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The Eucharistic Miracles in Naju are not in conflict with the Church Teaching

There have been numerous reports of supernatural phenomena throughout Church history. Only those which seemed to have a special significance have been investigated by the Church. Some have been approved, while others have not. When negative decisions were made, the usual reason cited was that, despite investigations, it was not possible to recognize supernatural origin of the alleged phenomena.

The case of Naju, Korea, seems to be unique in that the events in Naju were rejected in the local diocese without any substantial investigation by the committee on the ground that they already contradicted the Church teaching. A Korean monsignor said soon after the Declaration: What’s the point in investigating (the events in Naju), when they are in conflict with the Church teaching?

If something truly contradicts the Church teaching, it has no place in the Church, because the supreme mission of the Church is to propagate the eternal truth from her Founder without errors. When the Church declares that certain messages, apparitions, miracles, theories, assertions, devotions or liturgical practices do not conform to the authentic teachings of the Church, it normally means a definite end to them as far as their standing in the Church is concerned.

In fact, the current atmosphere regarding Naju in Korea is serious. There is a perception among many Korean Catholics that Naju is not to be visited, promoted, studied, or even discussed. Some Korean pastors even threaten their parishioners saying that they must go to Confession after they come back from Naju. Being associated with Naju in any way is a sin against the faith and obedience according to many in Korea.

But the essential question to ask here is whether the teaching authority in a local church can be exercised while lacking unity with the universal Church and conformity with the authentic teachings of the Church. Why did the diocese in Kwangju hastily make the negative decision on Naju without consulting with the Holy Father and five other bishops who personally witnessed Eucharistic miracles in connection with Naju and Julia and without interviewing most of the many priests and lay people who also witnessed the signs in Naju? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

The bishops’ authority must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope, (#895)

and also:

This Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it.(#86)

The Declaration in Kwangju misrepresents the Church doctrines

(1) It was stated in the Declaration in the Kwangju Archdiocese: The alleged phenomenon, that as soon as Mrs. Julia Youn received the Eucharist, it was changed into a lump of bloody flesh in her mouth is also contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church that 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. Such phenomena do not enhance the faith of people in the Eucharist existing under the species of bread and wine. On the contrary, they seem to act as an element which causes a great confusion and embarrasses the peoples’ faith in the Eucharist. (underline added)

Thus, the Declaration in Kwangju says that it is a Church doctrine that the species, in other words, the appearances and other external characteristics, of bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the consecration by the priest (Note: The word "must" is not in the English text of the Declaration but is in the original Korean text. In the English text also, the meaning of this word is clear by the context). Therefore, the Declaration concludes that the changes of the Eucharist into visible flesh and blood in Julia’s mouth contradict this Church doctrine. Our question, then, is if this really is what the Church teaches about the Holy Eucharist. Does the Church really say that the Eucharist must remain unchanged in its appearance and other external properties even after the priest has completed the consecration of bread and wine? Then, what about the change that occurs to the Eucharist inside our body after we receive Communion? What about the slow but gradual change in the Sacred Hosts, when they are stored in the tabernacle for a very long period of time? What about all the Eucharistic miracles involving the change in the external appearances of the Eucharist into those of flesh and blood, many of which have already been recognized by the Church and several sites of which have been visited by the Popes? (For example, in 1976, Pope Paul VI visited the shrine of a Eucharistic miracle in Bolsena, Italy, and raised it to the level of a Minor Basilica. — Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz, Tan Books & Publishers)

The correct Church doctrine on this subject reads as follows:

If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the blood, the species of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, DS 1652)

The portion of this doctrine that says: the species of the bread and wine only remaining means that, even though the Eucharistic consecration has the effect of changing the substances of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, it has no effect on the species of bread and wine. This phrase does not contain the meaning that the species of the bread and wine must remain unchanged after the consecration. Therefore, if a change occurs in the species of bread and wine after the consecration through a special intervention by God, it does not contradict this doctrine at all. During the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano, Italy, in the 8th Century, the species of bread and wine changed into those of flesh and blood as soon as the priest said the words of consecration (Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz). This has never been considered a conflict with the Church teaching. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, such miracles are no deceptions but represent the truth that Christ’s Body and Blood are truly in the Blessed Sacrament (Summa Theologica, Part III, Question 76, Article 8).

The problem in the Declaration in Kwangju lies in that (i) it adds to the Church doctrine on the Eucharist a new meaning that the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged after the consecration, as though the consecration has two effects — one changing the substances of bread and wine and another keeping the species of bead and wine from changing — and (ii) it applies the Church doctrine that explains the effects of the Eucharistic consecration to the condition of the Eucharist after the consecration. The truth of the matter is that the Church has never stated any doctrine that explains what should happen to the condition of the Eucharist after the consecration and that, therefore, precludes the possibility of Eucharistic miracles that involve changes in the external appearances of the Eucharist after the consecration.

