Korean bishop excommunicates phony mystic


For years, the Korean bishops have been trying to stop the activities of would-be mystic Julia Kim (now Julia Youn) at Naju, Korea. She claimed to have a weeping statue of Our Lady; she claimed to suffer the stigmata; she claimed that the Eucharist turned into visible, bloody flesh in her mouth, including in 1995 when she received the Sacred Host from Pope John Paul II.

The Archdiocese of Kwangju issued several declarations against the claims of supernatural miracles in the case, and on January 21 of this year, the confrontation reached a decisive point when the Archbishop of Kwangju declared Youn and those who participate in her activities excommunicated for grave disobedience.

Although my sympathies are with the bishop, parts of the canonical decree seem odd: e.g., I'm not sure that canon law allows for a latae sententiae excommunication for the sort of disobedience the Archbishop cites. (E.g., see the SJF's discussion of c1371.) On the other hand, the decree seems to treat adherence to Mrs. Youn's claims as a matter of schism. Perhaps Pete Vere or Ed Peters (keeper of the "Excommunication Blotter") will be able to clarify this for the good of the faithful.

A press report is on-line at Mirifica, and also follows after the jump...

UCAN (Union of Catholic Asian News) reports:

28 January 2008 - 16:36
Archbishop Declares Excommunication Against Julia Youn And Followers

SEOUL (UCAN) -- The archbishop of Kwangju has declared that a woman and her followers who have insisted on so-called divine miracles centering around her have incurred latae sententiae excommunication.

Archbishop Andreas Choi Chang-mou issued the decree on Jan. 21, saying "for Christians' healthy faith life, and the unity and communion of the Church, I declare as such, though my heart grieves."

Latae sententiae means the excommunication is not imposed by judgment but automatically results from an action that places one outside the community of faith.

The archbishop explained that he met Youn, 60, and her husband in person in Naju in 2003 and later gave a final warning in 2005, but they have not modified their actions. "Rather, they speak as if the Holy Father approves them," the bishop said. "They libel me, the Korean bishops and the Korean Church through their publications and the Internet."

These actions prove "Julia Youn and her followers have no will to reconcile with the Catholic Church," he said.

"Therefore those clergy, Religious and laity who preside at or participate in sacraments and liturgical ceremonies in their 'arbitrarily-called chapel' and 'Marian shrine' in Naju, which I have banned, incur automatic excommunication," he declared, based on canons 1336 and 1364 of the Code of Canon Law.

According to the website created by Youn's followers (www.najumary.or.kr), Youn has received Marian "revelations" since her statue of the Blessed Mother "started weeping" in 1985. After that, Youn and her followers established "Blessed Mother's Mountain" in Naju, 285 kilometers south of Seoul.

However, the archdiocese issued directives in 1998, 2003 and 2005 banning Catholics from visiting and participating in ceremonies there. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea has explicitly supported the archdiocese.

Father John Chrysostomus Kim Kye-hong, chancellor of Kwangju archdiocese, sent the decree of excommunication to all dioceses in the country as well as to secular and Church media on Jan. 23.

In a related press release, he asked all dioceses to carry the decree in diocesan bulletins and websites to help prevent Catholics from "straying into a groundless and blind faith."

Father Kim told UCA News on Jan. 24 that despite a televised news report in November 2007 refuting the authenticity of Youn's miracle claims, people have continued to gather at Naju.

Youn and her followers "insist that the Holy See recognizes the miracles," the chancellor said. "So now they are reaching beyond our archdiocese's boundary, and making this the problem of the whole Church. That is the main reason for issuing the decree," he explained.

Father Kim noted that Father Aloysius Chang Hong-bin, an archdiocesan priest who has supported Youn's disobedience, had incurred automatic excommunication too. "Also in the decree he was excardinated (removed) from the archdiocese and lost his clerical state," Father Kim elaborated, adding that "there was no consultation with the Vatican before issuing the decree, but we will send related materials."

Meanwhile, even before the decree, Archbishop John Choi Young-soo of Daegu issued a pastoral letter on Jan. 13 appealing to his faithful not to visit or participate in liturgical ceremonies in Naju, which "is not Catholic but defames the Catholic Church." He wrote that that "they collect much money and do superstitious activities like using or drinking Youn's urine for a cure."

Also, he asserted the Kwangju archbishop's ban would never be repealed "even though some people spread a rumor that the Vatican may overrule it." Archbishop Choi lamented that although his archdiocese too had issued directives several times on the matter, some priests and lay Catholics continuously visit Naju and support Youn.

Youn's followers have responded to the excommunication decree by denouncing it as the "worst measure" and a "heretical error." A Jan. 25 statement sent to UCA News insists that Archbishop Choi's decree has nothing to do with the pope and the universal Catholic Church.

