TEXTES – Catholiques – Evêques du Japon

  • La commission « Justice et Paix » de la Conférence épiscopale du Japon continue de s’interroger sur l’avenir de l’énergie nucléaire. Cet automne 2012, la commission tiendra un colloque sur ce sujet à Nagasaki.

Why does the Catholic Church announce a message on nuclear plants?When Japanese citizen discuss the pros and cons of nuclear plants, each one speaks from a different stance. The following are a few examples: One citizen is mainly interested in profitability, while another is anxious about protecting children’s health and the security of civil life, and yet, another is thinking about the needs to maintain international competitiveness.  On the other hand, the Catholic Church regards the pros and cons of nuclear plants as an ethical issue and a problem of human life. We also have responsibilities to protect nature, the environment and all life as God’s creation, in solidarity with all people. We would like to undertake our responsibilities as religious to speak on the pros and cons of nuclear plants from these two stances.

Regarding the messages of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of JapanThere are 16 dioceses from Hokkaido to Okinawa in Japan. Archbishops, bishops and auxiliary bishops appointed by the Pope are responsible for the faithful and various facilities in their respective dioceses. There are 17 bishops in Japan today (not including bishops emeritus). A message, which has reached a consensus among these bishops, is announced occasionally as the message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan. Such a message was announced this time after all the bishops reached a consensus during the Special Extraordinary Plenary Assembly on November 8 in Sendai. It is addressed not only to Japanese Catholics but also to all residents in Japan.

Why is it now that the message on nuclear plants is announced ?

After the recent nuclear plant accident, people started to discuss whether nuclear plants should be abolished or maintained. However, the Japanese government is gradually heading toward the maintenance of nuclear plants without paying attention to the public debate. The government has initiated the path to resume the operations of nuclear plants, and restarted the negotiation on the export of nuclear technology. Particularly under such circumstances, the pros and cons of nuclear plants should be examined respecting the outcome of public discussion. This is the reason why we decided to announce this message.In the message “Reverence for Life” from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (2001), we said that we would move in the direction of the abolishment of nuclear plants, but took a stance of admitting the continued existence of nuclear plants. Faced with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Accident, the bishops have decided to take a more decisive and clear attitude on nuclear plants.

Is it possible to abolish nuclear plants immediately?In summer 2011, the shortage of electricity was predicted because the nuclear plants in Kanto and Tohoku regions stopped operating. However, thanks to the effort to save energy by corporations and local governments and others, we could overcome the shortage. It can be said that the shortage of electricity can be overcome by saving energy even if nuclear plants stop operating immediately. It might cause handicaps in terms of international competitiveness. However, new international competitiveness should be strengthened by promoting the development of natural energy. We trust Japanese advanced technology, and hope that Japanese people will make efforts to change their lifestyle by various means such as saving electricity.  People in all Japan, not to mention Eastern Japan, which was afflicted by the nuclear plant accident, need to change their lifestyle to reduce dependence on nuclear power and electricity.

Explanation on the words in the message“The wisdom to know our limits”: The knowledge, technology and endeavor of the human race have limits, and to know its limits constitutes true wisdom. It is necessary to humbly accept the wisdom in the fields of science and technology as well. The latest accident revealed that something uncontrollable by human knowledge and technology could happen in nuclear plants.
“In the context of peaceful use”: Japanese people have an earnest desire to abolish nuclear weapons based on their horrible experience of atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This desire was converted into the peaceful use of nuclear energy as nuclear plants, in the context of peaceful use. However, it is also pointed out that nuclear technology can be easily used for the development of nuclear weapons. We should consider the abolishment of nuclear plants from this perspective as well.
“Poverty”: It means a way of life not obsessed with desire (greed) for goods and money. It is not the lifestyle that one thinks money and goods are unnecessary, but that one recognizes the true value of all God’s creation (water, nature, etc.,), utilizes them with respect, and shares them fairly with others.
“Obedience”: It means to obey the will of God.
“Detachment”: It means to become free from coveting money and goods, and to shift from the satisfaction of “having” to the joy of “being”.
“Self-sacrifice”: It means to live offering one’s life to God and other people with one’s love of God and others, instead of being driven by greed. In addition to the meaning related to the ethic of each individual, it has a meaning to live sharing the limited resources and products equally among all people and partaking of them fairly as a global citizen (the spirit of solidarity).

