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In Commemoration of the
Twenty-First Anniversary
of Our Lady's First Weeping
in Naju, Korea

 

Anxiety as well as gratitude

After teaching the crowds in many parables at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus went to his home country, Nazareth, and taught the people in their synagogue.  They were astonished at his wisdom and miracles and said, "Is he not the carpenter's son?  Are not his family and relatives all with us?  Where did he get all this?" The Evangelist reports that Jesus did not work many miracles there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13). 

For the past twenty-one years in Naju, Korea, since June 30, 1985, Our Lord and Our Lady have given us messages and miraculous signs in unprecedented numbers and intensity.  We feel both anxious and grateful.  The reason for the anxiety is, as everyone knows already, that the events in Naju have been thoroughly rejected by the local church authority and, because of this, most of the faithful in Korea are keeping these events at a distance.  We are concerned about the possibility that Our Lord and Our Lady may leave us because of our persisting indifference and lack of faith.  There is nothing that the omnipotent God cannot do, but He has given free will to humans.  If we reject his offer to the end, He cannot do anything about it.  In the entire Church history, was there any other age when the Lord's works were so pertinaciously rejected and ignored by His beloved children as in Korea now?  As members of the Lord's Mystical Body, we are supposed to make our utmost efforts to do the Lord's Will, but, how are we going to accomplish this if we continue ignoring His special messages and signs?

Despite all the difficulties, the works of the Lord and the Blessed Mother continue with no sign of weakening.  The messages are still received; the miraculous signs with the Eucharistic and Marian content as well as those urging our repentance and penance also continue; and the graces for the spiritual and physical healings are still being poured down.  These are, above all, clear manifestations of God's boundless love and mercy.  They may also be because of God's consideration of the almost 20,000 Korean martyrs of the previous centuries who sacrificed their lives to defend the Faith; because of those in Korea and other countries who remain unshaken in their belief regarding the supernatural events in Naju; and also because of Julia Kim who does not spare anything for the Lord and the Blessed Mother and for the conversion of sinners and continues her painful life as a victim soul and thus moves the Lord's Sacred Heart to send down more graces upon the world.  We, though unworthy, cannot help giving profound thanks and praise to the Lord and the Blessed Mother and also giving thanks to the martyrs, all the angels and Saints in Heaven, all the shepherds and people on earth who are faithful to the Lord, and also to Julia Kim.

 

We, the members of the Church,
can help the Church or can harm her

While the persecution continues, we wonder when it will end and the powerful light of the Lord's truth and love will radiate upon the entire world.  We are certain of the coming of that day and pray for it coming soon, but also recognize that nobody can know when and how this will be done.  It is not even necessary that we know.  As the Lord and the Blessed Mother have called us to work on the field, all we need to do is to do our share one day at a time with gratitude and faithfulness.  Of course, the Lord is not calling us to become like slaves who are not free or like machines that have no minds or hearts.  He treats us not as slaves but as friends (John 15:15) and even makes us little helpers or participants in His work of human salvation (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #306).  Being aware of and grateful for the dignity that He is bestowing on us, we should joyfully devote all the functions of our souls and bodies as well as all other resources that we have to advancing the Lord's work on earth so that it may be done well according to His Will. 

This also means that, even after we become the Lord's children and members of His Church, our contribution to the Lord's work can be minimal or even negative, if we misuse our free will by pursuing our self-centered calculations and preferences ahead of the Lord's Will, by being unfaithful to the Lord's truths and Commandments, by being negligent of our daily duties entrusted to us, or by allowing ourselves to become victims of fatalism that everything regarding our destiny will be determined by God alone and we are incapable of making any difference.  This principle of free will applies to all the members in the Church, both the clergy and the laity.  Throughout Church history, we can see that the Church was spiritually healthy and fruitful when both the clergy and the laity were faithful, self-sacrificing, and hard-working and, on the other hand, that the Church suffered wounds and setbacks when her members were unfaithful and negligent.   The Lord gives to the members of the Church the dignity, authority, skills, and graces necessary for their carrying out their missions, but this does not mean that their thoughts, words, and actions will always and automatically conform to the Lord's Will, because their free will is also at work.  Thus, depending on whether their free will cooperates with the graces from God or not, either good fruits will be borne or weeds will grow in the Church because of them (cf. Matthew 13:24-30). 

