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A BATTLE FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN KOREA
between the Blessed Mother and Satan

 

1.  The Catholic Faith enters Korea in the late 1700s and severe persecution follows

Seung-Hun Lee, a young Confucian scholar and local government official in Korea, traveled to Beijing, China, as a member of an official government delegation, and, while staying there, became the first baptized Korean Catholic with the baptismal name of Peter in 1784.  The priest who baptized him was Fr. Louis de Grammont, S.J. from France.  Peter Lee brought a catechism and a few holy items including a Crucifix and rosaries to Korea.  The Faith spread rapidly among the scholars, farmers, and even some members of the royal family.  Soon, the leaders of the Korean society feared the propagation of the foreign faith as a threat to their existing social structure and value system built on the rigid Confucian teachings and began cruelly persecuting the Catholic missionary priests, mostly from France, and the numerous Korean converts.  In 1831, Pope Gregory XVI declared the creation of the first Korean diocese as an encouragement to the faithful in Korea amid the ongoing persecution.  In 1846, the same Pope designated Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of Korea.

 

2.  The persecution finally ends but more crises follow

The persecution ended in the late 19th century, having produced about 20,000 martyrs, when the five hundred year-old Yi Dynasty drew closer to its end.    This was soon followed by the draconian colonial rule of imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945.  Then, the Korean War broke out in 1950 and lasted until 1953, during which several million soldiers and civilians were killed and the country remained divided between the South and the North.  After these indescribable ordeals and destructions, the Catholic Church in (South) Korea emerged badly wounded and direly poor but with strong faith and moral discipline as well as a strong sense of hope and relief over the restored freedom and peace.  The young Church in Korea was genuinely zealous and ready for a vigorous evangelization of the nation, which still was mostly pagan.  There also was an increasing competition from the Protestants led by the missionaries from America, who entered Korea at the end of the 19th century and made a rapid progress in attracting converts and building schools, colleges, and hospitals.  Currently, the Protestants of various denominations are about one quarter of the total population in Korea, twice the number of Catholics. 

In August 1945, when the Japanese occupation ended, Catholics in Korea numbered 184,000 (less than 1% of the total population); grew to about 1 million in 1973 (3% of the total population); and about 6.5 million in 2005 (over 13% of the total population).  (Source:  Catholic Korea —Yesterday and Today, Catholic Korea Publishing Co., 1988; Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea website)  The rapid growth of the Catholic population in Korea has been an object of admiration and envy worldwide, but has also been accompanied by many new problems especially after the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s: currently, only about 30% of the baptized Catholics attend Sunday Mass; the faith and moral discipline among the faithful, and even among some priests, has weakened; the Catholic Church is no longer respected and admired by the general public as it used to be, as its positive moral influence on the society has waned; many of the clergy, religious and laity have been infected with the false teachings that do not resonate with the authentic Catholic doctrines; and a large number of the priests and religious in Korea have abandoned their vocations.  Also, the political activism of the liberal priests (including their sympathetic attitude toward the Communist regime in the North) has drawn much criticism from the general public.  There is a serious concern among many that the Catholic Church in Korea may have become like the salt that has lost its taste and the light that does not shine brilliantly any longer.  There is no question that the Catholic Church in Korea is suffering from a grave ailment, a new crisis, today.      

 

3.    The Korean economy rapidly grows and transforms

With the assistance and advice of the United States, (South) Korea launched a democratic government in 1948.  It was a bold move and exciting new experiment for the Koreans, as the country had never had any experience with democracy.  The government led by President Syng-Man Rhee, a Ph.D. from Princeton and a Methodist, was strongly pro-American, anti-Communist, anti-Japanese, and pro-free society, but, in 1960, was toppled by the nationwide student demonstrations supported by many people who had become tired of the long rule by President Rhee and the repression of the opposition parties by his government.  The new government led by Dr. John Chang, the former ambassador to the U.S. and a devout Catholic, was too soft toward the radical college students who savored their newly-found political clout and even tried to negotiate directly with the North about how to expedite the reunification of the country.  Prime Minster Chang’s government collapsed only one year later in May 1961 under a military coup led by Major General Jung-Hee Park of the Korean Army.  After a few years of direct military rule, General Park became a civilian and was elected President several consecutive times ruling the country until October 26, 1979 when he was assassinated by his intelligence chief.  The eighteen years of President Park’s rule were a period of enormous changes for the country.  Under his rule assisted by many able experts educated at the American universities and the large inflows of the Japanese capital and technology, Korea succeeded in growing out of its chronic poverty.  In 2007, Korea was the 13th largest economy in the world in terms of the GDP and its per capita income was over $20,000.  As the economy continued growing, almost all sections of the economy experienced spectacular expansion and transformation.  Excessive materialism and many kinds of corruption have also increased.  For example, Korea’s abortion rate has been among the highest in the world.  Divorces, which were prohibited under the Confucian tradition, have increased rapidly, approaching the rates in the Western countries.  

