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THE PROBLEMS IN THE CHURCH AND THE REASONS FOR OUR HOPE

Benedict Labre Sang M. Lee
Mary's Touch By Mail
November 28, 2012

Mary's Touch By Mail is a non-profit lay organization established 1992. Its goal is to promote the authentic Catholic Faith and, subject to this primary and overriding goal, to translate (into English) and propagate the information about the reported messages and signs in Naju, Korea. We are still a very small entity composed of one family and a few friends who review my writings before distribution. Our spiritual director is Fr. Robert J. Billett, C.M.F. of Los Angeles. We are managerially and financially independent of Naju and any other groups. Nevertheless, we communicate frequently with the volunteer workers in Naju for information. We have visited Naju several times since 1991. In addition, I accompanied Mrs. Julia Kim (and her husband and others) as her interpreter when she traveled to the United States (1993, 1994, and 1997), Hong Kong and Macao (1997), and Rome (2011). In February 2008, Fr. Aloysius Chang of Naju and I visited the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the CEP) to appeal for the restoration of Fr. Chang's priestly rights, as he had been expelled from the Gwangju Archdiocese in the previous month for supporting Naju. A few weeks later, the CEP sent an official letter to the Gwangju Archbishop stating: "As the events in Naju are considered private revelations, the restrictions on Fr. Chang and pilgrims should be lifted and Fr. Chang can celebrate the Mass". This statement by the CEP effectively nullifies all the restrictions including the threat of excommunication by the Gwangju Archdiocese on the pilgrims to Naju and all those who believe in the truthfulness of Naju.

Before the responsibility of handling the Naju case was transferred from the CEP to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF) in the spring of 2008, we had been sending most of the reports to the CEP, as it had and still has the pastoral responsibility over the mission territories including Korea. Then, in 2008 and in 2009, we prepared the dossiers on Naju at the request of Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Korea (1991-1997), as Archbishop Bulaitis had been asked by the CDF officials to submit the dossiers on Naju. Archbishop Bulaitis visited Naju in November 1994 and resented written reports to the Holy See. On February 28, 2010, he witnessed the Eucharistic miracle through Julia Kim at a Vatican chapel and reported this miracle to His Holiness Benedict XVI. He passed away on December 25, 2010.

 

We welcomed the investigation of Naju by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

We welcomed that the Naju case was transferred to the CDF, as this probably means that the impact of the Holy See's decision on Naju after the CDF's investigation can be worldwide. In fact, Our Lady said in her messages on November 4, 1991 and July 13, 1997: "From this small land, a land made fertile with the blood of so many martyrs, the light will shine upon the whole world through my little, poor souls. My Immaculate Heart will surely triumph in the midst of the glorious Victory by Christ."

"The signs that I am giving you in this small country, Korea, which is my youngest child, are the signs for the Church in the whole world. Help me in saving this world covered with darkness."

 

The Gwangju Archdiocese organized the Naju Investigation Committee, but it was dominated by the liberal priests who did not believe in the supernatural and despised miracles

The messages and signs in Naju began 27 years ago in June 1985 and the information about them was reported to the Archbishop of Gwangju through the pastor of Naju. The formal diocesan investigation began ten years later in January 1995 (soon after Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis' visit to Naju). During the next three years, the investigation committee members (priests) visited the Naju chapel once and later interviewed Fr. Raymond Spies (Julia's spiritual director: 1987-1998), Julia and Julio (her husband), and a few other lay people. Tens of thousands eyewitnesses including Bishops, priests, religious, and lay people were ignored. Even Blessed John Paul II, who had witnessed a Eucharistic miracle through Julia in his chapel on October 31, 1995, was not consulted. It seemed obvious that the investigation of Naju by the Gwangju Archdiocese was insufficient, superficial, biased, and misleading.

