Unification Church plans to move founder Moon to its own hospital after his condition worsens

Seoul, South Korea - The Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s condition has worsened and the Unification Church moved its founder to a church-owned hospital near his home, officials said Friday.

The church said it was also bringing in a specialist from Japan to try to treat Moon’s pneumonia and increase his chances of recovery.

Moon, 92, is a self-proclaimed messiah whose church runs a worldwide multibillion-dollar religious and business empire that includes The Washington Times newspaper, the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, Bridgeport University in Connecticut and hospitals in South Korea and Japan.

A respiratory specialist was traveling to South Korea from the church hospital in Japan, and Moon was moved Friday to CheongShim International Medical Center in the town of Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeol said. Doctors in Seoul told the church they cannot cure Moon.

Moon has developed new complications since being hospitalized for pneumonia at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital earlier this month, church officials said. The complications involve Moon’s kidneys and liver, but officials didn’t elaborate further.

“Our prayers will hopefully work better in Gapyeong,” Ahn said.

To help treat Moon, CheongShim will receive whatever intensive care equipment it doesn’t have from Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Ahn said.

Moon’s church and its mass weddings gained fame around the world after the church’s foundation in 1954. Moon claims he was 15 when Jesus Christ personally called on him to complete his unfinished work.

Moon’s last major public appearance was last month when he took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Peace Cup soccer tournament sponsored by his church in South Korea.