 

God sometimes sends special assistance
to His children on earth

When the unfaithfulness and moral degradation among God's children worsen and develop into a crisis situation, God often sends great Saints to bring about a massive conversion and reformation of sinners.  Especially since the miracles in Guadalupe, Mexico, in the 16th Century, God has been sending the Blessed Mother to the world to break people's tenacious ignorance and unfaithfulness and reverse their moral degradation on larger scales than before.  God's purpose in sending special assistance to the people on earth is not to reveal any new truths or alter any of the existing teachings but to rescue and restore the humans who have fallen into a crisis through their own complacency and corruption and are unable to overcome it by themselves.

We can also see in Church history that many of the special revelations from God have been strongly resisted and opposed by many.  When people have become attached to some worldly possessions such as their material wealth, social status, power, reputation, and so on, they are likely to resist any calls to repentance and reformation, even if they originate from God.  Especially in recent decades, many people have misinterpreted and misused the precious teachings of the Second Vatican Council, diluting the supernatural content of the Catholic Faith and downgrading the significance of God the Son's Incarnation among us and adjusting everything that flows from it such as the formal teachings, liturgy, and devotions in the Church to the modernist tastes and preferences.  To those contaminated with the modernist ways of thinking, God's special interventions in the flow of human history such as those in Naju will be perceived as most unwelcome and threatening challenges to their established conditions in the Church and the world.  They will employ all the available means to block such challenges.  Regarding the arguments presented by those who discredit the events of Naju, we have already made our counter-arguments available in several publications and on our website: www.marys-touch.com.  In the present article, only a few of the issues will be covered below.

 

1.     "Even if the Bishop's Declaration has some shortcomings, God's Will must be that we accept it in obedience."    

This is how many people criticize those who believe in the authenticity of the events in Naju.  According to them, people who accept the events in Naju as genuine interventions by God are guilty of disobedience to the Bishop.  As the Catholic Church teaches that humility and obedience are the most basic virtues, being subjected to such a criticism is a very serious matter.  If this criticism were just, those who are at the receiving end of it would really be in trouble.  There simply is no place in the Church for those who are unjustly disobedient and defiant to the shepherds.  However, at least two serious defects are found in the above criticism, which seem to weaken or even negate its validity.

 

(1)    The problems in the Kwangju  Declaration are not trivial matters

The main problems that are suspected to be in the Kwangju Archdiocese's Declaration on Naju are too serious in nature to be regarded as just "some shortcomings", "modest deficiencies", or "small mistakes".  This Declaration gave its negative judgment on Naju by declaring that the reported events there are in conflict with the Church teachings.  For example, it says that the phenomena in Naju called "Eucharistic miracles" contradict the Church teaching that says: "Even after the bread and wine turned into Christ's flesh and blood through the transubstantiation by the priest's consecration, the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged."  As we have explained in several other places, this presentation of the Church teaching in the Kwangju Declaration is clearly a distortion of the official Church teaching on the Eucharist.  The Council of Trent in the 16th Century taught that the effects of the Eucharistic consecration by a priest are limited to the changes in the substances of bread and wine into the substances of Christ's flesh and wine without any accompanying changes in the species of bread and wine.  This is obviously not the same as saying that the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the consecration and, therefore, cannot be a valid ground for rejecting the Eucharistic miracles involving unexpected changes in the species of bread and wine into the species of flesh and blood through special interventions by God.  Nobody has the authority to add any new meaning to the existing Church dogmas or interpret the existing dogmas differently from the official interpretations by the Magisterium.  Besides, it is unthinkable that a dogma can have different meanings between the Universal Church and a particular church.          

