Thursday, April 22, 2010

'Bombed Maria' statue blessed by Pope headed to US

The "Bombed Maria"

.- After the general audience on Wednesday morning at the Vatican, the Holy Father blessed what remains of a statue that partially survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Rome is just the first stop on an international "peace pilgrimage" by the Archbishop of Nagasaki and the "Bombed Maria," which will arrive at the U.N. in time for the start of nuclear non-proliferation talks in May.

There is little left of the once six-foot tall statue of Mary from the Urakami Cathedral of Nagasaki, just the a hollow looking visage still in one piece from the neck up. Half bleached white and half charcoal black, all that remained of the statue after the Aug. 9, 1945 atomic explosion was the head.

She is known as "Bombed Maria" locally.

According to an article published online by the archdiocese in February, Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami is on his way to unite the Italian-made statue with the remains of another statue of Mary that survived the bombing of the northern Spanish city Guernica on April 26, 1937.

In an interesting twist, all that remains Spanish statue is its head, a fact Archbishop Takami called "incredible."
The statues are being brought together during what the archdiocese is calling a "peace pilgrimage" that marks 65 years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were dropped. The event is being remembered at the Guernica Peace Museum by a special exhibit.

The stop at the Vatican on Wednesday gave the pilgrimage and statue the Pope's blessing. Another stop on the way to Guernica will be Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Cathedral, to be consecrated by Pope Benedict on Nov. 7.

Reflecting on the message he wishes to convey along the route, the archbishop said in February, "Peace can never be created by violence."

He expressed his hope that the pilgrimage "not only lets more people know about the suffering caused by the atomic bombing, but also becomes an appeal for peace using non-violent methods."

With that purpose in mind, the statues will be taken by their respective bishops to the U.N. in time for to make an appeal for the renewal of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Noting the challenge of every country to rid the world of these weapons, regardless of their nuclear capabilities, the bishops of Hiroshima and Nagasaki requested in a formal statement on Feb. 26 that global leaders "take the courageous step toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of a world without wars."

Midori Shikayama, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, told Ecumenical News International (ENI) that the head of "Bombed Maria" will eventually be taken to New York City, where it will be placed in St. Patrick's Cathedral. It will be there for Mass on May 2, the day before the inauguration of the NPT conference at the U.N.

Archbishop Takami hopes to be able to meet with Ban Ki-Moon and the NPT conference president-elect, Libran Nuevas Cabactulan, to be able to deliver them the formal statement for peace in person.

Here is a restored version of the Madonna

Here is another interesting photo of the cathedral.

The altar of the cathedral. Note how the Japanese Catholics preserved their liturgical heritage. The cathedral was bombed! Yet they want the way it used to look before the bombing.

Compare it to this cathedral.

Destroyed by an earthquake...

And replaced with this monstrosity and sorry excuse for a church...

Well, the "cathedral" will not be bombed. But the pope "bombed" this sorry excuse for a Catholic priest, bishop and cardinal!

No.  He's not serving Kool-Aid...

Darn it!

1 comment:

  1. I attended Mass at Urakami the first time 27 years ago and in the mid 1990s when I was doing science research in Japan. The church is built on the same site where Japanese Catholics for more than 200 years were asked to trample on the Fumie or icon of the Madonna, as a sign they had renounced Christianity.

    The Cathedral is itself is a sign that Catholic Christianity has triumphed, and will triumph over those who intended to destroy it, be it the State or the Nuclear bomb even in countries that never became majority Christian or have lost their Christian foundations.

    I give a background on this in my blog

    The bomb detonated at around 11 AM, August 9, 1945 at a time when the Rosary was being said, for Mass was to be celebrated at noon. We do not know as Filipinos what Japanese Catholics felt since they being poor and recently persecuted, built the Cathedral brick by brick only to be destroyed by a bomb in a preview of hell. But praying in the Cathedral we suddenly hear the message, and this message is given in silence. The silence is made louder as we contemplate the image of Santa Maria of the Nuclear Holocaust. This was the same feeling I had in Hiroshima as I prayed at the Atomic Bomb memorial.

    Nonetheless, Japanese Catholicism has survived and has for it mission the spreading of peace throughout the world.