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 by the Witnesses of Naju


1.     We totally accept and firmly believe (i) that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ entrusted to His Church the most sublime and full truths necessary for human salvation revealed by Himself or through His Apostles and (ii) that these truths contained in the Sacred Scripture and Tradition have been explained, clarified, and transmitted to us by means of the catechisms, the papal teachings, the Council documents, the Saints' examples and writings, the shepherds' sermons, and so on so that people of every time and place may come to the knowledge of God and His truths and be saved.  


2.     We believe (i) that Our Lord has invited all the members of the human race to His Church and called all the members of His Church to participate in His work of human salvation so that His truths may be propagated to all peoples and the graces of salvation earned through His Passion may be widely distributed and also (ii) that He established an hierarchy of shepherds in the Church to teach the truths to the faithful and distribute the sacramental graces to them so that they may not deviate from the truths or become negligent in keeping the commandments but adhere faithfully to the Church's teachings on faith and morals and grow in divine grace.  


3.     We believe (i) that the Holy Spirit is always guiding the Church so that the whole body of the faithful including both the clergy and the laity in the Church cannot err in matters of belief (Catechism of the Catholic Church #92) and (ii) that, when the Pope or the Ecumenical Council in union with the Pope formally proposes a doctrine pertaining to faith and morals as divinely revealed and as the teaching of Christ, the Holy Spirit bestows on them the charisma of infallibility so that their pronouncement of the doctrine may be free of errors (Catechism of the Catholic Church #891).  


4.     We believe that "divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at a 'definitive manner,' they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding or Revelation in matters of faith and morals" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #892).


5.     Therefore, we believe (i) that "the Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church" (Canon Law #212 (1)) and, at the same time, (ii) that this obedience is not to be coerced.  The Church teaches that "man's response to God by faith must be free" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #160) and that "nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits" (The Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis humanae #2).  When some members of the Church embrace erroneous ideas concerning faith and morals and even propagate them to others either out of their ignorance or out of their pride and vanity, the shepherds will need to give them proper guidance so that they may repent of their errors and come back to the truth and, if they still persist in their errors, will need to warn them and take even stronger measures, if necessary.  However, when people remain faithful to the Church teachings and promote sound Catholic devotions, the shepherds will have no reason to discourage them from doing so.


6.     Humans have been created in the image and likeness of God and, thus, have intellect and free will.  Accordingly, we believe that the members of the Church—not only the laity but also the shepherds—must make their best efforts to use their intellect and free will properly so that they may remain faithful to the Lord's truths.  If we compromise truths and accept errors for any reason, we become unfaithful to the Lord and fail in doing His Will.  We need to remind ourselves that the purpose of our being in the Catholic Church is to learn the Lord's truths, bear witness to them and defend them to the end so that we may attain eternal life.   

"All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth.  They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them and guides them into all truth" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #91).  

"The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.  This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth.  Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2464).


7.     Based on the above teachings, we have genuine respect and love for the shepherds in the Church: the Pope, bishops, and priests, and intend to be obedient to their teaching and guidance as children obey and follow their parents.  At the same time, we recognize that, in those cases where the shepherds teach something that does not seem to conform to the truths or take some action that unjustly infringes upon our freedom and rights as members of the Church, we are free to make it known to the shepherds and petition them for correcting the problems and also to make it known to others in the Church:  "The Christian faithful are free to make known their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires to the pastors of the Church.  In accord with the knowledge, competence and preeminence which they possess, they have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons" (Canon Law #212 (2) & (3)).


