Newsletter of the District of Asia

 November - December 2000


Back to the drawing board. Yes, let us do that for a moment, as we look around us, here in this continental Asia, where a minority of Catholics is barely surviving among non-Catholic nations,  and on top of being a minority, it is struggling with various forces trying to dismantle whatever is left of Catholicism here. I would like to touch on some of these adverse forces in this issue of our Newsletter.  So, back to the basics, let us read the instructions…

What is a Catholic? 

A Catholic is one who submits to the Catholic Church in what must be believed to gain heaven (the Credo) and  in how to live according to this doctrine (the Commandments, the Sacraments, Prayer).  In the first place then, a Catholic will learn from the Church how to worship God (First Commandment), through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in particular.  In relation to this, the Church will teach how to venerate the Blessed Sacrament and, in a more general way, how to pray to God, what words we should use in our basic prayers.  The Church is a Mother, and, as all mothers, she teaches her children how to talk to God.

The submission to the Traditional Magisterium of Rome is therefore an essential mark of true Catholicism, and has been so for 2000 years.  Faith is to believe the truths revealed by God and proposed by the Church.

St. Ignatius of Loyola puts that as the first rule to see if we have the mind of the Church.  In his book, the Spiritual Exercises, no. 352-3:

352 To have the true sentiment which we ought to have in the Church Militant let the following Rules be observed.

353 First Rule. The first: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchical.

The submission to the Magisterium is the very point the Protestants rejected from the very start.  The Charismatics too, by claiming to have a direct line with the Holy Ghost, bypass the control of the Magisterium.  This is also the tendency of modern apparitions.  Because there is a crisis in the Church, then, we are told by these messages, ‘Heaven’ comes and takes direct control of the situation, as if we lacked guidance with 2000 years of documents of the Magisterium.  This shows a great ignorance of the Catholic faith and becomes a a  great danger for it when the seer – and his or her (usually her) followers pretends to become teachers of the Catholic Faith.

There is nothing new under the sun.  The following well-known text of St Vincent of Lerins (Vth c.) gives the universal key in times of crisis in the Catholic Church:

“WHAT then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member?

What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few.

But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in divers times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation.”
(Commonitory, chap. 3)


He doesn’t say to turn to this or that prophet or seer, he says to go back at what the Church has taught before, to look in the books of the Church, to examine Tradition.

We have decided to focus our attention in the following pages on the Japanese Missions.  We have used this country, one of the ten of our district, firstly to make known some of its Catholic history, but also, to relate it having in mind the very notion of Catholicism as exposed above, i.e. the submission to the Roman Church.  Various texts from different epochs show the difficulties encountered by the missionaries in Japan for the implementation of Catholicism.  As you read them, try to see how human nature, in the Japanese mold, comes up with the same problems, over and over, throughout the centuries. 

A close-up view of the monument to the 26 Martyrs
of Nagasaki, Japan

And now, modern day inculturation - Japan is taken here as an example - is actually promoting one of the biggest problems instead of helping to solve it.  I speak here of the difficulty for Japanese (not only them of course) to submit to the authority of the Roman Church.  Inculturation is encouraging the break with Rome, by gradually – or rapidly- putting together a national church which will require very little to snap away from the Roman control. 

In this season of Christmas, let us ask the Divine Child, submissive from His birth to His death, to make our poor sinful hearts like unto His own, meek and humble, pure and submissive.

With my best wishes for all our readers and their families, in the Holy Family,

Fr. Daniel Couture

Home | Newsletters | Library | Vocations | History | Links | Search | Contact