(This article, presented to the Editor of the Japan Mission Journal on Dec. 6, 2000 with a promise of publication in the Spring Issue communicated on the phone on Jan. 22, 2001 and in person on Mar. 20, 2001, has not yet appeared on that  Journal  as of Dec. 6, 2002.)

Fr. Peter Toshihiko Nishiyama


  m‡TnA Few Conditions  for Acknowledging "The Sins of the Church"

1.  Our Standpoint on Actors

      "Our", quotes  purposely  added, standpoint  is  that  (1)  "Church  can  become  sinful" and  (2)  "the Church's  sons  and daughters  can  become  sinful", but  the "Church" and  the "Church's  sons  and daughters" are not  to be confounded as moral subjects. Besides, there are (3) various sins committed by subjects  other  than noted in  (1)  and  (2) .  (1)  is specified  as  "the sins  committed, in the name of  the Church, by  the Church's  officials" in  parallel  with  (2)  is specified  as "the sins  committed, in their own name, by any  individuals  of  the Church".(8)  Here, the  Officials have to  be  restricted  to "The Roman Pontiff and  the College of  Bishops", because "Hierarchicity  and  Apostolicity " are  derived  from Her Creed and the  Same  are  regarded  as  the "Supreme Church Authority " in Canon Law. To  be  questioned  is the problem whether  (1)  the Church committed sins de facto for which history provides innumerable facts that have to be ascertained in Chapter m‡U].     

2.  Our Moral Principles on Imputability

      Here, again, to be added  "Our"  to principles, because  if  we  were  wrong, we should  be  amended. It is a moral principle that each one has to ask forgiveness, by oneself as a rule for one's own sins. Therefore, (1)  it  is a principles that  "for the past sins of  the  Church"  "the Church's  Officials"  have to ask  forgive-ness. The Church, as  an Universal  Sacrament  of  Salvation, does  beseech for  forgiveness, as  Her Own Mission, for  the  sins. (2)  and  (3),  for  "the  sins of  the Church",  however, it  is a  principle that Church Officials, before anything else, have to ask forgiveness. It is a sheer digression for the Church to substitute (1)  by  (2)  and  (3),  or, to postpone  (1)  by  focussing  Her Mission on  (2)  and  (3).

3. Reasons for Asking Forgiveness in the MR

      "Memory and Reconciliation : The Church and the Faults of the Past" has to be examined, because the Papal  Appeal did specifically state that the reason why forgiveness has to be sought has been prompted by this Document(9) which specifies the following reasons ;
      "Hence  it  is  appropriate that  as  the second  millenium of  Christianity draws to a close the Church
    should  become  ever more fully conscious of  the sinfulness of her children, recalling all those times  in 
    history when they departed from the spirit of Christ and his Gospel and, instead of offering to the world
    the witness of  a life inspired by the values of faith, indulged in ways of  thinking and acting which were 
    truly forms of counter-witness and scandal. 
      Although she is holy because of her incorporation into Christ, the Church does not tire of doing 
   penance. Before God and man, she always acknowledges as her own her sinful sons and daughters".(10)
and goes on further interpreting,
      "These words of John-Paul
‡Uemphasize how the Church is touched by the sins of  her children,"
      "Church is holy in being made so by the Father through the sacrifice of  the Son and the gift of  the 
    Spirit. She is also in a certain sense sinner, in really taking upon herself the sin of those whom she has
    generated in Baptism."