8.     We believe that public revelation of all the truths necessary for human salvation was completed in the times of Our Lord and His Apostles, but, for the purpose of keeping His people faithful to the already-revealed truths, God sometimes sends great Saints and even the Blessed Mother to warn, enlighten, encourage, and strengthen His people especially in times of widespread apostasy, heresy, or moral degradation.  The Church teaches as follows:  "So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit 'bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her'" (Lumen Gentium #4).  Therefore, there should be no conflict between (i) the graces that we ordinarily receive through the Sacraments and other pastoral activities of the hierarchy and (ii) the charismatic graces including the special revelations (The term: special revelation was used in a doctrinal pronouncement by the Council of Trent, DS #1566) that God sends to His people in particular needs.  When people respond well to the special assistance from God, they can experience much progress in revitalizing their faith, invigorating their missionary fervor, and enhancing the effectiveness of the Church's efforts to fight moral corruption in the world.  A good example of this is the massive conversion of the Mexican people to the Catholic Faith and the end of the evil practice of human sacrifices thanks to the Blessed Mother's special help in Guadalupe in the 16th Century.  Of course, as not all the reports of apparitions, messages and miracles are genuine, we must not be credulous toward them but discern them carefully based on our faith and reason and also follow the official discernment by the Church when it becomes available.  It should also be kept in mind that the duty of the Church concerning the reports of special revelations is to find out whether they are genuine or not and is not to arbitrarily accept or reject them as if the Church authority were above the truth (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #86).


9.     As to the matters concerning Naju, the Kwangju Archdiocese formed the Naju Investigating Committee at the end of 1994 and announced a negative declaration on Naju on January 1, 1998.  We believe that, when there are serious reports of supernatural events, the local diocese has an obligation to conduct an objective and thorough investigation based on the authentic teachings of the Church, scientific tests, and many testimonies and that the faithful have a duty to accept the official judgment of the Church.  In the case of the declaration on Naju announced by the Kwangju Archdiocese, however, many clergy and lay people inside and outside Korea have raised serious questions concerning the contents of the declaration.  It has been hoped that the Kwangju Archdiocese would either give a sincere and convincing explanation in defense of its declaration or recognize the problems and make the necessary corrections.  If the questions raised were merely trivial matters or unreasonable fault-findings, it would not matter much even if they were ignored.  On the contrary, the questions raised so far have been considered to be of such a serious nature that the validity of the declaration itself is deemed to be at stake and the integrity of a bishop's teaching authority itself is thought to have been compromised.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, the Kwangju Archdiocese has not addressed the problems concerning its declaration at all.  The only position it has taken so far has been to demand unconditional acceptance of its declaration by the faithful simply because it was issued in the name of the Archbishop.  The continuing refusal by the Kwangju Archdiocese to conduct a proper investigation of Naju and to look into the questions of doctrinal errors in the declaration and its persistent demand for unconditional obedience from the faithful are serious violations of the following principles:  (i) The bishop's teaching authority is not an unlimited one but has been entrusted to him by the Lord for the purpose of protecting the faithful in the truth; and (ii) "Man's response to God by faith must be free" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #160) and that "nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits" (The Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis humanae #2).  The Kwangju Archdiocese emphasizes unity in the church community as its major objective and mentions it as the justifying reason for its rejection of Naju, but is actually making true unity in the Church impossible by violating the above principles that must be followed in seeking true unity.


Then, what are the problems in the declaration on Naju issued by the Kwangju Archdiocese?


(1)    In the Kwangju declaration, it is stated that the doctrine of the Catholic Church says that even after the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ with the formula of priests' consecration, the species of bread and wine remain (The Korean original of the Kwangju declaration says "the species of bread and wine must remain") and, based on this, condemned the phenomena in Naju of the Eucharistic species turning into visible flesh and blood and, in effect, condemned all of the Eucharistic miracles that had occurred in Church history, many of which had already been officially approved by the Church.  It is obvious, however, that the Church doctrine on this subject only explains that, even though the substances of bread and wine change into the substances of Our Lord's body and blood at the time of priests' consecration, the species of bread and wine remain unchanged.  In other words, this doctrine describes what the effects of the priests' consecration are and is not intended to indicate that the Eucharistic species must continue unchanged even after the consecration.  The Kwangju declaration distorts the Church doctrine in order to condemn the Eucharistic miracles in Naju.  If anyone says that the species of bread and wine also change by the power of the priests' consecration, it will clearly be a violation of the Church doctrine, but this has never been said or implied in connection with the Eucharistic miracles in Naju.  Underlying the rejection of the Eucharistic miracles by the Kwangju Declaration is a denial of the possibilities of miracles that occur by special interventions by God.  The First Vatican Council condemned any attempt to reject the possibilities of miracles or deny that miracles are certain proofs of the divine origin of the revealed truths (DS #3009 & #3034).   


