where truth resides

On August 8, 1995, I visited Nagasaki for a Memorial Mass on the 50th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of that city.  On the way to the city by train, I was told by my companion on the trip of the Museum to the 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki.  I also heard that the director of the Museum was one Fr. Diego Yuki, S.J., who was also the postulator for the cause of canonization of the 52 Martyrs of Kyoto, a group which included Tecla Hashimoto and her unborn child.


Now one thing had always concerned me about the 52 Martyrs of Kyoto, ever since I first heard of them in late January of that same year.  Did the title of "52 Martyrs of Kyoto" include the child in Tecla's womb?  If not, why not?  I therefore visited the Museum hoping that Diego Yuki would be there, for I was only going to be in Nagasaki for three days before I would have to return to Nishinomiya, far north in Central Honshu, where I was working as an ESL Teacher.   Trepidaciously, I found out where he worked and then knocked on the door of his office.  Cordially he invited me in and had me take a seat across the desk from him. 


I told him that I had heard he was the Postulant for the Cause of the Canonization of the 52 Martyrs of Kyoto and he said he was.  I then asked if this number included the child in Tecla's womb.  His response was a flat no.  When I asked why not, he said that the Vatican thinks the question is "too philosophical."  This seemed strange to me, for to me, no question was too philosophical for the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church was all about philosophy--or so I thought--so why not "get philosophical" on the important point of the full and complete status of, as far as I knew, the only unborn child involved in a martyrdom in the history of the Catholic Church. 

But I didn't push the point.  Instead, I merely told Fr. Yuki that I had had a mystical experience in relation to the child in Tecla's womb in January of that same year, at the site of her martyrdom, that he might want to know about.  He told me in response that he was not interested in hearing about it; that there were many people who made claims about mystical phenomena at the site of Tecla's martyrdom such as lights coming out of the ground, but this was a "straightforward process" and that he nor the Vatican wanted to be sidetracked by such claims.  I asked him if he was sure he didn't want to hear what I had to say, and he said he was sure.  He then brusquely ushered me out of his office. 


Apparently, neither Diego Yuki nor the Vatican wanted to hear anything mystical or miraculous about Tecla during the process of "beatification," which was opened in 1982 and culminated in November 2008, because they were hoping to "bury" Tecla beneath a flood of 188 Martyrs led by Fr. Pedro Kibe, and to talk of anything specifically related to Tecla might focus attention on her, the most politically incorrect martyr of all, due to: 


1) her pregnancy in a country where abortion has been rampant since its inception in 1948 under the MacArthur regime but never spoken about due to its "taboo" nature, just as the martyrdom of Christians for 300 years was kept under a blanket of silence as well, Tecla combining the taboo elements of martyrdom and pregnancy in one and the same person; 


2) her pitiless killing by the Buddhists of Kyoto, in front of the Great Kyoto Buddha in triumphalist fashion, Kyoto being the Buddhist and cultural capital of Japan, where the Buddhist supremacy cannot be challenged by the heroic act of a great pregnant martyr, the city council only allowing for a small memorial stone; and


3) Benedict-Ratzinger's recent attempt to make rapprochment with the Buddhists of Kyoto's Mt. Hiei, a mountain which looks down on the site of Tecla's martyrdom. 


If anything mystical or miraculous were admitted in the case of Tecla, people might then call for special recognition of Tecla and the child in her womb; a special day for the 52 Martyrs of Kyoto on what's left of the "liturgical calendar"; and some appellation such as "St. Tecla Hashimoto and Companions"; just as the 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki are given their own Feast Day of February 6 and are called on the "liturgical calendar" by the title of "St. Paul Miki and Companions." 


Ironically enough, I have recently heard that the "bishop" of Kyoto now wants to know of any miracles related to Tecla in anticipation of her cause for "canonization" (as if a false church could canonize)--but this only after she is safely buried beneath her "beatification" with 187 other martyrs and Fr. Pedro Kibe, so there is no risk of private devotions sprouting up at the intersection of Kawabata/Shomen where she was killed and where many mystical things seem to have occurred......


First posted July 4, 2009

Revised version July 12, 2009



                                              "Too Philosophical"

                                                          by Timothy O. McAleer

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