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Highlights of Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi’s interview with Peace Broadcasting and Newspaper Company, the largest Catholic media outlet in Korea, on November 15, 2007
(Three days after the MBC TV aired its program on Naju)

 

1.     I (Archbishop Andrew Choi) have never said that the events in Naju were not miracles but only said that evidence was not sufficient to warrant the recognition. . .  I do not intend to open a re-investigation, because I do not see any insufficiency in the first investigation.

Our response:  If the Archbishop is not convinced whether the events in Naju are false or true, that is exactly the reason why the previous investigation was insufficient and a more objective and thorough investigation is necessary.  Also, his remark that he has never denied that the events in Naju were miracles is inconsistent with his total endorsement of the first declaration, which condemned the Eucharistic phenomena in Naju on the ground of doctrinal problems.    

 

2.     It is not possible to prove the authenticity of the phenomena of “Eucharistic miracles” such as the descents of the host and the changes of the Eucharist into flesh and blood.

Our response:  It may never have been the Divine Will that miracles could be definitively proved as genuine and supernatural by scientific methods.  Discernment of the miracles requires our consent through faith.  The numerous miracles recorded in the Gospels, for example, were accepted by many of the witnesses and others who heard the witnesses through their faith, rather than through scientific tests.  However, it is possible for the scientists to conduct tests to rule out the possibilities of fabrication and natural causes.  The Church has always respected and even ordered scientific examinations of the miraculous phenomena especially in connection with the individuals under investigation for beatification and canonization.  The Kwangju Archdiocese has not ordered any scientific examinations so far on the ground that the phenomena in Naju violated the Church teachings on the Eucharist.  However, this assertion itself has been considered to be a distortion of the true teaching of the Church.  That the Archbishop of Kwangju still says that he cannot recognize the miracles in Naju because it is impossible to determine their truthfulness is not a justifiable excuse but a sign of the neglect of his official duty.  In Syracuse, Italy, the tears from an image of the Blessed Mother were scientifically tested just a few days after the phenomenon by the order of the local Archbishop.  In Naju, it has been more than 22 years since the beginning of the miracles and messages.  Some of the samples like tears, fragrant oil, and others need to be tested promptly to avoid damage, evaporation, theft, and other difficulties.  The long delay in investigating them scientifically can be a serious negligence by the local diocese.  It is becoming increasingly evident that this long delay by the Kwangju Archdiocese has occurred because the clergy there has always been opposed to recognizing Naju regardless of its authenticity—whether it truly comes from God or not.

 

3.     There are too many human elements in Naju.

Our response:  This was indicated in the first declaration on Naju also.  The supernatural

      revelations would be completely free of human inputs, as they are God’s actions.  However,

the human instruments receiving and relaying such revelations are not perfect, but still are directly involved in channeling God’s revelations to other humans.  We can always find some shortcomings in people, which then can be used as excuses for not accepting the divine messages and signs.  To be fair, the blame should be placed on the viewers of the reports of supernatural events as well.  If the viewers lack the genuine faith, which will open one’s eyes to the supernatural, they will not be able to recognize the supernatural contents of the messages and signs.  For example, in his interview with Julia and Julio in March of 2001 in the Naju parish office, Archbishop Andrew Choi said that the Eucharist simply cannot turn into flesh and blood.  He is not alone in thinking like this.  The majority of the clergy in Korea believe that the Eucharistic species of bread and wine must remain unchanged and, therefore, they reject all of the Eucharistic miracles in Church history.  If one does not have the eyes and ears to recognize the supernatural, he will only see lots of human elements.  The problem may not be with the messages and signs but in the viewers’ lack of faith.

 

4.     Julia and her supporters are disobedient to the Church.

Our response:  For five years since the day the Kwangju Declaration was issued (January 1, 1998), Julia lived in seclusion in a little upper room in her house.  She did not travel or come out to meet and speak to the pilgrims.  She practiced obedience to her Bishop to an extreme degree despite her awareness that his declaration had many serious problems.  In 2003, however, she finally was convinced that the Kwangju Archdiocese had no intention whatsoever to conduct a sincere, conscientious, and objective investigation of Naju.  She concluded that the only objective of the Kwangju Archbishop and priests was to crush Naju regardless of its authenticity.  So, at that time, she resumed seeing the pilgrims and giving testimonies.  She knew that her obligation of obedience was, first of all, due to God and that the Church does not require an absolute, blind obedience to individual shepherds when their commands contradict her conscience and faith. 