(2)    The miracles of the Eucharistic species changing into visible flesh and blood are signs from God that externally reveal the inner reality normally hidden behind the Sacramental signs of bread and wine and are intended to strengthen our faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Denying these miracles, even by distorting the Church doctrine, is an act that does not uphold this teaching on the Eucharist but opposes it.  In fact, Rev. Peter Soon-Sung Ri, the secretary general and dogmatic theologian of the Naju Investigating Committee of the Kwangju Archdiocese contributed an article to the Pastoral Care magazine published by the Korean Bishops' Conference (the March 1998 issue) just two months after the announcement of the Kwangju declaration on Naju for the purpose of justifying the contents of the declaration.  In this article, Father Ri said, "The real reason for the rejection of the Eucharistic phenomena in Naju in the Declaration of Archbishop Victorinus Youn of Kwangju was to pursue the grand proposition of pursuing unity with our separated brethren."  What Father Ri means is that, as the Protestants oppose the Catholic teaching of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, the Eucharistic miracles which affirm the Catholic teaching could not be recognized for fear of offending the Protestants.  This is to abandon the truth for the sake of seeking a false unity and represents a betrayal of the Lord who is the truth itself.  The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council sternly warned against compromising the Catholic teachings under the pretext of pursuing unity with the separated brethren:  "Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism which harms the purity of catholic doctrine and obscures its genuine and certain meaning" (Unitatis Redintegratio, November 21, 1964).  Father Ri further said in his article that there had been different views on the Eucharist in the past centuries and, even in our times, some of the theologians are trying to find ways of presenting the doctrine on the Eucharist which would be acceptable to both the Protestants and the Catholics.  His remark implies either that there is no definite Catholic teaching on the Eucharist yet or that, even if there is one, it could be revised according to the theologians' new formulas.  This view, however, is totally unacceptable to those who want to remain faithful to the authentic Catholic Faith.  The Catholic dogmas are God's teachings infallibly defined by the Church with her teaching authority entrusted to her by the Founder of the Church, Our Lord Himself.  To avoid taking a clear position may be a shrewd tactic in the secular world but is not the correct attitude that we expect from those who are faithful to the Lord's truths.  In Chapter 6 of St. John's Gospel, there is an account of Our Lord explaining the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist and many Jews no longer following Jesus.  Seeing them leave, Our Lord did not call them back by promising to modify His teaching but challenged His disciples to affirm their faith.  If we also have had a weak faith and a cold and indifferent attitude toward Our Lord really present in the Eucharist, it is now the right time to correct our mistakes by becoming truly devoted to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to His Mother through whom His Incarnation has been accomplished.


(3)    The Kwangju declaration also said, "The doctrine of the Catholic Church says that only through the legitimately ordained priest's consecration does the sacrament of the Eucharist begin to exist," and, based on this, condemned the miraculous descents of the Eucharist in Naju and, in effect, also condemned many miraculous Communions that the Saints had received directly from the Lord or from the angels throughout Church history. This was another serious distortion of the Church doctrine on the Holy Eucharist, as the Fourth Lateran Council stated in 1215: "Surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors" (DS #802) in order to counter the Waldensian heresy that rejected the hierarchy and claimed equal powers for all the faithful.  Its purpose was not to preclude the possibility of Our Lord Himself miraculously coming to us in the form of the Eucharist without the intermediary of His priests on earth.  This teaching is clearly different from the assertion in the Kwangju declaration that says: the Eucharist can begin to exist only through the priest's consecration.  The Eucharist is not a lifeless object but Our Lord Himself.  He is fully capable as the Son of God to appear in His proper form as He did sometimes or in the form of the Eucharist as He did other times.


