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UPDATE
November 17, 2007

MBC TV in Seoul broadcasted its report on Naju on November 13, after 11 p.m., under the program title: PD Notebook for about 50 minutes.  We hear that about 14 percent of all TV viewers in Korea watched this program, which is quite remarkable.  (PD Notebook’s usual rating has been 3-4%).  After watching it, those who already had a firm faith remain unshaken; those who had been against Naju are exultant and even demand the expulsion of Julia Kim from the Church and the society, and many of the vast majority of the population who are not well informed about Naju are now saying that they are against Naju.  Because of this TV broadcasting, there is an enhanced level of nationwide hostility and distrust toward Julia Kim and Naju in general.  This TV program will continue to be available for viewing for the next several months through the Internet.

Mr. Sang-Gwang Oh of MBC and his TV crew came to Naju on October 31, 2007 with their minds already firmly set with prejudice against Naju.  Mr. Oh said that he had already interviewed the clergy of the Kwangju Archdiocese.  In the process of interviewing and videotaping in Naju, they deliberately avoided the witnesses who would testify in favor of Naju and ignored all the information that was positive on Naju.  This TV program was also the product of an editing of the highest skill and technology for the purpose of manipulating and misleading the public perception.  My wife and I watched it via MBC’s web site.  The following is a summary of what we discerned as distortions of the facts in the program:

1.  MBC TV falsely accused Julia Kim of fabricating a miraculous descent of the Eucharist. 

On June 12, 1997, Bishop Paul Kim of the Cheju Diocese in Korea visited Naju, accompanied by Fr. Anthony Jung-Yong Kim, a retired priest of the Kwangju Archdiocese, and Ms. Tina Moon-Sook Kim, Fr. Kim’s driver.  Julia did not expect the Bishop’s visit and came out to greet him a few minutes after his arrival, as the Bishop had not pre-informed her of his visit.  While Bishop Kim, Fr. Kim, Julia, and others were praying together before the Blessed Mother’s statue in the Chapel, Julia suddenly saw light radiating from the Crucifix on the front wall of the Chapel.  She knew something important was going to happen.  Then, she suddenly saw a large Sacred Host coming down before the Blessed Mother’s statue, and threw herself forward to catch the Sacred Host with her hands.  She did not succeed, and the Sacred Host landed before the Blessed Mother’s statue.  The people in the Chapel immediately knelt to worship the Eucharist and pray.  A while later, Bishop Kim held the Eucharist in his hands and blessed the people in the Chapel and left.  Tina Moon-Sook Kim was also kneeling, praying, and worshipping the Eucharist. 

After several days, Julia and others in Naju were shocked to learn that Tina Kim had visited the clergy of the Kwangju Archdiocese and testified that Julia had fabricated that miracle by taking a host out of her pocket and throwing it before the Blessed Mother’s statue during Bishop Paul Kim’s visit.  The priests were very impressed and asked Tina Kim to repeat her testimony with her hand on the Bible.  This was, then, reported to Archbishop Victorinus Yoon, who signed the first negative declaration on Naju several months later (on January 1, 1998).

In the Naju Chapel, there is a video camera permanently installed on the sidewall inside the Chapel.  It is turned on whenever there is a prayer meeting or an important visitor.  When the video recording of that day is closely examined, it shows that, a short while before the descent of the Eucharist, Julia took out her white handkerchief from her right-hand pocket as she was sweating and, then, put it back into her pocket.  The video shows that, when Julia saw the falling Eucharist and rushed to catch It, her hands were empty.  At that time, Tina Kim was at some distance from Bishop Kim and Julia, on their left side and closer to the side door of the Chapel.  It is highly unlikely that she could clearly see what was taken out of and put back into Julia’s right-hand pocket.  She surely saw some white object but must not have been able to tell whether it was a host or a handkerchief.  She swore that Julia took out a host, but there has not been anyone else who confirmed her testimony.  Victorina Oh, who is a volunteer helper in Naju, testified that she helped Julia put on her clothes just before Julia went out to greet Bishop Kim and saw that Julia only had a handkerchief in her right-side pocket.  She confirmed that there was no host in Julia’s pockets, in her hands, or anywhere else on her body.  The original video recording of that day clearly shows that Julia took out a handkerchief from her pocket and put it back into her pocket before the miracle occurred.  In MBC’s broadcasting, however, some alteration must have occurred to make the handkerchief look more like a round host and the tape was played in reverse so that it might appear that Julia was taking out some white object from her pocket before the miracle instead of putting it back into her pocket.  Tina Kim also reversed her testimony several times, indicating that she was not sure.  MBC TV relied on a questionable testimony by an unsure witness; ignored Victorina Oh’s testimony; and altered the video footage to produce a false image.  Even Archbishop Victorinus Yoon’s first declaration dated January 1, 1998 did not mention Tina Kim’s testimony or the miracle during Bishop Paul Kim’s visit.  It seems that her testimony was judged not very credible by Archbishop Yoon.  But MBC TV gladly embraced it and broadcasted it to the whole nation.