Actually, the committee's investigation activities and formation of the final conclusion were controlled by three key members: (1) Father A was (and still is) the leader of the opponents of Naju. Some people even think of him as a de facto Bishop of the Gwangju Archdiocese. He studied and was ordained in Germany. He wanted to continue his study of Liberation Theology in Latin America, but his Bishop in Germany did not approve his wish. In 2007, he assisted MBC TV to make a slanderous DVD about Naju; (2) Father B received a doctoral degree in Germany and has been the most popular teacher of the liberal theology in Korea (especially among the young priests, religious, and lay people). He criticized the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Blessed John Paul II for being behind the times and questioned the Resurrection of Our Lord's Body. He also participated in a seminar of the We Are Church group in New Jersey. In the spring of 1998, he and two other priests in Korea were warned by the CEP about their publications. The Vatican's warning had little effect on them, as they are still actively spreading their ideas. (3) Father C, also received a doctoral degree in Germany. In his article in the Pastoral Care (3/1998), an official Catholic magazine in Korea, he said: "The real reason for the Gwangju Archdiocese's rejection of the Eucharistic phenomena in Naju was to pursue the grand proposition of unity with the separated brethren." The CEP sent a letter to the Korean Bishops' Conference regarding Father C's article. Father C had to resign from his position of the Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Gwangju Catholic University. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was Prefect of the CDF, His Eminence advised the Korean Bishops on their ad limina visit to beware of the liberal and materialistic ideas in Korea.

 

The Gwangju Archdiocese's Declaration condemned Naju on two grounds

The Gwangju Archdiocese's conclusion of the investigation of Naju was announced in the form of a Declaration on January 1, 1998. In this Declaration signed by the Gwangju Archbishop, there were (1) three doctrinal statements explaining how the reported Eucharistic miracles through Julia Kim violated the Church Teachings and (2) another statement that it was not possible to prove the supernatural origin of the reported miracles in Naju. The three doctrinal statements were as follows: (a) the alleged Eucharistic miracles in Naju violated the Catholic Church teaching that says "the species of the bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the priest's consecration"; (b) according to the Teachings of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist can begin to exist only through the consecration by the priest. Therefore, the alleged miraculous descents of the Eucharist from above contradicted this teaching; and (c) The Church doctrine says that even a priest in sin can validly administer the Sacrament. Therefore, the alleged message that St. Michael the Archangel brought the Eucharist from a priest in sin to the Chapel in Naju violated this Church teaching.

 

Our understanding of the true Church Teachings

We believe that the Church Teaching only says that the consecration of bread and wine by a priest changes the substances of bread and wine into the substances of Our Lord's Flesh and Blood without causing any changes in the species of bread and wine. Thus, if anyone says that the species of bread and wine are changed by the priest's consecration, he would be in error. Nowhere in the Church Teaching is it said that the species of bread and wine must remain unchanged even after the consecration. The Church teaching only says that the signs of the Blessed Sacrament (that is: the species of bread and wine) remain unchanged by the priest's consecration. If the statement in the Gwangju Declaration were correct, even the natural changes in the Eucharist after consecration (for example, the changes of the Eucharist in the communi-cant's body after Communion) would violate the Church teaching and all the Eucharistic miracles in history should be condemned. It seems that the first doctrinal statement in the Gwangju Archdiocese's Declaration (1) (a) is an error. This issue remains to be clarified by the CDF.

Regarding the second statement in the Declaration (1) (b), we understand that the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 only stated that validly ordained priests only could perform the Eucharistic consecration, meaning that lay people and the clergy of other religions or denominations who lack the Apostolic succession of the priestly power and authority cannot and should not perform the Eucharistic consecration. This dogmatic teaching was announced by the Council to condemn the heresy of the Waldensians in the 12-13th centuries, who were advocating general priesthood. Later in the 16th century, the Protestant reformers advocated the same idea. We do not believe that the Lateran Council teaching means that even Our Lord, Who is the Highest Priest and the Source of all priestly power, cannot perform the Eucharistic consecration. In Church history, we read about many miraculous Communions received by Saints without mentioning a priest's consecration. Of course, in the normal conditions, we could say that the Eucharist begins to exist through the priest's consecration, but, here, concerning the situation in Naju, we are not talking about the normal situations but the miracles from God. What the normal condition should be cannot be a valid criterion for discerning a miracle. We believe that this second doctrinal statement in the Gwangju Declaration also is an error. The official judgment belongs to the CDF.