(4)    The Kwangju declaration also condemned the miracle of St. Michael the Archangel taking the Eucharist from a priest in sin and taking It to the Chapel in Naju while Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Korea, was visiting on November 24, 1994 quoting the Church teaching that says that the validity of the Sacraments does not depend on the sanctity of the celebrating priest.  Even though this presentation of the Church doctrine was correct, it was incorrectly applied, as the Eucharist was brought to Naju after the consecration and a valid consecration was never denied.  Archbishop Bulaitis mentioned that a small corner of one of the two halves of the Eucharist received in Julia's hands was missing, which was an indication that the priest put the tiny piece of the Eucharist in the chalice and was about to consume the Eucharist.


(5)    Relying on these incorrectly presented and applied Church doctrines as its pretexts, the Kwangju Archdiocese has not ordered any scientific tests of the miraculous evidences in Naju.  Nor has it considered the results of the tests conducted at Seoul National University (in its Department of Forensic Medicine), hospitals in Kwangju, and laboratories abroad.  Thorough scientific examinations of miracles are necessary before the Church makes decisions concerning beatification and canonization, and the same is true in the cases of the Marian apparitions.  Many priests and lay people in Korea said, "The miracles in Naju must have been fabricated!" and spread this groundless and irresponsible accusation.  Many others said, "I don't care whether these miracles are true or not.  Miracles are not important!"  This is a dangerous, erroneous statement, as true miracles are God's own testimonies that confirm the divine origin of His teachings so that we may believe in them more strongly and adhere to them more firmly.  In the Scripture, we read that Our Lord sternly scolded those who heard and saw His sermons and miracles but did not believe (Luke 10:13-16).  If we have become overconfident because of our secular wisdom and scientific knowledge and despise the supernatural teachings and signs from God, we will be despising God Himself who sent these teachings and signs to us.  The true miraculous signs are special manifestations of the omnipotence and love of God the Son (together with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit) who became incarnate and dwells among us.  They are His sacred and loving touches and pulses that remind us of His presence among us and the fact that the true lord of this universe is not us but the living God Himself. 


(6)    The following do not concern the Kwangju declaration itself but are problems that have occurred in the process of applying the declaration to the pastoral care by the Kwangju Archdiocese and the Naju Parish.   

(i)              On May 11, 2002, Monica Chung, Julia's mother-in-law, passed away.  She had been a faithful member of the Dongrim-dong Parish in Kwangju.  Simply because she was Julia's mother-in-law, she was denied a funeral Mass at the Naju Parish Church and her own parish church in Kwangju.  More shocking was the remark by Fr. Luke Hong-Chul Song, the Naju Pastor, that the order to prohibit Masses for Monica Chung had come from Archbishop Choi.

(ii)            In recent years, Korean and foreign pilgrims to Naju have been denied entrance into the Naju parish church.  The same thing has also been happening in some other parishes in Korea and some of the Korean parishes in the United States.

(iii)          In June 2001, Fr. Song of the Naju Parish said that he would welcome Julia and Julio, her husband, back into his parish, if they declared before the parishioners during a Sunday Mass that all the messages and miracles had been fabricated and they would never spread them again.  By saying this, Fr. Song made it impossible for Julia and Julio to lead an ordinary faith life in the parish.  What he did was something that was unimaginable in the Catholic Church, as he was in fact asking Julia and Julio to abandon their conscience and deny the messages and works of the Lord and the Blessed Mother.  Archbishop Choi has done nothing about this, even though he was informed about it. 