(2) The Declaration in Kwangju also states: The phenomenon alleged as a miracle of the Eucharist fallen from heaven is contradictory to the doctrine of the Catholic Church that says that only through the legitimately ordained priest’s consecration does the sacrament of the Eucharist begin to exist.

When the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declared, "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), its purpose was to refute the Waldensians, who rejected the hierarchy in the Church and claimed equal powers for all the faithful. Against the Reformers’ teaching of the general lay-priesthood, the Council of Trent defined the institution of a special priesthood, to which the power of consecration is reserved solely (DS 1764). What this doctrine means is that people who are not validly-ordained priests cannot and ought not pretend to consecrate this Sacrament. It certainly does not imply preclusion of direct intervention by God Himself. The Eucharist is not a lifeless object but the living Jesus Christ Himself, Who is in Heaven with His full Humanity and Divinity. In other words, the Eucharist and the living Jesus Christ in Heaven are identical, except that in the Eucharist on earth the glory, beauty, majesty and power of Our Lord are hidden. The Eucharist is not something that carries the presence of Jesus but is Jesus Himself. At the Last Supper, Our Lord did not say, "This bread contains My Body," or "This wine contains My Blood," but "This is My Body," and "This is My Blood of the new covanent" (Matthew 26:26,28). Saying that the Eucharist begins to exist only through a priest’s consecration ignores this fact that the Eucharist is Our Lord Himself and also contradicts Our Lord’s omnipotence.

Regarding the Eucharistic miracles in Naju that involved the descent of the Holy Eucharist, there may be three possible explanations:

(i) The Eucharist was brought by an angel from a tabernacle in a church. This was the case when a large Sacred Host suddenly appeared between Julia’s fingers during the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio’s visit to Naju on November 24, 1994. The Blessed Mother confirmed in her message that the Eucharist was brought by St. Michael the Archangel from a Mass.

(ii) Our Lord Himself consecrated bread and wine into the Eucharist. This would be no problem to Our Lord, as He is the Supreme and Eternal Priest, Who established the Holy Eucharist.

(iii) Our Lord in Heaven came by assuming the external appearance of the Sacred Host. In this case, a priest’s consecration would not be necessary, as there was no transubstantiation involved. For example, on July 1, 1995, Julia saw Our Lord on the Crucifix turning into the live Jesus, bleeding from His Seven Wounds. Then, she saw the Blood turning into seven white Hosts, which landed on the altar before the Blessed Mother’s statue. Many people in the Chapel saw the falling Hosts and heard the sounds of the Hosts landing on the altar. In obedience to the local Archbishop’s instruction, the seven Sacred Hosts were consumed the next day. The last one received by Julia turned into visible Flesh and Blood on her tongue. Fr. Francis Su from Malaysia dipped his finger in the Blood and wiped it on a white cloth. Later the blood stain on the cloth was put to a DNA test at a medical laboratory in Seoul and was found to be human blood.

The assertion that the Hosts which descended in Naju were unconsecrated hosts does not stand on any valid ground but on a conjecture which lacks faith and trust in the power and love of God. It can also involve a risk of sacrilege. The only way for this assertion to be valid would be to establish that the descents of the Host in Naju were fabricated by humans. There isn’t even remote evidence of that. That Our Lord came to us directly in the form of the Eucharist represents a solemn act on His part of coming to us. When the Lord comes, we are free to welcome or reject Him, but will not be free from the consequences of our choices. Throughout Church history, there have been numerous cases of miraculous receptions of the Eucharist. The following are just a few examples (Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz):

(i) St. Clement, Bishop of Ancyra (4th Century), received Communion from Our Lord, while in prison awaiting martyrdom.

(ii) St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) received Communion from an angel.

(iii) St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) received Communion from Our Lord and also from angels.

(iv) St. Pascal Babylon (d. 1592) received Communion from an angel many times.

(v) St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (d. 1607) also received Communion from Our Lord.

(vi) In Fatima, an angel brought a chalice and a Sacred Host to the three children (1917).

(vii) The Eucharist miraculously appeared on the tongue of Therese Neumann (d. 1962) on numerous occasions.

These miracles seem very similar to the descent of the Eucharist to Julia’s mouth on November 24, 1994, and July 1, 1996. Other miracles in Naju which involved the descent of the Eucharist to the altar in the Chapel or to the floor in the Chapel seem to be unique, because the Sacred Hosts in these miracles came down in a form in which they could be preserved, even though some of them have been consumed. Two small pieces of the large Eucharist and the whole of the small Eucharist that came down during the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio’s visit to Naju on November 24, 1994, are being preserved in Fr. Raymond Spies’ chapel in Gwachon near Seoul. The large Sacred Host that came down during Bishop Paul Kim’s visit on June 12, 1997, and another identical Sacred Host that descended during Fr. Spies’ visit on August 27, 1997, were taken to the Kwangju Archdiocesan office.