The statement from Peter Kim Jae-seok, public manager of Blessed Mother's Mountain, added that the banning directives are fundamentally ineffective and the "Kwangju archbishop commits a crime by spreading such errors, abusing his power and threatening the faithful with such illegal punishment."


Blessed Mother

When Archbishop Choi was revealing the above information to the priests and Sisters of his diocese, it seemed possible that he was in some 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 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, “Last time 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. Fr. Chang gave this letter to Archbishop Choi on January 19.

Then, on January 21, Archbishop Choi gave a document to Fr. Chang. Instead of being a favorable answer, it was a formal decree with extremely serious contents that seemed to signal that the Kwangju Archdiocese is abandoning even its appearance of unity and harmony with 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 rejected 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 all of the major daily secular newspapers in Korea. The hands of the Kwangju Archdiocese are suspected in this nationwide campaign to spread negative information about Naju. As a result of this campaign, Archbishop Choi’s condemnation of Naju is now a widely-accepted fact and rule in Korea. The public opinion in Korea had already been turning extremely negative about Naju because of the recent video produced by MBC TV company 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 is being reported to the Holy See, and it seems possible that the Holy See will intervene more forcefully than ever before this time. It has already seen enough of the abuses of power and deviations from the orthodox faith and morals by the liberal clergy 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 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 so many abuses of authority is that we are too often too lenient to such abuses 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).

The authority too is a sacred instrument entrusted by God to defend His truths and justice and to promote the true wellbeing of His people. When those in power distort God’s teachings and gloss over His moral commandments, we must protest not as people of authority but as witnesses of what has been entrusted to us by God but 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 to the devils for wreaking 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 more 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 them and neglecting them; and we must become more zealous in spreading God’s Kingdom on earth 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 the 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.

