Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Dissent Continues in Naju
Dissent is a word that often describes how people react to controversial issues, many of which can lead to positive as well as negative results, causing many to question which side of these controversial issues they should be on. Resolving conflicts between proponents of a position and those opposed is often an insurmountable task.
There are times, of course, when we readily say no, and just as easily say yes; no one has difficulty with this common occurrence. However, the word dissent usually is understood to be dissent from the majority. When we deal with the authority of the Church, it should be clear what the response should be, but as we know, it is not.
The Korean Catholic Church, for the most part, is not fragmented by dissent. We have dissent, but it is usually not publicly visible. The recent editorial in the Catholic Times mentions the dissent of a group of followers of the miracles of Naju in the diocese of Kwangju.
The Naju incident began in 1985, with the weeping statue. Despite the fact that the so-called miracle has on four different occasions been condemned by Church authority, as not in keeping with Church teaching and spirituality, the movement continues to flourish. Their members repeatedly say that the fundamental duty we all have as human beings and members of the Church is: " always to obey the certain judgment of ones conscience. If a person were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1790).
With these words they defend themselves, although the authority of the bishop, with the backing of the Vatican, has told them to give consent and return to the communion of the Church. Some of the confusion comes from the words of some senior members of the hierarchy, who in the beginning were sympathetic to the movement, and it continues to use this to defend themselves. In the words of the diocese, they are doing this to deceive their followers: for they say they will soon have the approval of the Church.
The diocese, after investigating the so-called miracles, has made clear that there is nothing supernatural about Naju, and the diocese has asked the Christians to refrain from attending the shrine and participating in the events at the site. However, the movement continues to welcome priests from overseas, and there are priests who conduct services at the shrine. The bishop hopes that Youn Julia and her followers will humbly accept the teaching of the bishop. If not the bishop warns that he will use canon law: "A person who publicly incites his or her subjects...or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties" (canon 1373).