Bahai News -- 27 non-Catholic religious movements in Malta Web posted on May 25, 2003 at 9:00:00 AM CET

27 non-Catholic religious movements in Malta

Daniela Xuereb

While the majority of Maltese are practising Catholics many others have turned to other religions which have established themselves in Malta. Islam remains the most popular faith, after Catholicism, practised in Malta, but other religions are becoming increasingly appealing. According to statistics compiled by the Church’s Religious Movement Research Centre, over 500 people are Jehovah’s Witnesses. A number of persons, reportedly over 60, are affiliated to the Bible Baptist Churches, the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches and the Mormons.

Speaking to The Malta Independent on Sunday, Fr Victor Degabriele and Martyn Attard, who form part of the team co-ordinating this research centre on sects, cults, religious movements and secret societies, said many of the new religious movements are based on the Christian faith, but all are in opposition to the Catholic Church.

“The number of persons becoming members of new religious movements might be higher than we think. We are still in the process of compiling the exact number of persons affiliated to the movements,” said Fr Degabriele.

At the research centre, first set up in 1997, in response to requests for help and information from distressed relatives with members of their family involved in a cult, Fr Degabriele studies the various active religious movements established in Malta.

“Even satanic groups are referred to as religious movements. There are some satanic groups in Malta but as far as we know there is no proper satanic organisation,” he explained. “Satanists tend to prefer to use the internet as a means of communication and to date only one local satanic website has been traced.”

Meanwhile Mr Attard, who researches secret societies, such as Freemasonry, the Bilderbergs, the CFR and Skull and Bones, said what is happening world-wide, including in Malta, is that because many do not nurtur their Roman Catholic faith, they search elsewhere.

Proof of this, he said, is the result of a recent poll shown on television, whereby the majority of those interviewed believed that couples living together out of wedlock should be permitted to receive holy communion.

“As a result many feel cut off from the main Church, and they search in the wrong places. Many young persons are becoming increasingly involved in New Age practices,” said Mr Attard. “And some are not even aware what the dangers of New Age practice are. New Age belief in reincarnation is is looked upon as something positive whilst in fact, the original Buddhist belief is not.”

The information and books gathered by the Church’s research centre will shortly be available on the internet. Many of the books available have only recently been published and are usually not available at book shops. “We will be transforming this research centre into an on-line library. All those who log on to our website (www.targetltd.com/rmrc) and wish to borrow a book on any particular subject can do so,” said Mr Attard. “The website should be fully operational by the end of next month.”

Fr Degabriele said other non-Catholic religious movements based in Malta include the Ananda Marga movement which has around 30 members, the Assemblies of God with around 120 members, the Baha’I movement with around 60 members, Buddhism movements, the Christadelphians, the Church of Christ, the Church of God of Prophecy, the Church of Scotland, the Evangelical Baptist Church, the Evangelical Trinity Church, Lectorium Rosicrucianum, the New Apostolic Church, One Holy Catholic and Palmarian Church, Philadelphia Church of God, Redeemer Baptist Church, Satanic Pride Chaos Group, Seventh-Day Adve-ntists, Sureway International Chri-stian Ministries, Unification Movement and the World-Wide Church of God.

Just to mention a few of the beliefs adopted by some non-Catholic organisations, members of the Jehovah’s Witness are well renowned for their door-to-door preaching. As a religion they believe that unless a public holiday has Christian religious origins they cannot celebrate it. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not vote in local general elections.

Meanwhile, according to the faith of the Bible Baptist Church the Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired and shall remain the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man. By the Bible, Baptists mean the collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation.

But for the Mormons, Jesus Christ is our elder brother who progressed to godhood, having first been procreated as a spirit child by a heavenly father and mother. He was later conceived physically through intercourse between the Heavenly Father and the Virgin Mary. The Mormon Church teaches that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods and that Adam's original sin was “a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us.”

©Copyright 2003, The Independent (Malta)

Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://www.independent.com.mt/daily/newsview.asp?id=18001


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