His Excellency
Bishop John Ik Chang
Korean Bishops’ Conference
643-1 Joong-Gok 1-Dong
Seoul, Korea 143-912 February 25, 2008
Your Excellency,
We present this letter to the Korean Bishops’ Conference with a profound sense of gratitude and respect to Your Excellency and other Bishops in the Conference for promoting the spiritual wellbeing of the faithful in Korea.
We have read the Decree issued by the Kwangju Archbishop on January 21, 2008 concerning the subject of Naju. Needless to say, we respect and obey the Archbishop in exercising his episcopal teaching and pastoral authority entrusted to him by the Lord, but, we also believe that, when there are certain reasonable doubts about the conformity of his teaching and other pastoral actions to the orthodox Church teachings and/or the true facts, we can and should let the shepherd(s) know about them and petition for the necessary corrections.
We are aware that, according to Canon Law (#212 (1), (2) & (3)), it is not only the faithful’s right but also their duty to report to their shepherds regarding their concerns about religious matters. Based on this Church teaching, we hereby express our concern about the Kwangju Archbishop’s recent Decree.
1. “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?
We consider unity and harmony one of the most important goals in the Catholic life and also testify that Mrs. Julia Yoon and those who accept the truthfulness of the messages and signs through her have always pursued and prayed for the unity and harmony that is based on our obedience to the Holy Father and our Bishops.
We have never abandoned respecting the teaching and pastoral authority of the Archbishop of Kwangju and have only expressed to him our concern that the Declarations and the Decree on Naju seem to contain some serious inconsistencies with the Catholic Faith and the facts in Naju and asked him to make the necessary corrections, certainly not to weaken or defy his dignity and authority but to stop and repair the damages to the Church that have been caused by the erroneous teachings.
As we have not received any earnest response from the Archbishop but only received more warnings and restrictions, we have appealed to the Holy See as well.
We believe that the teaching and pastoral authority will shine with its proper splendor worthy of its divine foundation and the true unity and harmony in the Church will become possible only when both the shepherds and other members of the Church adhere faithfully to the truths from the Lord.
We, who believe in the truthfulness of the events in Naju, have always pursued and prayed for such unity and harmony with our whole hearts.
The Church also teaches that the teaching authority is not superior to God’s truths, but is its servant (Catechism of the Catholic Church #86). If we ignore or compromise God’s truths for the sake of pursuing the unity in the diocese (or for any other purpose), this will be a blind obedience that cannot please the Lord. For this reason, we believe that it is unjust if we are branded the disobedient simply because we have made our pleas and petitions to the Bishop.
Is the Church not a school where we learn the truths from God and practice them? In any school, it is possible that the teacher makes a mistake while teaching in class. When this happens, the students should be allowed to ask questions and demand correction if necessary.
Would it be an act of disobedience to ask questions and demand correction deserving of criticisms and punishments? Or would it be a true obedience and proper attitude on the part of the students to blindly and unconditionally follow whatever the teacher teaches even when there are reasonable doubts and concerns?
(2) “They do not resume their ordinary faith life in the parish church?
That Julia has not been going to the Mass in the Naju parish church has not been her voluntary choice but has been forced upon her against her will. A few years ago, Fr. Luke Hong-Chul Song, the former Pastor of Naju, said to Julio Man-Bok Kim, Julia’s husband, as follows: She will be welcomed back into the parish, if she brings the Blessed Mother’s statue to him, close down the Chapel and the Blessed Mother’s Mountain, and publicly declare during a Sunday Mass that she has been fabricating the messages and miracles and promise not to do so again.
In other words, Julia was given the choice between a normal life in the parish and the adherence to the messages and miracles. Julia did not want to give up either, but was forced to choose one. To abandon the messages and signs that the Lord and the Blessed Mother have given her for the common good of the Church would be to totally betray the Lord and the Blessed Mother and to abandon the mission from Them.
Julia could not do so, even if it meant that she had to suffer the enormous pains from being unable to go to her parish church. It is also our conviction that the shepherds do not have the right to force anyone to betray his or her faith or conscience. The Kwangju Archbishop has been informed of this predicament of Julia’s several times, but he continues accusing her of not leading her ordinary faith life in the parish, and this is not fair or just.
(3) “They are criticizing me, the College of Korean Bishops, and the Korean Church?
It seems very incorrect to equate anyone’s effort to inform the Bishop about probable problems in his document and to petition for corrections with an act of disobedience. The Second Vatican Council stressed the importance of individuals’ freedom in following their conscience especially in religious matters (Dignitatis humanae 2 (2)), and the Church also teaches that all the faithful including the laypeople participate in the preservation and propagation of the divine truths (Catechism of the Catholic Church #783 & 900).
This, of course, does not mean that the laypeople participate in exercising the teaching authority or in defining the truths, but only means that the laypeople also have the right and duty to faithfully defend and promote the Church teachings.
They have a grave obligation to follow the guidance of their shepherds, but, when they have serious and reasonable doubts about what they are being instructed, they should be allowed to express their concerns and ask for corrections. Such acts should not be criticized as disobedience.
(4) “predicting the construction of the so-called ‘basilica’ to raise money?
Without any question, the construction of the basilica requested by the Blessed Mother in her message through Julia can begin by the Church only after Naju is officially recognized. In Naju, nobody has predicted or announced the construction of the basilica, nor has anyone collected money for it.
There is no one who can testify that such things have occurred, because they have never occurred. This is just another of the numerous groundless rumors and accusations against Naju. It is difficult to imagine that such an accusation of raising money for the construction of the basilica in Naju was made in the Bishops’ official document. We sincerely hope that the Korean Bishops’ Conference will not give any credence to such misleading information.
(5) In addition, many innocent individuals all over Korea and in other countries have been suffering enormous damages to their honor and religious freedom because of a TV program on Naju, filled with malicious distortions and fabrications and aired nationwide and abroad since November 2007. For example, MBC TV, the producer of this program, included in this video a scene of several women drinking Julia’s urine hoping for the cure of their illnesses. Even though there was a caption on the screen indicating that this was only a dramatization, this small caption has been missed by most of the viewers.
The true fact is that it is not even a fair dramatization, because nobody has ever done what was suggested by this scene. It is unimaginable that a well-known TV company abandoned its public honor and social responsibility by producing such an error-filled program in collusion with some of the clergy in the Kwangju Archdiocese.
Even more shocking is the fact that the Archbishop of Kwangju brought this video to the Holy See during the recent ad limina visit to damage the reputation of Naju. Julia has always intended to keep the mysterious phenomena in her urine hidden from the public, and will keep it that way.
This subject has been exposed to the public by a clergy in the Kwangju Archdiocese who received information from a volunteer helper in Naju who had a personal grievance and learned about the mysterious phenomena in Julia’s urine. The priest gladly embraced her story without any investigation and released the superficial, incorrect story to MBC TV.
The same MBC video also accused the Naju volunteer helpers of selling the water from the Blessed Mother’s spring and claimed that this water was polluted with many bacteria. When the City of Naju heard about this, it asked the water and sewage department in a larger neighboring city, Mokpo, to test the water from the same spring.
The test result was that the water was extremely clean, free from any harmful minerals and bacteria, and had a mild alkalinity, which is known to promote human health.
We hope that the Church authorities fulfill their duty of protecting the people from errors and false accusations by promptly looking into this matter and stopping these criminal activities of spreading false information and, also, by warning and punishing the clergy involved in them. More detailed rebuttals against the false accusations in the MBC video are available.
Now, we hear that the Archbishop of Kwangju will propose during the regular spring meeting of the Korean Bishops’ Conference which starts today that the Decree of the Kwangju Archdiocese be endorsed by the Korean Bishops’ Conference, and are deeply worried.
By presenting this letter to the Korean Bishops’ Conference in person today before the meeting begins, we intend to make our conviction clear that the contents of the Decree do not conform to the true facts and the teachings of the Catholic Church. This letter is our sworn testimony, formally submitted to the Korean Bishops’ Conference.
Your Excellency, whom we respect! We pray that the Lord’s blessing and the Blessed Mother’s Love will always be with Your Excellency.
Sincerely yours,
1. John Do-Hyun Choi, Seoul
2. Paul Jae-Uk Kim, Taegu
3. Peter Kyung-Won Suh, Seoul
4. Romulo Tae-Ho Lee, Incheon
5. Augustine Hyo-Il Kim, Busan
6. Peter Gwi-Je Cho, Masan
7. Peter Jae-Suk Kim, Taegu
8. Albino Dong-Myung Kim, Kwangju
9. Peter Young-Sun Park, Seoul
10. Peter Jung-Ho Han, Anyang
11. Juliana Hwa-Bong Lee, Busan
12. Lucia Hye-Sung, Bucheon (This letter has been signed by the following individuals.)
(Note: The original of this letter in Korean for Bishop John Ik Chang, President of
the Korean Bishops’ Conference, and a copy for each of all other Bishops in
theConference were brought to the Korean Bishops’ Conference and received by ister
Violata Lim, the secretary to the Present of the Conference in the morning of
February 25, 2008. The Conference’s first meeting was to start at 3 p.m. on the same day.)