Another factor that reinforces our belief that the Eucharist that came down in Naju is truly the Eucharist is God’s infinite truthfulness. When the Eucharist descended to the Chapel in Naju with no natural explanation whatsoever, the only possible understanding in the minds of the people who were present there was that it was from God. If God sent us unconsecrated hosts under such circumstances, He can be said to have misled us. Why would God confuse us by sending unconsecrated hosts when the circumstances were such that people could only perceive the hosts as the true Eucharist? What would be the point in God’s sending us unconsecrated hosts? God will never send us signs that are meaningless for our salvation or are misleading. Saying that God sent unconsecrated hosts contradicts the Church doctrine that God cannot deceive or be deceived (DS 3008).

The doctrinal misrepresentation in the Declaration in Kwangju is not a trivial matter. The official teaching of the Church is God’s teaching for His people through the Church and cannot contain any error. Individual bishops, priests, theologians, or anyone else have no authority to change the Church doctrines or the interpretation thereof. The doctrinal errors in the Kwangju Declaration need to be corrected urgently and unambiguously. The faithful should be obedient to the teaching authority in the Church, but also expect purity of the faith in the exercise of this authority.

It is the modernist forces in the Church that are resisting and blocking Naju

Rev. Soon Sung Ri, who is a professor of dogmatic theology at the major seminary in Kwangju and the secretary general of the Naju Investigating Committee, published an article in the March 1998 issue of The Pastoral Care, a monthly magazine published by the Korean Bishops’ Conference, in an attempt to present a theological defense for the Declaration. Its title was, "A Correct Understanding of ‘the Transubstantiation in the Blessed Sacrament’ mentioned in the Kwangju Archbishop’s Declaration." In this article, Fr. Ri denied the physical presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist and justified his position by saying that it would promote unity between Catholics and Protestants. He seems to need a reminder of the Vatican II document on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio:

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.

In another article published also in the spring of 1998, Fr. Ri rejected the hierarchy and teaching authority in the Church, saying that the Church is a community of people who obey the Holy Spirit only ("The Relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Church" in Theological Outlook published by the Kwangju major seminary). The Naju Investigating Committee relied on the teaching authority of the Church to block Naju, but Fr. Ri and other leading members of the Committee are rejecting the teaching authority in the Church.

Fr. Je Min Ri, another leading member of the Naju Investigating Committee and former professor at the Kwangju major seminary, also published an article titled: "Is the Catholic Church Catholic?" in the May 1998 issue of The Common Good magazine in Korea, defiantly repeating his modernist ideas despite repeated warnings from the Holy See.

Modernist inclinations are deeply rooted in Korea (and around the world). While there also are many clergy, religious and lay people who remain faithful to the authentic teachings of the Church and loyal to the Holy Father, they have usually been overpowered in many dioceses and parishes by those who are determined to continue liberal reforms based on their incorrect interpretations of the Vatican II documents. These modernist forces continue advocating female priesthood, which the Holy Father already rejected in a definitive way, abolition of celibacy for priests, mixing the Catholic Liturgy with shamanistic rituals, and many other measures to make the Church more acceptable to the secular world. They continue insisting that the Church dogmas must change as the world conditions change and infusing in people’s minds the idea that morality is a personal matter, making such concepts as sin, repentance and reparation meaningless. Accordingly, the meaning of sanctity has also become obscured. To the modernist priests and their followers, Naju is nothing but an obstacle, because the messages and signs in Naju constantly draw us to the authentic teachings and devotions in the Church.

The Church on earth is the Church Militant. A constant, fierce spiritual battle is inevitable between the army led by the Blessed Mother and the other army led by the devil. At stake is the eternal fate of countless souls. It seems that this spiritual war is now nearing its climax. To participate and assist in the Blessed Mother’s coming victory over evil, we must arm ourselves with fervent prayers, self-denial, and the purity of the faith and devote ourselves totally to serving Our Lord and Our Lady. As the Blessed Mother said in Naju, there is no time to hesitate (October 7, 1998).

Even among some of those who are favorable toward Naju, there seems to be a perception that the events in Naju are just another help for our personal devotion. Actually, they are much more, as the focus in Naju is not just on the repentance of sins and amendment of life at the individual level but also on overcoming a major crisis of faith and morals in the whole Church. By means of the many messages and signs in Naju, God is giving us a stern warning as well as an effective cure. Our Lord seems to be saying to us what He already said to St. Francis in the 13th Century, "Rebuild my Church." He does not mean a new Church but His same Church that is in need of purification from the secular spirit and restoration of the splendor of truth and holiness that can only come from Our Lord Himself through the Blessed Mother. Whether there will be a terrifying chastisement or an outpouring of God’s blessings depends on how we respond.

— from Mary’s Touch, Special Issue - 1998 #3

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