Rome, Italy, Nov 21, 2008 / 16:20 pm America/Denver (CNA).
In a press release this week the bishops of Japan pointed out that the 188 Japanese martyrs to be beatified “are not political militants, they did not fight against a regime that hindered religious freedom: they were men and women of profound and authentic faith, who show the way for those who believe. Their experience is an opportunity for reflection for us all.”
According to the Fides news agency, in referring to these martyrs who gave their lives for Jesus Christ between 1603 and 1639, the Japanese bishops point out that their testimony is a challenge to the Church about the role of the laity in the transmission of the faith and in the organization of the Church, and therefore, they said, “It’s time that the formation of our laity be taken seriously.”
Likewise, the bishops underscored, “We appreciate the fact that, without these women” who are among the 188 martyrs, “the Church would not exist today in Japan. We await the beatification of these women martyrs as a message of hope and comfort for all the women of this country, of whatever religious faith.”