peace".
"During the pandemic, we have learned that supporting one another and caring for each other's lives is the best way to protect life. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but a situation in which the various factors in of society that potentially lead to conflict are eliminated and life is lived in mutual support", he states.
"Now the world is overwhelmed by the feeling that peace can be achieved through violence. But that would only trample on true peace," reads the text of the message, which reproduces Pope Francis' Easter message "Urbi et Orbi" of April 17, in which the Pontiff appeals: "Please, please, let us not get used to war! Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets! Peace! May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace".
The head of the Japanese bishops noted with regret that the war is causing a deep crisis in the lives of thousands of people who are being forced to leave their homes, flee and face dangers: "The gift of God, life, must be preserved from beginning to end. Those of us who live in this common home are called to stand up for ecological justice, that is, to defend human life from conception to death and all forms of life on earth."
"In our Ten Days of Prayer for Peace", reads the text addressed to the Japanese faithful, "we have time to reflect and act for peace. Every war brings consequences that affect the entire human family: from the grief over the refugee drama to the economic and food crisis. Let us be conquered by the peace of Christ! Peace is possible; peace is a duty; peace is the most important responsibility of all". (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/8/2022)