The Miracle Hunter

January 1, 1991 - Declaration concerning "The phenomena and messages which happened to Julia Youn of Naju and her statue of the Blessed Mother"

The matters concerning Mrs. Julia Youn (the events arising in Naju city, located in the district under Kwangju archdiocesan jurisdiction) that started with the weeping statue of the Blessed Mother on 30th July 1985 have developed into various events which are being widely circulated, including the so-called miracles such as the Blessed Mother's statue shedding bitter tears, fragrant oil, its moving backward and forward in the niche, and rose fragrance from Julia's body, her physical suffering for the sins of abortion and other sins that flood the world, and the most recent miracles of the Eucharist, etc.

Mrs. Julia Youn, realizing the fact that those who are interested in such phenomena and believe them as reliable are numerous, insists that the so-called "messages of the Blessed Mother of Naju" she says she has heard from the Blessed Mother are authentic and therefore they are truly private revelations.

As all Christians know, revelation and the Eucharist are the heart of the Orthodox Catholic Faith. For that reason, the matters related to them must be definitely discerned through the teachings of the Orthodox Catholic Faith.

The Naju Investigation Committee, which I, the Ordinary, Archbishop of Kwangju Archdiocese, formed on 30 December, 1994, has examined carefully with the eye of faith and from a multilateral standpoint the so-called "Phenomena and Messages which happened to Julia Youn of Naju and her statue of the Blessed Mother."

After its first meeting on 9 January 1995, I published the interim report of the Investigation Committee with the undersigned name of Chairman of Naju Investigation Committee (Reverend Father Augustinus Kim Jai-Young) on 16 June 1995.

During this time, the Naju Investigation Committee has held 15 meetings. Examination of the faith and inspection of the phenomena by analyzing all contents and the process of their formation in all the related books and printed materials have been carefully made. In parallel with these the committee has on five occasions sought testimonies from 14 people, including Mrs. Julia Youn, who are central to "the events arising in Naju." The members of the Committee have also visited Julia's house to examine not only the place of the Blessed Mother's statue but also the hall where it is enshrined.

1. Based on the results of the investigations, I, the Archbishop of Kwangju archdiocese, pronounce my public judgment on the so-called "events arising in Naju," since I have an episcopal magisterium to give an authoritative interpretation (cf. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 75-87; "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation," Dei verbum, 10) on the results of the investigations carried out by the Investigation Committee.

1.1. In the so-called "Messages of Our Lady of Naju," which Julia claims have come from Our Lady, there are several human and artificial elements involved. Because of this, there are several parts which appear to be lacking in genuineness and credibility.

In the first place, in the contents there are parts comparable to imitations, plagiarism and quotations from recognized books such as of Father Gobbi's "To the most beloved priests of the Blessed Mother" and "The message of the Sacred Heart" published by the Catholic Publishing House, Seoul.

There are also parts which appear to be purposely manipulated, omitted or inserted as the result of the influence of people around [Mrs. Julia Youn] and according to the circumstances. Examples of this are: the appearance of miraculous water, making a Sanctuary, building a Basilica. In addition, there are discrepancies between Julia's own handwritten diaries and published materials. Moreover, the content that owing to Mrs. Julia Youn, [God] the Father seems to delay the final time (cf. the content which seems to be regarded as "The Word of the Father" heard on 16 July 1995), which is already decided and thus only the Father knows (cf. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 1040) obviously contradicts the teaching of the Orthodox Catholic Faith.

Therefore, the so-called "messages of the Blessed Mother of Naju" are seen as the results of Mrs. Julia Youn's personal experience or meditation, and do not bear evidence that they are private revelations, although Mrs. Julia Youn and her followers insist that they are authentic, private revelations.

1.2. The phenomenon alleged as the miracle of the Eucharist falling from heaven is contradictory to the doctrine of the Catholic Church which says that only through a legitimately ordained priest's consecration does the Sacrament of the Eucharist begin to exist (cf. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 1411; Denzinger-Schonmetzer collection of Church documents, DS, 902) even when the priest is in grave sin, because when the Sacraments are celebrated properly in accordance with the intention of the Church (ex opere operato "from the action performed"), Christ and His Holy Spirit operate in them (cf. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 1128; DS 793-794).