As to the third statement (1) (c), the Eucharist that was brought to Naju by St. Michael the Archangel was not an unconsecrated host but a real Eucharist according to the Blessed Mother's message. Therefore, a valid consecration was never denied. The Church teaching mentioned in this Gwangju Archdiocese's statement seems correct, but it was incorrectly applied.

The Gwangju Archdiocese's second ground for negatively judging the events in Naju (2) was that it was not possible to prove the supernatural origin of the various strange phenomena in Naju such as the tears and tears of blood from the Blessed Mother's statue. First of all, it was the Gwangju Archdiocese itself that prevented the scientific tests from being carried out regarding the evidence of the miracles in Naju. If they had ordered competent scientific tests of the tears, tears of blood, the blood from the Eucharistic miracles, the blood that descended from above, the fragrant oil, physical healings and so on, they would clearly have found out if "the strange phenomena" in Naju had been caused by natural forces or human manipulations or not. The Gwangju Archdiocese has the sole responsibility for denying or neglecting the scientific tests of the miracles in Naju. Because of the Gwangju Archdiocese's refusal to conduct scientific examinations, some of the lay people in Korea have volunteered to pay for the scientific tests of the samples from Naju at the most reputable DNA laboratories in Seoul. All the test results so far have shown that the phenomena contained in the samples were consistently beyond scientific or medical explanations. The test of the sample blood from the Eucharistic miracle also confirmed that the blood type of the samples was AB, which is the same as the test results in Lanciano, Italy obtained in the 1970s. The tests also detected a female blood with the type of B from some of the samples from the Blessed Mother's Mountain in Naju, where thousands of little stones especially on the Way of the Cross had been stained with blood in 2001 and 2002. This result is consistent with Julia's vision of the Blessed Mother walking behind Our Lord on the Way of the Cross, shedding tears of blood. Regarding the Gwangju Archdiocese's second ground for condemning Naju, we also remember the following Church teaching: "If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, . . . or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them: let them be anathema." (D.S.: 3034, The First Vatican Council 1869-1870)

Thus, we conclude that the condemnation of Naju declared by the Gwangju Archdiocese in its Declaration on Naju stands on erroneous grounds that contradict the true Church Teachings. If this judgment is officially accepted, which means that the grounds for the condemnation of Naju are officially recognized to be erroneous, the Declaration itself should be declared invalid and all the prohibitive measures against Naju and the pilgrims should also be considered to have been devoid of any binding power from the day the Declaration was announced. Also, the CDF's official position on Naju has been Non constat de supernaturalitate, meaning that more observation and further investigation are necessary. The Gwangju Archdiocese's negative conclusion on Naju and the repressive measures are not compatible with this official position of the CDF, as the Gwangju Archdiocese's announced conclusions actually means Constat de non supernaturalitate. This inconsistency between a local church and the Holy See should not be prolonged, because the faithful have already been confused and even wonder if the Holy See has officially accepted the Gwangju Archdiocese's position on Naju. It has been 15 years since the Gwangju Archdiocese's announcement of its Declaration on Naju. The questions and criticisms about this Declaration also still continue worldwide. So far, the Gwangju Archdiocese has not responded to these questions and criticisms at all but has only been accusing Naju and the pilgrims for disobeying its Declaration. But how can we obey something that does not agree with our conscience or our Faith that we have received from the Church? If we decide and act against our conscience and the Catholic Faith, we would be disobeying God and His Church and can even become enemies of God and His Church. We know that the virtue of obedience is essential, but do not think that blind obedience is what God expects of us.

