Japanese Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao has rejected a call by Pope Benedict to learn Latin prayers and Gregorian chant as Euro-centric and "impossible for Asians", saying that Vatican officials treat Africans and Asians as second or third class.
In an interview with UCA News Tokyo-born Cardinal Hamao, who retired last year from the presidency of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, says that "many people in the Vatican think people of Asia and Africa are perhaps still too young and need to be instructed better. I think they see us a little bit as second- or third-class."
He said that he had also told Pope Benedict that he should appoint more Asians and Africans to the Roman Curia and the College of Cardinals, so as to further internationalise both bodies.
During his conversation with the pope, Cardinal Hamao also reminded him that with his resignation, there was no Asian heading any office of the Roman Curia.
He urged the pontiff to appoint Asians to Vatican positions. Three weeks later, Pope Benedict named Cardinal Ivan Dias of India as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.