Japan’s Catholic bishops reiterate call for peace, saying ‘peace is a duty’

The bishops drew attention to new threats to nuclear peace and international security due to Russia's war against Ukraine

The Catholic bishops of Japan this week reiterated their call for peace on the occasion of the annual Ten Days of Prayer for Peace from August 6 to 10.

“Peace is possible, peace is a duty,” said the bishops in a statement during the prayer initiative to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

In a statement signed by Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, the Church leaders said peace is “everybody’s responsibility.”

The bishops drew attention to new threats to nuclear peace and international security due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

They noted the message of Pope Francis during a General Audience two years ago when the pontiff called for “diversity and solidarity united in harmony” as the way to emerge from COVID-19.

“However, over the past six months what has unfolded before our eyes has not been harmony, diversity or solidarity, but confrontation, exclusion and violence,” said the bishops.

They said that during the pandemic “we have learned … that supporting each other in solidarity is the best way to protect life.”

“Now, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world is being swept by feelings that peace can be won through violence. But that would only trample on true peace,” said the Japanese Church leaders.

The bishops’ message said war is so “powerful” that other vital but neglected issues related to human life “are driven from our awareness.”

Archbishop Kikuchi said that every war “brings in its wake consequences that affect the entire human family: from grief and mourning to the drama of refugees, and to the economic and food crisis.”

The bishops called on the faithful “to reflect upon and act for peace from different angles.”

The “Ten Days for Peace” initiative was established by the Japanese bishops in in 1982 following Pope John Paul II’s “Appeal for Peace at Hiroshima” during his Apostolic Journey to Japan.

During his visit to the country in November 2019, Pope Francis said the possession of nuclear weapons is also immoral.

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