Archdiocese of Osaka launches a Day for Life in defence of unborn children and against suicide.

12 12 2009

Kamagasaki (AsiaNews) – Life “is a treasure of holiness, which must be protected at all costs. Learning to recognize and respect the dignity of every human being, even those not yet born, is the key to improving society and the world in which we live”.  These are the words with which the auxiliary bishop of Osaka, Msgr. Goro Matsuura, opened the Day for Life organized by the archdiocese Centre for Social Action Sinapis.

article here

Wow way to go Osaka!  Just because I havent been aware of any such events in the past doesn’t mean that there havent been any but I hope they keep it up.

The Director of Sinapis, Fr. Kazunori Hayashi, explains: “The Day was also organized with excursions outside the centre, a first for our community. This is very important, because the need to face the world reverberates deeply in our heart, a kind of earthquake, which we need if we want to continue on our journey”.

Uummm …what?!

During his speech, Msgr. Matsuura explained the meaning of human dignity to the participants and emphasized the freedom of choice and the necessary respect for the will of others: “Respecting a child, treating it properly, means respecting its will. The people that we face have the right to have their own opinions and express them: and we are called to respect them, always. “

Instead of freedom of choice maybe they meant free will?  Respect for the will of others?  So if someone wants to commit suicide I should respect their will?  I’m having a really hard time following his logic today.  I think it was the whole earthquake heart reverberation part that threw me off.

To explain dignity within human relationships, the prelate added: “Falling from a tree and hurting oneself is a different thing from being hit with a branch by a person. Even if the wound is the same in the second case we are dealing with an attack on human dignity: this should not be tolerated if we are to improve humanity. “

But don’t we have to respect the will of the person who is using the tree branch to hit someone?  And what about the will of the tree, the branch, and even gravity?!  This guy needs better examples since I fail to see the connection between suicide, abortion, and whatever he`s talking about.

Yasuki Tanaka, a 26 year old Catholic from Semboku church said: “It was the first time someone explained the word dignity to me. I myself have repeatedly acknowledged having a tendency to self-humiliation, but this meeting has helped me to understand the truth of things”.

At least someone understood!  Or did he?  I’m tempted to hit him with a tree branch during an earthquake to find out.  Just kidding!




2 responses

14 12 2009

Geez, my eyes almost popped when I saw this. Actually, I translated this article for JCN concerning the same event, and I was a bit alarmed. I didn’t remember making those translation choices…

Anyway, I’m not going to try to claim mine’s a lot better (I’m only translating as an amateur volunteer, and anyway, any translator’s work is going to be limited by their source material). But some portions may be a bit more fleshed out, so I’ll try to explain.

So, some specifics:

1. Regarding the “freedom of choice” aspect, my source said, 尊厳のために、意志、選択、決断の自由が必要と強調した。The key words there are 意志 (will)、選択 (choice)、決断 (judgment). Each of those words is pretty direct (although this is not a direct quote), so I translated the sentence pretty literally: “freedom of will, of choice, and of judgment.” I don’t think there’s a way to get around that, though it’s not clear from this whether “freedom of choice” as it’s understood in the West is what he’s getting at.

Anyway, after the comment about the child’s free will, Bishop Matsuura gives an additional example to illustrate his point. He calls to mind the fact that even poor people have personal sovereignty to choose what they need and don’t need; so if you are handing out blankets, don’t take an arrogant “here’s the blanket you need” sort of attitude; instead, simply ask them whether they want it, which gives them more control and dignity. Actually, I thought it was a good point.

2. About the tree. That section was given as a part of a direct quotation in my source article, and it’s phrased a bit differently. I suppose someone decided to smooth it out a bit. I fear it may have obscured the statement. My translation was, “Bumping into a tree and bruising your face is different from being bruised by someone who hits you.” The point is that there’s nothing about a wound that inherently hurts a person’s dignity; but wounds take on a new meaning when they happen in the context of a relationship. I infer that he means issues of abuse: it’s not just about the actual physical harm; there’s the additional psychological harm of being actually mistreated and disrespected that reduces the dignity of the person.

He goes on to explain (in the JCN version) that repairing that damage (and therefore caring for a victim of abuse, say) must also happen in the context of a relationship, and therefore rebuilding a person’s sense of dignity and the respect for individual dignity in society means also helping to repairing (or build anew) the relationships of abuse victims and society as a whole. Again, I thought this was a good insight, once I understood it.

So, in conclusion, I think the Asia News article could have been more clearly written. But actually, the JCN article didn’t discuss specifically anti-abortion comments in any detail (I wonder why?), which was a little distressing to me, so I’m glad to have read the other take on it.

All in all, I think the materials sound like they were pretty appropriate for the audience (who were charged with actually working with the poor). But Bishop Matsuura’s speech didn’t really lend itself to sound bites.

14 12 2009
Osumashi Kinyobe

It’s good to hear bishops standing up and it’s very refreshing to hear that an unborn child is a person with a will and the right to freedoms we enjoy.

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