Growth of Chinese sect causes alarm
Catholics warned of coercive and violent recruitment methods
The spread of a sect originating in mainland China has drawn rare attention and warnings from a Vatican news site.
According to a report by the Fides News Agency, the sect known as The Lightning of the East uses methods of deception, blackmails Catholic leaders, artfully constructs scandals and is “sowing confusion among evangelical Christians and even among Catholics.”
It added: “From many testimonies we learn that this sect usually uses moral and physical violence, such as torture, kidnapping, poisoning and even murder of those who intend to abandon it.”
The report was picked up by several Chinese Catholic websites and blogs as well as the Chinese section of Vatican Radio.
Father John, an unregistered priest in Fujian province, described to ucanews.com a recent encounter with a sect member who came to his parish “pretending to want to join catechism classes in which she could draw people to her sect.
“She used different methods try to get close to me. One day she suddenly pulled up her shirt in front of me, showing her breasts. I ran out of the house and shouted to my parishioners to come and see, which forced her to run away, embarrassed.”
The sect originated in central Henan province in the mid-1990s and stretches to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It claims to have millions of followers.
A coalition of Protestant churches in Macau took out advertisements last week to publicly distance themselves from it.
It was banned by the Chinese government years ago but took on new momentum last year under the name the Church of the Almighty God, spreading the Mayan doomsday rumors. Police arrested around 1,000 followers in December.
Its preachings are based on Christianity but with extreme interpretations, including prosephies of a female Christ who comes to conquer human hearts and defeat Satan. Those deciding not to accept her word will suffer a terrible death or severe punishment, it says.
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