 

Julia Kim waited for seven years after the Declaration hoping for an honest re-investigation

After the announcement of the Declaration on January 1, 1998, the atmosphere surrounding Naju was frozen with shock and fear and the number of pilgrims plummeted to a few dozens during the first several weeks, even though this number gradually recovered to the normal thousands per prayer meeting, which included foreign Bishops, priests, and lay people mostly from the Southeast Asian countries and some from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Australia, the USA, Latin America, and Africa. Julia Kim, however, stopped all her public activities, not meeting any pilgrims, not giving testimonies, and only praying and suffering the usual severe pains in her attic. The Gwangju Archbishop commented, "There is an external obedience by Julia." Julia's secluded life lasted for seven years until May 2005, when the Gwangju Archdiocese announced its third Declaration on Naju saying, "Naju has nothing to do with the Gwangju Archdiocese" meaning that Naju did not belong to the Archdiocese any longer and, therefore, was a heresy. The newly installed Archbishop in 2001 said that there would be no re-examination of Naju. Thus, Julia and many others became convinced that the real reason for the Gwangju Archdiocese's refusing the re-examination was not that they wanted a more thorough and credible examination but that they were fundamentally opposed to the events in Naju regardless of whether they were truly coming from God or not. Julia could not continue neglecting her mission from the Lord and the Blessed Mother any longer and resumed seeing the pilgrims and testifying before them and praying with them. In 2005, Julia spoke at the Marian Conference in the Philippines, and, in 2006 and 2007, went to Indonesia at the invitation by Bishops and priests there and spoke before hundreds of thousands of people.

 

Blessed John Paul II allowed the Eucharistic miracle through Julia on October 31, 1995 to be publicized all over Italy

During the Korean Bishops' ad limina visit on 1996, Pope John Paul II anxiously asked the Bishops to share the wonderful graces of Naju with other Asian countries. The Pope's plea was ignored by the Korean Church leaders and Naju was condemned in Korea in 1998. During the Korean Bishops' next ad limina visit in 2001 (as told to me by Bishop Paul Kim of the Cheju Diocese) the Holy Father asked the Bishops "What is the situation in Naju?" None of the Bishops answered the Pope's question. After a long time of uncomfortable silence, Bishop Kim finally said, "Your Holiness, I will make a detailed report after lunch." Thus, Bishop Kim was alone with the Pope and talked to him for about one hour. When Bishop Kim finished, the Holy Father looked very satisfied, embraced the Bishop, and said, "I will send instructions to the proper office." That was in March 2001. When I heard this from Bishop Kim, I thought the official recognition of Naju (or at least a re-investigation) was very close. Two months later, in May 2001, the photographs of the Eucharistic miracle in the Pope's chapel on October 31, 1995 were displayed in St. Michael the Archangel's Church not too far from San Giovanni Rotondo along with the photographs of Lanciano and other sites of Eucharistic miracles already approved by the Church. At the same time, a Catholic TV network in Italy aired a program titled "Miracoli" all over Italy, explaining the miracle on October 31, 1995 and many other aspects of Naju. Such public displays of the information about the Eucharistic miracle involving the Holy Father himself wound have been impossible without a formal permission from the Holy See. Blessed Pope John Paul II's love for Naju was deep and unchanging. His anxious hope for Naju becoming a bridge-head for the evangelization of Asia (and beyond) was also flaming up.

 

