KOCHI: Concerned over the upsurge of sects within the Catholic Church, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) is planning to intensify the measures to prevent the flow of faithful to new-generation sects, which have become a threat to the Catholic Church. “Concern over new sects is not new to the Catholic Church. The Church has been making efforts to counter this. For the Church, each member is important,” said sources in the KCBC.
A review by the KCBC shows that lapses on the part of the Church in providing emotional support to its members have also caused the flow of faithful to various sects. “People need support on all the occasion of their lives, irrespective of happiness and sorrow. The Catholic Church, being a comparatively big establishment, often fails to provide a one-to-one support to its members. Meanwhile, the sects within the Church are small groups, where the group leader often personally interacts with the members.
It is a fact that the Church could not provide a support of that kind, for many reasons. Big parishes with 2000-3000 members are an example. Now, steps are being taken to resolve the mistakes,” the sources said.
KCBC vice-president Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam, while delivering the presidential address at a theological conference organised by the KCBC in Kochi on the other day, had stated that creating awareness on matters related to the Church was the best way to defend the sects. The faithful should have a clear knowledge about the Church. For this, the Church has to encourage faith- oriented movements,” he pointed.
“Initially, most of the people who get attracted to the sects do not have any intention to leave the church. But, the sects, through wrong teachings, prompt their members to give up Catholic faith.
To prevent this, activities of family units supported by religious men and women have to be encouraged, and people have to be given the correct knowledge about what the Catholic Church teaches. Leaders of the sects, most of whom where Catholics earlier, interpret Bible in such a way that their interests are protected. It should not be allowed,” KCBC deputy secretary general Fr Varghese Vallikkat said.
Advocate Jose Vithayathil, former secretary of the KCBC Laity Commission, is also of the opinion that the Church leadership should become more supportive to the faithful.
“It is a reality that laymen are dissatisfied with the way they are being treated by the Church leadership. The threat from the sects could be solved if the Church leaders give all kinds of support to the faithful, not spiritual alone,” Vithayathil added.