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[Questionnaire results] There are 24 victims; Harm associated with Holy Communion on the tongue in Japan

Our Lady of Sorrows(悲しみの聖母)の御絵

By gathering the voices of everyone, a terrible situation in the Japanese Catholic Church has come to light.

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Harm associated with Holy Communion on the tongue in Japan

According to survey results, as many as 24 members of the Church have been the victims of rejection, rebuke, and insult pertaining to “Communion on the tongue.” 50 such incidents have been reported in total. As the survey was conducted on a small personal blog, the actual number of victims is likely to have been higher. We also believe that some victims have already passed away.

After the Japanese translation of the INSTRUCTION Redemptionis Sacramentum (which reconfirmed that Communion on the tongue / while kneeling is not prohibited) was published in August 2007, the experiences of many victims came to light. In particular, the number of victims in the Tokyo Archdiocese is especially high.

Results of the survey are as follows.

NOTE: the examples of rejection, rebuke, and insult pertaining to “Communion on the tongue.”

Some priests in Japan said aggressively like these remarks below.

“You are like a dog.”
(Some priests in Japan feel hatred against behavior Catholics stick out their tongues.)

“You Japanese should receive Communion withe their hands, not on their tongues!”
(A Japanese priest got furious at a friend of mine.)

“Stand up!”
(when he looked at a kneeling Catholic.)

Table of Contents (目次)

Results of the survey

Summary of Results

  • Survey period: May 31st, 2019 – July 3rd, 2019 (around 1 month)
  • Survey method: Google Forms
  • Total number of respondents: 68
    (67 members of the Church + 1 individual awaiting baptism. This number includes 2 members of the Church who responded to the survey by proxy.)
  • Total number of victims among respondents: 24 members of the Church and 1 individual awaiting baptism
  • Total number of separate victimization incidents: More than 50
    (“More than” is appended here as the exact number is unclear due to the survey option of “(being victimized on) more than 3” separate occasions)
  • There has been a pronounced increase in the number of victims following the publication of the Japanese translation of the INSTRUCTION Redemptionis Sacramentum in August 2007. The Tokyo Archdiocese account for the overwhelming majority of the incidents reported by victims. Fukuoka Dioceses and Yokohama are responsible for the next highest frequency of such reports.

NOTE


Q1. Have you ever been denied or rebuked for receiving Communion on the tongue while standing or kneeling by priests?

*This includes all cases of rejection and rebuke prior to successfully receiving Communion as well as rebuke following Communion.

Fig. 1: Respondents who have/have not been victimized for Communion on the tongue
  • Yes, I have been personally victimized: 24 (36% of all respondents)
  • Have not been personally victimized, but have witnessed such incidents: 9 (13%)
  • Have not been personally victimized, but are aware of such incidents: 28 (42%)
  • No, I have not been personally victimized, and have never seen or heard about such incidents: 6 (9%)

91% of all respondents (61 in total) have either been victimized personally, or seen and/or heard about such incidents.

[A] Section for respondents who have been victimized (24 in total)

Q2. What posture were you in when you were victimized? 

Fig. 2: Communion posture when the respondent was victimized
  • Kneeling for receiving Communion: 17 people
  • Standing: 3
  • Both: 4

While over 70% were victimized while “kneeling,” “30%” of the victims were standing at the time of the incidents, which is certainly not a small percentage.

Q3. On how many separate occasions were you victimized? 

Fig. 3: Number of separate victimization incidents
  • Once: 9 times in total; 37% (9 respondents in total)
  • Twice: 8 times in total; 17% (4 respondents in total)
  • more than Three: 33 times in total; 46% (11 respondents in total)

This suggests that there have been more than 50 incidents of “victimization” and sacrilegious acts towards Holy Communion.

In addition, 11 respondents reported that they have been victimized on more than 3 separate occasions.
(I think they are just like Kirishitan.)

*NOTE: In the subsequent data, “more than 3 times” will be regarded as “3 times” for computational purposes.

Communion posture and the number of separate occasions on which respondents were victimized (by the data from Q2 and Q3)

Fig. 4: Communion posture when victimized and the number of separate incidents

The above bar chart, Fig. 4, was obtained by combining the data from Q2 and Q3.

Q4. When were you victimized? (Multiple answers allowed)

  • 1980s: 1 person (1 time in total)
  • 1990s: 5 people (7 times in total)
  • 2000s – July 2007: 5 people (5 times in total)
  • August 2007* – as of 2019: 20 people (36 times in total)

* August 2007: Japanese translation of INSTRUCTION Redemptionis Sacramentum was published.

