IN THE KWANGJU ARCHBISHOP'S DECLARATION
IN LIGHT OF SOME PRECEDENTS IN CHURCH
Precedents are useful in secular courts as they can help in
maintaining consistency in the interpretation and application of the laws. Likewise, they can throw much light on the
discernment of the reported cases of special revelations (sometimes called
"private revelations") in the Church. Probably precedents are particularly important in the Church, as
consistency that transcends the vagaries of the times and the differences in
local traditions is a vital hallmark of the Catholic teachings. (Cf. Can. 19 CIC 1983; A legal aphorism: De similibus idem est iudicium, there
is a same judgement about similar things.)
If a custom or an express
prescript of universal or particular law is lacking in a certain matter, a
case, unless it is penal, must be resolved in light of laws issued in similar
matters, general principles of law applied with canonical equity, the
jurisprudence and practice of the Roman Curia, and the common and constant
opinion of learned persons.
(Can. 19 CIC)
A legal aphorism: De similibus
idem est iudicium, there is a same judgement about similar things.
Many of the faithful including some clergy have already found and
explained some obvious and serious doctrinal errors contained in the Declaration
on Naju issued by the Kwangju Archdiocese in Korea on January 1, 1998. The purpose of this write-up is to briefly
review this Declaration in light of some precedents involving the cases similar
to those in Naju.
1. The Declaration says: "The content that owing to Mrs. Julia Youn,
the Father seems to delay the time of the end of the world (according to
the message on June 16, 1995), which is already decided and thus only the
Father knows obviously conflicts with the teachings of the orthodox Catholic
From the context of the message received by
Julia, it is clear that the time mentioned in this message is the time of
chastisement and not the time of the end of the world. In Church history, we find many examples of a
threatened chastisement being delayed or removed thanks to the reparations
offered up by people:
- God the Father said to St. Catherine of Siena: "I am delaying the chastisement of the
world because of you." (The Dialog of St. Catherine of Siena)
- Jesus said to St. Faustina: "I bestow many graces only because of you. I also withhold
My punishments only because of you. You restrain Me, and I cannot vindicate the
claims of My justice. You bind My hands with your love." (The Diary of St. Faustina)
"If you did not tie my hands, I would send down
many punishments upon the earth. My daughter, your look disarms My anger." (The Diary of St.
- In the Old Testament, God said to Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom
and Gomorrah if He could find even ten just men there.
- In the book of Jonah, God said through Jonah that He would punish the
Nineveh people. But He removed the planned punishment because they repented.
Considering the above precedents, we do not see any conflict between
the message that Julia received and the Church teachings.
2. The Declaration also says:
"The phenomenon alleged as a miracle of the Eucharist fallen from
heaven is contradictory to the doctrine of the Catholic Church that says that
only through the legitimately ordained priest's consecration does the sacrament
of the Eucharist begin to exist and even though the priest is in grave sin,
because when all the sacraments are justly celebrated in accordance with the
intention of the Church, Christ and His Holy Spirit operate in them."
"Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and
consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1411)
The declaration misinterprets the catechism which stipulates who
is eligible to consecrate the Eucharist, "ordained priests can preside at
the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine" and changes the meaning
to focus on the constitutive requisite for the consecration of the Eucharist,
"only by the priest’s consecration can the Eucharist come to be."
According to the declaration, the
events/phenomena whereby many saints received the Holy Eucharist from the Lord
and angels, is against the teachings of the Church. (For instance, it would be
against church teaching for an angel to distribute Holy Communion to the three Fatima
When judging matters regarding the
faith, church authority is bound to present exactly the Church teachings as
they are without any change in point of fact. This principle must also be
applied to the Archbishop of Kwangju who changes the expression of the
authentic teaching of the Church in order to condemn and reject the Eucharistic
miracles that happened in Naju.
The following are similar examples
of the Eucharist received in extraordinary ways:
- St. Clement, Bishop of Ancyra (4th Century), received Communion from
Our Lord, while in prison awaiting martyrdom.
- St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) received Communion from an angel.
- St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) received Communion from Our Lord
and also from angels.