Because of the doubts expressed by some people about the miracle on June 12, 1997, Julia prayed to the Lord that, if there would be another miraculous descent of the Eucharist in the future, the actual scene of the descending Eucharist might be visible to everybody.  Her prayer was soon granted.  On August 27, 1997, when Fr. Raymond Spies was praying the rosary with others in the Chapel, the Eucharist came down again and its graceful descent was clearly seen by many people in the Chapel and was videotaped.  The miracles of the Eucharist descending from above or brought from a church by an angel have occurred many times in Naju, the first one having occurred during the visit of the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, on November 24, 1994.  Among all these miracles, the miracle on August 27, 1997 during Fr. Spies’ visit was the only one in which the descent of the Eucharist was visible to everybody.  Even though Julia could see the descent every time, others could only see the Eucharist after It landed, with the exception of the miracle on August 27, 1997.  It is not right to reject these miracles simply because their descents were not visible to all.

 

2.      MBC TV tried to prove that Julia Kim was seeking her personal wealth.

The MBC TV crew tried to prove that Julia and her volunteer helpers were selling the water from the Blessed Mother’s spring on the mountain near Naju by videotaping the scenes of some of the pilgrims asking the delivery company people (who had no financial or other connections with Naju) to deliver the plastic containers filled with the water to their homes, relatives, and friends and paying the fee.  The delivery company does not share their revenues with Naju.  Only after a vigorous protest by the Naju volunteers, the MBC crew dropped these scenes from their show which they had intended to use to portray Julia as a merchant of the water.

They also tried in Indonesia to prove that the revenues earned by a travel service company there by serving the pilgrims to Naju are shared with Naju.  After the investigation, they found no evidence and came back empty-handed.  They also videotaped and showed the scenes of the pilgrims making small donations in the Chapel in Naju and buying rosaries, statues, and publications in a small room behind the Chapel.  These donations and sales are necessary to cover the daily expenses such as feeding the volunteer helpers, paying for utilities and transportation, heating the inside of the Chapel and the vinyl chapel on the mountain, preparing the publications, and the like.  Also, Julia has repeatedly stated that the Chapel, the land on the mountain, and any other assets acquired with donations will be completely handed over to the Church when Naju is approved by the Church.  Julia and her helpers have no plans or ambitions about wealth.  They are highly devoted people, too busy sacrificing their lives so that the work of the Lord and the Blessed Mother may survive and continue especially during this period of severe persecution.  The opponents’ false accusations of Julia seeking her wealth, however, have been quite effective in damaging her reputation and keeping many people away from Naju.     

 

3.     MBC TV falsely accused Julia Kim of fabricating the fragrance of roses.

On November 24, 1994, in the afternoon, Julia went a church in Bucheon, a small city east of Incheon and west of Seoul to give testimony.  While Julia was speaking, the crowded church became filled with powerful fragrance of roses.  After the testimony and Julia left, someone found a small piece of white cloth in a transparent vinyl bag on the floor near the rostrum, which had some fragrance.  For 700 consecutive days between November 24, 1992 and October 23, 1994, the Blessed Mother’s statue in Naju exuded fragrant oil and some of this oil was collected with little pieces of white cloth.  Then, these pieces of oil-soaked cloth were given to many individuals as gifts.  The fragrance from this cloth was quite strong, but gradually weakened.  Many people in different countries who received this cloth were deeply moved realizing that it was a sign of the Blessed Mother’s motherly love.  Julia herself carried one piece of this cloth in her Bible.  When she was speaking in the church in Bucheon, she had this cloth in her Bible, but accidentally dropped it as she left.  This fragrant piece of cloth was picked up by someone and brought to the pastor, Fr. Ho-Dong Cho.  Fr. Cho and others immediately began to have some doubts, thinking that Julia might have been fabricating the fragrance by carrying this cloth or, possibly, even a bottle of perfume.  Because the priest was speaking about his doubt, the word spread rapidly and reached the ears of the clergy of the Kwangju Archdiocese.  The MBC TV crew also had this information and persistently questioned Julia and others during their visit.  They reported negatively about the miraculous fragrance in their TV program on Naju based on what they heard about the incident in Bucheon.