In this message, we appeal to reduce not only “dependence on nuclear plants”, but also “dependence on electricity”. Such efforts will contribute to respecting global environment and human life, not to mention the abolition of nuclear plants and the measures against global warming.

  • « Abolition immédiate des Centrales nucléaires ! ~ Suite à la catastrophe tragique, l’accident  de la centrale nucléaire n°1 de Fukushima ~ »Message des évêques catholiques du Japon Sendai, Japon, 8 novembre 2011

À toutes celles et à tous ceux qui demeurent au Japon.

Suite au grave accident de la centrale nucléaire n° 1 de Fukushima, causé par le tremblement de terre, à l’Est du Japon, – et sa conséquence, le tsunami -, le 11 mars 2011, la mer et la terre ont largement été contaminées par la radioactivité ; des milliers d’habitants ont perdu la vie, ou leur maison et leur milieu de vie.

Les évêques du Japon avaient fait une évaluation sur les centrales nucléaires, dans leur message pour le 21ème siècle : « Regard sur la vie » ; ils affirmaient : « Bien que (le développement de l’énergie nucléaire) ait fourni à l’humanité une énorme quantité d’énergie, – comme jamais auparavant -, il peut aussi apporter un grave dommage aux membres des générations suivantes, comme le montrent les bombes atomiques de Hiroshima et de Nagasaki,  l’accident de Tchernobyl, – qui ont tué un grand nombre de personnes, en un instant -, mais aussi l’accident critique de Tôkai-mura, qui a exposé les vies de beaucoup de gens au danger et lourdement menacé leur vie quotidienne. Pour son bon usage, on aurait eu besoin de  sagesse, celle qui sait les limites humaines et les efforts à faire, sans cesse, avec une attention minutieuse. Cependant, nous espérons le développement des énergies alternatives, pour que des effets tragiques ne surviennent pas.»

Ces « effets tragiques », évoqués dans ce message, se sont justement produits lors de l’accident de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima. Avec cet accident, s’est effondré « le mythe de la Sécurité ». Ce « mythe de la Sécurité » s’est développé, parce que l’on a trop fait confiance à la science, et faute d’une « sagesse qui sait les limites humaines ».

Dans « Regard sur la vie », nous n’avons pas appelé à l’abolition immédiate des centrales nucléaires. Mais, le regrettant, et considérant la tragédie de l’accident  de la centrale nucléaire n° 1 de Fukushima, nous appelons à la fermeture de toutes les centrales nucléaires qui se trouvent au Japon.

Contre un tel appel à l’abolition immédiate, des voix s’élèvent, inquiètes quant au manque possible d’énergie. Entre aussi en considération le problème du dioxyde de carbone. Mais, avant tout, nous avons la responsabilité de sauvegarder toute la vie, et la nature, qui sont création de Dieu, et de transmettre aux générations futures un milieu dans lequel elles se trouveront en sécurité et en toute tranquillité. Il faut décider tout de suite l’abolition des centrales nucléaires pour sauvegarder, non pas la théorie de l’économie pour l’économie, qui laisse la priorité aux intérêts et à l’efficacité immédiate, mais la vie précieuse et la belle nature.

Le cinquante quatre centrales nucléaires, qui se trouvent actuellement dans tout le Japon, sont en danger : elles peuvent subir un accident comme celui de Fukushima, car des dommages causés par un nouveau tremblement de terre et un tsunami sont possibles. L’abolition des centrales nucléaires est absolument nécessaire pour réduire au minimum les fléaux engendrés par une catastrophe naturelle.

Les centrales nucléaires ont pourvu la société en énergie, selon la perspective de « l’utilisation à des fins pacifiques ». Par contre, elles ont aussi produit de grandes quantités de plutonium et autres déchets radio-actifs des réacteurs atomiques. Il s’ensuit que nous faisons peser, en permanence, sur les générations futures, la responsabilité de conserver ces déchets dangereux. Il faut que nous considérions tout cela comme un problème moral.