The above problems are serious usurpations of the faithful's right as well as violations of the power entrusted to the clergy in the Church.  The following are the relevant Church laws: 

"The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments" (Canon Law #213) 

"One who abuses ecclesiastical power or function is to be punished in accord with the seriousness of the act or omission not excluding deprivation from office unless a penalty for such abuse has already been established by a law or a precept" (Canon Law #1389).    

In addition, the act of the Kwangju Archdiocese (and other dioceses in Korea to the extent they are cooperating with the Kwangju Archdiocese) of demanding from the faithful unconditional acceptance of its declaration on Naju that contain doctrinal errors and other serious problems is also an abuse of power.  The reason is that Our Lord has entrusted His teaching authority to the shepherds for the purpose of protecting the faithful in the truth (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #890 & 896), but this teaching authority has been used not to defend the truths but to enforce errors.  This is a serious abuse of power in the Church and disloyalty to the Lord.   


Currently, the atmosphere in the Church in Korea is suffocating as in a society under dictatorship and repression.  Many of the faithful in Korea are experiencing severe difficulties and pains under the pressure from their bishops and pastors who demand a full compliance with the Kwangju declaration on Naju which rejects the messages and miracles in Naju as false and distorts the Church doctrines to justify its negative decision on Naju.  The faithful who are being subjected to this pressure probably have never disobeyed their bishops or pastors; nor have they been accused of breaking law and order in the Church or harming unity in the church community.  Let us remember, however, that our ancestors of the earlier centuries suffered worse persecutions and hardships but successfully overcame them with their firm faith and trust in the Lord and the Blessed Mother.  We are definitely not seeking to be disobedient to the teaching authority of the Church.  We love the Church and want to be faithful to her teachings and obedient to her shepherds.  Nevertheless, we are experiencing a painful conflict now, because the local church leaders in Korea demand that we accept distortions of the Lord's truths which we have pledged to uphold and deny His works which we have witnessed.  The church leaders in Korea are resorting to coercion to make the faithful accept the Kwangju declaration on Naju despite all its errors and shortcomings.  If we surrender to this misused power, we will be consenting to the doctrinal errors contained in the declaration and also joining those who say that the messages and miraculous signs in Naju have been fabricated.  By doing this, we may avoid the current criticisms and other mistreatments by those who are around us, but will have to answer Our Lord who may ask us why we compromised with errors and turned our backs to the presence, messages, miracles, and graces of Our Lord and Our Lady.  If we say that we were forced by our bishops, priests, and friends, will the Lord accept these excuses?  Now is the time for Our Lord's separating good grains from empty heads of grain as mentioned in one of His messages in Naju.  God is infinitely merciful to those who repent of their sins and reform their lives but is stern to those who remain in evil.  Also, we must not neglect the unity in the universal Church while pursuing unity in the local church.  The unity in the local church alone, which ignores the unity with the Holy Father, many Bishops and priests, and countless lay people around the world, is not true unity worthy of the Catholic Church.  Unity that does not stand on truth will collapse like a house built on sand.  Besides, the Catholic doctrines cannot be different between the universal Church and the local churches or between Rome and the local churches.  Let us hope and pray that those who persist in errors realize their mistakes soon, humbly kneel before the Lord, and join the true unity in the universal Church by restoring truth and charity in their minds and hearts.


The current uneasy and difficult situation will not last indefinitely.  Let us not become impatient or have any doubt about the approaching total triumph by Our Lord and Our Lady but pray fervently that this triumph will be realized in ourselves as soon as possible, always meditating on the truths from the Lord, and thus become loyal children of the Lord and the Blessed Mother.  It will be easier to accept the messages and signs in Naju after its official approval, but it will be more precious if we defend the Lord and the Blessed Mother and bear witness to Their messages and works now when it is so difficult to do so.  Let us not lose heart despite the pressure that keeps pushing us away from the truth and away from being faithful to the Lord.  Instead of trembling and worrying before the coercion, let us together become the light and the salt for saving this world as the children and servants of Our Lord and Our Lady.


Witnesses of Naju
May 31, 2005

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