Pope Francis expresses his deep respect for the people of Japan who have had the perseverance and faith, throughout history, to overcome tragic trials and rise again.
Pope Francis said “I feel deeply impressed and have much respect for Japan when I read the story of the martyrs and the experiences of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.
He was speaking to a group of Japanese journalists who were present in the Vatican for the Plenary Assembly of the Dicastery for Communications of which Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka, is a member.
“I think of the martyrs, and of their perseverance, perseverance in faith, to defend what they believed in, to defend their convictions and their Christian freedom,” he said.
He then went on to reflect on what he called “another, more human martyrdom: the suffering of the people for the atomic bomb…”
He said he admires the people because they were able to rise again after “that infernal trial”.
“You are a people that is capable of rising again, a people that always looks ahead,” he said.
And as a final reflection, Pope Francis described the dropping of atomic bombs as “monstrous”.
“So now I want to reiterate a truth: using atomic energy to make war is immoral,” he said.
Pope Francis is scheduled to make an apostolic visit to Japan from 23 to 26 November.