For some reason, there has been a pronounced increase in the number of victims following the publication of the Japanese translation of the INSTRUCTION in August 2007.

Q5. At what kind of church did the incident occur? (Multiple answers allowed)

Fig. 5: Kind of churches where the incident occur
  • Diocese churches: 27 times in total (19 respondents in total)
  • Churches administered by the Catholic Order: 17 times in total (11 respondents in total)
  • Other places: 2 times in total (2 respondents in total)

*NOTE: Data of 4 victimization incidents could not be reflected

From the responses of victims in this survey, it was found that more victimization incidents had occurred at diocese churches.
(In [B], the section for eyewitnesses, churches administered by the Catholic Order accounted for more incidents.)

Q6. In which diocese did the incident occur? (Multiple answers allowed)

  • Tokyo: 27 times in total
  • Fukuoka: 6 times
  • Yokohama: 5 timese
  • Sendai: 2 times
  • Nagoya: 2 times
  • Kagoshima: 2 times
  • Sapporo:  1 time
  • Hiroshima: 1 time
  • Nagasaki: 1 time

*NOTE: Data of 3 victimization incidents could not be reflected

Harm associated with Holy Communion on the tongue in Japan
Fig. 6: Area (Diocese) and the number of harm

Click or Tap to Enlarge

Tokyo archdiocese accounted for the majority of victimization incidents (57% of all incidents), followed by Fukuoka and Yokohama dioceses.

In addition, incidents where the victim’s Communion posture was either “standing” or “both” were reported to have occurred in the Diocese of Sapporo, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka.

Time, place (Diocese),  and the number of incidents (by the data from Q2 Q3and Q6)

Harm associated with Holy Communion on the tongue in Japan: time, place, and the number of incidents
Fig. 7: Time, place (Diocese),  and the number of incidents

Click or Tap to Enlarge

Q7. If possible, please tell me your gender.

  • Male: 8 people (19 victimization incidents in total)
  • Female: 16 people (31 victimization incidents in total)

*All respondents revealed their gender.
*The pie chart below (Fig. 8) shows the ratio of victimization incidents encountered by male victims to female victims. (This does not represent the ratio of male to female victims.)

Fig. 8: Ratio of victimization incidents by gender

Female individuals accounted for a larger proportion of the victims and incidents.

Q8. Was the place where you were victimized the church you are a member of?

Fig. 9: Whether the location of victimization is the victim’s church
  • Yes: 14 people (in total)
  • No: 10 people

The options for Q9 differ depending on whether the respondent’s answer to Q8 is “yes” or “no.” We will first examine the responses of victims who had answered “yes” to being victimized at their church.

Respondents who were victimized at their church

Q9. Please select the option that best describes your church life after you had been victimized.

Table 1: Church life of victims after the incident (for respondents who were victimized at their church)

From the results, it was found that 6 victims continued to attend the same church, while 6 victims experienced some form of negative impact on their church life as a result of their victimization (including having to attend a different church, temporarily switching to a different church, or being unable to attend church at all for a period of time before switching to a different church).

Respondents who were victimized outside their church

Q9. Please select the option that best describes your church life after you had been victimized.

Table 2: Church life of victims after the incident (for respondents who were victimized outside their church)

The survey results of Q9 for both groups of respondents showed that many people continued to attend church after they had been victimized. However, the fact that 2 victims revealed that they were unable to attend church at all for a period of time as a result of their victimization is heartbreaking.

Q10. Please tell me what you think about victimization pertaining to Communion or the current state of the Catholic Church in Japan.

I received a variety of comments from the respondents, some of which were unbelievable and depressing.