 

4.    The Catholic Church in Korea tries to keep pace with the changing secular world even by altering Faith and Tradition

As the economy in Korea grew and became modernized, the Catholic Church in Korea also made efforts to catch up with the times.  For this purpose, many of the brightest seminarians and young priests were sent to Europe for more studies with the expectation that they would become highly capable leaders of the Church in the new era.  Many of them, indeed, became Bishops, seminary professors, retreat leaders, authors, and presidents of the Catholic mass media companies.  Their influence on the course of the Catholic Church in Korea was decisive.  For example, Korea’s first Cardinal, His Eminence Stephen Kim, was sent to Germany after his ordination in Korea in 1951 for social studies at the University of Münster from 1956 to 1963.  He was appointed the Archbishop of Seoul in 1968 and elevated to a Cardinal in 1969.  He retired in 1998.  As the highest Catholic prelate in Korea for three decades, Cardinal Kim exerted a powerful influence on all aspects of the Catholic life in Korea and, especially, on the various forces in Korea that were fighting for political and social reforms.  He also helped make the Catholic Church in Korea become more focused on dealing with the problems on earth than on seeking the spiritual sanctification of the faithful according to the teachings in the Gospels.  Many of the forces fighting against President Park’s government were inspired by the Cardinal’s deep interest in the political and social issues.  Also frequently, Myoungdong Cathedral located in the center of Seoul was used by the demonstrating students and labor union members as their gathering place.  Archbishop Andrew Choi of Kwangju also received a doctorate in theology from the University of Freiburg, in 1969.  Several priests, who are prominent leaders of the liberals, also were educated in Europe (for example, Fr. Edward Je-Min Ri received a doctorate in theology from the University of Würzburg; and Fr. Alberto Yong-Joo Chang, the leading opponent of Naju in the Kwangju Archdiocese, also studied in Germany from 1973 to 1987).    

The problem with many of the seminarians and young priests educated in Europe was that they became followers of the “new” teachings at some European universities.  They were the teachings of Fr. Karl Rahner, Fr. Hans Küng, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, and the like, which did not resonate well with the traditional, authentic Catholic doctrines.  These seminarians and priests from Korea thought that the Catholic Church in Korea should grow out of the old ways of practicing the faith.  They thought that many aspects of the Catholic life and mentality in Korea were unfit for the modern world.  They even began questioning many of the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church such as the Divinity of Jesus Christ, papal supremacy and infallibility, the Real Presence of the Our Lord in the Eucharist, the need for repentance of and penance for personal sins, the sanctity of our souls as the goal of the Christian life, the reality of purgatory and hell, the devotions to the Blessed Mother and the Saints, and so on.  It seems as though the precious Catholic Faith planted in the small land of Korea with the blood of so many martyrs and nurtured by the French missionary Bishops and priests has become sick by the Korean priests educated in Germany. 

 

5.  Reform-minded priests use the Second Vatican Council as a pretext to advance their own agenda

The goal of the Second Vatican Council was to explain and confirm the traditional teachings of the Church in the language more suitable to the modern world and also to open up the doors of the Catholic Church more widely to those outside the Catholic Church so that the increased communication and good will may lead to deeper mutual understanding and friendship, which in turn may promote a wider acceptance of the Catholic teachings by the entire human race.  The Council Fathers were seeking unity and harmony among the entire human family as faithful children of one God and followers of His truths.  They never intended to authorize or tolerate any alteration or dilution of any of the authentic Catholic doctrines for any purpose (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, Chapter II #11, November 21, 1964).

