While there are "no small difficulties" in the country due to a lack of clergy, religious and a limited participation of lay faithful, the Pope stressed that "the scarcity of workers cannot reduce the commitment to evangelize."
Current challenges, he said, "cannot make us resigned nor defer to an irenic and numbing dialogue, even if some problematic situations arouse considerable concern."
He pointed examples of these challenges, the Pope referred to the high rates of divorce and suicide among youth; the numerous people who live "totally disengaged from social life;" the presence of religious and spiritual "formalism;" moral relativism; religious indifference and "the obsession for work and earnings."
A society that runs on economic development as a consequence creates a class of poor, marginalized and excluded persons, he said, explaining that this goes not just for the materially poor, but also "those who are spirituality and morally like this."
"In this peculiar context, the need for the Church in Japan to constantly renew the choice for the mission of Jesus, both in salt and in light, becomes urgent," he said. "The genuine evangelistic strength of your Church, which comes from being a Church of martyrs and confessors of the faith, is a great asset to guard and develop."
Francis then stressed the need for a "a solid and integral" priestly and religious formation, which he said is "a particularly urgent task today" thanks to the widespread promotion of the "culture of the provisional."
This mentality also leads youth to believe "that it's not possible to truly love, that nothing stable exists and that everything, including love, is relative to circumstances and the needs of feeling," he said.
Because of this, a key step in the formation process is to help those tasked with it to "understand and experience in depth the characteristics of Jesus' love, which is free, involves self-sacrifice and is merciful forgiveness," the Pope said.
"This experience renders us capable of going against the current and trusting the Lord, who does not delude. It's the witness Japanese society is so thirsty for."
Pope Francis closed his letter by pointing to the presence of ecclesial movements in the country. With their "evangelistic impulse and witness," he said these movements can be of great help "in the pastoral service and mission 'ad gentes' (to the nations)."
"These realities contribute to the work of evanglization," he said, adding that as bishops, "we are called to know and accompany the charisms that they carry and make them part of our work in the context of pastoral integration."
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Francis closed his letter praying that the Lord would "send workers into his Church in Japan and support you with his consolation," and gave them his blessing.