4.  Definition of the Church

    The MR defines  (1)  "the Church is holy being made so by the Father through the sacrifice of the Son and the gift of the Spirit," and at same time,  (2)  "the Church is to be purified in really taking upon herself the sin of those whom she has generated in Baptism." Here, what matters most is how to understand each fundamental  (1)  and  (2)  which may  become  contradictory.  If  one  takes  (1)  "the  Church  is  holy  ( so never committing sin )"  as his starting point,  "the Church is holy  ( and never committing sin )"  solely may become fundamental, leaving  (2) subsidiary or something superfluous to be eliminated. This definition, however, becomes tantamount to a claim  "Man does never commit sin being created by God Himself ",  or,  " What God has united, man will never separate". On the contrary, if one assumes  (2)  as an undeniable fact of reality, then realization of the fundamental  (1)  becomes conditionary.  The solution, seems to be, stands not in defining the Church exclusively either by fundamental  (1)  or  (2),  but  in symmetrically integrating both fundamental as Lumen Gentium goes ;
      "But the society furnished with hierarchical agencies and the Mystical Body of Christ are not to be 
    considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly 
    Church and the Church enriched  with heavenly  things. Rather  they  form one  interlocked  reality   
    which is comprised of a divine and a human element."(11)
There is no doubt, everyone has to go back to this balancing definition of the Vatican Council
     According to "our" understanding the assumption of   MR  is that  (1)  "The Church is holy ,  (therefore not needed to be purified ), because it mentions only  (2)  "the Church does not tire of doing penance being touched by the sin of her children".  It must be particularly noted that there are at least  31  repetitions that the Church's sons and daughters are accused as the causes of the Church's asking forgiveness in this not  so  voluminous  Official  Investigation,  16  of  them appearing  in  Chapter  3.  the  Theological Foundation. 

m‡Un Historical  Ascertaining of   "the Church's  Sins"

1.  Our Standpoint and Principle  - Repeated -

  The Bible states  "There is no one who is righteous, not even one." ( Rm. 3 : 10, ‡TJo. 1 : 8 ) With due respect, therefore, those who hold Supreme Church Authority are of similar vein, as is specified in MR  itself.(12)  If one may question additionally if those officials should be immune in practice of their office, the answer should, again, be that they would not enjoy immunity, exempting the case of Infallibility.(13)  The answer should become decisive as the following historical facts should be admitted. Before stating these historical facts, however, Our Moral  Principle has to be re-iterated which goes,  "All those faults and sins committed by the Church's officials in practice of their office" are  "The faults and sins of the Church", yielding  "Imputability  and  Responsibility to the Church Herself ".  If  such is not the case, the Church officials would hold neither power nor authority, consequently hierarchy, too,  would be non-existent, with the result that what has been beseeched on March  12 ,  the  First  Sunday  in Lent, became a hypocritical manifestation in content, no matter how conscientious an act of faith it may appear on surface.

2.  The Faults of the Past enlisted in  MR

      The Chapter  5.  Ethical  Discernment, having  clarified  some  ethical  criteria, explores  certain examples of situations in which the behaviour of the sons and daughters of the Church seems to have contradicted  ( sic, only underline added ) the Gospel of  Jesus Christ  in a significant  way :  "The  Division of  Christians",  "The Use of  Force in the Service of  Truth",  " Christians and  Jews",  " Our Responsibility for the Evils of  Today ".(14)  Since it is of critical importance to discern these faults to be regarded as the sins of  "the sons and daughters of the Church" as  MR  specifically designates or the sins of  "the Church Herself ",  it is necessary to ascertain the historical facts in concrete.   