Les centrales nucléaires ont été, jusqu’ici, encouragées par la politique nationale. En conséquence, cela a retardé d’autant le développement et la diffusion des énergies naturelles. Nous en appelons à un changement de politique nationale, qui donne la priorité au développement et à la promotion des énergies naturelles, ayant aussi comme perspective la diminution des émissions de dioxyde de carbone. La démolition d’un réacteur nucléaire nécessite beaucoup de temps et de travail. Il faudrait donc porter une attention très minutieuse à la démolition des réacteurs nucléaires et au traitement des déchets radio-actifs.

Il est certain que notre vie contemporaine ne peut se passer de l’énergie électrique. Cependant, il est important de modifier notre mode de vie, trop dépendant de l’énergie électrique, et de changer d’orientation, quant à notre manière de vivre.

Il est dans la culture, la sagesse et la tradition du Japon, de vivre avec la nature ; on rencontre aussi ce même esprit, dans des religions comme le Shintoïsme et le Bouddhisme. Le christianisme a développé  l’esprit de pauvreté. Et nous, les chrétiens, avons le devoir de rendre authentiquement témoignage à l’Évangile, à travers la manière de vivre voulue par Dieu, à savoir : « simplicité de vie, esprit de prière, charité envers tous, – spécialement envers les petits et les pauvres -, obéissance et humilité, détachement de nous-mêmes et renoncement. » Nous devons choisir à nouveau la simplicité, comme style de vie basé sur cet esprit évangélique , à travers nos efforts pour économiser l’électricité, par exemple. Nous souhaitons aussi le développement et le progrès de la science, sur la base de ce même esprit. Ceci nous conduira à une vie sûre et tranquille, sans centrales nucléaires. À Sendai, le 8 novembre, 2011.  Les Évêques du Japon

1. « Regard sur la vie — Message des Évêques pour le 21ième siècle —» Conférence des Évêques catholiques du Japon, 2001, pp. 104-105. Il y a un autre message de la Conférence des Évêques du Japon sur l’évaluation de la centrale nucléaire, qui a été présenté au gouvernement Japonais: « Requête en ce qui concerne l’accident critique nucléaire à l’Équipement pour Traitement d’Uranium de Tôkai (Petition concerning Nuclear Accident in tokai Uranium Processing Plant) » (1999). /
2. Paul VI, Exhortation apostolique : Evangelii nuntiandi, n. 76. /
3. Conseil Pontifical « Justice et Paix », Compendium de la Doctrine sociale de l’Église, n. 486 (ch. 10, IV, d. Nouveau style de vie)

The Earth

85. God created the world and declared it good, giving it order and harmony with the hope that nature and humankind would coexist in abundance. However, modernization and industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries have led to the subjugation of nature by humanity, disappointing that hope. In their untiring pursuit of convenience and comfort, the peoples of the developed nations, driven by self-centered egoism and commercialism, have in a short time destroyed the earth’s environment.
The earth was born 4.6 million years ago. At the beginning of the 15th century, the human population of the planet was approximately one billion. By the beginning of the 20th century it was some 1.6 billion. As we enter the 21st century, the world population is some 6.1 billion and is expected to exceed 10 billion by mid-century. Predicting the future is difficult, but in the 21st century three things seem certain: population growth, increased energy consumption and deepening environmental problems.

If we keep on like this…

86. As early as 1962 the American biologist Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring pointed out the problem of environmental pollution.
« It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh. … The apple trees were coming into bloom but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit. »54
This prophecy of a « silent spring » was made more than 40 years ago.
In 1972, the Club of Rome published its report, The Limits of Growth, warning of overpopulation, economic expansion, resource depletion, food shortages, and environmental pollution. The report warned that under present conditions the exhaustion of resources and environmental pollution caused by population growth would impose limits on human development.
Today these prophecies leave a heavy weight on our hearts. Once lost, it is impossible to return nature’s pristine state. Between 1975 and 2000, some 40,000 different kinds of creatures were driven to extinction each year. Restoring an extinct species is, to all intents and purposes, impossible.
In the latter half of the 20th century, mechanization and the growth of the automotive society in developed countries led to mass production, large-scale consumption, large-scale disposal, and large-scale discharge of industrial wastes as individual engaged in extravagantly conspicuous consumption. This has resulted in the over-production of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is raising the earth’s temperature. In addition, chemical pollutants such as dioxin and environmental endocrine disruptors are threatening not only humanity, but all life on earth.