To answer to those who doubt, first, it is impossible to fill the whole church with powerful fragrance with a little piece of cloth that had absorbed some fragrant oil.  The Chapel in Naju also sometimes becomes filled with powerful fragrance, but it has nothing to do with the oil-soaked cloth.  The fragrance from this cloth can be smelled in its direct vicinity, but is too weak to fill a whole room or a whole church.  Second, the fragrance from the oil exuded from the Blessed Mother’s statue in Naju and the fragrance that is smelled without any visible source are similar but also distinctly different.  The fragrance from the cloth comes from the oil, but the other fragrance, which is not caused by the oil, is more like the fragrance from flowers, especially roses.  It is actually sweeter and fresher than the natural fragrance of roses.  Many people have also smelled this fragrance of roses far away from Naju, even in foreign countries, when they pray thinking about the Blessed Mother of Naju, visit the Naju website, read the message book, tell others about Naju, and so on.  These experiences at great distances from Naju and Julia cannot be explained away as natural phenomena or fabrications.

 

Did Archbishop Andrew Choi of the Kwangju Archdiocese know about the MBC TV program beforehand?

1.   On October 28, 2007, three days before the MBC TV crew visited Naju, Archbishop Andrew Choi said to Fr. Aloysius Hong-Bin Chang, who lives in the Kwangju Arch-diocesan building like a prisoner (or a forced guest) because of his support of Naju, that he had refused MBC TV’s request for an interview and that Julia should do the same.    

2.     On the other hand, Fr. Alberto Yong-Joo Chang, who has been the leading opponent of Naju in the Naju Investigating Committee of the Kwangju Archdiocese; appeared in the MBC TV program criticizing Julia and her supporters; and has rarely visited the Kwangju Archdiocesan building before, visited Archbishop Andrew Choi on October 27 and 28, 2007. 

3.  In early November, 2007, Fr. Alberto Yong-Joo Chang, Fr. Edward Je-Min Ri, and other priests who oppose Naju announced to their parishioners about the MBC TV project on Naju and urged them to watch it, according to the testimonies by some of these parishioners.

4.  Theresa Mi-Jung Kim, mentioned above as the former volunteer helper in Naju, has been upset for a long time, because her sister-in-law, Maria, has still remained in Naju as a volunteer helper.  So, she has refrained from calling Maria for a long time.  Then, suddenly, on November 8, Theresa called Maria asking her if she was okay and if anything unusual was going on in Naju.  Theresa called Maria again on November 11 and 12 saying, “Archbishop Andrew Choi has planned and directed the MBC TV project.  Be sure to watch it.” 

5.     Today, on November 17, 2007, Mr. Joseph Peter Choi, President of the Association of the Catholic Businessmen in the Kwangju Archdiocese, informed Naju that it was Archbishop Andrew Choi who had instructed and discussed with Fr. Alberto Yong-Joo Chang to prepare a TV project on Naju and that Fr. Alberto Chang had executed this project with MBC TV.  Fr. Alberto Chang also appeared in the MBC’s TV program on Naju, in its last part and mentioned that the Naju supporters have been improperly encouraged by some clergy, particularly mentioning Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the former Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Korea, as an example.  During his visit to Naju, Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis said to a priest from Ireland and a Korean priest that “nobody, not even a Bishop, has told me about what has been happening here for the past nine years (1985-1994)”.  He meant that he had to come down to Naju to see it for himself, as he was not receiving any information through the official channel in the Church.   

