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Friday, May 17, 2013


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday, Thursday 16 May, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel, there was a meeting on new religious movements organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue that, together with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Culture, have been studying these phenomena for some time.

In 1986, for the first time, a brief provisional report was published entitled: “The Phenomenon of Sects and the New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge”, the result of a questionnaire sent out to the Episcopal Conferences two years prior. Since that time, the aforementioned dicasteries have continued their task of reflection, publishing an anthology of texts entitled: “Sects and New Religious Movements: Texts of the Catholic Church (1986-1994)”.

In 2003, “Jesus Christ, Bearer of Living Water. A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age',” was published by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue following an International Conference on the New Age.

Yesterday's meeting, attended by around 40 representatives from various Vatican dicasteries, pontifical universities, the Italian Episcopal Conference, and the Vicariate of Rome, is a step further along the path of reflection, study, and the search for effective pastoral responses.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, opened and closed the meeting while Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I., secretary of the same dicastery, acted as moderator. Some of the themes covered include: New Religious Movements and the New Evangelization; New Frontiers of the Sacred; Dialogue and Comparison between Faith and Credulity; Catholics and Pentecostals—Identity, Ties, and Perspectives; and New Age, Analysis of the Cultural Context.

Speakers included: Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; Fr. Michael Fuss and Fr. Michael P. Gallagher, S.J., professors at the Pontifical Gregorian University; Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez, office director of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; and Fr. Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, director of the Vicariate of Rome's Office for New Worship.

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