Kwangju archdiocese has dispelled rumors that its declaration on an alleged Marian visionary would be overturned by the Vatican.
The archdiocese on Feb. 24 released its statement, "The Position of the Archdiocese of Kwangju in relation to the Matter of Julia Youn in Naju."
In the statement, the archdiocese quoted a letter from the Vatican-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying it respects the archdiocesan decision on the alleged visionary as the official position of the universal Church. The Vatican letter was dated April 24, 2008.
Archbishop Andreas Choi Chang-mou of Kwangju had declared in January 2008 that Youn and her followers, who had insisted on so-called divine miracles revolving around her, had incurred latae sententiae excommunication.
This means the excommunication is not imposed by judgment but automatically results from an action that places one outside the community of faith.
According to the website created by Youn's followers, the Catholic laywoman started receiving Marian "revelations" after her statue of the Blessed Mother "started weeping" in 1985. After that, she and her followers established "the Blessed Mother's Mountain," the name they gave to their center in Naju, located in Kwangju archdiocese.
Kwangju archdiocese, however, issued directives in 1998, 2003 and 2005 banning Catholics from visiting and participating in ceremonies there. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea in its biannual plenary assembly in February 2008 supported the archdiocese's declaration of excommunication.
Youn's followers, however, have insisted that the Vatican has different views regarding Youn.
According to their website, Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Vatican-based Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, had urged the Korean bishops to recognize Youn during their ad limina visit to Rome in November 2007.
It reported that Cardinal Dias had sent a letter to this effect to the Korean Catholic bishops in February 2008 and another to the archdiocese in August that year.
However, the archdiocese's statement reminded Catholics that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the only competent authority to rule on the issue. Hence, it urged Catholics not to be confused by "those who try to damage relations between the Vatican, and the Korean bishops and Kwangju archdiocese."
Father John Chrysostomus Kim Kye-hong, Kwangju archdiocesan chancellor, told UCA News on Feb. 26 that the local Church recently decided to disclose the Vatican letter.
This was done in consultation with the apostolic nunciature in Korea because Youn's followers were "distorting" the "private" concerns of Cardinal Dias who had urged better pastoral efforts in this regard, he said.
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