3.  The Historical Facts to be attributed to Church Authority we have identified 

    As before, the following facts are those  "we"  have  identified.  If  there should be any mistake,  we shall only be grateful to be corrected.
   (1)  "The Division of Christians"
      For the Religion of  Love there is no more  pathetic fact than THE DIVISION  OF  CHRISTIANS  of which the greatest should be the Schism between  the  Eastern and  Western Churches  (1054)  and the Protestant  Reformation  (1517).  The former  was done by a mutual  anathematization between  Pope  St.  Leo
‡\ and  H. E. Patriarch Michael Caerularius,  Archbishop  of  Constantinople  and  the latter, Martin  Luther,  was excommunicated by Pope Leo ‡]'s  Bulla  "Exsurge  Domine" (1520).  Not denying the remake of  MR  that  All  Christians were not attesting the witness of  a life  inspired by the value of faith and love, was  it  ever  possible  for simple sons  and daughters to  anathematize  anyone  and, in case it were ever possible to excommunicate, what significance it may bear for them ?
   (2)  "The Use of  Force in the Service of  Truth"
      INTOLERANCE AND THE USE OF FORCE employed in the pursuit of good ends, it seems,  indicate  "The Crusade",  "Inquisition",  "Persecution of   Witches",  and   "Forced  Conversion",  any of  which is enough to describe  "The Dark Age".
      The First  CRUSADE (1096-1099) ,  was it not dispatched by the initiative of  Pope  Urbanus 
‡U and  the Clermont Council,  and the Second (1147-1149) ,  by proposal of  Pope  Eugenius  ‡V and  Exhortation of  St. Bernard ?  And for the later ones, were they not  initiated by the will of  Pope  Innocentius  ‡V and the ‡W Lateran  Council (1215),  and  Pope Innocentius  ‡W and  I  Lyon Council  (1245) ?(15)
      AS for the system of  INQUISITION,  was  it  not  founded  by the Bulla  "Excommunicamus et  Anathematizamus " (1231)  of  Pope  Gregorius 
‡\ and  was  it  not  by  the  Bulla  "Ad  Extirpanda" (1252) of  Pope Innocentius  ‡W that  the  use  of  torture  was  officially introduced ? (16)  Among all these, it is reported that there was no greater atrocity as  "Indiscriminate  Massacre" (17)  than the Crusade Expedition, that  Pope Innocentius  ‡V dispatched against Cathari  (or  Albigois )  in  Province.  It  was Pope Sixtus ‡W who authorized, first in 1480 in Spain, the Inquisition against  Moors and Jews. Appointed was Thomas Torquemada,  O.P.,  "the most famous of all Grand Inquisitors,  who victimized,  during tyrannical rule of 15 years, over 114,000 of  whom 10,220 were burned ".(18)  "Llorente, Secretary to the Inquisition in Madrid from 1790 until 1792, estimated in his History of the Inquisition that up to his time thirty thousand had been put to death in Spain.  During the reign of  Philip ‡U,...,  it  is reckoned that the victims of the Inquisition exceeded  by  many thousands  all  the Christians who had suffered under the Roman emperors."(19)  The Inquisition lasted the longest in Rome,
until the reign Pope Pius
‡\ of the last century.
      PERSECUTION OF WITCHES was authorized by the Bull  "Summis desiderantes affectibus" (1484) of  Pope Innocentius 
‡[ and  so,  "anyone who denied it, be he bishop or theologian, was classified as a heretic." (20)  Thus, it  happened,  "men awoke on the night  to find that their wives whom they had known and  loved for years were secret witches,"  and   "The prolongation of winter or a delay in the harvest meant another mass burning of these unfortunate women".(21)  
   (3)  "Christians and Jews"
      The title looks neutral while contents are serious.  Often Pope Pius 
‡Z is blamed for his reticence for not speaking  out against the     Nazi's  HOLOCAUST OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE,  but  since  the age  of the Fathers of the Church, such as Ambrose and Chrysostom, the ill-fame  "Christicida"  has  been placed on entire Jewish People up to the end of the Vatican Council  ‡U.(22)  Pope  Innocentius  ‡V, together with ‡W Latetan Council,  beside convoking the Crusaders and enhancing the Inquisition, forbade the Jews land-possession, military and civil services,(23)  enforcing Moslems and Jews living in christendom  to wear a distinctive sign such as a yellow badge.(24)  No need to say, these facts of history precede Nazi's  persecution by  7  hundred  years.  "Cum nimis absurdum" (1555),  the anti-semitic Bull of  Pope Paul  ‡W,  "stressed that the Christ-killers, the Jew, were by nature slaves and should be treated as such."  "For  the first  time in the Papal  States, they were to be confined to a particular area called,  after the Venetian Foundary,  a  'ghetto'. " (25)  "It  is no surprise that during  Paul's brief  pontificate  the  (Jewish)  population of  Rome was almost  halved."(26)
   (4)  "Our Responsibility  for the Evils of  Today"
      This title indicates, so interpreted  in  MR,  "The Denial of God "  in general  and,  in particular, "Religious Indifference",  "Lack of Transcendent Sense of Human Life",  "Secularism and  Ethical  Relativism",  "The Denial of the Right  to Life of the Unborn Child"  and  "A  Great Indifference to the Cry of the Poor in Entire  Sectors of the Human Family."  The contents  are  not  explained, insinuating as if the Church were not guilty for these negative phenomena.  Therefore, in order to demonstrate the Church's guiltiness in  "The Cry of  Poor in Entire Sectors of  the Human  Family",  here to be quoted is the Epoch-Making Bull  "Inter  Caetera" (1493)  of  Pope Alexander 
‡Y,  issued in the Church's name, which legitimized, right from the root and from its very beginning,  the Establishment of the Worldwide Hegemony by Western Great Power ;
      ". . . Omnes insulae, et terrae firmae repertae et reperiendae,  detectae  et  detegendae a prefata linea 
    versus  Occidentem et Meridiem per alium Regem aut  Principem Christianum non fuerint  actualiter 
    possessae . . .  ,  quando fuerunt per  Nuntios et Capitaneos vestros inventae aliquae praedictarum 
    insularum, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei nobis in beato  Petro concessa, ac Vicariatus Jesu Christi, qua
    fungimur in terris, cum omnibus illarum Dominiis, Civitatibus, Castris, locis, et Villis, juribusque et
    jurisdictionibus ac pertinentiis universis vobis, haeredibusque et successoribus vestris (Castelle et
    Legionis Regibus ) in perpetuum tenore praesentium donamus, et assignamus : Vosque et haeredes ac 
    successores praefatos illarum dominos cum plena, libera, et  omnimoda  potestate, auctoritate, et 
    jurisdictione, facimus, constituimus, et deputamus."(27)
By this very Papal Authorization the Pope declared in the Church's name that all those lands belonging to Non-Christians, when discovered by Christians (King  Ferdinando and Queen Isabel, etc.), will be given to them and their successors forever.(28)  It is incredible that Church had such potestas, auctoritas, et jurisdictio, but so claimed the Church and everyone availed oneself of such claim, legitimizing
anti-evangelical Colonialism, Capitalism, Imperialism, . . . ,  all  sort of  Holocausts, resulting in the ongoing worldwide Cry of the Poor against Papal Counter-Witness and Scandals.(29)

