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January 24, 2008

Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi of the Kwangju Archdiocese in Korea issued the following document on January 21, 2008, which contains extremely serious contents.

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I, Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi, carrying out the duty of the Ordinary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kwangju by virtue of the mercy and grace from God and the generous consideration and order of the Holy Father, the successor of the Apostle Peter, though it pains my heart, have no choice but to make the following pronouncement to defend the sound faith life of the Christians and the unity and fellowship in the Church community (cf. Canon #391).

First, I have reached the judgment that ‘Julia Yoon of Naju and those who believe in the phenomena associated with her do not have the intention to form unity and harmony with the Catholic Church any longer.  They continue refusing to follow the Ordinary’s declarations (January 1, 1998 and May 5, 2005) and pastoral directives (May 5, 2001) and only raise objections to them.  They have not followed my request and command which I made during my personal visits to the home of Julia Hong-Sun Yoon and her husband, Man-Bok Kim, together with several witnesses (March to August 2003), that they resume their ordinary faith life (such as attending Sunday Masses, going to Confession before major feast days like Christmas and Easter, and making offerings to the parish church) and present their financial records on all the funds received.  They have not responded to my ultimatum in February 2005, either.  They continue promoting ‘the phenomena associated with Julia Yoon of Naju’ as ‘private revelations’ or ‘miracles’, predicting the construction of the so-called ‘basilica’ to raise money, spreading the misleading information that the Holy Father and the Holy See recognize (Naju), and criticizing me, the College of Korean Bishops, and the Korean Church through printed matter and electronic media. (cf. their promotional pamphlets, books, newspapers, and Internet sites).

I make my final confirmation that such deeds of theirs are by no means the correct and balanced attitude of the faithful; nor are they the acts of sound devotions or ceremonies of worshipping God.  Accordingly, I declare that the clergy, religious and lay people who hold or participate in the administration of the Sacraments or the celebrations of the Sacramentals, which I have prohibited, at the unauthorized ‘chapel’ or ‘the Blessed Mother’s Mountain’ incur the penalty of automatic excommunication (cf. Canon #1336 and 1364).  As these are acts of disobedience against the Ordinary’s pastoral directives and judgments, violations of the Canon Law (cf. Canon #1369, 1371, and 1373), and refusals to form unity as well as inflictions of damage to the fellowship in the Church community, this (penalty) applies not only to the faithful who belong to the Kwangju Archdiocese but also to any of the clergy, religious, and lay people in the Catholic Church.

Second, I have confirmed that Fr. Aloysius Hong-Bin Chang of my diocese, who asserts that ‘the phenomena associated with Julia Yoon of Naju’ are ‘private revelations’ and ‘miracles’, obstinately argues that (his decision) has been ‘a choice based on his conscience’, and repeatedly reverses (his words) and violates his duty of obedience to the Ordinary, which he vowed at his ordination, depending on the circumstances, has no intention to form unity and harmony with the body of priests in the Kwangju Archdiocese any longer.  In both of the personnel committee meetings (June 1, 2007 and January 15, 2008), he did not concede his assertions but was intent only on defending his own position, which revealed that he is ‘one of the believers of the phenomena associated with Julia Yoon of Naju’ rather than a priest of the diocese who is faithful to the duty of obedience that he vowed to the Ordinary (cf. Canon #273 and 278).  

Accordingly, Fr. Aloysius Hong-Bin Chang no longer retains the status and rights of a priest who belongs to the Kwangju Archdiocese, and all of the special faculties for diocesan priests, which are uniform nationwide, bestowed on him at his ordination are withdrawn (cf. Canon #194, 1333, 1336, and 1371).

I pray to God that, through His infinite mercy and grace, these people will realize their past mistakes, return to the Catholic Church, receive the blessings of harmony and unity through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and participate in the correct ceremonies of worshipping God as soon as possible.  Holy Mary, Mother of the Savior and our Mother, Patroness of the Church in Korea and conceived without original sin; St. Joseph; and all the martyred Saints of Korea, pray for us.


