Bishops continue to denounce new “Catholic” religious sect


July 5, 2008 - The president of the Bishops' Conference of Venezuela, Bishop Ubaldo Santana, denounced the dissident clerics that have used the name Catholic to form the new religious sect called the Reformed Catholic Church, with the backing of the Chavez government, reports Catholic News Agency.

The Venezuelan daily El Universal published statements by Bishop Santana who said, "I will not give free propaganda to this organization. We must remain faithful to our faith, let us not grow weak."

While each person can follow his own journey of faith, the bishop said, the dissident clerics of the new sect have "usurped" the title of Catholic, "and I find it strange that the Ministry of the Interior and of Justice has allowed a new denomination to be registered under this name."

Bishop William Delgado of Cabimas told reporters the new sect lacks "idendity and honesty." "The priests that are founding this Church are going to accomplish nothing. I hope that this does not create division in our Church. The founders should find their own followers and not involve those who already firmly profess their faith," he said.

One of the leaders of the new sect is Father Jon Jen Siu, who until recently was pastor St. Lucy's Parish in Cabimas. According to Bishop Delgado, Father Jen-who had been questioned for sexual misconduct-resigned from the priesthood a week ago, and the next day he told reporters he was the new bishop of the Reformed Catholic Church.

"At no time did I know about this priest's plan. The new movement's sacred orders lack identity and honesty. For sure it was never clear what he wanted as a priest," Bishop Delgado said.