      The reason why some historical facts had to be enumerated was that, it is too inconscientious to take for granted what  MR  states :  all  those historical facts were perpetrated by the Church's sons and daughters, instead of the Church Officials or the Church Herself.  Yes, everyone is not exempt from any evils to a certain extent,  yet,  all  the acts performed by the  "Supreme Church Authority ",  in the Church's name and in virtue of their office, have to be considered as what the Church has done,  and if faults might be involved, the Church should be imputed guilty and bound to restoration. Why the Church's sons and daughters have to be accused instead of the Church or Her Officials derives from the fixed  mentality of theologians who are unable to identify the Church other than  "holy"  and  "impeccable"  as had been so before Vatican ‡U. There is no need to mention that the absurdity of such a mentality is not only  in rejecting the afore-mentioned sound definition of the Church, but in denying also the sheer "Facts of  History."(30)  Despite all these counter-proofs against the  MR,  it is an Ecclesiastical Wonder,  what we witness here in Japan is a roaring choir of appreciation and not even a single voice of TRUTH  and  CONSCIENCE.(31)       

m‡VnAcknowledging the Weakness of the Past is an Act of  Honesty  and  Courage  

     It  might  be rather an injustice to dismiss the thousand beautiful remarks, sharp analyses, and appropriate expressions in the  MR.  The greatest of these, appearing in Introduction, in Statements, and in Conclusion, should be ;
      "Recognition of the Truth is a source of reconciliation and peace."
      "Acknowledging the weakness of the past is an act of honesty and courage which helps us to strengthen
    our faith."
Yes, indeed, these are most truthful remakes  and  beautiful expressions. But, immediately, echoes the Word of Christ the Lord, saying  "Do what they tell you ; but do not be guided by what they do." Because the MR  states ;
      "The Church cannot cross the threshold of the new millenium without encouraging  her  children to
    purify themselves
, through repentance, of  past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency, and
    slowness to act." (Underline added)

      "Only in the truth can we find joy and salvation."  We will be profoundly grateful,  if  you would appease the "Ache of Conscience"  and smooth the "Diffidence in Church Authority." 