The Korean Bishops' Conference ended its regular spring meetings was finished on February 29, 2008.
On the question of Naju, the Conference decided to have the individual dioceses
(in Korea) make their announcements so that all of the faithful may clearly understand the contents of the Decree pronounced by the Kwangju Ordinary regarding the Naju question.

This may sound as if the Conference is announcing its support of the Decree, which, however, is not a correct interpretation.

The reason is that the opponents of Naju had wanted and pursued a much stronger consensus decision by the Conference to strengthen the Decree and thus completely block the faithful's visits to Naju.

By leaving the matter in the hands of individual dioceses, the Conference decided against its own taking any substantial action.

The urgent letter from His Eminence Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Holy See to the Korean Bishops' Conference at the beginning of its meetings must have been the decisive factor in the Korean Bishops' reading this decision.
So far, (as of March 11,2008)

we hear nothing from the individual dioceses in Korea about this yet. It appears to be another victory for the Blessed Mother.

Now, it seems that much of the task of assisting the Blessed Mother has fallen in our hands, the little workers who are praying and trying to spread her messages and signs in Naju worldwide.

Thank you, Mr. Suh, for presenting the statements from supporters of Mrs. Kim and Naju.

I wish I could say they were completely satisfactory, but there do seem to be real problems in Mrs. Kim's and her supporters' actions.

There should be no unauthorized chapel or shrine and no Masses offered in a place where the bishop has forbidden it, regardless of Mrs. Kim's belief in the authenticity of her experiences. There should be no publicity in favor of the claimed apparitions or signs.

The bishop's prohibition of the chapel is a lawful command, even if it should turn out that the apparitions were authentic. It is more important and more pleasing to our Lord to obey the lawful commands of one's bishop than to obey the contrary directives received in a private revelation.

If the bishop forbids the propagation of the messages, Mrs. Kim should indicate her willingness, out of respect, to cease making any claims.

If Mrs. Kim has any doubts about her permission to attend Mass in her parish or some other parish church, I am sure the bishop will be willing to make this clear. The statements of her former pastor are not binding on the bishop or on the current pastor.

THank you for your comment in regard on Naju,

But one thing you need to be noticed that we are not disobeying the Bishop of Kwangju Diocese, but we just believe the Truth of Signs that occurred in Naju and throught Julia Kim.

Kwangju Diocese kept pressing on Naju by the name of Authority of the Ordinary without deep and clear investigations.

On the other hand, Kwangju Bishop issued the Decree ,said that any one who come to Naju will be authomatically excommunicated. it is so rediculous.

According to one of the Archbishop in the Vatican
" Excommunication is too rediculous and he has no authority to do so "

and We are not disobeying the Bishop,but we just believe the truth, because we believe the all the Signs that came from Our Lord and Blessed Mother, in addition to, God is above all.

Also we want to be a true faithful who are not blind disobedient

Some peoples saying that Julia Kim is not obey and volunteers are also lots of problems and so on,

But it is not true, Julia Kim is so humble and prayerful and a lot of sacrifices has have been doing.

but somethings are seen very negatively due to groundless roumers.

The church and some of its leaders dont even believe in Mystics,Stigmatist,visionaries,apparitions etc
Why God does these supernatural things so that people believe that there is ONE TRUE GOD who runs the entire universe.Otherwise life just goes like that and we feel GOD is not required and so we live in IDOL worship,which is the greatest SIN.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on February 4, 2008 10:28 PM.

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