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The Position of the Archdiocese of Kwangju on Julia Yoon of Naju and the situation surrounding her

(Issued by the Kwangju Archdiocese on November 19, 2007, six days after the MBC TV aired its program on Naju)


Confessing and living the faith

1.     Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-16).  These words in the Scripture spoken by Jesus, whom the Christians have proclaimed as the light of the world and the Savior, to the crowds of his time, have become the criterion in distinguishing between the true prophets and the false ones.  To the Christian faithful of today, these words have become a guide for making the correct profession of the faith and leading the balanced life of the faith.  These words also urge them to ceaselessly examine and reform themselves.

2.     The balance and harmony in professing and living the faith can be accomplished based on individuals’ self-examination and in unity and communion with the Church community.  To promote this balance and harmony, the Church community celebrates the liturgy through the priesthood of Jesus Christ (cf.: Sacrosanctum Concilium, #7); and, with the teaching authority which “at the divine command and with the help of the holy Spirit, listens to this devoutly, guards it reverently and expounds it faithfully”, serves the faithful so that they may “observe in their lives what they have received with faith” (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium #10; 13); and encourages the devotional activities that conform to the laws and regulations of the Church and promote harmony with the liturgy.  The Community of the early Church “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people” (Acts 2: 42, 47).


The realities of falsehood and the efforts for discernment based on the Gospels

3.     The contents of the PD Notebook program titled: “True miracles or frauds – the truth of the Blessed Mother’s Mountain in Naju”, televised by Munwha Broadcasting Company (MBC) on November 13, 2007, were significant from the Archdiocese’s standpoint which has been anxiously praying for God’s mercy concerning Julia Yoon of Naju and the situation surrounding her, in that, through this program, at least some of the conditions of falsehood were exposed.  Still, there are many of the faithful as well as unbelievers who express their disappointment with the Catholic Church, dissatisfaction with the softness of the Archdiocese’s countermeasures, and criticisms of the several priests who have been siding with and supporting Naju.  They are demanding more forceful measures by the Archdiocese against these priests. 

4.     Until now, the Archdiocese has been careful in dealing with these gradually expanding realities of falsehood such as the strange phenomenon of tears flowing from the Blessed Mother’s statue owned by Julia Yoon of Naju (since June 1985); the propagation of the information about the self-acclaimed “miracles” and “the Blessed Mother’s messages”; and, finally, the assertions regarding the Eucharist, the Precious Blood, and sufferings.  Such discreetness of the Archdiocese has been perceived by some as abetment, absence of countermeasures, and lack of the will to deal with the problem.  On the other hand, Julia Yoon of Naju and those around her have come up with arbitrary interpretations mobilizing all kinds of theological theories, have exaggerated and misinterpreted the curiosity and generosity of some clergy as their support, and have strongly and unreasonably defended their position through all kinds of mass media.  The Archdiocese is deeply concerned about it and reluctant to admit it, but (the supporters of Naju) distort and reject the official position and instructions of the Holy See and the Archdiocese, despite the fact that these have clearly existed.  One priest who belongs to the Archdiocese, several priests from other dioceses or religious orders, and some of the laity (the great majority of whom have been mobilized and brought in buses from other areas) have been siding with (Julia and the people around her) and attending the regularly-held gatherings.   

