Asahi Shimbun offers a lovely report on the making of saints

The Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞), one of Japan’s five national newspapers with a circulation of roughly 8 million, ran a story this week that could serve as an example of how to report on religion for an audience unfamiliar with a complicated topic.   

The article entitled “Vatican to beatify Christian warlord Takayama Ukon" reports that the Catholic Church is expected to recognize as “blessed” a 16th Century warlord who converted to Christianity.

Writing for a Japanese, and presumably highly secular audience, the Asahi Shimbun’s correspondent Hiroshi Ishida has crafted a lovely little story that succinctly tells, the who, what, when, where and why -- and leaves out any editorializing, preaching or “snark”.

The article opens:

VATICAN CITY -- A Japanese feudal warlord who was expelled from his country 400 years ago because of his Christian faith is set to be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as “beatus” (blessed), the second highest canonization next to sainthood.
Angelo Amato, a Vatican cardinal and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told a Japanese pilgrim band on Oct. 21 that Takayama Ukon (1552-1615) is likely be accorded the title of beatus next year, the 400th anniversary of his death.

The article relates the story of Ukon and his expulsion from Japan after Christianity was made illegal in 1614, and offers a quote from a high ranking cleric on why this man is worthy of this accolade.

Continue reading "Asahi Shimbun offers a lovely report on the making of saints" by George Conger.

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