Father Zakaria Botros

28 03 2008

Interesting article, to say the least, about a man I had never heard of before but is quite amazing in what he does since it seems so simple yet he has the courage to do it. 


Here is a youtube clip of Father Zakaria talking about Muslim cleric converts


And here is a clip, dubbed in English, from his show.


How does this relate to Japan?  Well I have heard from friends that there are some religion shows on tv very early Sunday morning, and the shows are very dull and obscure.  I wonder what would happen if there were a show like Father Zakaria`s on Japanese tv at a time of day that would get noticed.  Political debate shows are popular so why not a religious debate show with an excellent Catholic apologist?  Even if a Japanese priest put basic apologetics videos on youtube it would be a start since there is really nothing out there trying to reach Japanese people in an intelligent manner.


Story from a Chaplain`s Son

25 03 2008

An excerpt to see if you are interested.

One of the untold stories of courage occurred at the time of the American occupation of Japan. When my father returned to his family in spring of 1946 his first words were not about the war but of a meeting that he and other chaplains had with General Douglas MacArthur, concerning prostitution in post war Japan.

For the rest of the article


I got a Plenary Indulgence (I think)

25 03 2008

Of the many things I could say about my Easter this year one of the most unexpected things was I gained a plenary indulgence from the Pope`s Urbi et Orbi address.  This year I watched the Urbi et Orbi address out of curiosity since I had never watched it before and to my surprise there was a plenary indulgence granted at the end for those who were worthy.  And this year I was worthy I think. As far as I know I met the requirements for once as I had heard of plenary indulgences but was too spiritually lazy, or in sin, to work for it in the past. 

A bit more on indulgences


Even if I did not meet the requirements exactly and gained only a partial indulgence it was still nice to get after a rather rough Lent for me.  

Holy Thursday

20 03 2008

I attended Holy Thursday mass in my usual home parish and was disappointed they still have not fixed the liturgical problems/abuses that plague this one mass in particular. 

The mass does not start as a usual mass and instead begins with  a Q&A style reading about the last supper followed by no homily but right into the foot washing.  They get this wrong by inviting any member of the congregation to one of six stools to have their feet washed, by another member of the congregation then they in turn wash the next persons feet.  A quick google brings up at least one article on why this is wrong http://www.zenit.org/article-15653?l=english

The liturgy of the Eucharist is next where the Precious Blood is also offered to communicants (the only mas of the year it is)but shockingly the norm here, in this church, is people intinct or dip the host into the Precious Blood!  Aaak!   Good links and explanations on why this is not allowed can be found here http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3446702

I did not do this because I receive on the tongue.  I was brought up with receiving on the hand as the norm but have changed my ways in the last year.  I think it is more respectful for one.   

Next mass is ended and the Blessed Sacrament is carried to a side chapel to the altar of repose, and people file past either bowing or stopping to sit and pray.   

Abortion in Japan

18 03 2008

It is very common, accepted, and hard to get exact numbers on in English.  For example in a document from 2001 titled Reverence for Life: A Message for the Twenty-First Century from The Catholic Bishops of Japan they provide an unsourced statement that “There are more than one million abortions in Japan each year…”  http://www.cbcj.catholic.jp/eng/edoc/01life.htm#b-sex

A simple google search will provide a general overview of this topic, and statistics at at least 300 000 aboritons per year.  A Catholic view can be had at lifeissues.net with articles such as the following about abortion and grieving in Japan.   http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/zim/zim_70grievingunbornjapan.html

Lifeissues even has a Japanese site which is the only anti abortion/ pro-life site of its kind I can find so far.  http://japan-lifeissues.net/

Palm Sunday

17 03 2008

Palm Sunday was a beautiful spring day in Tokyo this year.  I woke up at 5am and could not fall back asleep, so I decided to go to the 7am mass which was the earliest mass I have ever attended.  When I was growing up occasionally my family and I went to 9am mass which I though was incredibly early and much preferred 10:30am or evening masses.  So anyway bright and early I was at church and was surprised to see it was almost full.  I usually attend the evening mass which is half or less full, so I guess the early masses are more popular at least in my parish.

There is no procession of the congregation from outside to inside the church at my parish since there is not enough room outside for people to gather.  Other than that the mass was your average Palm Sunday mass.  Back when I attended my first Palm Sunday mass in Japan I was happy to see the palm branches were exactly that, branches, not the whole thing but cut into nice sized sections for each person.  In my home country the palms were just basically the branch divided up into a  single palm leaf per person, so  I happily keep my Japanese palm branch in water and it stays nice and green until at least Easter.

 I should mention the vast majority of Japanese have no idea what Palm Sunday is so walking home with my palm branch people who saw me probably thought I was dong some kind of ikebana, or vandalising trees.

Why am I Catholic?

13 03 2008

A popular video on youtube and one of my favs.