International Theological Commission,  Memory  and  Reconciliation :  The Church and the Faults of  the Past  -MR-.   L'OSSERVATORE  ROMANO,  N.11(1634)-15 March,  2000.  SPECIAL  INSERT.



His Holiness Pope John-Paul ‡U (1994),  Tertio Millennio Adveniente  -TMA-  Japanese Edition,  Japan Catholic Conference, 1995, n.32, p.43.



MR, 1,  1.1.






"Let us forgive and ask forgiveness !"  L'OSSERVATORE  ROMANO,  N.11(1634)-15 March 2000, p.1.



To "the sons and daughters"  could be contrasted either  "Father"  as  "God", the Father",  or  "Holy Father",  "Father Priest" If the former, to be included are "Holy Father" and "Father Priest"  in "the sons and daughters",  and it is inappropriate, beside being the Parental Expression between  "God, the Absolute"  and "men, the creatures"  an allegory, to address  Church Officials themselves as "sons and daughters".  If the latter, the subjects who designate  "the sons and daughters"  distinguishing themselves from "their children",  should be the Church Officials named "Holy Father",  "Father Priest", and "the sons and daughters" simple "laics"  or  "faithful",  but  in  this  case,  "the Sins of the Church"  is not treated,  because  "the sons and daughters", considered guilty, cannot represent the Church by any means.  It is absurd to admit ambiguity,  for example, one becomes "Father"  when he beseeches for forgiveness and  "faithful"  when he commits sins by some kind of chameleonic metamorphosis, even though both are practiced by the same kind of chameleonic metamorphosis, even though both are practiced by the same Church Authority in virtue of Their Office as to be ascertained in Chapter [‡U]. 



It  may  be  appropriate to explain why the present paper has become necessitated : right after the article of  Fr. Shunichi  Takayanagi, S.J.,  appeared ("Purification of Memory - The Church and the Faults of the Past - concerning ""Memory and Reconciliation"",  the Document of the International Theological Commission-."  FUKUINSENKYO (EVANGELIZATION), Vol.54. No.8, Aug.-Sept., 2000, pp.4-9) a query was presented to him directly, by a letter dated July 21, questioning whether the Church did or did not ask forgiveness  FOR  HER  SINS,  requesting kindly to send the related documents to this queriat, having no opportunity to access them. No answer has been received by Oct.25, 2000, despite the repeated request of Aug.14. On the other hand,  the present writer delivered a talk on June 4 at the monthly meeting of  "The Justice and Peace Committee of Osaka"  questioning, by "the Logic of  MR" does  it become possible for the Church (in Japan) to assume responsibility, for example, for cooperating in WW ‡U (See, Note (30) ).  One of the results of the above talk was a written inquiry, dated the same June 4, to H. Ex. Archbishop Francis X.Kaname Shimamoto, President of Japan Bishops'  Conference, for which a cordial letter was sent back to the present writer, dated  Sept.19, with a reply ; "We, the Japan Bishops' Conference, are not in position to interpret the  MR. It would be better to ask directly the International Theological Commission - the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, or, its member, Father Shunichi Takayanagi, S.J."



Not to be questioned are other possibilities such as "Personal sins by the Church Officials."



"This appeal has prompted a thorough and fruitful reflection, which led to the publication several  days ago of a document of the International Theological Commission, entitled : "Memory and Reconciliation : The Church and the Faults of the Past."  "Let us forgive and ask forgiveness !"  L'OSSERVATORE  ROMANO, N.11 (1634)-15 March 2000, p.2.



Cf. TMA, N.33, pp.43-44.



Vatican Council ‡U (1964),  Lumen Gentium.  Chuoshuppansya, 1965, n.8, pp.14-16.



"All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners."  MR,  3.1, p.‡W.



In separate writings will be treated the problem of infallibility.



TMA, n.33-36, pp.43-50.



J.B.Duroselle   Histoire du  Catholicisme,  Hakusuisha, 1954, pp.63-73.  M.Bunson (1995), The Pope Encyclopedia, Sankosha, 2000, pp.91-92, 99-101, 107-108. P.G.Stuart (1997),  Chronicle of the Popes, Sogensha, 1999, pp.117-119, 123-124, 133-137.