The real causes of the problem

The modernist forces in the Church had been waiting for centuries for an opportunity like the atmosphere surrounding the Second Vatican Council so that they could realize their agenda of human-centered transformation of the Church which did not seem to resonate with God's Will at all. Without regard for the actual contents of the Council's official documents guided authenti-cally by the Holy Spirit, the modernist, secularized, liberal, and progressive theologians seized the opportunity and began implementing their goal by watering down the authentic doctrinal and moral discipline in the Church and thus making the salt lose its taste and become thrown out and trampled underfoot and, at the same time, dimming the light of sanctity that shines from the good examples of the Church members and attract the outside people to salvation. The motto of this modernist movement was: "the Spirit of Vatican II" and was especially active among the young priests and their followers in Korea. Some years ago, a Korean priest working at a church of the Korean immigrants in America said to his parishioners: "After Vatican II, we do everything differently!" (He later left his priestly service and got married.) Those priests who were at the forefront of this progressive movement have been relentlessly pushing the modernist agenda of transforming the life in the Church to become more compatible with the secular world and more resembling the belief and practices of our Protestant brethren, who do not recognize the authority that Our Lord established on earth to allow every human person to have access to the continuing Reality of Our Lord's Incarnation and Saving Power in this world through His Church. In the process of this revolutionary efforts, many of the Catholic clergy and lay people have lost the zeal for promoting the sanctification of peoples and for spreading the Lord's saving messages to the whole world; and, in doing so, they have lost the concept of the supernatural and the holiness coming from God and also have become to alienate and despise the special revelations (such as special warnings, assistance, encouragement, and enlightening for the people of a particular era) and the need for continuing penance for our sins and others'. Because the messages and miracles in Naju are calling for a drastic move away from what the modernist priests are seeking, they are fundamentally opposed to Naju as they have been opposing the traditional Catholic Teachings (especially, the teachings of the Council of Trent) and Devotions. It would be naēve and harmful to everybody to seek a compromise between the principles emphasized in the messages and signs in Naju and the destructive agenda pursued by the modernists. Our goals are clear: (1) Restoration of true loyalty to the authentic Catholic Teachings that have the Divine Origin, have been inherited from Our Lord and His Apostles, and have been clarified by all the Popes and Councils and (2) Promotion of the sound Catholic Life especially in the areas of prayers (including family rosaries), the Eucharis-tic devotion, the devotion to the Blessed Mother, the imitation of the Saints, frequent and sincere Confessions, fervent missionary activities, healthy marriages and families, and guarding the people against secularism, disorders, revolt to the legitimate authorities, sacrileges, and abortions.

 

(1) The Eucharistic miracles in Naju and the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass; 
(2) The messages in Naju strongly support the Pope;
and (3) the Calling to reform our lives in the Church

Most of the Eucharistic miracles through Julia (the species of the Eucharist miraculously changing into visible and moving (live) Flesh and Blood of Our Lord) occurred in the Novus Ordo Masses (in Naju, Korea; Hawaii, the USA; Sibu, Malaysia; Jerusalem, Israel; Lanciano, Italy; the Vatican), which may be an evidence of the validity of the New Mass. (Of course, there has not been any indication that the Novus Ordo Mass is superior to the Traditional Mass, either.)

Our Lord and Our Lady have also strongly asked us to be obedient to the Pope, support him, and pray for him unceasingly. At the same time, we should be aware of the sad reality that the teachings and instructions from the Pope and his Congregations are not always faithfully implemented at the local level. The following is Our Lady's message on February 2, 1995:

Numerous children, who have gone far away from my Son Jesus and me, have been swept away by storms and have fallen into errors and, because of their resulting lack of faith, are not able to accept the Dogmas and are causing great disorder in the Liturgy and Laws in the Church. Even many shepherds have fallen into this disorder and are walking along the way to hell. The gate of hell is wide open to receive them.

Especially during the past five decades, so many questionable changes (not mandated by or even mentioned in the main documents of Vatican II) have been brought into our life in the Church especially in the areas of Catechesis, Liturgy, application of the Church Laws, and our demeanors in the church (e.g.: too many gossips and other noises, ignoring the dress codes, and lack of proper preparations and attitudes for the Holy Communion). Unlike in the pre-Vatican II era, very few churches provide the weekday Confessions as if personal sanctity and penance are not important any longer. Homilies are often long but contain very little of the essential teachings of Our Lord as written in the Scriptures and the Church doctrines which call for penance and reformation of our spiritual and moral lives. Some may think that we have all the public revelations necessary for our salvation, but are we also diligent in deepening our understanding of them and applying them to our daily lives as in the past? In the messages in Naju, Our Lord and Our Lady speak countless times about the errors that have infiltrated into the Catholic life and are corrupting the world and, because of this, so many people commit sins without realizing the fact that sins are the only obstacles and chasms between God and us. Most people in this world are forgetting the essential fact that Our Lord's Incarnation, Suffering and Dying on the Cross, and Resurrection occurred two thousand years ago but also are truly present with us as a living Reality until the end of the human history. This fact has been miraculously and physically demonstrated in Naju so that people may realize that Our Lord and Our Lady are always so close to us and are suffering because of our sins. We should frequently meditate on the following Church teaching:

