Japan: missionary sees awakening of spiritual values

Temple gates Katsuo ji

Temple gates Katsuo ji

Since the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis hit Japan, a missionary living in Tokyo said he has noticed signs of a return to prayer and spiritual values.

Fr Olmes Milani, CS, Scalabrinian missionary told Fides, that according to research, 86% of Japanese people don't believe in anything, but “the catastrophe which struck the country has awoken consciences and spiritual needs and values. The people are stopping to pray in Shinto and Buddhist temples. They all pray that the emergency volunteers and the victims of the tsunami will be helped."

He said: "Also in our Catholic churches there is an influx of non-Catholics that stop to pray. Values such as fraternity and solidarity are making a comeback in the face of the exaggerated individualism that dominates social relations.”

This is why everyone is convinced that this tragedy will have a profound impact on Japan's society in the future. The Japanese will be more open and sympathetic to others, even to strangers.”

Fr Milani said Christianity is still seen as a foreign religion by most people, but he felt   there was a  growing cooperation and collaboration between believers of different religions to consciously contribute to the wellbeing of society.”

With the alarming news about the nuclear disaster (which has reached alert level '7'), “fears, anxiety, Fr Milani said "the sense of helplessness and insecurity has risen  among the Japanese people,”.

He said the solidarity from all the dioceses was much appreciated, for the reception of refugees from the tsunami and also for the continuing support pledged to Caritas Japan through the Help Centre established in Sendai.

He concluded: “We must remember that the immigrants, staying in Japan to share the fate of the nation, were among the first to offer help as volunteers to victims in areas affected by the disaster.”

Source: Fides

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