Japanese Church on abortion and suicide: respecting life to improve the world

Kamagasaki, Japan - 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.

Japan is one of the countries with the highest rate of abortions and suicides in the world, where the average age of the population continues to grow, creating various social and economic problems. The local Church, which has always been engaged in a work of defence of life, decided in early 2009 that next year will be dedicated to the awareness on the issue.

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".

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. "

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. "

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".

Currently, in Japan 7.6 children are born per thousand inhabitants, in addition, there are approximately 350 thousand abortions a year. In addition, the number of suicides committed in 2008 amounts to 32 thousand, up from 30 thousand in 2007. Since 1998, the number has never fallen below these figures.