What is a Nativity Set?

8 01 2009

In reply to a comment I said that many Japanese people don’t even know what a nativity set is and I would like to explain that a bit further.  This Christmas season I had my nativity set set up no baby Jesus til the 25th and the Magi out but further away on the shelf.   I had Japanese friends over to visit, people who know I’m Catholic but who themselves are minimally Buddhist or Shinto, and they had no idea what the nativity set was.   I explained the set to them and showed them the Mr Bean video which they liked and I guess they learned something new that day.  It made me think though once again about the claim some people make that Catholicism failed here.  Now how can a religion have failed in the sense of being known then rejected by everyone when so many people don`t even know that that`s baby Jesus in that barn?!


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4 responses

8 01 2009
Gobbler

I’m not sure why it fails now anymore than than it has been in other secularized 1st world countries. Seem’s to be the way things are going. this is not meant to be a pessimistic comment (I’m a believing Catholic). While the quantity of practicing Catholics has gone down, I would say that the quality has improved.

8 01 2009
nisha

I suppose their talking about the comparison of Catholics in Japan, compared to the number of Catholics in America or Canada. And in the past, when Catholicism was trying to be introduced the first time, the country saw that its followers were breaking free from their social expectations. They thought it was parking a revolution, and so they outlawed it. So its probably because of that, that people say it failed. They don’t realise that even after it was allowed, not many people have had the chance to find out what its REALLY about.

I agree with Gobbler. Even though the number of Catholics are decreasing, you can see the Catholics that are still there are a lot more spiritually mature than say, their counterparts in the past. They’re at least a little more sincere to their faith.

9 01 2009
vee8

When Catholicism was first introduced to Japan back in the 1500`s thousands of people converted but, for a variety of reasons, it was outlawed and even violently suppressed. Even when Commodore Perry came to Japan and insisted the Japanese open up to trade with the US it was around twenty or thirty years after that before religious freedom was allowed for Japanese people and missionaries were allowed to enter. Then years (I think about ten) before WWII actually started restrictions were already being placed on religious practices and the churches ended up being controlled by the government. So in my estimates from about 1880 to 1930 there was about fifty years for Japanese to learn about Catholicism, not that much time, and that is my point. I argue that Japan never really had much time or a good chance to learn about Catholicism compared to European countries for example, however, there are people who like to attack Christianity saying see it was introduced to Japan but now only 1% of the population is Christian and that means it failed and Christianity doesnt work here. Does this make sense?

I agree that the quality of practicing Catholics seems to be good everywhere even though the overall numbers may be down. I also think Catholics who have drifted from the faith come back very orthodox and more interested in church tradition espcially young Catholics. I read an article online about how the more traditional orders of nuns in the U.S. are getting lots of vocations while the orders that have basically tossed the traditional habit out are having trouble getting any vocations at all.

9 01 2009
Gobbler

People are always going to argue that the dwindling numbers are proof that Christianity is false; but don’t worry about it. If you believe that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, then it will never be extinguished. Your arguments seem to be pretty on target. some people just don’t like to listen.

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