He said that following his own experiences with one Way priest and hearing of similar problems from other bishops, he had decided not to permit their ministry in his archdiocese.
Way priests' divided obedience — to both to local bishops and to their superiors in Tokyo — makes for great difficulties, he explained.
“They say they want to be obedient to the bishop in whose diocese we work, but they don't do it, not completely, anyway, not sufficiently or in the proper way," he said.
Problems are related not only to authority but also to the way the Mass is celebrated.
While Way priests use the vernacular Japanese in the Mass, songs and chants used in the celebrations are not. "They use everything they have according to the spirituality of Kiko, which is very, very different from our culture and our mentality," Archbishop Takami said.
In addition, he said, Way members promote their celebrations as superior to the “imperfect” way the Mass is celebrated by ordinary diocesan priests. This also creates division within parishes.
There is also the question of finances. The Way keeps its finances apart from those of the parish, which makes reporting to the government difficult and makes parishes weaker.
Frustrated Japanese bishops are still searching to establish guidelines for the Way's presence in Japan, Archbishop Takami said.
He did not know what exactly was said in the meeting between the Pope and his brother bishops. He did say that "all bishops of Japan surely are very interested in this meeting.”
Archbishop Takami emphasized that the bishops were united in wishing to obey the Pope's decisions on the future of the Way in Japan.
He explained the proposal that the bishops had made to Way cofounder, Kiko Arguello.
(Story continues below)
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The Way would cease operations for five years and use that time "to reflect on their activities in Japan,” he explained.
"At the end, after the five years," said Archbishop Takami, "we will be ready to discuss things with them. We don't want them to leave and never come back. No, no. We want them to work in a way that we would like, for that they will have to learn the Japanese language and particularly Japanese culture."