Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Dissertation on the Phenomena in Naju

A priest from the diocese of Kwangju has written a dissertation for a master's degree on the happenings in Naju: 'miracles' and 'private revelations' of Kim Julia, written up in this week's Catholic Times. The movement in Naju is still going strong even after the bishop has made it clear that Kim Julia is automatically excommunicated. The shrine is still getting visitors and strange happenings continue. This was the first time in Korean Catholic history that we had an excommunication promulgated by a bishop of a diocese. It is now being spread to non- believers by the proponents of Naju. There are also bishops and priests who continue to be attracted by Naju.

In his dissertation the priest makes clear it is not miracles and healings that constitute Christianity, but through the Cross we search for faith and love in our lives. The priest is the first to write a dissertation on Naju, academically searching for the truth. His keyword was to discern, giving attention to the Scriptures and Church teaching. Catholic Faith is not only a personal stance but public, when we stress our personal experiences and beliefs they have to be judged by the community that is Church.

The phenomena of Naju have never been approved by the Church. Even after the decision of the bishop they have decided to go their own way. They cling to the miracles and private revelations, attached to the sensible and external. He feels it is not only a problem with Naju but with the Korean Church and Catholics.

The efforts to make Catholicism part of the culture gives birth to these abnormalities, irritations that are experienced. The Church has to make an effort to get the followers to come back. He treats the subject of Naju with gentleness.

Naju should not be an incident that we forget or just pass over but a teaching moment for the Church. We should have a white paper on the incident and see it from many different angles with study and debate.

Scripture tells us you can tell the tree by the fruit- the external test of authenticity: is it in harmony with the Church's constant teaching? Are we dealing with maturity, sincerity, obedience and humility? Thirdly, whether the fruits of the Spirit follow- do we see love?

We the Church have to deepen our Faith by getting closer to Jesus and his word instead of looking for external phenomena to deepen faith. The bishops indicated that what we see externally as Catholicism today may not be a true sign of maturity. Externals are not easy to read, and not a good sign of where we are spiritually.

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