Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Chinese protestant groups take aim at doomsday cult
Eastern Lightning and other heretic cults 'undermine social stability'
- ucanews.com reporters, Beijing
- September 11, 2013
China’s state-sanctioned Protestant Church yesterday issued a resolution to fight cults, as top leaders met at the National Chinese Christian Congress in Beijing.
The Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC), the country’s two main Protestant bodies, singled out the doomsday cult Eastern Lightning, a group which had thousands arrested last year as it predicted the end of the world on December 21.
“The meeting held that heresy and cult followers… undermine social stability and harmony,” the TSPM and CCC said, announcing the resolution on their joint website.
The congress, held every five years, urged clergy and congregations across China to resist groups that do not follow the “pure faith.”
Also known as the Church of Almighty God, Eastern Lightning is estimated to have more than one million members across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who believe that God returned to Earth as a woman, ‘Lightning Deng,’ in northeastern Henan province in 1992.
The group attracted the wrath of Chinese authorities last year when it predicted the end of the Communist Party and the world on December 21.
Since then Protestants in both the state-sanctioned church and the underground movement have been critical of what is seen as Eastern Lightning's heretical interpretations of the Bible and extreme conversion methods which have reportedly included kidnappings.
“Even though the doomsday prophecy did not come true in the end, believers have not left the cult because they have been brainwashed,” said a postgraduate student at a Protestant seminary in eastern Anhui province who declined to be named.
Eastern Lightning is controlled by Zhao Weishan who lives in exile in the United States.