ASIA/JAPAN - Cardinal Filoni: one becomes a Christian because he is "fascinated". The proclamation of the Gospel is not an ideological "indoctrination"

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 evangelization   martyrs  


Hiroshima (Agenzia Fides) - The proclamation of the Gospel "is not an indoctrination, or an imposition or a forging of minds and hearts". It adheres to the Gospel not for "ideological proselytism" but because is "fascinated", with the "inner freedom of those who discover themselves to be the son of God". With these words, taking inspiration from the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, Cardinal Fernando Filoni recalled the dynamism of the spread of Christianity in the world, which distinguishes it from all forms of cultural or religious propaganda. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed these considerations in the homily celebrated in the Cathedral of Hiroshima on Wednesday evening, September 20, on the fourth day of his visit in Japan. During the homily, the Cardinal also referred to the experience of Korean martyrs Andrea Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and their martyred companions, on the day of their liturgical memory. "The story of evangelization in Korea", recalled the Cardinal, "reminds us that some Confucian scholars, fascinated by the truth of the Gospel, began to study the Catholic doctrine and biblical texts, finding them extraordinary; then they sent one of them to Beijing to be baptized. When he returned to his homeland, he baptized the other members of the group, thus giving life to the Korean Church, with no contribution from abroad. After that happy start - Cardinal Filoni added - the Catholic Church in Korea "was instead bathed in the blood of innumerable martyrs. (...)
Even in this dear land of Japan, many witnessed the blood of martyrs. As Jesus was a victim of hatred and injustice, so were the martyrs of this country victims of hatred without a just cause". On Japanese land - the Cardinal noted - the first proclamation of the Gospel was opposed and triggered persecution "because it was considered subversive of the then-established social state. Perhaps today, the Cardinal added, referring to the present situation, "there are other no less serious impediments: secular mentality, hedonism, indifference, idolatry of well-being and money, the sense of our life that is stolen". And even today, "to proclaim the Good News is "a work of enormous charity, and those who welcome the message of the Gospel, is always a cause of joy and thanksgiving to the Lord". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 20/9/2017)