Peace advocates plan to apologize for nuclear bombings

A group of faith-based peace activists will lead a small contingent to Japan to mark the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to apologize for the U.S. action.

“We want to acknowledge the tremendous damage done by our country, by what has happened,” long time Tacoma, Wash., peace advocate Jesuit Father Bill Bichsel told Catholic News Service. “We wish to attach ourselves to the continued work of nuclear abolition.”

The trip gets under way July 31. Sixteen people from various faith traditions will make the journey to the two cities on the anniversaries of the bombings: Aug. 6 for Hiroshima, Aug. 9 for Nagasaki. The group includes Dominican Sister Teresa Montes, Franciscan Father Louis Vitale, Catholic Worker and U.S. Navy veteran Tom Karlin and Mitch Kohjima, a former Buddhist monk.

Father Bichsel, 81, who has committed acts of civil disobedience to express his opposition to the nuclear weapons present at the Naval Base Kitsap near Seattle, has been working with Bishop Joseph Atsumi Misue of Hiroshima and Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki to coordinate activities.

The apology is necessary in order to begin to repent for the sins of war, Father Bichsel said.

“What we have done not only has inflicted tremendous damage on the Japanese, it also has done tremendous damaged on the (American) people when we don’t remember what we have done,” he said.

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12 Responses to Peace advocates plan to apologize for nuclear bombings

  1. Vincent says:

    There is no need no an apology.

  2. Craig says:

    President Truman said he never regretted it and slept just fine.

    This is very sad and quite frankly disgraceful to the courageous men and women who served our country so valiantly in the Pacific.

  3. Rick Evans says:

    We definitely remember what we did! And we certainly remember what the Japanese and their deified leader did. There’s no confusion here. I hope Father Bischel is going on the trip too, so he can try and find the tremendous damage he describes. Hiroshima today is a truly impressive economic/manufacturing power house. And free market capitalism has give the Japanese people remarkably prosperous lives.

    Right after his visit I think he should take a side trip to North and South Korea. It might be a little much to expect that he would notice the difference between the standard of living in North versus the South. He probably won’t understand the need for military might until after North Korea nukes one of its neighbors or us. Certainly if the US and the rest of the industrial world gets rid of their nuclear weapons there will be nothing to stop the little guy with the bad hair cut from doing whatever dismal deed he thinks up.

    Apologize indeed! This is a joke right?

  4. Holly says:

    God Bless Father and with all due respect we do not have to apologize for dropping the bomb.

    Yes we should deter it in these times. It should never be used every again for such a means of stopping and preventing a war. If other means can be obtained.

    My father served during WWII. His unit was ready to go into Japan but because of the secret mission of the use of the bomb he was recalled.

    My two uncles served with him.

    My greatgrandfather served in WWI with his two sons and probably various cousins and relatives have served in our family.

    Our family has served in almost every campaign back to Oliver Cromwell on my fathers side. We are probably considered a military family. So I think I know of that which we speak. Yes, peace is important and I bless the peacemakers. I also feel that Japan has the same responsibility for what they started as well.

    I do not condone an unjust wore. Im sorry but I cannot agree with father that we should apologize on either side as well. This was taken care of during the war.
    My family were there. They had a front seat.

    Japan was built back up by the American people through our military.
    We paid our price for dropping the bomb.

    Im sorry Father Bischel you are wrong. I do commend you for your peace action I do not agree with you on your perception of history.

    My father made sure we understood what war was about in an indirect way. Men who have experienced war and come back constantly watch the war pictures on TV.

    Their kids do to. We know what it means to a certain extent. We also know what a just war is if necessary and we understand what peace is.

    We paid watching our father suffer through the years from stomach ulcers, alchoholism and eventually disappointment.

    He never complained but we heard of some of which he spoke of those years. He sent 5 ungrateful children to Catholic School and tried to impart to us that an education is necessary in this world.

    We listened because we knew that our father who was exceptional in learning and should have had these same breaks. During his time it was the school of hard knocks. You did what was necessary and you were not a wimp. He joined the national guard but had to quit school and eventually was called up for a seat in the South Pacific.

    Im sure he served his country well. In fact I suspect and know he did just that.
    His brother Joe was wounded on the beach for the European invasion. So we had two on two different fronts and the third in the Navy.

    We witnessed what he had suffered and Im sure the Japanese suffered as well but it takes two and not a onesided affirmation in history regarding war.

    I hope we find peace someday but the world doesnt see it our way. Maybe someday the Blessed Mother will be given permission by her Son to impart this to us. THE PERIOD OF PEACE ALLUDED TO A FATIMA.

