US bishop ‘a changed man’ after listening to Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors

USA (Tuesday, 08-11-2015, Gaudium Press) A US bishop who visited Japan for the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki said he is a changed man after coming face-to-face with survivors of the US bombs.

US bishop.jpg
Bishop Oscar Cantu delivers the homily during a special Mass for
peace in the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki (CNS)

“Anybody can talk about policy. Anyone can read reports and develop positions on issues, and hold them deeply in theory. But to have heard the personal stories of what people experienced during a nuclear bombing has literally put flesh on this issue for me,” Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told Catholic News Service (CNS).

“Pope Francis has talked about a culture of encounter, and I came to Japan to encounter the people here, to listen to the stories of the ‘hibakusha’ (survivors of the atomic bombings) and their wonderful pastors who have stood by their flocks,” said Bishop Cantu, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

Bishop Cantu said it was “tremendously moving” to hear the personal accounts of the hibakusha, including Sumiteru Taniguchi, an 86-year old bombing survivor who spoke at a city-sponsored memorial service on August 9, the anniversary of the bombing.

“When the bomb exploded, he was literally blown off his bike, his skin burned off, and he spent many years in the hospital recovering. Today he still suffers from those injuries sustained 70 years ago,” Bishop Cantu said.

“Yet he stands up with a sense of pride and hope and peace and calls the world to peace. How can we not listen to a voice like that?”

In his speech at the main anniversary ceremony, Taniguchi, chairman of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council, criticised government proposals that would allow the country to renege on its postwar commitment to peace.

Source Catholic Herald

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