In Brief

Japanese bishops defend constitution

Japan’s Bishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Niigata has urged his country to build peace through development rather than military deterrence.

Writing ahead of the seventieth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bishop, who chairs Caritas Asia, criticised plans by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democrat Party to change national security policies. 

Japan’s constitution bars the government from exercising military power outside the country. Previously interpreted as barring Japan from maintaining military potential, in recent years Japan’s government has allowed the country’s Self Defence Force to act in tandem with other countries. 


Secret Catholics in colonial America

An artefact found in the first permanent English colony in the Americas has been identified by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as “likely a Catholic reliquary”.

The silver box was resting upon the coffin of Capt. Gabriel Archer, who was buried in Jamestown’s 1608 Anglican church, and suggests that secret Catholics may have been part of the Virginia community.

Scans indicate that the sealed box, apparently engraved with the letter "M", houses bone fragments and pieces of a lead ampulla, a container use to hold holy water.