<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Light from the East ARCC
ARCC Banner
Home Join ARCC Donate Facebook Table of Contents
DHTML JavaScript Menu By Milonic.com

Who we are

What we do

Contact us



A Light Shinning from the East (Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:45 pm)

This is a report by Filo Hirota, International Liaison to the ARCC Board, on a conference on democracy in the Catholic Church just held in Tokyo.

Filo was the lead instigator and organizer in this extraordinarliy progressive conference, and the advances leading up to it. In addition, a number of other Japanese Catholics - laity, religious, priests, and bishops! - have been working very hard at bringing a more democratic governance structure and praxis to Japanese Catholicism.

Though much remains to be done, once again we see the Catholic Church in Asia taking the lead in making the spirit of Vatican II real.

The rest of us should not only applaud them, but also take heart and be both encouraged and challenged by them.

Pax! Len Swidler, President Association for the Rights of Cathoics in the Church (ARCC)

Report On The Workshop "Church and Democracy" National Convention 2004 Catholic Council for Justice and Peace (CCJP) - Japan

The Catholic Council for Justice and Peace (CCJP) celebrated its 30th anniversary at its Annual Convention from October 9 to 11, 2004 in Tokyo. On the second day of the Convention, 13 workshops were held at the Cathedral compound, of which "Church and Democracy" was one.

Six persons, a lay woman, a lay man, a diocesan seminarian, a woman religious, a religious priest and an archbishop formed a panel and presented the reasons why s/he thinks a participative model of the Church according to the vision of the Vatican Council II was necessary. Sharing was extremely honest and personal. From their diversity of backgrounds, the panelists all emphasized the problematic reality of the Church as s/he lives and experiences now.

"Vertical, hierarchical and authoritarian culture, praxis and structure" To be a follower of Jesus IN society and not to make one's faith a matter within the "Church" "To make the Church a welcoming HOME for all where everybody and anybody has his/her place " Gender justice in the Church" Subsidiarity, co-responsibility, transparency, accountability

After the panel presentation, six lay members, along with the pastor, of the Ichikawa parish (a suburb of Tokyo, where Leonard Swidler earlier this year spoke on a "Constitutional Church"), also shared their stories of creating a Eucharistic community of equal discipleship through different programs, such as revision of life, service to migrants, peace activities, and on-going formation to reflect on the mission of the Church. In their statements, the Ichikawa parish members said that the Church to be a "bottom-up," "barrier-free" Church open to the needs of its members and society as a whole.

Of the thirteen workshops, ours drew the largest number of participants - 130 joined in the lively discussion with questions and comments. Several materials were distributed, such as a copy of an article by Camilo Maccisse, OCD, on "Violence in the Church", a research paper on "How to Deal with the Concept of Democracy in the Church" prepared by a member of the organizing committee of the workshop. More than 50 copies of Theology Digest with the "Proposed Catholic Constitution" translated into Japanese were sold.

The questionnaire distributed and collected on the same day reflected a positive appreciation of the Workshop by the majority of the participants.

The organizing committee believes that the significance of the Workshop is that it was the first time that the topic was publicly discussed at an event of the official Church. The Catholic Council for Justice and Peace belongs to the Episcopal Commission for Social Concerns. The presence and participation of Archbishop Peter Okada of the Archdiocese of Tokyo was also encouraging. This is just a beginning. We hope that more and more groups and communities will be encouraged to create a process of reforming their way of being Church.

The Organizing Committee includes: " Member of Study Group of Bishop Mori (retired auxiliary bishop of Tokyo, director of Sinsei Kaikan - Truth and Life Center - where different on-going formation programs are organized) " Yasuo Imai, permanent deacon of the Tokyo Archdiocese " Akihisa Hamada, seminarian of the Yokohama Diocese " Filo Hirota, MMB CCJP Board member " Naoko Iyori, MMB Women's Ordination Conference

Submitted: Filo Hirota (filohiro2002 at yahoo.com)

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

Home ] Up ]
Locations of visitors to this page

Contact Information

, D.P.A., President
(406) 544-5527
Postal address
P.O. Box 6512
Helena, MT 59604-6512


Website design and maintenance:
Ingrid Shafer &
Copyright © 2003-2010,
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
DHTML JavaScript Menu By Milonic.com