    Father Bischel do not degrade history. Remember it and lets learn from it. Keep in mind who we are. We are people spawned of a great nation. We are dogfaces and muts called when necessary by our country to defend LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESSE FORTUNATELY OR UNFORTUNATELY UNDER HARSH CONSEQUENCES. I TO HOPE FOR THE MERCY OF LAMB AND PEACE THROUGH HIM SOMEDAY. UNTIL THEN WE MUST MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES FOR THIS COUNTRY. WE ARE NOT WIMPS BUT I HOPE PEOPLE OF CHARACTER AND WHO HAVE CHARACTER.

  5. Holly says:

    Im sorry some of my words are mispelled above.

  6. J. Rob says:

    Perhaps Father Bill Bichsel should also go to Korea, China, Indonesia, Formosa, etc. and talk to the relatives of the tens of thousands who died under occupation by the Japanese, After the experience at Okinawa, how many American service men would have died, had we not used the bomb. The Japanese had no problem using germ warfare to kill thousands of Chinese.

    I may be wrong, but there seems to be a trend at this site, where those who do great evil have more sympathy then the innocent victims. Seems much more exposure is given about executing a convicted criminal, then the innocent victims.

  7. Holly says:

    J. Rob
    God Bless and with all due respect Im going to answer your comment. You have somewhat the right idea but maybe we should go further and say, I dont think its so much more sympathy for evil but a “New Compassion” Im hearing about.

    One that is a little too uneasy for me. There is a reason why the Church is in the world and not of it. The world doesnt understand this but she does.
    She also realizes we forces undermining the world as well so we must be a little skeptical of new compassions etc. but we should be interested in tolerance and peace as long as its good for all of society be it religious tolerance, state of affairs etc.

    The saying, “When things change they stay the same.” is just as important in all times as it was when it was coined.

    Back to I think its also a misguided compassion. Im all for peaceful solution but we musnt just throw the baby out with the bathwater. In other words throw out the past without assessing it rightly or righteously.

    No one has really escaped the past negatively or positively unscathed. Pages yet remain to be written.
    Being not afraid and being vigilante in all times is a very good motto to live by for all.

    Of course we must look at the past objectively for what it was and is. People forget that mindsets were different then under different cultures including our own. Not all of it good from a greater to a lesser degree but one must not forget and erase by just apologizing.

    We must reconcile by admitting to what when on and move on to better things but never forget what happened otherwise we may be doomed as they say today to repetition of the past.

    As for World War II and World War I we have paid for them as much as we could. No one needs to apologize but to learn from what happened and maybe avoid some of the extremes for the future in the best moral sense.

  8. Dan says:

    The good Father would be on firm ground if he were talking about slavery. Although he is 81 he clearly lacks knowledge and wisdom, at least pertaining to the world of 1945. No one with knowledge of those events would dispute that another million American GI’s would die taking the island of Japan. If the apology was couched in terms of ‘I wish the US didn’t have to drop the bomb’ that would be fine—except we know the folks for ‘peace’ for the most part are those consciously or unconsciously looking to destroy American. Jesus said take up the sword and you will die by the sword. I seem to recall history tells us the attack on Pearl Harbor was the first ‘sword’ taken up in that conflict. I apology to all Americans for this Father’s statements—as a Catholic American I am ashamed of this Jesuit, but not surprised.

  9. Bob says:

    You’re all insane.

  10. Fr. Bob Cushing says:

    Three Cheers for Fr. Bischel and his friends!
    The Gospel call to repentance is an on-going reality so that we may undo the lies our culture teaches us about the legitimacy of violence in so-called “just wars.” This pilgrimage of repentance is precisely what we need to clarify where Catholics need to take a stand on nuclear proliferation. I hope to meet them in Japan !
    Fr. Bob Cushing

  11. Noel says:

    If we bombed a room holding 77 terrorists and 1 innocent man inside, we may have had to do it, but we still owe an apology for killing the one innocent man.
    Thousands of innocent Japanese civilians died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We did not kill enemies- we killed human beings.
    Sure the Japanese committed vicious acts of inhumanity but it’s up to them to apologize for their share of sins. Let us concentrate on our share of sins and apologize for those.
    Not apologizing to the hundreds of thousands of innocents is what truly dishonors Allied troops who fought for peace and righteousness (not self-righteousness).

  12. J. Bob says:

    If one would look at the number of casualties among civilians in bombing Japan, I think it would be safe to say that more were caused by conventional bombs, then the two atom bombs, which were also used for “shock and awe” on the Japanese military. Yet no one is talking about conventional bombing being bad. Perhaps a revisit to priorities should be made.

    When one apologizes, there is another part. How do I make it right? OK, let the Japanese start also. They have consistently denied many of the terrible things they did in WWII.

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