5.     The Archdiocese issued the declaration of Archbishop Victorinus Gong-Hee Yoon, the previous Ordinary, in 1998 (based on the results of the investigation by the Naju Investigating Committee since 1995); issued the second declaration under Archbishop Chang-Moo Choi, the current Ordinary, in May 2001 (titled: “Ending the Blessed Mother’s Month”; reconfirmed the first declaration); and conducted interviews with Julia Yoon and her husband on three occasions in 2003 (in the Naju Parish office, the Archdiocesan office, and Julia’s house and the so-called “Chapel” and “the Blessed Mother’s Mountain”;  encouraged obedience to the declaration; prohibited the gatherings and celebration of the liturgy; emphasized the parishioners’ duties; requested financial records on revenues, expenditures, acquired assets, etc.); and issued the third declaration in 2005 (declared that the Catholic Church has nothing to do with the activities that lack obedience to the teaching authority and that they are the activities that destroy unity in the Church).  Along with these, Fr. Hong-Chul Song, the Pastor of Naju, and his parishioners carried out, overcoming many obstacles, the work of discerning the activities of falsehood by Julia Yoon and those around her from 2001 to 2005 (organized the executive committee for carrying out the Ordinary’s declarations; published a booklet titled: “The reasons why the events connected with the Blessed Mother’s statue owned by Julia Yoon in Naju have nothing to do with the Catholic Church”; and built a historical shrine of the martyrs).  We believe that the Archdiocese has done its best as a faith community.  In this process, one priest in the Archdiocese, who has believed in and followed Julia Yoon and the situations surrounding her, had been disciplined through suspension of his priestly functions, but has continued his connection with Julia and those around her breaking his promise with the Ordinary that he would sever this connection.  Eventually, this priest has been placed under the disciplinary measure of restricted pastoral activities (under the order of placement on a waiting list) earlier this year (the personnel order #14 dated June 12, 2007).  Even in that situation and to our regret, this priest has continued to believe in and follow Julia Yoon of Naju and the assertions of those around her.  He even mentioned his readiness for martyrdom (before the personnel committee on June 1, 2007 and to the Ordinary on June 21, 2007).  (Translator’s note:  this priest is Fr. Aloysius Hong-Bin Chang.)

Light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible” (Ephesians 5:9-13).    


The position of the Archdiocese, which aspires the correct and balanced life of faith

6.     The cult of the people of God for Mary developed marvelously in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation.  This cult, as it has always existed in the church, while it is totally extraordinary, it yet differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered equally to the Incarnate Word and to the Father and the holy Spirit, and is most favorable to this adoration. . .  Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory feeling, nor in an empty credulity, but proceeds from true faith” (cf.:  Lumen Gentium #66-67).

(1)    The Archdiocese reconfirms that the gatherings and liturgical celebrations carried out by Julia Yoon and those around her, out of their own accord, in the so-called “Chapel” and “the Blessed Mother’s Mountain” apart from the sanctuary of the parish church where the Liturgy of the Catholic Church is officially celebrated, have nothing to do with the practice of the Catholic Faith.  These are improper activities under the pretense of the practice of the Catholic Faith and disregard and oppose the teaching authority of the Church and are breakaway activities based on false and blind faith.

(2)    The Archdiocese regrets that Julia of Naju and those around her do not follow the pastoral recommendations under the teaching authority but denounce them out of their own judgment and ignorance, and wishes that they will restore their proper position and return to the fellowship and unity with the Church community which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic without a day’s delay.

(3)    The Archdiocese will hold responsible the priest who belongs to the Archdiocese and testified in the PD Notebook TV program expressing his belief in the so-called “miraculous water”, and Julia and the events connected with her, in an appropriate manner.  He participated in the interview under a false name and illegally conducted the liturgy.  Regardless of who that priest may be, his act was wrong and was disobedience to the teaching authority.

(4)    The Archdiocese reconfirms the contents of the Ordinary’s declaration issued three times (Please see “The Church teaching regarding the events connected with Julia Yoon of Naju” on the Archdiocese’s website).  The Archdiocese also clearly reconfirms that the assertions and promotions of the so-called “miracles” and “private revelations” have nothing to do with the Catholic Church and that the visits of Naju and the participation in the liturgical celebrations in Naju by the clergy, religious, and laity from any diocese are the deeds that destroy the legal and hierarchical order, and publicly announces that such deeds are prohibited.

7.     Christ, who was ‘holy, innocent, and undefiled’ (Hebrews 7:26), knew nothing of sin (2 Corinthians 5-21), but came only to expiate the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17).  The church, however, clasping sinners to its bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal” (Lumen Gentium #8).  The Archdiocese will continue to do its best as the faith community so that the faithful may lead a balanced faith life and to pray that Julia Yoon of Naju and those around her may restore the proper attitude as believers.  Furthermore, the Archdiocese urges those clergy, religious, and laity who believe in Julia Yoon of Naju and the events connected with her out of their curiosity and personal belief to discern (them) according to the Gospels and with a correct sense of the faith and to accept the pastoral guidance contained in the Ordinary’s declarations with faith.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.  Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound on heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:15-18)

Catholic Archdiocese of Kwangju, Korea
November 19, 2007

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