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Pope to discuss Curia criticism with Japanese bishops 

Retired Archbishop Takeo Okada of Tokyo had said the Vatican has not been of useful service to and has even hampered the Church in Japan.

Updated: October 30, 2019 10:20 AM GMT
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Pope to discuss Curia criticism with Japanese bishops 

Pope Francis is addressing general audience in the Vatican on October 23. He is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo Nov.23.

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When Pope Francis visits Japan in November, he is expected to discuss with bishops some concerns raised by the former archbishop of Tokyo in an open letter two months ago.

Retired Archbishop Takeo Okada of Tokyo issued an open letter  in September expressing his personal views on the "renewal of the Roman Curia."

The message focused on three areas, where the archbishop said, the Vatican has not been of useful service to and has even hampered the  Church in Japan: inculturation, decentralization, and spiritualization.

The open letter "will surely be on the agenda when Francis meets with Japan's bishops," said a Church source associated with the preparation of the papal visit. 

However, "nothing from that discussion may come out in public right away," he told ucanews.

The open letter was a slightly revised message the archbishop had earlier sent to Pope Francis.

Archbishop Okada's comments on inculturation focus on the liturgy. He said the version of the General Instruction of the Roman Mass would "result in the cancellation of some cases of adaptation which were previously permitted to the Bishops' Conference of Japan."

He also complained about the centralization of administration in Rome, which he said deprives the Church of the global talents available. 

"It is very desirable for the universal Church to share responsibility among local Churches," he wrote.

He noted that Asians make up half of the global population, and the Church "should make use of the human resources of Asian countries."

Archbishop Okada said that Japanese society lacks "genuine spiritual Christian values, values which we would expect to find at the center of our universal Church in Rome."

He was direct in his criticism of Roman Curia. Instead of being "a sign for us through poor, humble, faithful and holy servants of our Lord Jesus Christ," the Curia gives "a bad impression of the world of the Vatican as a place of power struggles or games."

He expressed the hope that initiatives being led by Pope Francis will help the Holy See "become as holy as its name indicates."

The prelate was Archbishop of Tokyo from 2000 until 2017 and is now the administrator of a parish in that city. He told ucanews that he expects "blowback" in response to his letter.

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