Regarding the miraculous descents of the Eucharist in Naju also, the Kwangju Declaration condemned them saying that the Eucharist can exist only through the consecration by a validly-ordained priest according to the official Church teaching.  This also is an obvious distortion of the Church teaching.  The Fourth Lateran Council in the 13th Century stated that "validly-ordained priests alone can perform the Eucharistic consecration" to counter the Waldensian heresy that insisted that the laity also have the priestly powers.  This Council's teaching is clearly different from the Kwangju Declaration's version of the Church teaching that "the Eucharist can exist only through the priestly consecration."  As the Eucharist is not a lifeless, ordinary object but the resurrected and living Christ with His body, soul and divinity, Christ can, by virtue of His omnipotence, assume the appearances of the Eucharist whenever He wills it.  The Lord can also have His angels move the Eucharist from a tabernacle to another place, which He did in the lives of many Saints and at least twice in Naju (November 24, 1994 and January 6, 2002).  If the Kwangju Archdiocese's assertion were correct, all the miraculous communions by many Saints in history would have to be condemned. 

As seen in the above two examples, the Kwangju Archdiocese's Declaration obviously contains incorrect versions of the Church doctrines by which it condemned the Eucharistic miracles in Naju.  It probably is the first time that a local Church authority condemned Eucharistic miracles by adding new meanings to the existing Church teachings.  For this reason, the problems in the Kwangju Declaration cannot be considered to belong to the category of modest shortcomings and trivial mistakes that would not have been significant factors in reaching the negative judgment on Naju.  On the contrary, the doctrinal distortions in the Declaration were direct and primary determinants of this judgment.  They also give rise to another potentially serious question of the Kwangju Archbishop's misuse of his authority. 

 

(2)       The Bishop's authority is sacred and rightfully deserves respect and obedience by the faithful, but it can also be misused

God alone deserves our absolute and unconditional obedience, as He alone is the source of all truths and goodness and can never err or require us to do what is not right.  For this reason, we can give Him our total trust and obedience joyfully and without any qualms in our conscience.  The Blessed Mother, and all the angels and Saints in Heaven also cannot mislead us with errors or induce us to do evil, as they are in perfect union with God.  Concerning the situation in our world, God protects the Pope and the Ecumenical Council of all Bishops united with the Pope with the charism of infallibility when they make solemn definitions of the teachings revealed by God.  The faithful are obligated to give full obedience to the Church authority exercised in this manner (cf. Matthew 16:18).  Many people do not seem to be sure about this charism of infallibility in the Church, but, as the Catholic Church established by the Lord is not an ordinary human organization but a supernatural and mystical body of Christ Himself, it is most appropriate that the Church is capable of teaching the revealed truths without errors just as the Lord Himself could during His life on earth and is also capable of channeling God's graces to her members through her Sacraments just as the Lord Himself could.  The Church with Christ as her Head and the Holy Spirit as her Soul is impeccable and completely holy, even though the humans who belong to her as members are still in the difficult process of purification and sanctification of their souls.     

In all the legitimate societies in the world, God establishes or allows various duties and positions at different levels in the hierarchy and requiring different talents and skills.  God endows those in different positions with the authority necessary for carrying out their duties.  Thus, the Church, families, schools, business companies, social associations, military forces, governments, and so on are equipped with a hierarchy of various positions and the proper authority for each position.  Those who are given authority must use it in conformity with God's Will and to promote the legitimate interests of the members under them (cf. Rom. 13:1-2).  It is also necessary and important to emphasize that the members of the Church have a special and serious obligation to respect and obey their shepherds as they represent the Lord as His ministers and are entrusted with the sacred and difficult mission of bringing up all humans as faithful and healthy members of the Family and Kingdom of God.