The reform-minded priests who were anxious for radical changes in the Catholic Church were too excited with the extreme usefulness and timeliness of the Second Vatican Council to heed the stern warning in the above-mentioned Council document and proceeded with implementing their own agenda without inhibition, saying that they had a mandate from the Second Vatican Council.  Distorting the Council’s true intentions, the Korean priests spread the false notion that the Second Vatican Council made outdated the teachings of all of the previous Ecumenical Councils—especially, the Council of Trent of the 16th Century.  One Korean priest said in a catechism class in his parish in Portland, Oregon, in 1984, “After the Second Vatican Council, we do everything differently.”  A few years later, this priest quit his priestly vocation and got married.  A layman in Korea said in a debate on the Internet (2002), “Everything in the Church changes.  The prayers have changed.  The liturgy has changed. And the dogmas also change.”  Fr. Se-Woong Ham, a leader of the “Priests for Social Justice” organization, said to Bishop Angelo Nam-Soo Kim during a seminar in the Suwon diocese in Korea (about 1995), “If the Bishop still mentions the Council of Trent, I cannot continue this discussion any more.”  Fr. Edward Je-Min Ri, a leading liberal priest in Korea, has been invited to speak at a seminar in New Jersey hosted by the Korean members of the We Are Church movement based in Austria.  Fr. Ri also was a leading member of the Naju Investigating Committee of the Kwangju Archdiocese.  He received a warning from the Holy See in 1998 regarding one of his books, but has not retracted his heretical ideas yet.  He still has a large following in Korea, especially among the young priests and Sisters. 

The initiatives taken by some of the Korean priests educated in Europe combined with the powerful influence from the Second Vatican Council, produced a synergic effect of starting a massive and unstoppable storm or wave in the Catholic Church in Korea for drastic changes in the thinking, sentiments, beliefs, interpretations of the Scripture verses, ways of worship and devotions, and everything else in the Catholic life.  Hardly anybody in Korea doubted the legitimacy of these changes implemented under the presumed mandate from the Second Vatican Council.  Below are some examples:

a.     Soon after the end of the Second Vatican Council, kneelers in nearly all churches in Korea were removed.  Thus, the Korean people had to discontinue adhering to the centuries-old beautiful Catholic tradition of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling during Mass and prayers.  Priests also do not genuflect but merely bow during Mass, even after the Eucharistic consecration.  The Korean priests say that they received the Holy See’s approval, but this was a deception.  They informed the Holy See that “kneeling” and “genuflecting” were awkward acts in the Orient, because the traditional way of paying homage has been “bowing”, not “kneeling”.  This is not true.  In the Orient, bowing is the common and polite way of greeting other people.  Before someone of a specially high status, people kneel and make a deep bow almost until the forehead touches the floor.  The Korean Catholics are now denied the freedom of observing this beautiful Catholic tradition of kneeling before the Almighty God, because the priests misled the Holy See with incorrect information.  

b.     The Holy See also gave the permission to the Bishops in some countries to allow the Communion in the hand.  It has never been meant to be the general rule.  In Korea, however, it has been practically a law during the past several decades.  Often, if someone tries to receive Communion on the tongue, many of the priests may tell that person to use the hands.  This almost mandatory practice of receiving Communion in the hand weakens the faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist and makes intentional or neglectful sacrileges more likely.      

c.     In recent years, the Korean Catholic Church has been allowing the ancestor-honoring ceremony, called “jesa”, on the traditional Korean holidays.  Honoring the ancestors is good, but this ceremony is more than that.  It is based on the Confucian tradition of ancestor-worshipping, according to which the deceased ancestors are believed to have much control over their descendents’ lives on earth; so, the descendents should treat them well.  One main reason for the persecution of the Korean Catholics in the 19th century was that they refused to continue this ceremony, because it seemed to give to the ancestors honor and petitions that were properly due to God.  The new policy of allowing this ceremony is an insult to the Korean martyrs and cause confusion in the minds of the faithful regarding the Church doctrines about life after death.  It also weakens the Catholic tradition of praying for the dead and requesting Masses for them to reduce their suffering in purgatory.  The Korean clergy again misled the Holy See with incorrect information.  “Inculturation” is a worthy concept in the Catholic mission, but should never involve any weakening or polluting the people’s faith in the authentic Church teachings.  