6.   It appears that the MBC TV program on Naju had been planned by the Kwangju Archdiocese for several months, since June 2007 or even earlier.  In June 2007, Archbishop Andrew Choi appointed Fr. Alberto Yong-Joo Chang, the leader of the priests who oppose Naju, as President of the Peace Broadcasting Company in Kwangju.  As the head of a TV company, Fr. Alberto Chang must have had an easy access to other TV companies in Seoul, particularly MBC.  Also on June 30, 2007, Ms. Sun-Hee Kim, an MBC PD, came to Naju disguising herself as a pilgrim.  In Naju, she approached and conversed with Mrs. Mira Guizot, who brought pilgrims from Indonesia.  Recently, Ms. Sun-Hee Kim went to Indonesia to find evidence of any wrongdoings by Julia there.  While in Indonesia, Ms. Kim visited Mrs. Mira Guizot for information and help.  Mrs. Guizot, however, is a faithful worker of the Blessed Mother and reported to Naju about Ms. Lee’s activities in Indonesia.  

 

Archbishop Andrew Choi and his priests in Kwangju are making it impossible for Julia Kim to obey them and, then, are accusing her of disobedience.

Archbishop Andrew Choi in Kwangju continues criticizing Julia for not coming to the Masses in the parish, but it is his priests who have been prohibiting not only Julia but also the pilgrims from even entering their churches.  Fr. Luke Hong-Cheol Song, the previous Pastor of Naju, told Julio, Julia’s husband, that Julia could return to the parish if she confessed publicly during a Sunday Mass that she had been fabricating the messages and miracles and promised to stop doing so.  Archbishop Choi has been informed about this, but has not done anything about it.  How can Julia betray the Lord and the Blessed Mother and her own conscience just for the purpose of being admitted back into her parish? 

It is doubly wrong for the Archbishop to tolerate the abuses by his priests and then to blame Julia for not returning to her parish.  The opponents of Naju accuse Julia and her supporters of disobedience to the Church.  But, to be counted as obedient, they would have to accept the contents of the Kwangju Archdiocese’s declaration on Naju, which is known to contain serious doctrinal errors.  Embracing the declaration would be the same as embracing errors and rejecting the truth.  I believe that the real source of the division and disorder is not the messages and miracles but the lack of faithfulness to God, His teachings, His commandments, and His Will which is manifested through the Lord’s public revelations, and, sometimes, through the special revelations directed to a particular age.  Also, the obedience of the highest priority is the obedience to God and His teachings.  We want to stick to this principle and leave the judgment to the Lord.

The real problem is not Naju but the deep-rooted heresy in Korea, which will not go away unless the Holy See takes a decisive action and continues supervision. 

We believe that the current difficulties concerning Naju are the consequences of a deep-rooted heretical spirit in the Catholic Church in Korea, which has aggravated since the end of the Second Vatican Council.  This problem is so widespread in Korea that one can easily notice its symptoms and consequences all over the country.  Just for a few examples:

1.  The three priests, Fr. Je-Min Ri, Fr. Yang-Mo Chung, and Fr. Gong-Suk Suh, who received a warning from the Holy See for their heretical teachings in 1998, have not corrected themselves but have continued to aggressively spread their errors.  Especially, Fr. Je-Min Ri, who denies Our Lord’s physical resurrection and despises the Holy See’s supreme authority, has been invited as the main speaker at the annual retreats of all the catechetical teachers in Korea, who are mostly Sisters, for the past several years.  Fr. Je-Min Ri was one of the leading opponents in the Naju Investigating Committee and, ever since, has been vehemently criticizing Naju through writings and speeches.  On November 6, 2007, he spoke to his parishioners in the city of Masan, who gathered to study the Bible under his guidance, but he spent two thirds of his lecture time on attacking Naju.  He said that the Eucharistic miracle through Julia before Pope John Paul II on October 31, 1995 was a deception.  He said, “When the Eucharist is received, it melts in the mouth and does not change into flesh and blood.  With the modern technology or magic, such things can easily be fabricated.”  Fr. Ri did not forget to urge his parishioners to watch the special MBC TV program on Naju, saying that “it will reveal the deceptions in Naju.”

2.     The Daughters of St. Paul in Seoul and the Benedictine Monastery in Woegwan had been two pillars as publishers of the sound and precious Catholic literature in Korea such as the Catechism and the Lives of the Saints.  In recent years, they have not produced many good publications but published a number of books with questionable contents — some on the New Age practices and others on heretical biblical commentaries.