While the authority entrusted to the Bishops and priests in the Church is sacred and precious, this does not, however, mean that it can be exercised in an absolute or arbitrary manner.  Those who are given the authority must exercise it with humility and fear, always making sure that it is exercised properly according to God's Will.  We sometimes see cases of the civil, ecclesiastical, or other authority being exercised in irresponsible ways, not in pursuit of God's Will and people's interests but for the selfish reasons of those who have the authority.  Those who abuse their authority or any other thing that has been received from God are forgetting that all of us are going to have to give an account before God.  For example, suppose that a teacher made an inadvertent mistake while teaching in class.  One of his students might raise his hand and ask about it.  If the teacher examines if there was any mistake and, if so, promptly corrects it, he is using his authority properly and will earn more respect and gratitude from his students.  If he refuses to correct his mistake and even forbids any questions and discussions about it, he is being disobedient to God Who is the source of all truths and all authorities.       

The Church is where we learn God's truths and Commandments from the shepherds and put them into practice in our daily lives.  Because correct knowledge and acceptance of these truths and Commandments are essential for our salvation, the purity and correctness of teachings is far more important in the Church than at any other place in the world.  In fact, as God Himself revealed the saving truths and entrusted them to the Catholic Church, this Church is incomparably superior to other humanly-based religions as the way of human salvation.  In fact, it is the only way that has been established and is being made available to the whole human race by God Himself and, therefore, is the only sure way for our salvation.  The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and Christ is the only Savior of the world.  We need to make this fact very clear to ourselves without despising some partial truths found in other religions.  Equality of different religions is an error that is not compatible with God the Son's Incarnation in our world and His continuing work through His Church.  The need for evangelizing the pagan world remains as urgent as ever.  This reality makes the mission of the shepherds in the Church all the more important as they are the leaders and teachers in the Church.  It is essential for the health of the whole Church that they keep what they teach free from errors and equivocations.  Here is a quote that throws more light on the nature of a bishop's authority:

"An individual Bishop, when he makes a promulgation of faith, is not infallible.  The history of the Church shows that individual members of the Episcopate, for example, Photinus, Nestorius, have fallen into error and heresy.  In order to preserve the teaching of faith handed down by Tradition, in its purity, the collegiate infallibility of the whole Episcopate suffices.  However, the individual Bishop, in what concerns his own diocese is, by virtue of his office, the authentic, that is the authoritative, teacher of faith, as long as he continues in communion with the Apostolic See, and as long as he adheres to the general teaching of the Church." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott, Tan Books & Publishers, 1974, p. 300)

 

2.     "Why is the truth so important?  What is so bad about errors?"

The Catholic catechism teaches that the purpose of our being born into this world is to know God and love and serve Him and, by doing so, to earn eternal happiness.  So that we may know Him and His goodness, God has revealed Himself and His Will through the prophets of the Old Testament and completed the revelation through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.  Thanks to God's revelations, we can learn the supernatural truths and Divine Commandments and, based on them, live the life that can lead us to salvation and eternal life.  The importance of knowing the truth applies to almost everything that we do in our lives.  In order to reach a destination, we need to know the correct way.  To build airplanes, buildings, bridges and other things, we need to have sufficient and true knowledge of engineering and good skills.  Some say that faith alone can bring us salvation or that the faith that can save us is nothing other than our religious feeling, grossly misleading people to believe that it is not necessary for our salvation that we learn the divine truths and observe the Commandments.  The Catholic Faith offers the truths from God to enlighten and guide our intellect and teaches God's love and goodness to motivate our free will.  As God is truth itself and goodness itself, we simply cannot come close to Him and become united with Him unless we are faithful to His truths and moral commandments.  In contrast, if we allow errors to creep into our minds, we are going to become unable to worship God properly or to have a healthy relationship with other people starting with our own family members.  In fact, all the sins in the world begin with an error.  The original sin by Adam and Eve began with an error uttered by the devil that they certainly would not die even if they ate the forbidden fruit and, instead, would become like God.  The numerous abortions in our world also start with the error that the unborn babies are not human beings and, therefore, abortions are not murders.  Sacrilegious communions are based on the ignorance about the evils of our sins and about the truth of Our Lord's Real Presence in the Eucharist.  In Naju, the Blessed Mother mentioned the word: errors dozens of times in her messages, lamenting over the black clouds of errors enwrapping the entire world.  She also urged us to be faithful to the Heritage of the Faith that has been entrusted to us.  The Heritage of the Faith refers to the authentic truths and traditions in the Church.  We should, therefore, begin educating ourselves more thoroughly and deeply about the spiritual treasures in the Church which are the divine teachings and sacred Catholic traditions and also fight against the widespread ignorance and distortions of the Church teachings in the world.  We also need to fight the errors that continue to prevent the work of the Lord and the Blessed Mother in Naju from spreading its light all over Asia and the entire world and bearing fruit among countless people.  Because many people, including some clergy, have fallen into deviations from the authentic Catholic teachings and have been promoting the modernist doctrine that we must accommodate our faith life to the advances and vagaries of the world, they find it so hard to recognize and accept the true reality of what is happening in Naju.  When such a person looks at the events in Naju, which are powerful testimonies to the authentic Catholic teachings and tradition, he is likely to resist and reject them.

