Newsletter of the District
- December 2000
Williamson's impressions on Japan
ago, I was just back from another journey around the world. This
time, after a five-day stop to give a retreat in California, the
journey was, at the Superior General's request, to the Far East.
Asia is not the most Catholic part of the world, but it has much
to rejoice and edify a Catholic heart.
The first stop
was Japan. In the two biggest cities, Tokyo and Osaka, a devout
and brave widow, Mrs Shuko Nakama, small in stature but great in
heart and Faith, has gathered together two small groups of Catholics
with a devotion to the Tridentine Mass. These eagerly await the
next occasional visit of a Society priest, and during his brief
stay, they know what it is that they want of him ‑ the sacraments!
Four of the seven sacraments in one day for instance, and then sacramentals
also, to be blessed by the bushel!
are an extraordinary people. Amongst all the Far Eastern peoples
St Francis Xavier met, he is said to have liked the Japanese best.
They are not a Christian people and never have been, except for
a minority, but their natural virtues of discipline, work and order
are such that they are presently an economic super-power, beating
the West at its own game. What a shame that visitors from the West
show themselves in their dress and behavior so lacking dignity and
discipline! What self-respecting people would ever wish to adopt
the culture or beliefs of such unmanned men and unwomanly women
as many of these Western tourists give every appearance of being?
Xavier was in the same upset over the poor example of Christianity
given then in the Far East by the supposed Christians. Yet the Oriental
peoples could of course be won for Christ. It is an extraordinary
experience to be sitting, on the floor, Japanese style, in a Japanese
restaurant, amidst complete strangers of an alien culture, and hear,
coming through the interpreter of their strange language, pertinent
and serious questions concerning the Faith in today's world. Back
one sends an answer into their wholly unknown tongue, and then the
attentive faces light up with wholly known and familiar reactions
we are all children of the same Father!