d.     De-emphasis on the Sacrament of Confession.  We seldom hear any homilies on our need for repentance of sins and penance, even though it is the central theme of the Gospel messages.  Nowadays, there is much less talk about sins, reparation, Christ’s Passion, the Communion of the Saints, Purgatory, Hell, the Sacrament of Confession, indulgence, sanctity of our souls, and the lives of the Saints.  Instead, many priests in Korea talk about the social sins portraying the individuals as victims of the society’s evils and inconsistencies.  Of course, it is important that we fight for social justice, but these liberal priests are forgetting the Church teaching that says, “Sin is a personal act” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1868).  If personal sins are de-emphasized, the need for repentance and penance will decrease, and the need for the Savior will also diminish.

e.     De-emphasis on the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  In the Protestant denominations, they call Jesus “the only Son of God” but do not clearly consider Him fully divine and equal to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.  In recent years, this tendency seems to have infiltrated the minds of many Catholics as well.  In consequence, they are also hesitant to recognize the Church as “the Mystical Body of Christ” and equivocate the reality of the full and true Incarnation of God the Son in our world.  This deviation from the authentic Catholic Faith also has much to do with the weakened belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.  Some theologians like Fr. Edward Je-Min Ri in the Masan Diocese in Korea even published a book titled, “Did Jesus Really Resurrect?” in which he denied the Resurrection of Our Lord’s Body.  When either the Divinity or the Humanity of Jesus Christ is denied, the true Christian Faith collapses.  Reflecting this weakening belief in the true Divinity and Humanity of Jesus in Korea, the beautiful Sacred Heart of Jesus statue at the entrance to Myoung-Dong Cathedral in Seoul has been replaced by a statue of Jesus made to look abstract and cartoonish.  The prevalence of abstractionism in Church paintings and statues is a sign of the weakening faith in Our Lord as the true God and the true Man and in His true Incarnation among us. 

f.      De-emphasis on the Marian Devotion.  The faith in the Lord’s Incarnation and the devotion to His Mother always go together.  If one weakens, the other necessarily does so as well.  We love and honor Mary, not because we consider her equal to Our Lord, but because we love Our Lord and, therefore, we automatically love His Mother, who not only conceived and gave birth to Jesus but also was united with Him throughout His life on earth and remains united with Him in Heaven forever.  If we neglect Mary, we are going to weaken our true knowledge of her Son and His life and also weaken our love for and loyalty to the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Our Lord.  In pursuit of the false ecumenism, the reformist priests in Korea have persistently weakened and marginalized the devotion to Mary.  They still say that they respect her as a good example for us and a faithful disciple of Jesus.  But do they also accept her as the Mother of the Lord and, therefore, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and our own Mother, who was made essential in God the Son’s coming to this world to save it and is doing everything she can to help us be saved because God made her the essential helper to the Savior and the true mother to all of His Son’s followers?

g.     The Benedictine Monastery in the small city of Woegwan in Korea, established many years ago by the Benedictine Fathers and Brothers from Germany, also has a large publishing company.  During the past several decades, it has published a large number of precious Catholic books.  Nowadays, we need to be more careful about their publications including the books on interpretations of Scripture, because they seem to deviate from the orthodox Catholic teachings.  The same is true of another major religious order that has its publishing company in Korea: The Daughters of St. Paul in Seoul.  Now, they seem less motivated than before to publish books that emphasize the traditional Catholic Faith and Tradition like the Lives of the Saints but have no problem producing New Age-related books. 

h.     De-emphasis on the catechetical education and discipline.  Before the Second Vatican Council, the catechetical education in Korea was sound, because its contents were solidly orthodox and the teaching methods were thorough.  The catechumen had not only to understand so many questions and answers about the Church doctrines but also to memorize them for a test before the Pastor to be able to receive baptism.  Now, the emphasis in the instruction classes is “general understanding” and not necessarily “clear understanding” and “firm belief.”  The result is that the large majority of the Catholics in Korea do not know the Church teachings well, because they probably forgot what they learned in the instruction class or they never received a thorough instruction.  When the Church as a whole or the individual members lose or neglect the sound and firm catechetical foundation, a sound, live faith becomes difficult.  In Korea, as in many other places in the world, this catechetical foundation seems no longer healthy or firm enough.  This is a fundamental cause of the current crisis in the Catholic Church today.