There seems to be more truth in saying that the liberal clergy and their followers are disobedient to the Holy Father and the teaching authority in the Church than in saying that the Naju supporters are disobedient to the Church.  Those who believe in the authenticity of Naju are mostly humble and simple people who not only love God but also fear and obey Him.  They are also the ones who would be most humble and obedient to the shepherds in the Church.  The current difficulty is that they are caught in a dilemma, because, in order to be obedient to their shepherds, they would have to betray the Lord, the Blessed Mother and their conscience.  Normally, there should not be any conflict between truth and obedience, but, when those with authority are not faithful to the truth, a conflict arises and people suffer.  The clergy especially in the Kwangju Archdiocese must reflect on this and think about the possibility that they themselves have become the main cause of the disorder and disunity in the Church and even of the apparent disobedience by many of the faithful.

 

5.     Julia has not submitted her financial statements to me.

Our response:  The clergy of the Kwangju Archdiocese has repeatedly displayed their real intention of putting an end to Naju regardless of its authenticity.  The previous Naju Pastor, Fr. Luke Song, even said that he would destroy the Blessed Mother’s Chapel with a bulldozer. 

Julia and her helpers need a credible assurance that the Kwangju Archdiocese is sincere, upright, and safe in its handling the Naju question before the financial data can be surrendered to it.  It still seems certain that the only goal of the clergy in the Kwangju Archdiocese toward Naju is to strangle and destroy it under all circumstances.  Also, Julia has repeatedly said that all the assets prepared with donations would be handed over to the Church when Naju is officially approved.  Furthermore, if a genuine re-investigation is opened, she will gladly submit financial papers to the committee. 

 

6.     During this interview with Peace TV, Archbishop Andrew Choi did not mention the doctrinal problems in the declaration on Naju. 

Our response:  We believe that the doctrinal errors in the Kwangju Archdiocese are the fundamental causes of all the current difficulties concerning the Naju question.  The Kwangju Archdiocese has never admitted these errors.  On the contrary, on May 25, 2006, the Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Korean Bishops’ Conference published a booklet titled: Correct Marian Devotion, which contained the same arguments as in the first declaration on Naju regarding the Eucharistic miracles. The chairman of this committee was Archbishop Andrew Choi of Kwangju.  Thus, Archbishop Andrew Choi has consistently supported the statements in the first declaration, which are believed to contain errors.

Also, Bishop Boniface Ki-San Choi of the Incheon Diocese and Bishop Paul Duk-Ki Choi of the Suwon Diocese recently issued their Recommendations in support of the Kwangju declaration on Naju on June 29, 2007 and October 1, 2007, respectively.  In their Recommendations, the two Bishops repeated the doctrinal errors in the first declaration on Naju by saying:  “The assertion that ‘the Eucharist descended from Heaven’, which especially defies the ministerial priesthood, totally violates the Church teaching that the Eucharist can be formed only through the consecration by validly-ordained priests . . . .  Also, the assertion that ‘the Eucharist in the communicant’s mouth changed into human flesh and blood’ violates the Church teaching that, even after the consecration by the priest and the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Eucharist and Precious Blood, the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged (cf.:  DS #782, 802, 1321, 1642, 1652) and also the teaching that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was with us in the form of a human being through Mary two thousand years ago, but now he is with us in the form of bread and wine (cf.:  1 Cor. 11;23-27).  Bishop Basilio Kyu-Man Cho, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Seoul Archdiocese and former professor of theology at Suwon Seminary, also has supported the first declaration on Naju by asserting the same arguments regarding Eucharistic miracles in Catholic publications and homilies. 

It is official that Naju has been condemned by the Church because its Eucharistic miracles were in conflict with the Church teaching.  This doctrinal issue has been mentioned by many individual priests and lay people, but has never been authoritatively ruled on by the Holy See.  An authoritative clarification of this question could be the most productive first step in solving the Naju problem.  The clergy in Kwangju may wish that this problem will just go away, but that will not be acceptable to the faithful, to the Magisterium, or to the Lord.  A new, successful investigation of Naju will require a genuine adherence to the authentic Church teachings on the Eucharist, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Mother, our sins and Redemption, the Communion of the Saints, miracles, and other important subjects.   


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