…is from satan. He will even happily turn our attention to doing good deeds if it will affect the greater evil of neglecting pressing duties for the sake of things that can wait.
As an example, I have today begun a project I’ve had in mind for a while. As mentioned earlier, a lot of people are finding this blog while searching for information about Catholic parishes and things in Japan. At the moment I don’t have much up at all, and what there is can’t be easily found (buried in comments), even my own searches have turned up very few online resources for English speaking Catholics in Japan. There are a precious few sites with essential information in broken but usually understandable English (Mass Times for 外人). The site linked in that entry is buried deep in subsections, links circularly, can’t be easily navigated, and can’t be easily found with a straightforward search in native English.
Of course, I can’t complain if I’m not willing to use my own abilities to fill the need.What I have in mind is a set of basic printable resources which Catholics with limited or no Japanese will find most useful while here. I have yet to meet a priest who doesn’t speak a foreign language, but they don’t all speak English and they do all speak Japanese. Here’s the first part:
So far it has sections for God, the Church, Clerics, Sacraments, major feasts, major liturgies (weddings, funerals, baptisms etc) and simple phrases to help Catholics in Japan. I can’t fill every part myself (for instance, I haven’t seen “deacon” anywhere yet) and I will have to go to Tokyo and check out their bookstore to make sure I’m not reinventing the wheel. Nevertheless, the lack of web resources means that this will no doubt be valuable, and if there is a gap in the print literature then perhaps the Conference will see this and fill it.
Another idea I had today was to make a card for confession, similar to those “pointer” travel books that Japanese take with them to foreign countries. The idea would be that a simple order of reconciliation is printed in parallel English and Japanese, to be used by a penitent who does not share a language with a Japanese-speaking priest (or is not sufficiently able to express themselves in Japanese to confess). The priest could point to the various steps in the order as he says them, letting the penitent know what is happening.
When the time comes for the actual confession, a simple examination of conscience is present in English based on the Ten Commandments (this is commonly found in prayer handbooks and wallet confession pamphlets). The penitent points at the commandment (paralleled in Japanese) and at a column beside showing the number of times – the minimum requirements of a valid confession are full disclosure of number and kind, which this would fulfill.
Next would be an act of contrition, I’m sure I can find a Japanese one in Tokyo to parallel the English (and let the priest know what’s going on). The penance seemed tricky, since each priest is different, but this would be outside their usual circumstances so they’d probably be happy to impose a generic W Rosaries, X Our Fathers, Y Hail Marys or Z Glory Bes. Very simple to arrange, in the same fashion as the examination, and any Catholic who is willing to confess will know how to pray these in their own language. If not… I’ll include them in English and Japanese on the bottom.
Finally the absolution (the priest in Kofu should be able to provide me with that) with the words in English for the penitent to follow, and a simple dismissal.
What do you guys think? Worth my time? Would priests here use this, or would they simply refer the penitent to another priest at/or a later time?