Church remembers atomic bomb attacks

-Pope Francis and Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing in Hiroshima, in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican in March (CNS/Paul Haring)

The Church in Japan is this week commemorating the 74th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with prayers and appeals for a future of peace and nuclear disarmament. Source: Vatican News.

“Together with the faithful of my diocese, I am deeply grateful to those who offer their prayers and activities for peace in the world, on August 6 and 9, on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima told AsiaNews.

“I feel that this is an important moment to pray and work together for peace and denuclearisation, in evoking these memories,” he said, as the Church in Japan is marking its annual “Ten Days for Peace”, August 6-15, in commemoration of the tragedy and its victims.

The US attack on Hiroshima killed an estimated 140,000 people. Another bomb on Nagasaki, three days later, claimed an estimated 70,000 lives before Japan’s surrender ended World War II.

The Ten Days for Peace was the response of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan to Pope John Paul’s appeal at Hiroshima on 25 February, 1981.

On Tuesday, Mayor Kazumi Matsui delivered a peace address, raising concerns about the rise of self-centred politics in the world and urging leaders to steadily work toward achieving a world without atomic weapons.

;“Around the world today, we see self-centred nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill,” Mr Matsui said in his peace address at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

With some 50,000 people and representatives from about 90 countries in attendance, Hiroshima’s mayor urged the younger generations never to dismiss the atomic bombings and the war as mere events of history but think of them as their own, while calling on the world leaders to come and visit the nuclear bombed cities to learn what happened.

Mr Matsui also demanded Japan’s government represent the wills of atomic bombing survivors and sign a UN nuclear weapons ban treaty.

FULL STORY

Hiroshima bishop, mayor urge for peace and denuclearisation (Vatican News

RELATED COVERAGE

On anniversary, Japan’s bishops renew hope for nuclear-free world (CNS)

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