His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is—all that he did and suffered for all men—participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1085)

The Reality of Our Lord's Paschal mystery enters our souls through the activities of the Church (her Sacraments and instructions) and, thus, remains alive in us and sanctifies us day after day. If we remember this fact, it will be much easier to understand the true meaning of and reason for the numerous miracles in Naju such as the Eucharistic miracles, the Lord's Precious Blood raining down on people and the little rocks on the mountain, the Blessed Mother's shedding tears and tears of blood through her statue, her exuding fragrant oil through the same statue (signifying her love, friendship, and presence with us), and the enormous suffering that Julia Kim has been offering up every day since the past 27 years ago for the conversion of sinners. By giving us the messages and the signs of miracles, Our Lord and Our Lady are trying to awaken our souls to the most amazing and precious Reality of the Paschal Mystery so that we may be united with this Reality and thus be led toward sanctity and salvation and also attract our neighbors to the same efforts and fruits.

 

How can we overcome the current difficulties?

Recently, a priest in the Gwangju Archdiocese proudly said that there would never be the official recognition of Naju. He may want to believe that there are sufficient reasons to believe that Naju will never be approved and that the reformation of the life in the Church away from their agenda will never occur. However, it has been predicted in Naju and elsewhere that when Satan appears to have succeeded in gaining his victory over the Church and in frustrating God's Plan of human salvation, the Blessed Mother's true victory will suddenly arrive and Satan and his forces will retreat back into hell. As evils and errors are being so rampant and the consequent disasters are so frequent and terrifying in the world, we can infer that the time of Our Lady's Triumph is getting very close. Difficulties and disasters will still continue and may even intensify, but we have the assurance that a period of peace will surely be given to the world, as Our Lady predicted in Fatima in 1917. The following are Our Lady's messages on March 10, 2011:

When the unprecedented miracles that my Son Jesus and I have been doing in Naju are accepted by the Holy Catholic Church, my Son Jesus' and my Love will flame up vigorously, the new buds will sprout even on the burnt ground, and God's cup of blessing instead of the cup of wrath will be bestowed on you.

As you (Julia) are suffering such extreme pains for that day, I want you to even more graciously offer them up. . . .

The clergy and children who follow me are extremely few, but the acceptance and practice of the messages of love from my Son Jesus and me given through my beloved daughter can become the shortcut to the spiritual and physical healing and to Heaven. That is why the pandemonium of great calamities that Satan cruelly desires with the intention of leading all of the souls to perdition is occurring endlessly. However, if Naju is approved and all of the clergy and children in the world accept and practice the messages of love that have been given through my little soul, the cup of God's wrath will cease, the new day will break, and the Lord's Kingdom will come.

Another young priest in the Gwangju Archdiocese said, "The Pope is the Bishop of Rome. We have our own Bishop!" A high-ranking prelate in Seoul denied the miracle of Our Lord feeding 5,000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish. Some other priests spread the idea that Our Lord's Resurrection was the resurrection of His Soul only. The Marian devotion, which had been so strong in the past two hundred years in Korea before Vatican II, is now so weakened. Too many of the Catholics do not really believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. Communion rails and kneelers have been removed from most churches and the Communion in the hand is a virtual law in Korea. . . . . Our Lord and Our Lady intend to correct all these problems in Korea and the world. Twenty thousand Korean martyrs are praying for us and with us!


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