The facts of environmental destruction

87. Especially serious among the world’s environmental problems are global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion and environmental destruction in developing countries.
The consumption of fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal produces « greenhouse gases » such as CO2 that raise the temperature of the planet. It is projected that during the 21st century the average temperature will rise 2o C. It is assumed that this will result in a rise of about 50cm in the sea level. This rise in sea levels will change rainfall amounts and weather patterns and have a big influence on plant and animal life. Abnormal weather conditions will produce famine and environmental refugees.
Sulfuric oxides (SOx) and nitrous oxides (NOx) discharged by factories, cars etc. undergo chemical changes in the atmosphere to produce sulfuric acid and nitric acid that then falls to the earth as acid rain. The death of fish in Northern European lakes and rivers was observed in the 1950’s and today more than half of Germany’s forests have been harmed by acid rain. Crops have been damaged in China, and acid rain has been observed as well in America, Canada and Japan. Pollutants have been observed to ride air currents for as much as 2,000km, so it is feared that the effects of acid rain can be worldwide.
Ozone in the lower level of the stratosphere is destroyed by chlorofluorocarbons and other such gases. This allows an increase in the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation that reaches the planet’s surface. The fear is that this will cause health problems like cancer, interfere with photosynthesis in plants and hinder the growth of plankton.
Industrial pollution is a serious problem in developing countries. While that is their responsibility, it is also the responsibility of the developed countries that build factories in those places.
The problem of pollution arose in Japan in the 1960’s. Situations of air pollution in Yokkaichi and Kawasaki, and water pollution in Minamata due to industrial drainage provoked various countermeasures that have improved the situation. However, problems of air pollution, industrial drainage and heavy metal pollution are appearing in the developing countries.
This is not a case of people in the developed nations criticizing development in other places. It is important, though, that we share our experience by transferring technology, personnel and funds to assist developing nations.
Moreover, the overlogging of tropical hardwoods, the depletion of seafood resources due to marine pollution, the disposal of harmful wastes in the sea and desertification all present serious challenges to the existence of every creature on earth. In particular, it is said that more than half of earth’s species live in the tropical forests, but that by 2020 between 50,000 and 1,500,000 of them are expected to be extinct.

What God expects

88. Both nature and humanity have been exquisitely created by God’s hands. Humans, animals and plants cooperate with each other and are linked to each other through a great interwoven ecosystem. It is a mysterious link. The present generation must not be allowed to use up the world’s resources and by its egoism and stupidity destroy living beings created by God. Human beings must take a new look at our relation to the environment and make a new start.
Each of us must correct our pride and comprehend the God-given balance of nature. We must recognize what it is that sustains us and know our limits. We need nature in order to live, to eat and to love.
In 1990, Pope John Paul II, saying that God expects humanity to care for the earth, affirmed « that there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and that the human person, endowed with the capability of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations. I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue. »55

Act locally

89. Nowadays the life style of people in developed countries is being called into question. In light of that, industries in our country should reconsider their mass production, large-scale consumption and rampant waste, and emphasize energy saving, resource saving, recycling and low waste production in the development of new products. We want them to grapple with the development of technologies to deal with all aspects of industry from manufacturing processes through disposal.
We, too, should stop such wasteful practices as excessive air conditioning and excessive packaging. When we buy a product, we should ask ourselves if it is really necessary, if it is made from recycled materials and how much electrical power it consumes. Each one of us should do what we can to reduce the burden on the environment. The activities of NGOs (non-government organizations) that work for the environment are increasingly important.
God cares even for the flowers of the field, dressing each with beauty and loving it. To sense each creature singing the hymn of its existence is to live joyfully in God’s love and hope. When we become aware of the abundant richness of other creatures’ existence, our eyes are opened to an intuitive sense of God’s own existence. The human task is not to destroy the environment, but to cooperate with God in creating it. It is important that we continue to hope as we correct problems and engage in a calm dialogue in search of solutions.

Publicités

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s