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Rich in dramatic Catholic history, Nagasaki awaits the pope

Rich in dramatic Catholic history, Nagasaki awaits the pope


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NAGASAKI, Japan (AP) — It’s fitting that Pope Francis will start his visit to Japan in Nagasaki, the city where Christianity first took hold in the country and where nearly 500 years later it remains steeped in blood-soaked symbolism, both religious and political.

It was here that a group Catholic converts went underground during centuries of violent persecution. It was here that their descendants emerged from hiding in the 19th century, their faith unbroken. And it was here that a U.S. atom bomb brought death and destruction to the cathedral that community was finally able to build.

On his visit Francis will likely look to the past by honoring the doggedness of those so-called Hidden Christians, while also laying out his vision for a future free from the threat of nuclear weapons.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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