January 21, 2008
Feast of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr

Signed by Most Rev. Chang Moo Choi
Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi
Ordinary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kwangju

A Comment

On December 8, 2007, just a few days after the Korean Bishops returned from their ad limina visit to the Holy See, Archbishop Andrew Chang-Moo Choi of Kwangju told several priests and Sisters during lunch about the trip.  Fr. Aloysius Hong-Bin Chang was one of the priests at the lunch, as he had been obligated to stay in the Kwangju Archdiocesan building as a punishment for his support of Naju.  The following is what Archbishop Choi revealed:

During his visit to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Holy See, a Bishop and several priests in that Congregation asked Archbishop Choi why he was not approving Naju and urged him to do so.  On the last day of the ad limina visit, December 3, all of the Bishops from Korea (more than 20) attended a meeting with Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  The Cardinal came with a large pile of document, which he said was information about Naju, and asked Archbishop Choi why he was not accepting Naju.  Archbishop Choi answered that there still was something he was not sure of.  The Cardinal asked what it was.  Archbishop Choi said that he could not understand how the Eucharist could fall from the sky.  The Cardinal answered that there had been a number of miraculous Communions in the past.  Archbishop Choi also told the priests and Sisters that he was “kicked” by the Holy See because of Naju.  From a different source, we have heard that Cardinal Dias became quite upset by the inappropriate and irresponsible answers and excuses by Archbishop Choi.  We have also learned that the Korean Bishops’ dinner meeting with the Holy Father did not take place this time, which is very unusual as the dinner with the Pope normally is an important part of the ad limina visit.  It is widely perceived that the Holy Father is deeply concerned about the unresolved situation regarding Naju and the modernist errors affecting many priests in Korea (and elsewhere).

From the above information, we can see that the Holy See made it very clear to the Korean Bishops that the Holy Father and other prelates in the Vatican are not happy with the work of the Kwangju Archdiocese on Naju so far and want a change.

When Archbishop Choi was revealing the above information to the priests and Sisters of his diocese, it seemed possible that he was in a conciliatory mood, willing to make some changes to comply with the Holy See’s advice.  Archbishop Choi even said to other priests, “The priests in our diocese are in need of repentance.  Fr. (Aloysius) Chang here even gave up golf and prays a lot.  I wish the priests in our diocese would imitate him.”  Fr. Chang later testified that, when he heard this from the Archbishop, he thought it was a signal of a positive change coming to Archbishop Choi’s thinking and policy. 

Things are not turning out that way, however.  Obviously, Archbishop Choi was soon swayed by the powerful liberal priests surrounding him.  The Archbishop’s attitude hardened again.  During a personnel committee meeting on January 15, 2008, Archbishop Choi asked Fr. Aloysius Chang.  “Do you still believe in the authenticity of Naju?”  Fr. Chang said, “Yes, I do.”  Archbishop Choi said, “But I don’t and other priests don’t.  You are being disobedient.  Why don’t you leave the Archdiocese at your own will?”  Fr. Chang said, “Before, you said that I was free to believe in Naju.  Now you say that I am disobedient because of my belief.  I have no intention of leaving the diocese.”  After the meeting, Fr. Chang wrote a long letter to Archbishop Choi entreating and urging him again to change his unreasonable policy toward Naju and delivered it to the Archbishop on January 19.  Then, on January 21, Archbishop Choi gave a document to Fr. Chang.  Instead of being a favorable answer, it was the above formal decree with extremely serious contents that seemed to signal that the Kwangju Archdiocese is abandoning even its appearance of unity with and obedience to the Holy See.  The inner defiance and disobedience in the minds of many of the liberal clergy in Korea had long been suspected.

