ASIA/JAPAN - Japanese Catholics and Lutherans ever closer to full unity: Universal ‘Joint Declaration’ on Justification now in Japanese

Monday, 24 January 2005

Tokyo (Fides Service) - “Toward Reconciliation and Union” was the theme of an ecumenical Service held in Tokyo aimed at consolidating dialogue and communion between the Catholic and Lutheran communities in Japan and also to announce the publication of the Japanese version of the 1999 Joint Declaration signed in Augsburg October 1999 between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation. The service, held at Kojimachi church in Tokyo was presided by Catholic Archbishop Okada Takeo of Tokyo and the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church’s head, Rev. Yamanouchi Masatoshi. The homily was delivered by Rev. Tokuzen Yoshikazu, professor at Japan Lutheran College who reflected on the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ saying “We should spread and realise the humble and gentle justice of Jesus beyond our communities and he called on the two Churches to work together in this mission. The papal Nuncio to Japan, Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli and Rev. Nishihara Kenta, vice chairperson of the National Christian Council of Japan, also attended the service.
At the end of the celebration the two leaders signed and exchanged copies of the newly issued Joint Declaration in Japanese, declaring “we send this book to each other’s Churches as a sign of reconciliation and union”. PS (Fides Service 24/1/2005 lines 18 words 224)