i.      The Catholic Church in Korea officially opposes abortion, but is not an active or effective force in putting an end to it through prayers, education, and other efforts.  Actually, a large percentage of the Catholic women in Korea have had abortionsnot just once but in many cases repeatedly.  Many of the Protestants and the Buddhists are not strongly opposed to abortion.  It seems that the Catholics are not eager to fight this war alone, but if they neglect one of the principal moral teachings of their Church, who will respect them as true believers and defenders of their principles?

j.      Neglect and scorn of miracles.  The Catholic Church has always considered true miracles as important signs from God for the purpose of strengthening our faith and encouraging our repentance of sins.  Our Lord Himself performed numerous miracles to confirm His teachings and has also continued to work many miracles through the Saints throughout Church history for the same purpose.  The First Vatican Council condemned the error that denied the importance and divine origin of the true miracles.  Nevertheless, many people of our age even in the Church are ignorant of this, are too proud to accept them as anything more than some entertaining stories for children, or are not intelligent enough to distinguish between the genuine miracles and the unusual natural phenomena.

k.     Excessive zeal to learn from Buddhism.  The Church teaches that some elements of truths can be found in other religions and that these should be respected.  Buddhism also has some good elements such as the teachings to be merciful to others and to empty one’s mind of vain desires.  Otherwise, there are many important differences between the Catholic Church and other religions, as the Catholic Church alone has the full truths and means of receiving graces for human salvation, which were revealed by God.  In recent years, some of the Catholic priests and a number of Sisters in Korea have displayed much affinity for the Buddhist teachings and practices.  Some Sisters even spent several days in Buddhist temples to learn their ways of meditation.  If one turns a blind eye to the supernatural contents of the Catholic Faith, the two religions may appear similar to each other.  There seems to be the danger that, by displaying an excessive closeness to Buddhism, one may be giving an unintended testimony to the false notion that Catholicism also is a natural religion or that Buddhism also is based on the divine revelations.  Many people in the Church in Korea (including many priests) already say that God has prepared many ways of human salvation and that the Catholic Church is one of them.   

 

6.  Many in the Catholic Church in Korea find themselves far removed from authentic Catholic teachings and tradition, unable to appreciate the events in Naju without a major conversion and re-education

“. . . Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical, or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time.  These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed.  In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #83)

Archbishop Andrew Choi of the Kwangju Archdiocese said to Julia and Julio Kim during his interview in the Naju parish church office in March 2003: “What have happened in Naju do not go well with the sentiments in the Church in Korea.”  This remark was a very accurate description of the actual situation in Korea.  The Catholic Church in Korea has gone so far away from the orthodox Catholic Faith and Tradition during the past several decades that it seems impossible for it to understand and accept the events in Naju as true signs and messages from God.  The liberal priests in Korea have considered the events in Naju totally contradictory to their beliefs and, thus, serious threats to what they have built up for several decades.  That is why they have tried to destroy Naju regardless of its authenticity and divine origin, through persecutions, false rumors, distortion of the facts, refusal to conduct honest investigations, and so on, but they have not succeeded, because no one can win a war against God.  The only solution to this problem would be their conversion and undoing what they have done so far.  This conversion is not going to be easy because of the human pride and the attachment to one’s accomplishments regardless of their true value before God.  The Christian teaching, however, is that we should deny our selfish pride and attachments and ask for God’s mercy as truly repentant and poor sinners.  This is the only way of salvation for any of us.

 

7.         The negative Declaration on Naju, signed by Archbishop Victorinus Youn of Kwangju, is announced all over the world

