Tokyo, Japan, 12 October 2020 -- The latest issue of the Salesian Bulletin Japan, focused on “Good Christians and Upright Citizens”, has been just published, for which I contributed a small essay as a political scientist and past pupil of Don Bosco. The following is the English version.
How should we connect with politics as Don Bosco's "Good Christians and Upright Citizens"?
According to the Gospels of the New Testament, it can be seen that Jesus Christ was an object of faith (He is truly God), and at the same time, as a true human being, He carefully saw the reality of Israeli society 2000 years ago. Jesus was a great member of society. He was close to and deeply sympathized with the various people who were poor and driven to the marginal areas of society, while also engaging with those in power and upper class. He worked hard to move society in a better direction.
1800 years later, it was Don Bosco who lived as a Catholic priest in Italy in the 19th century, following the values of Jesus, and created the Salesian Society. It is said that he was cautious about being deeply involved in real politics because of the complicated political situation during the revolutionary era. However, Don Bosco imitated Jesus and brought hope to society by looking at, cuddling, and educating poor young people suffering from the turbulent socio-economic effects.
Jesus' heartfelt wish was to realize the salvation (happiness) for all. To that end, to take concrete actions in the real world especially from the perspective of those who are poor and vulnerable. That is something that Pope Francis, who came to Japan last year, has often emphasized. Yes, actually, being an "Upright Citizen" and being a "Good Christian" are one, not separate.
Don Bosco also used the phrase "the Politics of the Lord’s Prayer." The politics of this world is confrontational and is a relative and unstable one weaved by imperfect humans. And Political distrust also persists. Under such circumstances, Don Bosco called for the pursuit of protecting the dignity of all life, human beings without giving up, and practiced it with young people of his oratory, praying "Thy will be done on earth". This call of Don Bosco is also extending to young people today.
As part of politics and society, what political parties you support and vote for, and what social and political activities you do, are of course free and should not be forced. However, society is becoming more complex and diversified, and there are many challenges at home and abroad. Whatever attitude you take, you are required to remember vulnerable people, exercise your important political rights with humility and a broad perspective, and work to achieve a better society.
As a political scientist, I have always emphasized the importance of connecting with politics. In my seminar, I have intended to create an environment where students can discuss and consider unanswered questions by touching various opinions. While meditating on this year's Strenna, I was able to reconsider my stance on politics and society as a member of society and a Christian.
As Good Christians and Upright Citizens, let us participate in politics responsibly, wishing for the happiness of all. Each of us involved in Salesian world has that mission.
You can watch the videos of the Strenna-themed Online Bible Camp 2020 (in Japanese).
Japanese Salesian Bulletin (Don Bosco no Kaze)
- Don bosco no kaze no24 october 2020
- Don bosco no kaze no24 october 2020 - pdf
- ISSUU - Salesian Bulletin
- Website of the Japan Province.