CBCJ calls for kindness to win over indifferent Catholics
The survey found that though Japanese Catholics are overwhelmed by a nonreligious society and find it difficult to practise their faith, they approach the church for funerals and weddings.
The Catholic Church must tap traditional values of the faithful and show hospitality and kindness to win over indifferent ones, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ) has said in a statement this week.
The statement followed a survey that CBCJ conducted among Japanese Catholics, ahead of the College of Cardinals meeting in Rome to prepare for an extraordinary Synod of Bishops scheduled for October.
The survey found that though Japanese Catholics are overwhelmed by a nonreligious society and find it difficult to practise their faith, their traditions were so strong that without any encouragement or cajoling, they approach the church for funerals and weddings.
However, the church often fails to utilise this ‘entry point’ to win back several Catholics who may be indifferent or unaware of the teachings of the Church, the statement said.
It was impossible to apply Catholic teachings in marriages in Japan as Catholics account for less than 1% of the population and most marry non-Catholics. As a result, these individuals and their children do not receive the sacraments or attend Mass, CBCJ said.
“Because homes where the whole family is Catholic are few, rather than praying as a family, it is more common to pray as individuals… Generally speaking, transmission of faith to the next generation is difficult,” the bishops said.
“Christian family life is being overwhelmed by society’s values” and “young people increasingly perceive the church as a club of the elderly.” Most people divorce, remarry, use contraceptives or carry out abortions. “Some may cut their ties with the Church rather than face judgmental attitudes,” the CBCJ statement said.