- St. Columba of Rieti (d. 1501) received a fragment of
the Eucharist that an angel brought to her spiritual director.
- St. Pascal Baylon (d. 1592)
received Communion from an angel many times.
- St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (d.
1607) also received Communion from the Lord.
- St. Laurence of Brindisi (d.
1619) and his Capuchin brethren received Communion from the Lord.
- In Fatima, an angel brought a chalice and a Sacred Host to the three children (1917).
- A Seraph gave Holy Communion to
St. Faustina on many occasions.
The Declaration also implies indirectly that the message concerning
St. Michael the Archangel taking the Eucharist from a priest who was in sin is
in conflict with the Church teaching. However, according to the message, the Eucharist was taken from the
priest after the consecration, and, therefore, valid consecration was never
denied. Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis,
the Apostolic Nuncio, who witnessed the miracle, testified that when the
two halves of the Sacred Host were put together, a small corner of one of the
halves was missing, indicating that the Eucharist was taken from the priest
just before he was about to consume It. We also see the following precedents in Church history:
- We read in the book: City of
God written by Venerable Mary of Agreda about her vision of the Last Supper
where an angel appeared and took the Eucharist away from the mouth of Judas
Iscariot, who was in sin.
During the life of St. John of the Cross,
when a man in mortal sin received Communion and was dying, an angel came and
took the Eucharist from his mouth and brought It to the Saint's room.
- "One day Jesus said to me,
"I am going to leave this house... because there are things here which
displease Me." And the Host came out of the tabernacle and came to rest in
my hands and I, with joy, placed it back in the tabernacle. This was repeated a
second time, and I did the same thing. Despite this, it happened a third time,
but the Host was transformed into the living Lord Jesus, who said to me,
"I will stay here no longer!" At this a powerful love for Jesus rose
up in my soul. I answered, "And I, I will not let You leave this house,
Jesus!" And again Jesus disappeared while the Host remained in my hands.
Once again I put it back in the chalice and closed it up in the tabernacle. And
Jesus stayed with us. I undertook to make three days of adoration by way of
reparation.” (The Diary of St. Faustina)
3. The Declaration also says:
"The alleged phenomenon, that as soon as Mrs. Julia Youn received the
Eucharist, it was changed into a lump of bloody flesh in her mouth is also
contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church that says that even after the
bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ with the
formula of priests' consecration, the species of bread and wine remain."
In the original text of the Declaration in
Korean, the last part of the above statement is made stronger by inserting the
word: "must" before the verb: "remain"; thus:
"the species of bread and wine must remain". The official doctrine of the Church only
teaches that the priest's consecration effects changes in the substances of
bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Our Lord without any concomitant
changes in the species. It is clear that
this teaching is about the effects of the priest's consecration and is not
intended to be applied to the cases of miraculous changes in the species
through a special intervention by God. This distortion of the Church teaching by the Kwangju Declaration is a
grave perpetration of the divine sanctity of the Church teaching on the Blessed
Sacrament and also completely blocks the possibility of any Eucharistic
miracles. It makes the numerous
Eucharistic miracles that the Church already approved—in Lanciano,
Bolsena-Orvieto, Siena, Ferrara, Santarem, Amsterdam, and elsewhere
inconsistent with Church teachings. Is
it possible that the Kwangju Archdiocese has the authority to alter the Church
teachings and to override the past decisions of the Church?
We have a full trust in the Lord's guarantee that the purity of His
doctrines will always be preserved in His universal Church especially through
the charism of infallibility given to the Holy Father and the Ecumenical
Councils in union with the Holy Father when they make formal pronouncements
concerning faith and morals. This
guarantee, however, does not extend to individual bishops, priests, and laity
when they are not in union with the Magisterium of the Church. Actually, errors in teachings and aberrations
in the Liturgy have occurred many times in Church history at the local and
individual levels, causing grave harms to the faithful. First of all, we need to pray hard for those
who err and also arm ourselves by diligently learning and meditating on the
authentic teachings of the Church and the examples of the Saints and by
remaining in union with the shepherds and fellow lay people who are faithful to
the authentic Teachings and Traditions of the Church.