In his decree shown above, Archbishop Andrew Choi apparently went against the advice of the Holy See to change its reckless course concerning Naju by declaring that all the priests, religious and laity who participate in the religious activities in Naju are automatically excommunicated and that this applies not only to those who are in the Kwangju Archdiocese but also to anyone in the Catholic Church.  By stating that the penalty of automatic excommunication is applied to anyone in the Catholic Church, Archbishop Choi is gravely exceeding his legal authority as a diocesan bishop and is invading the area of jurisdiction that belongs to the Pope. 

Then, in the morning of January 24, 2008, the contents of Archbishop Choi’s decree appeared in most of the major daily secular newspapers in Korea.  The hands of the Kwangju Archdiocese are suspected in this nationwide campaign to spread the negative information about Naju.  As a result of this campaign, Archbishop Choi’s condemnation of Naju is now a widely-accepted common knowledge in Korea.  The public opinion in Korea had already been turning strongly against Naju because of the recent video produced by MBC TV in Seoul, which was filled with false accusations and distorted facts as infused into its reporters by the priests of the Kwangju Archdiocese.  The liberal clergy in Korea must be feeling exuberant about their enormously powerful influence in Korea.  They completely dominate Korea concerning the Naju question and other important religious issues like the loyalty to the Holy See, Eucharistic and Marian devotions, and many more, as they can manipulate the minds of the Korean people in whatever ways they like.  They must be laughing with satisfaction and arrogance, especially because, in their opinion, there does not seem to be anything that the Holy See can do to change the situation in Korea.    

Of course, details of the recent development in Korea are being reported to the Holy See, and it seems possible that the Holy See will intervene more forcefully than ever this time.  It has already seen enough of the abuses of power and deviations from the orthodox faith and morals by the liberal clergy and their followers in Korea.  And now it clearly sees their brazen display of defiance against the supreme authority of the Holy See and against the orthodox Catholic Faith.  This simply cannot be tolerated. 

While praying and waiting for the Holy See’s action, this seems to be a good time for all of us to do some reflection and adjustment.  One of the main reasons why errors are so rampant in this world is that we are not firm enough about learning, defending, and spreading the truths; and one of the main reasons why there are many misuses of authority is that we are often too lenient to such misuses as though the entrusted authority is something absolute, which stands above God’s Will and His teachings and commandments instead of being a servant (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #86).  Authority is a sacred instrument entrusted by God to defend His truths and justice and to promote the well-being of His people.  When those in power distort God’s teachings and gloss over His moral commandments, we must protest forcefully not as people of authority but as witnesses of what has only been entrusted to us by God and still belongs to Him.  The current problem in Naju is not a problem exclusively of Korea.  Negligence in preserving the truths and observing the moral commandments is a worldwide problem and is the fundamental cause of all of the human disasters.  It provides an ample and ideal playground for the devils to wreak havoc in the lives of human individuals and their societies.  Now, we must become more serious and humble before the true teachings of the Catholic Church as children of God and students of His truths; we must become more diligent and correct about observing the Commandments from God; we must take more seriously the supernatural signs and messages when God gives them to us for our own benefit instead of despising and neglecting them; and we must become more zealous in spreading God’s Kingdom so that His truths, justice, and charity may prevail on earth and bring us true peace and prosperity.  In doing all these, the examples we look to should be the Saints of the Catholic Church rather than the successful achievers of worldly fame, power, and wealth.  If we can draw a valuable lesson from the ongoing disaster in Korea, it may turn out to be a blessing after all.


    Benedict Sang M. Lee

P.S.:  The following statement in Archbishop Choi’s Decree above is not true and is a false accusation: Julia and her supporters are predicting the construction of the so-called ‘basilica’ to raise money.  Also, the reason for Julia’s being unable to go to the Mass at Naju parish church is the pastor’s requirement that she declare that all the messages and miracles were fabricated before she can come back to the parish church, which, however, for Julia would be a betrayal of the Lord and the Blessed Mother as well as of her own conscience.  Archbishop Choi has been made aware of this, but he still accuses Julia for not coming back to the church. 

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