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PROBLEMS IN THE KWANGJU ARCHBISHOP'S DECLARATION ON NAJU IN LIGHT OF SOME PRECEDENTS IN CHURCH HISTORY

 

Precedents are useful in secular courts as they can help in maintaining consistency in the interpretation and application of the laws.  Likewise, they can throw much light on the discernment of the reported cases of special revelations (sometimes called "private revelations") in the Church.  Probably precedents are particularly important in the Church, as consistency that transcends the vagaries of the times and the differences in local traditions is a vital hallmark of the Catholic teachings.   

Many of the faithful including some clergy have already found and explained some apparent, serious doctrinal errors contained in the Declaration on Naju issued by the Kwangju Archdiocese in Korea on January 1, 1998.  The purpose of this write-up is to briefly review this Declaration in light of some precedents involving the cases similar to those in Naju.   

1.     The Declaration says:  The content that owing to Mrs. Julia Youn, the Father seems to delay the time of the end of the world (according to the message on June 16, 1995), which is already decided and thus only the Father knows obviously conflicts with the teachings of the orthodox Catholic Faith.   

From the context of the message received by Julia, it is clear that the time mentioned in this message is the time of chastisement and not the time of the end of the world.  In Church history, we find many examples of a threatened chastisement being delayed or removed thanks to the reparations offered up by people:

a.   God the Father said to St. Catherine of Siena:  I am delaying the chastisement of the world because of you,  (The Dialog of St. Catherine of Siena).

b.   Jesus said to St. Faustina:  Only because of you I send down many graces (on the world); and only because of you I remove the punishment that has been due.  (St. Faustina's Diary)

c.   In the Old Testament, God said to Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if He could find even ten just men there.       

Considering the above precedents, we do not see any conflict between the message that Julia received and the Church teachings. 

 

2.     The Declaration also says:  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 and even though the priest is in grave sin, because when all the sacraments are justly celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, Christ and His Holy Spirit operate in them. 

The following are some examples of the Eucharist received in extraordinary ways, in most cases without requiring the priest's consecration: 

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

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

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

d.  St. Columba of Rieti (d. 1501) received a fragment of the Eucharist that an angel brought to her spiritual director.

e.   St. Pascal Baylon (d. 1592) received Communion from an angel many times.

f.    St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (d. 1607) also received Communion from the Lord.

g.   St. Laurence of Brindisi (d. 1619) and his Capuchin brethren received Communion from the Lord.

h.   In Fatima, St. Michael the Archangel brought a chalice and a Sacred Host to the three children (1917).

i.    The Eucharist miraculously appeared on the tongue of Sister Theresa Neumann (d. 1962) on numerous occasions.

The Declaration also says that the message concerning St. Michael the Archangel taking the Eucharist from a priest who was in sin is in conflict with the Church teaching.  However, according to the message, the Eucharist was taken from the priest after the consecration, and, therefore, valid consecration was never denied.  Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, who witnessed the miracle, testified that when the two halves of the Sacred Host were put together, a small corner of one of the halves was missing, indicating that the Eucharist was taken from the priest just before he was about to consume It.  We also see the following precedents in Church history.

a.   We read in the book: City of God written by Venerable Mary of Agreda about her vision of the Last Supper where an angel appeared and took the Eucharist away from the mouth of Judas Iscariot, who was in sin.

b.  During the life of St. John of the Cross, when a man in mortal sin received Communion and was dying, an angel came and took the Eucharist from his mouth and brought It to the Saint's room.

3.   The Declaration also says:  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.

In the original text of the Declaration in Korean, the last part of the above statement is made stronger by inserting the word: "must" before the verb: "remain"; thus: "the species of bread and wine must remain".  The official doctrine of the Church only teaches that the priest's consecration effects changes in the substances of bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Our Lord without any concomitant changes in the species.  It is clear that this teaching is about the effects of the priest's consecration and is not intended to be applied to the cases of miraculous changes in the speies through a special intervention by God.  This distortion of the Church teaching by the Kwangju Declaration is a grave perpetration of the divine sanctity of the Church teaching on the Blessed Sacrament and also completely blocks the possibility of any Eucharistic miracles.  It makes the numerous Eucharistic miracles that the Church already approved—in Lanciano, Bolsena-Orvieto, Siena, Ferrara, Santarem, Amsterdam, and elsewhere inconsistent with Church teachings.  Is it possible that the Kwangju Archdiocese has the authority to alter the Church teachings and to override the past decisions of the Church?

We have a full trust in the Lord's guarantee that the purity of His doctrines will always be preserved in His universal Church especially through the charism of infallibility given to the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Councils in union with the Holy Father when they make formal pronouncements concerning faith and morals.  This guarantee, however, does not extend to individual bishops, priests, and laity when they are not in union with the Magisterium of the Church.  Actually, errors in teachings and aberrations in the Liturgy have occurred many times in Church history at the local and individual levels, causing grave harms to the faithful.  First of all, we need to pray hard for those who err and also arm ourselves by diligently learning and meditating on the authentic teachings of the Church and the examples of the Saints and by remaining in union with the shepherds and fellow lay people who are faithful to the authentic Teachings and Traditions of the Church.

March 2005


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