Australia's Anglican Ordinariate to include Japan

Hokusai's Great Wave

Hokusai's Great Wave

An Ordinariate for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church,  set to be established in Australia by Pentecost this year,  will also include Japan.

So far  four bishops and 24 Anglican priests in Australia and the Torres Strait Islands have expressed their firm intention to join. The Traditional Anglican Communion, (TAC) a group of disaffected Anglicans who have been seeking full communion with Rome for years, will host a festival in Perth on 26 February at Holy Family Catholic Church in Como for the Anglican Ordinariate for Australia.

TAC Bishop Harry Entwistle, told Australian Catholic newspaper The Record, that the festival would be a public statement that “this is no longer just a theory, it’s really happening”.

He said: “It’s an opportunity to gather those who are more than just casually interested.”

Japan’s Anglican Catholics constitute a small group led by a retired Anglican Bishop Raphael Kajiwara. Bishop Entwistle said the Japanese were happy to adopt a Western Ordinariate like Australia as they were among a persecuted minority.

Approximately one per cent of the population of Japan are Christian. Half of these, (about 509,000) are Catholic. Most other Christian denominations are also represented in very small numbers.

Christianity was brought to Japan in the 16th century, by Jesuit missionaries, lead by St Francis Xavier who arrived in 1549. Nagasaki became the centre of Japanese Catholicism, and maintained close cultural and religious ties to its Portuguese origins until the faith was outlawed by the Tokugawa dynasty. Many Christian communities were massacred but the faith survived underground, its rites preserved by the 'hidden Christians' who continued to pray together in secret, often without priests. Gradually the government became more tolerant of foreign religions and by the 19th century small Catholic communities were re-established and Protestant denominations began arriving.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II paid a visit to Japan, during which he celebrated Mass in Tokyo, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and other places.

Source: AsiaNews/The Record/ICN

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