 

We seek true unity based on the truths from God

 

If people with different opinions and beliefs gather and talk for the purpose of prevailing over others, they will never reach any unity.  Before anything, we need to recognize that the Catholic Church does not belong to any humans or owes anything to the secular spirit that prevails in any particular age, but belongs to God alone and exists for His purpose alone.  As the Mystical body of Christ, she has to constantly march toward her glorious perfection as the Bride of Christ, shedding all the errors, impurities, and evils from the souls of her members in the process of that march.  If we focus on this supernatural reality of the Church and adhere to her authentic teachings, we should be able to reach true unity.  For example, some say, "The species of bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the consecration by the priest," and others say, "The Church teaches that the consecration by the priest brings about changes in the substances of bread and wine into the Lord's flesh and blood only, without any accompanying changes in the species of bread and wine.  Therefore, miraculous changes in the Eucharist into visible flesh and blood after the consecration do not contradict any of the Church teachings."  If we mention these differing statements as though they are some competing human theories, we are ignoring that our task here is to seek and find the correct meaning of the Church dogmas as intended by God Himself.  The divine truths, which alone are eternally and absolutely true unlike human theories and conceptions, are the only foundation for genuine unity and harmony in the Church.  If we seek our standards for unity among some unreliable concepts like convenience, political correctness, face-saving, human cleverness, give-and-takes, prevailing ideas in the world, and so on, we will never find the eternal truths from God or achieve unity and salvation that are true and lasting.

Regarding the questions about Naju, we are not asking the Church leaders to grant our own desires or bless any human agenda.  What we want is that an objective and professional investigation of the reported events in Naju begin without any further delay, as it has been widely recognized already that the previous one was neither objective nor professional but was done in a most cursory and irresponsible way based on prejudice and incorrect interpretation of the Church teachings.  Also, we ask that the suspected doctrinal problems in the Kwangju Archdiocese's Declaration on Naju be investigated and, based on the findings, be officially and clearly corrected.  Doing these will be the proper way for restoring the Lord's honor which has been damaged and has remained in that condition for too long.  We humbly and eagerly implore all the shepherds especially in Korea to lead us firmly on the way of defending the authentic Catholic Faith which our numerous martyrs defended with their own lives and handed down to us.  Also, we express our deep, heartfelt respect and gratitude to all those shepherds in the Church who have been praying and suffering because of their concern about the problems in the Church.  We are filled with hope because of them and, most of all, because of the Lord's promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built on the rock (Matthew 16:18).

May the current difficulties be overcome soon with the boundless mercy of the Lord and the special help from the Blessed Mother and the true unity be restored in the Church!  May all the shepherds and the lay people under them work together, vigorously evangelizing the world!

 

Benedict Sang M. Lee
Mary's Touch By Mail
Gresham, Oregon, U. S. A.
June 24, 2006


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