M.Handa and K.Konno, Kirisutokyoshi (History of Christianity ) I, Yamakawa-shuppansha, 1977, pp.440-445. P.D.Rosa (1988), Vicars of Christ, the Dark Side of Papacy, Libroport, 1933, pp.324-333.



P.D.Rosa states,  "Twenty thousand citizens, not all were Albigensians by any means, were slaughtered." (op.cit., pp.315, 318) and C.S.Clifton estimates, "15 to 20 thousand male and female, either adults or children, were massacred."
(1992, Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics,  Sankosha, 1998, p.41)



P.G.Stuart, op.cit., pp.197-198.  P.D.Rosa, op.cit., pp.339-340.



P.D.Rosa, op.cit., p.341. P.Johnson (1976), A History of Christianity, Kyodotsushinsha, 1999, Vol.‡T,  pp.388-389.



P.D.Rosa,  op.cit., p.184.



P.D.Rosa,  op.cit., p.183.



Vatican Council‡U(1965), Declaration on the Relationships of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Chuoshuppansha, 1966, n.4, pp.5-6.



P.Johnson, op.cit., p.375.



P.G.M.Stuart, op.cit., p.135. M.Bunson, op.cit., pp.153-154.  P.Johnson, op.cit., Vol.‡U, p.60.



P.D.Rosa,  op.cit., p.384.



P.D.Rosa,  op.cit., p.382.



Cf.Y.Aoki, Koronbusu Kokaishi (Cristobal Colon Diario de a Boedo) Heibonsha, 1993, pp.694-699.



Contrasting with the Papal Legitimization, I.Kant (1795) states, "If we compare with this ultimate end (peaceful mutual relation -added- ) the inhospitable conduct of the civilized states of our continent, especially the commercial states, the injustice which they display in visiting foreign countries and peoples (which in their case is the same as conquering them ) seems appallingly great. America, the negro countries, the Spice Islands, the Cape, etc. were looked upon at the time of their discovery as ownerless territories ; for the native inhabitants were counted as nothing."  PERPETUAL  PEACE - a philosophical sketch-. Ed.H.Reiss, Trans.H.R.Nisbet, Kant's Political Writings. Cambridge University press, 1970 93-130, p.106.



T. Nishiyama, Catholic Church's Imputability in the War 1931-1945, SanPaulo, 2000, pp.166-177.



Concerning the Church in Japan, "The Authorization and Exhortation of Cult in Shinto Shrine" (May 26, 1936) which jeopadized the essence of faith, and also "Accord of the Diplomatic Recognition to Manchuria (North-Eastern part of China) by the City of Vatican"  (April 18, 1934) of which establishment became the starting point of the War 1931-1945, neither of them was officiated by "the Church's  sons and daughters", but by the Protocols of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples which composes the Holy See. T.Nishiyama, "Imputing the Church's Responsibility in the War 1931-1945 (1)-(10)."  FUKUINSENKYO  (EVANGELIZATION) Aug.Sept.1996-June 1997.



As for example, H.Ex.Paul Kazuhiro Mori writes, "In contrast to Japan's case where all the responsibilities were imposed on the shoulders of all those who devoted their entire energies for Emperor's Sake instead of placing the Responsibility on the Emperor Himself, the  Appeal of the Pope for forgiveness, on March 12, exemplified how responsible the Church is in everything." ("Reflecting Church by Millenium - on Inner Foundation of the Papal Apology -"  AKEBONO (DAYBREAK), Sept. 2000, 34-35, p.35)   H.Ex.Peter Takeo Okada, too, spoke in his sermon at the Instellation of the Archbishopric as follows, "On the First Sunday  in Lent, this year, when he said the Mass of Reconciliation and  Conversion, the Pope, confessing the sins committed by the Church, asked the Lord for forgiveness.  . . .  I myself, as his humble servant, would like to follows his example, so candid and brave as ever possible.  . . . "  KATORIKKU SHINBUN (CATHOLIC NEWSPAPER),  Sept.14, 2000, p.1, col.3-4) It is incredible, how such a praise could be raised conscientiously !