  • Even though there was no explicit prohibition of kneeling in the guidelines issued by the bishops, the fact that there are still priests who force us to stand and receive Communion in the hand no matter what by distorting the guidelines and claiming that they are unequivocal in echoing the conclusion (i.e., the supposed consensus that kneeling and receiving Communion on the tongue was never an option to begin with) is probably the manifestation of evil. (I tried writing about the current situation in greater detail but I couldn’t send it because it exceeded the character limit.) I was surprised to witness on multiple occasions at an English Mass [in Japan] the priest having a service member distribute the Body of Christ to people.
  • The church that I used to attend prohibited kneeling, and I was sternly informed of this rule prior to my baptism. Because of that, I received Communion on the tongue while standing, but after Mass on a certain Sunday, the pastor came over to me in the lobby when few people were around and I received words from him that almost amounted to verbal abuse. At a parish youth association meeting, a junior priest told me sarcastically to stop receiving Communion on the tongue. (This was in the heyday of Little Pebble.) I am unsure if this was due to the bishop’s guidelines at the cathedral, but Communion on the tongue was not banned.
  • I no longer know if we are adoring the priests or celebrating Communion.
  • I feel that there are now fewer opportunities for us to consider how we should praise the Lord and worship Him at the church. As Communion symbolizes the Lord, I think it is unbelievable that we cannot be told during or after baptism the essential things we must pay attention to in order to receive the Lord in an appropriate manner. I feel sorry that not only ordinary members of the Church, but even the priests themselves, do not seem to have been educated on this.
  • All local bishops, as well as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, must issue an official apology for their past illegal deeds and stop discriminating against kneeling. All priests who had prohibited kneeling and all other members of the Church who had tried to obstruct Communion while kneeling must apologize individually to the victims in each case to alleviate their psychological suffering. An official document to this effect must be circulated to the pastors and church members in every region.
  • The Catholic Church in Japan are in violation of the orders of the Vatican.
  • I am a member of the ** church. Last year, at a morning Mass, I wanted to receive Communion on the tongue, but I was warned about teaching the proper way of eating at a Mass. Many people at ** kneel and receive Communion on the tongue. I heard that the Vietnamese people I was on good terms with were all made to quit. I was told that Jesus is our friend and was asked why we are kneeling to our friend. This made me attend Mass at the neighboring XX church instead. I thought that I was accepted there, but during Mass last week, the priest ordered me to receive Communion in the same way as everyone else. I was told that by receiving Communion on the tongue, my lipstick will dirty his fingers. I cannot even go to XX now.
  • According to members who were baptized in the 1990s, churches administered by the Catholic Order in the Osaka and Hiroshima Dioceses allowed members to be baptized as long as they received their First Communion in the hand. (Subsequent Communions could be received on the mouth.)
    Among the priests whom I have encountered thus far, religious priests seem even more insistent on compelling others to receive Communion in the hand than diocesan priests.
    This is just my personal experience but it might be helpful.
  • I was denied Communion on the tongue by a religious priest at Nagasaki who had spent a long time outside of Nagasaki diocese for reasons other than diocesan assignments.
    Communion in Nagasaki diocese is still generally received on the tongue.
    However, at some point, children started to feel embarrassed about receiving Communion on the tongue and I feel that religious education in Nagasaki is in crisis mode.
  • I wish they would just stop.

[B] Section for eyewitness (11 in total)

The following survey results are collated from the section for respondents who have personally witnessed victimization. The total number of respondents in this section (i.e. the number of people who have witnessed such incidents) is 11. (9 respondents + 2 other respondents who also answered section [A] for victims)

Q1 – Q6: Omitted

Original Article (in Japanese)

Q7. Please tell me what you think about victimization pertaining to Communion or the current state of the Catholic Church in Japan.

Below are some of the comments we received from eyewitnesses, all of whom are from the Tokyo Archdiocese.

Their terrible reports included incidents where members of the Liturgy Commission at a church forced people who wish to be baptized by “Communion on the tongue” to instead receive “Communion in the hand. ”

  • I am unable to accept the current situation where the act of kneeling, which had been regarded as the correct practice for a long time, is now virtually prohibited [in Japan]. Even if the practices in Japan should be adapted to Japanese customs, kneeling has been accepted by Japanese members of the Church for centuries as entirely appropriate since Catholicism was first introduced into our country.
    For most of us, the reality is that we have been forced to abide by the new regulations even if we did not welcome this “adaptation to Japanese customs.” What exactly is the reason that they are going so far in their attempt to ban kneeling?
  • I want to hear directly from the priest who had prohibited us from receiving Communion in this way. Why did you do that?
  • In the lecture on baptism conducted by a member of the Liturgy Commission at my church, he/she turned to those awaiting baptism who had wanted to receive Communion on the tongue and said, “Communion on the tongue is not an option in Japan! (In Japan,) it no longer exists!!” before forcing them to receive Communion in the hand.

The above are the results of the survey that was conducted. I think the extremely terrible situation has finally come to light…

Pleae pray for the miserable Japanese Catholic Church.

19世紀のステンドグラス「聖体を受けている聖母」。

References

OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF:
Communion received on the tongue and while kneeling

Receiving communion on the hand is part of ‘diabolical attack’ on the Church, says Sarah (by Christopher Lamb; The Tablet)