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Remembering His Excellency Archbishop Marcello Zago, 11 years after his death

Archbishop Marcello Zago, O.M.I.
August 9, 1932 - March 1, 2001

Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization for Peoples 
(3/28/1998 to 3/1/2001)

Until the 1970s, Archbishop Zago had worked as a missionary priest to Laos and Cambodia and also became an expert on Buddhism to better understand the mentality of the people in those countries. He was highly praised by Pope John Paul II for his strong, authentic faith, profound spirituality, and fervent missionary zeal. He became ill in 1999 and died in 2001 at the age of 68.

In August 1998 (seven months after the Kwangju Archdiocese's negative declaration on Naju was announced), Archbishop Zago sent a letter to Mary's Touch By Mail to console and encourage those who believe in the truthfulness of the special revelations in Naju, Korea. This letter was perceived as an expression of the strong sentiments in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the CEP) that they did not approve the Kwangju Archdiocese's declaration on Naju, nor did they agree with the Archbishop (not the Prefect) in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF) who took the initiative in approving the Kwangju Archdiocese's declaration on Naju. In fact, the CEP, which had and still has the pastoral authority over the Catholic Church in Korea, a mission territory, refused repeatedly to approve the Kwangju declaration on Naju. The liberal priests in Kwangju then appealed to the (above-mentioned) Archbishop in the CDF to allow them to announce their declaration and succeeded. Ever since then, the Kwangju priests have been asserting that their declaration was announced after the consent by the Holy See. This, however, is very misleading, because their declaration was opposed by the CEP and also contradicted Pope John Paul II's ardent desire that the Korean Bishops expedite the investigation and approve Naju. Nobody can say that he represents the Holy See while despising the will and judgment of the Pope. If anyone does so, he will be perpetrating an act of rebellion not only against the Pope but also Our Lord who entrusted His followers on earth to the authority and care of Peter and his successors.

In 2001, John Paul II made it public that he recognized the Eucharistic miracle through Julia Kim during a Mass in the Vatican on October 31, 1995, which was a powerful signal to the Korean Bishops to accept Naju. In December 2002, the above-mentioned Archbishop of the CDF left the Congregation to become the Archbishop of Genoa, but returned to the Vatican in 2006, after John Paul II's death, as the new head of the Secretariat, the number-two position in the Holy See.

Back in May 1999, this Archbishop, still working in the CDF, visited Korea for a meeting with Archbishop Victorinus Youn of Kwangju in the harbor city of Busan to make sure that the Archbishop of Kwangju does not deviate from the declaration on Naju. Our loyalty, however, is to the Holy Father and the Bishops who are faithful and obedient to him. We cannot turn our back on the Holy Father to please anyone else. We need to offer up more fervent prayers (esp. the rosary everyday) so that the Blessed Mother will overcome the current obstacles, as what is going on is a spiritual battle between Heaven and the forces from hell. - March 26, 2012


(Archbishop Marcello Zago's letter follows:)


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