3.  Kneelers in all Catholic churches in Korea were removed soon after the Second Vatican Council.  The Catholic visitors from other countries feel very uncomfortable in the Korean churches because of this.  Besides, the priests celebrating the Mass do not genuflect at all but only bow.  They obtained the Holy See’s permission under the pretext that genuflection is not an Oriental custom.  That is a sheer deception.  The Koreans and Japanese have been kneeling frequently for thousands of years.  Abandoning the kneeling or the genuflection also represents a weakening of the worship of Our Lord in the Eucharist.

4.   The beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the entrance of Myoung-Dong Cathedral in Seoul was replaced with a statue that does not look like Jesus at all.  It is a strange and ugly piece of modern art which does not inspire faith or love in anyone’s mind.  Similar replacements have occurred in many churches in Korea.

5.     Communion in the hand continues to be a virtual law in Korea.  This practice is susceptible to abuse and can weaken one’s faith in the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist.  An un-Christian spirit has crept into the Catholic life in Korea that weakens the faith in the Eucharist, the devotion to the Blessed Mother, and the unity with Rome.  Under the spirit of false ecumenism, the Korean Catholics seem to be trying to imitate the Protestant ways by diluting their traditional belief and devotions.  In Naju, the only time Julia received the descending Sacred Host in her hands was during Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis’ visit on November 24, 1994.  Just before the miracle occurred, the Blessed Mother told Julia to receive blessing on her hands from the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio and Fr. Spies, her spiritual director.  She received blessing with holy oil and, a few moments later, the Eucharist came down and landed between Julia’s fingers.  While I was visiting Fr. Spies in Anyang, a suburban town south of Seoul, in 1992, I asked Fr. Spies about Communion in the hand.  Fr. Spies did not give a direct answer but only said that the priests’ hands are blessed hands.  It was better than a direct answer.  

6.     If one asks the young Catholics in Korea when the transubstantiation of bread and wine into Our Lord’s body and blood occurs, their answer is likely to be “During the Epiclesis” rather than during the priest’s consecration prayer, which was instituted by Our Lord during the Last Supper, because they have been taught so by their priests.  This error also seems to be related to the weakened faith in the divinity and authority of Jesus Christ.  Led by some theologians in Korea, the faith in the divinity of Our Lord has weakened substantially in that country.  When the faith in the Lord’s divinity is weakened, everything else in the Christian teaching will also weaken and eventually collapse —the faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Divine Motherhood of Our Lady, the Church being the Mystical Body of Christ, and the divine origin of Christ’s Teaching. 

7.     Especially among the young priests in Korea, there is a tendency to underestimate or even reject the Supremacy of the Pope over the universal Church.  They want the Korean Church run by Koreans.  They do not like external interference, whether it is about dogmas, liturgy, or miracles.  In official meetings with the Vatican officials, they will display the appearance of harmony and unity, but this does not necessarily mean that they are truly willing to be obedient to the Pope and faithful to the traditional authentic Catholic teachings.  It has been a long time already that many of the Korean clergy consider the Council of Trent irrelevant and only focus on the Second Vatican Council as interpreted by them.  Of course, there still are many good priests in Korea, but they are mostly silent.  They do not want to fight against the liberal priests who have seized the power in the Catholic Church in Korea.  However, when the Holy See takes a firm action, the numerous true friends of the Lord will come out of the dark and enthusiastically support the Holy See and follow its leadership.

 

In conclusion, any tactical compromise with the modernist clergy in Korea cannot be the right solution.  Of course, we need unity and harmony with all, but those who advocate errors must first give up their errors and become truly faithful ministers and servants of the Lord.  Only then, true unity will be possible.  The only way that will work in Korea is concrete and binding measures including time schedules and continued supervision.  For thousands of years, the Koreans have lived in a kingdom, not in democracy.  The Koreans will rally behind a strong leadership, especially from the highest authority in the Church.  They are easily scattered in the absence of a visible leadership and authority.   We are not advocating a solution that bypasses the Korean hierarchy.  On the contrary, we want the restoration of dignity, honor, and strength of the hierarchy in Korea. We believe that Naju is an extremely precious gift and opportunity from God to enable us to accomplish a true reform in the Church and a powerful revitalization of the missionary efforts in the whole world.  The conversion of the whole Mexican people needed the stimulus of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  “Our Lady of Naju” will bring even a greater miracle.

Benedict Sang M. Lee
Director
Mary’s Touch By Mail


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