Christian and Shinto Followers:
Strengthening Social Bonds within the Human Family
Message for the New Year 2021
Dear Shinto Friends,
- With great pleasure, I offer my heartfelt greetings and good wishes to the followers of Shinto on this first day of the year, the third of the Reiwa era, when tens of millions of people in Japan begin the new year visiting a Shinto Shrine asking for divine protection and blessings! No doubt, this year, they will join people around the world praying for a quick end to the pandemic which afflicts the whole human family. We also will join you in prayer to strengthen our bond of friendship and collaboration.
- The human calamity brought about by this pandemic, which knows no boundaries or national differences, has made all of us human beings aware of how interconnected and interdependent our life on the planet Earth is and how human beings form a single family. We need to deepen this awareness and to let it impact on our religious, social, economic and political life within each single country and across all boundaries among all nations forming the one single human family.
- In his latest Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti, addressed to all, Pope Francis ponders on this theme. “It is my desire,” he says, “that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. Fraternity between all men and women. […] Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” (On Fraternity and Social Friendship, n. 8).
- Religions by their very nature, in reaching out to the transcendental origin and common nature of human beings, have an important task in fostering social bonds within the human family.
- The Shinto tradition, which has had a fundamental role in creating unity and solidarity among the Japanese people in their long history, can renew its efforts to build a common human family in dialogue among all.
- May the solemn and joyful celebration of the new year, so deeply rooted in Japanese culture, be a true celebration of strengthening social bonds within the human family, in spite of restrictive measures to contain the pandemic. With this wish and prayer, we say to you:
Miguel Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ
Rev. Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage