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UPDATE ON NAJU

May 31, 2001

 
Earlier this month, some pilgrims from the United States and Germany visited Rome.  To their great surprise and joy, they saw a TV program in Rome covering Naju.  The date was May 19, Saturday.  The program included an interview with a bishop from the Vatican.  This is what the pilgrims heard him say:

 We in the Catholic Church are very discreet, thorough, and careful in dealing with such matters.  However, in the case of Naju, the Holy Father himself has become a witness for a Eucharistic miracle (which occurred in the Vatican through Julia Kim on October 31, 1995).  Also considering the simple and humble life of Julia, who has been receiving messages and suffering pains, I think Naju now has to be approved by the Church.”

 

The fact that such a program was broadcast in Rome, the center of the Catholic Church, is highly significant.  The Italian tour guide said that a program like this could not be made public in Rome without prior approval by the Vatican.  Also, it seems unlikely that the bishop was speaking only for himself.  The lady from Germany who faxed us this information was filled with joy, saying that the approval of Naju is now a matter of time.  Now we can see that the Holy See is making known its positive stance on the Eucharistic miracle on October 31, 1995, witnessed by the Holy Father.  If the Church in Korea still chooses to be negative about it, it will be contradicting the Holy Father himself.  Also, it does not seem to be by chance that this TV program on Naju was aired in Rome soon after the Korean bishops’ Ad Limina visit to the Holy See in March, during which there were discussions about Naju.

The pilgrims from Los Angeles continued their journey to San Giovanni Rotondo, where Blessed Padre Pio lived.  They report that, in the chapel above St. Michael the Archangel’s Cave, there was an area exhibiting many of the Eucharistic miracles in Church history.  In this exhibition, they saw a photograph of the Holy Father witnessing a Eucharistic miracle through Julia on October 31, 1995.  This would also have been impossible without a nod from the Holy See.  After all, the Holy Father is the Bishop of Rome, where the miracle occurred, as well as the head of the universal church, and it is most natural and proper that he makes his thoughts known on what happened in Rome.  In another case, Bishop Dominic Su of Sibu, Malaysia, wrote a letter to the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Korea soon after witnessing a Eucharistic miracle through Julia in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sibu on September 17, 1996, and, in the letter, said that he considered it a miracle.

That the Holy Father is favorable on Naju has been known for quite some time.  Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Korea until 1997, visited the Chapel in Naju on November 24, 1994, and witnessed miraculous descents of the Eucharist.  Soon he made a detailed report to the Holy Father and the Cardinals in the Holy See.  We have no doubt that the Holy See has hoped that the Church in Korea would investigate the events in Naju in an unbiased, thorough way and without unnecessary delays, because the messages and signs in Naju can be powerful catalysts for revitalizing the authentic Catholic Faith and for evangelizing the whole world, especially Asia, which has the largest population among all the continents and yet has been the least evangelized.

However, the Church in Korea has been exposed to powerful modernist influences for the past several decades.  Especially the Kwangju Archdiocese, which covers the Naju Parish, has been hostile to the messages and signs in Naju which call for a revitalization of the traditional Faith and, based on it, a renewal of everything.  In particular, the priests who belong to an organization called Priests for Social Justice have been actively involved in the political and social issues in Korea, neglecting the traditional Catholic truths and devotions, and have been playing the leading role in opposing Naju.  They were also key members of the Naju investigating committee in the Kwangju Archdiocese and succeeded in influencing Archbishop Victorinus Yoon to issue a negative declaration on Naju on January 1, 1998.  Even afterwards, their efforts to persecute Naju and, if possible, to put an end to it have continued.  These liberal priests have been well aware that the Holy See is favorable on Naju and is deeply concerned about the modernist theologians in Korea, but have cared little about it and have continued to push ahead with their agenda.

In late 2000, Archbishop Victorinus Yoon retired and was succeeded by Most Rev. Andrew Choi.  Archbishop Choi has been taking a moderate approach to the question of Naju.  To several priests in Korea, he said that he was not opposed to Naju.  When the liberal priests repeatedly demanded him to close down the Chapel in Naju, he refused to give in.  After his recent return from Rome, he invited all the priests in his diocese who had been priests for 25 or more years to a dinner and asked them to restrain their criticism of Naju and not to interfere with lay people’s visiting Naju. 

The liberal priests in the Kwangju Archdiocese sensed a crisis rapidly approaching them.  If Naju were investigated again and approved, their achievements in the past several decades in modernizing and secularizing the Church in Korea would crumble.  So they approached Archbishop Choi again with much forcefulness and, to almost everyone’s surprise, succeeded in persuading him to sign a new document which they had prepared.  This document was read during Mass on May 27, Sunday, in every parish of the Kwangju Archdiocese.

In this document, those measures prohibiting all the activities in support of Naju, which had already been mentioned in Archbishop Yoon’s declaration, were reiterated.  However, there was no explanation of why such measures were necessary; the document only called for an unconditional obedience.  There seems to be much inconsistency in the liberal priests’ frequent criticisms of the teaching and pastoral authority of the Holy Father and of the bishops and yet rely so heavily on their bishop’s authority in preventing the faithful from following their faith and conscience.  Moreover, this document did not offer any response to those questions which have been raised about the doctrinal soundness of Archbishop Yoon’s declaration and the fairness and adequacy of the investigation of Naju conducted before the declaration.

For example, in Archbishop Yoon’s declaration, the Eucharistic phenomena through Julia Kim were declared to be in conflict with the Church teaching, which, according to the declaration, says that the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the consecration by a priest.  This, however, is a distortion of the true Church doctrine which only says that, while the substances of bread and wine change into Our Lord’s Flesh and Blood by the consecration by a priest, the species of bread and wine remain unchanged (cf. DS #1652).  In other words, this doctrine explains the effects of the Eucharistic consecration and not what can or cannot happen to the Eucharist after the consecration.  If the Eucharistic species change into those of Flesh and Blood by a special intervention by God, there is nothing that is in conflict with any of the Church teachings.  The fact that a Church doctrine was distorted by the Korean theologians in order to reject the Eucharistic miracles in Naju is most disturbing.  If the assertion in the Kwangju declaration were correct, all of the Eucharistic miracles in Church history would have to be rejected.  The Church also teaches that, if anyone distorts any of the Church doctrines and persists in it, he becomes guilty of a heresy (cf. Canon Law, #751).  It becomes a dangerous problem in the Church when a doctrinal error is sustained by the teaching authority of a bishop, which is in fact the authority of Christ Himself.  This doctrinal problem in the Kwangju declaration has remained uncorrected and unexplained for more than three years.  The Kwangju Archdiocese, and the whole Church in Korea which has been supportive of Kwangju, has been failing in one of the most basic functions of the Church, which is to preserve and teach the truths from God.

On the other hand, this negligence of a doctrinal issue seems to be no surprise, because, to the liberal theologians, even the Church doctrines can and must change according to the changing conditions in the world.  This could be one reason for the repeated alterations of the wording of prayers in Korea.  A Korean man, who seemed to be liberally-oriented, recently declared on the Internet, “Everything in the Church changes: the liturgy changes, prayers change, and so do the doctrines.”  From the standpoint of the liberal priests, there may not be any doctrinal problem in the Kwangju declaration, because, to them, there is no such thing as “the absolute, unchanging Church teachings” according to which everything else can be measured.  If their thoughts were right, Christians would truly be vain people who place their hopes on shaky ground, without absolute, eternal truths, without a firm faith,  and without absolute moral standards.  Then, everything will be degraded to a purely human and secular dimension.  If the truths they believe were really from God, these truths could not be anything but absolute and eternal.

The progressive forces in Korea not only equivocate the divine origin of the Church teachings, but also emphasize independence of the local churches.  In fact, the Pastor of Naju, who was reading the new document from the Archbishop to his parishioners on May 27, said, “The Kwangju Archdiocese has a succession from the Twelve Apostles and functions as a separate church within the Korean Church which functions as an independent church.”  This can be interpreted as meaning that the Kwangju Archdiocese does not need to be in union with the universal church or to be obedient to the Holy Father.  Also, last year, a Vietnamese priest from the United States was in Naju and went to the Naju Parish Church to celebrate Mass.  He was interrupted by the associate pastor of the Naju Parish Church, who said, “Why did you come to Naju?  Do not come here any more.”  The Vietnamese priest replied, “But the Holy Father is favorable on Naju.”  The Naju priest said, “The Holy Father is the Bishop of Rome.  We have our own Bishop here.”  This cannot be an incident that happened only in Naju.  The tendency to assert local independence is widespread among the liberal-minded people in the Church in Korea.  When they are told that what they say and write does not conform to the authentic Church teachings and is not in harmony with the Holy Father’s guidance, they simply don’t care.  This is a crisis facing the Church in Korea today.

Alongside the tendency to loosen their union with Rome, a dilution and alteration of the traditional Catholic Faith has also occurred in the name of “inculturation.”  Many now say that other religions in Korea also teach love, mercy, and other virtues and, so, are as good as Christianity.  In saying that, they are forgetting the fundamental Christian Faith: God created humans and infused the supernatural (divine) life into their souls for their eternal participation in God’s Life and Kingdom; but humans have lost that life and brought about many evils into their world by committing sin which represented a breach of faith with God; God sent His Only Son to become one among us and save us by His Death; and we need to constantly strive for our sanctification, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the People of God, by avoiding sins, practicing love, and offering up reparations with the help of the graces merited by Christ for us.  The essence of Christianity is a personal, covenantal relationship, a relationship of total love and trust, between God and us as the Father and His sons and the King and His subjects.  It is not merely a natural human effort toward personal improvement and purification without reference to the personal, supernatural God Who is infinitely good and has sent His Son for our salvation.  There also is a growing tendency among the Korean Catholics to regard the Protestant churches as being equal to the Catholic Church.  To them, unity between Catholics and Protestants seems to be a supreme goal, or a grand pretext, that can justify even doctrinal alterations.  In fact, the theologian who wrote Archbishop Yoon’s declaration published an article afterwards (March 1998), in which he said that the Eucharistic phenomena through Julia Kim were rejected for the sake of unity with Protestants.  It is doubtful that there is matching enthusiasm on the Protestant side in Korea for unity with Catholics.  Will they or anyone have much respect for those who are willing to abandon their principles and beliefs?

Unfortunately, many such compromises and betrayals have already been made during the past several decades in Korea (and elsewhere).  For example, a large majority of the Catholics do not seem to have a true faith in the Holy Eucharist; the Marian devotion is often pushed aside for fear of ridicule by the Protestants or other Catholics; beautiful statues have been removed or replaced by more abstract, modernistic ones; loyalty and obedience to the Pope are often viewed as old-fashioned; and those things that the Holy Father has denounced in a definitive way such as female priesthood and abolition of celibacy for priests are openly discussed and advocated.  The progressive theologians in Korea even deny that the Church was established by Christ and is the Mystical Body of Christ (They say that the Church is a community of people who follow the Holy Spirit).  They equivocate the full divinity of Christ while highlighting His humanity, even calling Him a mortal being who needed enlightenment by the Holy Spirit.  They not only reject the miracles in Naju but also ignore those recorded in the Scripture as educational fictions.  Under their influence, the Church in Korea even began to allow the ritual of ancestor worship which is an old tradition in Korea but is not in harmony with the Catholic Faith and is an insult to many of the Korean martyrs who were killed because of their refusal to practice it.  The Holy See has repeatedly emphasized that communicants must be free to choose the method of receiving Communion, either on tongue or in hand, but the Church in Korea has been disobedient to the Holy See’s guidance by making communion in hand virtually mandatory.  Under the pretext that genuflection does not conform to the culture in Korea, the traditional Catholic practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament has been done away with.  Even the priests in Mass only bow after Eucharistic consecration.  The true fact, however, is that kneeling is not only not nonconforming with the Korean culture, a complete kneeling with both knees plus a total prostration on the floor is a common practice even today to express a deep respect to the king, elderly relatives, teachers, and so on.  The Eucharist is Christ Himself, Who is God the Son become incarnate, the Creator, and the King of Heaven and earth. Even the traditional Korean way of prostrating would be insufficient to give enough homage and adoration to Our Lord.  Bowing only, which people in the Orient do even between equals, and not bending one’s legs before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament may be due to a lack of the true faith in the Incarnate God really present in the Eucharist.  Also, many of the precious lives of the Saints have long since disappeared from the Catholic bookstores.  To the modernists, the Saints are not particularly inspiring examples.

The underlying cause of all these problems in Korea seems to be twofold:  disloyalty to the traditional, authentic Catholic Faith, our Heritage of the Faith, and disloyalty to the Holy Father, the rock upon which Christ built His Church.  When one refuses to follow the signposts given by the Lord and stay on the rock chosen by the Lord, disorder will necessarily follow.

Now, we are being given a golden opportunity to resolve the problems in the Church, not only in Korea but elsewhere, and to make a rapid progress in evangelizing the world, especially Asia.  This opportunity is the Blessed Mother’s loving presence being manifested especially in Naju.  The Blessed Mother is the only one among humans who has followed God’s Will so perfectly and so filled with love and humility.  She can drive out all the evils from our minds and hearts and fill them with her love for God and obedience to His Will.  After all, God’s Will alone is good and needs to be done; we can only participate in His Goodness by doing His Will.  By accepting the love and help of the Blessed Mother, who is the shortcut to the Lord, and passing this on to our neighbors, we will be faithful sons and daughters of hers and will be repaying a tiniest portion of God’s boundless love for us.  And the world will avoid a crisis.  This spiritual war will continue until the Blessed Mother’s complete victory over the devil.  The silent majority in the Church who have been longing to see restoration of the true Catholic Faith and devotions must now stand up and help the Blessed Mother with their prayers and sacrifices.

 

The Spanish edition of the Messages of Love will be available within a few months!

The translation has been completed in Mexico and has been reviewed by an Archbishop in Peru (who visited Naju two years ago), several priests, and lay people.  It will have more than 400 pages and many color photographs.  There will be further notice when the book becomes available.  People in Mexico are hoping to have a Mass in the Basilica in Mexico City (in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe) celebrating the publishing of the Spanish edition of the Naju message book, but no plan has yet been made.



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