When the liberal priests in Korea first heard about the miracles in Naju in 1985, they probably immediately knew that this was a sign from God ordering the Church in Korea to change its course, but so far they have persistently and desperately resisted the messages and miracles in Naju.  For the first ten years, they did not do anything, even though they were obligated to conduct objective investigations.  Only when Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the Apostolic Nuncio to Korea at that time, visited Naju in November 1994 and made his report to the Holy See, the Kwangju Archdiocese hurriedly formed an investigating committee, which, however, was dominated by several powerful liberal priests like Fr. Alberto Yong-Ju Chang, Fr. Edward Je-Min Ri, and Fr. Peter Soon-Sung Ri.  There was no chance that the committee would carry out an honest investigation and make a positive recommendation to Archbishop Victorinus Youn of Kwangju.  In the spring of 1997, they complained to the Holy See that they could not conduct an objective investigation because the Apostolic Nuncio was in favor of Naju.  The Holy See soon transferred Archbishop Bulaitis to Albania.  The committee, however, did not conduct any objective investigation but hurriedly proceeded to prepare the Declaration to condemn Naju.  The committee members went to Archbishop Victorinus Youn and succeeded in persuading him to sign the Declaration.  Actually, Archbishop Youn himself had never been negative on Naju.  He had repeatedly made mildly favorable comments on Naju in private meetings.  Actually, he was the first person who informed Pope John Paul II about the miracle in Naju during one of the Korean Bishops’ ad limina visits, saying, “In my diocese, a statue of the Blessed Mother is weeping.”  The Pope replied, “In such matters, it is important to observe the fruit.”  To understand why Archbishop Youn signed the Declaration, some background explanation may be helpful. 

In May 1980, there was a large-scale, armed uprising in Kwangju against the government in Seoul led by the Army generals following the assassination of President Park in October 1979.  The government sent the Army units to Kwangju and suppressed the demonstrations.  In that process, a few hundred civilians were killed.  About two dozens of soldiers and policemen were also killed and several hundreds on each side were wounded.  In the 1990s, under a new civilian government, the Kwangju uprising was glorified as a heroic undertaking for democracy and the civilian victims were elevated to martyrs.  The politically-active priests in Korea strongly supported the Kwangju uprising.  During the demonstrations in May 1980, Archbishop Victorinus Youn remained in his office and did not go out to streets to join the demonstrators or make any statement in support of them.  Because of this, the Kwangju priests criticized their Archbishop for his inaction and failure to actively support the uprising.  This weakened the Archbishop’s position in his diocese and made it difficult for him to make any decisions that can offend the powerful priests.  Thus, when the liberal priests brought the Declaration on Naju to Archbishop Youn for his signature at the end of 1997, he was not able to refuse it.  It also seems possible that the Archbishop himself was not keen on publicly recognizing the importance of the events in Naju as the signs from God.  Many of the clergy in Korea tend to despise messages and miracles as “private revelations” that concern private individuals only.  To the Archbishop, peace in his diocese must have been more urgent.

The Declaration itself, however, was found to be full of problems including doctrinal distortions for condemning the Eucharistic miracles in Naju.  Many petitions were sent to the Kwangju Archbishop to correct the problems, but to no avail.  Three months after the announcement of the Declaration, Fr. Peter Soon-Sung Ri, a theology professor at Kwangju Seminary and the secretary general of the Naju Investigating Committee, contributed an article to the “Pastoral Care”, which is the official monthly magazine of the Korean Bishops’ Conference.  In this article, Fr. Ri defended the Declaration saying that the real reason for rejecting the Eucharistic phenomena (meaning the Eucharistic miracles) was to pursue the grand principle of unity with the separated brethren.  What he meant was that the Catholic Faith regarding the Eucharist had to be compromised to seek unity with the Protestants.  The fact that a Catholic priest could make such a statement without fearing any punishment from his superiors was a clear indication of the extent of the deviation in the Church in Korea. 

In 2001, Archbishop Victorinus Youn retired and was succeeded by Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi, who had been an auxiliary Bishop of Seoul.  Archbishop Choi has since issued several more Declarations reconfirming and defending the first Declaration.  In January 2008, Archbishop Choi issued his Decree, in which he stated that anyone in the Church who makes a pilgrimage to Naju would be automatically excommunicated.  This Decree was an outright defiance and rebellion against the Holy See, because the Korean Bishops had heard very clearly from the top Vatican officials during their ad limina visit in November 2007 that they should handle Naju more objectively.  Despite all these problems, there still are many good priests and lay people in Korea who have been suffering this new kind of persecution in the Church.  A firm action by the Holy See can start a true reform in Korea for the glory of God.

 

    Benedict Sang M. Lee at Mary’s Touch By Mail,
Gresham, Oregon, U. S. A., July 31, 2008


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