Former Catholic Priests Form Breakaway Church

THE Catholic church has exposed the formation of a breakaway church by ex-priests to be financed by the Moonies and warned all Catholic followers to be alert.

Zambia Episcopal Conference director of communication, Bishop Dennis de Jong said in a letter to all parishes that ex-priests and suspended clergymen had formed a breakaway church called ' the Zambian Sacramental Church.'

Bishop de Jong said the church which had already been registered claimed it would uphold the norms and teachings of the Catholic Church, but said it was not possible to do so without communion and unity with the church.

He said the pioneers were currently busy mobilising resources to build a temple with the full support of the Moonies.

' As a sect, it means they are now cut off from communion with the body of the Catholic Church. They pretend to uphold all the teachings of the Catholic Church including the sacraments , but without communion and union with the Catholic Church established by Jesus Christ, their sacraments have no value whatsoever," said the bishop.

He said the separation of the flock from the Catholic Church meant that the new church did not obey the Bible's teachings since they had rejected the communion and the union with the Catholic Church.

Bishop de Jong alleged the splinter group was forming the church for the love of money with heavy funding from the Unification Church in order to gain converts among the disaffected Catholics through providing free food, drinks and great speeches against the Catholic Bishops.

He said a number of ex-priests who attended the meeting recently where the idea was mooted refused to be part of the church after realising the motive.

Bishop de Jong said the Catholic Church had received a confidential e-mail message which said the group was being supported by a pro-Moonie charismatic preacher, George Augusts Stallings Junior, an Afro-American priest who was ex-communicated for his extremist views and against the Universal Catholic Church.

The man has founded his own church which also has great connections with the Universal Church.

'This man without ordination calls himself archbishop and has ordained other ex-priests and seminarians as bishops. Confidential sources have also informed us that the Moonies intend to conduct mass weddings of ex-priests in Lusaka next year," Bishop de Jong said.

The new grouping has arranged door-to-door campaigns, public rallies and crusades and to use the media to propagate their faith and woo people into their ranks.

' It is sad that our former brothers will now proclaim their loyalty and unity with the Moonies," he said.

The Catholic Church is circulating the document to all the church followers to warn them against falling prey to the temptations of the new group.

Bishop de Jong also said the splinter group posed a challenge to the Catholic Church to assist those who left priesthood and experienced poverty and want.

No-one from the Unification Church could be reached for a comment.