Furthermore, the alleged phenomenon that as soon as Mrs. Julia Youn received the Eucharist, it changed into a lump of bloody flesh in her mouth is also contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church which says that even after the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ with the formula of a priest's consecration, the species of bread and wine remain (cf. Pope Paul VI's 1966 encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, "Mysterium Fidei;" DS 782, 802, 1321, 1640-1642, 1652).

Such phenomena do not enhance the faith of people in the Eucharist existing under the species of bread and wine. On the contrary, they seem to act as an element which causes great confusion and embarrasses the people's faith in the Eucharist.

1.3. Various strange phenomena said to have happened in the vicinity of Mrs. Julia Youn (phenomena arising from her body and the statue of the Blessed Mother) and her personal vision also produce no evidence to prove that they are truly supernatural and thus from God. Perhaps, they can be said to show some preternatural power.

2. I, the Archbishop of Kwangju archdiocese, as the authentic teacher of the faith and legitimate shepherd, sincerely ask all the priests, Religious and the faithful in the diocese and those who are involved in "the events arising in Naju" to receive these pastoral instructions in the spirit of obedience to the authentic teaching authority.

2.1. For the sake of one's personal interest, to consider the alleged disturbing phenomena like "the events arising in Naju" and insist on them as supernatural is regarded as an act of breaking the unity of the Church's faith. So publication or dissemination of all materials for propaganda relating to "the events arising in Naju" (e.g. printed or published literature, audio/video tapes, photos, etc.) is officially forbidden (cf. "The Code of Canon Law," 823, 1), and it is also my request that the relevant documentation not be seen or viewed.

2.2 Therefore, I, as Ordinary, have asked Mrs. Julia Youn to discontinue the memorial function which has been held on the memorial day of the first weeping of the statue of the Blessed Mother, and not to spread her personal experiences and the so-called "messages of the Blessed Mother of Naju," which were erroneously asserted as supernatural phenomena and private revelations. This advice remains in effect and thus obedience to the teaching authority is again required.

2.3. The previous prohibition of saying Mass, or celebrating liturgies or the Sacraments at any private places related to Mrs. Julia Youn is also still valid. Such communal assemblies as vigils assuming the form of liturgies of the word and Hora Sancta, and the other internal prayer meetings which are held on every Thursday and first Saturday of every month in Mrs. Julia Youn's hall that enshrines the statue of the Blessed Mother are forbidden as well. People around Mrs. Julia Youn (especially volunteer helpers) are, therefore, requested to obey the Magisterium, to return home and exercise authentic devotion to the Blessed Mother.

2.4. The previous measure through which I have given this directive is still in effect as follows: except for the parish priest who has jurisdiction, other priests who have been acting as supporters should now refrain from playing any further role. It is also desired that pastors and priests keep their mind on the faithful's simple interest in the so-called "events arising in Naju," so that these do not permeate the general devotional life of the parishes or Catholic institutions for which the priests are responsible.

Lastly, I hope and pray that all the members of Kwangju archdiocese may hear and receive such Catholic teachings that "... true devotion consists neither in sterile nor transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith" ("Dogmatic Constitution on the Church," Lumen Gentium, 67) and "Extraordinary gifts are not to be rashly desired, nor is it from them that the fruits of apostolic labors are to be presumptuously expected" ("Lumen Gentium," 12), and spend their time and energies in promoting devotion to the Blessed Mother, in the many forms which have been approved by the Catholic Church.

Through sincere and genuine devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the mystery of Christ and the Church, we will all be more deeply united to Christ who is "the source of all truth, sanctity and piety" (Lumen Gentium, 67).

As the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary "takes its origin and effectiveness from Christ, finds its complete expression in Christ, and leads through Christ in the Spirit to the Father" (Introduction to Pope Paul VI's "Marialis Cultus"), we also note that "the ultimate purpose of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is to glorify God and to lead Christians to commit themselves to a life which is in absolute conformity with his will" ("Marialis Cultus," 39).

"May the heart of Mary be in each Christian to proclaim the greatness of the Lord; may her spirit be in everyone to exult in God" (Saint Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Secundum Lucam," 1, 26).

on the 1st January 1998,

The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God

Victorinus K. Youn