Sect based on child Jesus apparitions guilty of schism

An Italian sect that arose after alleged apparitions of the child Jesus has been found guilty of schism and has incurred an automatic excommunication.

The Diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo made the announcement on June 5 concerning the self-styled Universal Christian Church of the New Testament.

This followed an examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of what the diocese termed “very grave abuse”.

Issuing the decree required the approval of the Pope.

A diocese statement noted the group obliged “the faithful not to receive sacraments, to disapprove of the Pope’s teaching and authority, not to entertain relations with priests and their parish communities, and not to observe ecclesiastical discipline”.

The diocese said the group is “committed to spreading false religious doctrines and teachings that distort the Bible and are outside the truth of the sacred text”.

In 1947, Giuseppina Norcia reportedly saw an apparition of the child Jesus in the town of Gallinaro.

This was followed by subsequent apparitions in 1974, and her family built a chapel on the site the following year.

Samuele Morcia, the son-in-law of Giuseppina Norcia, took over the prayer groups dedicated to the “apparition” after Norcia’s death in 2008.

He turned the groups into a sect based on a cult of personality.

He claimed that Norcia had transferred to him her capacity to receive messages and prophecies from Christ.

The group holds that Gallinaro is the “New Jerusalem,” and it has attracted tens of thousands of worshippers from across Italy.

Many prayer groups have spread dedicated to the worship of the supposed apparition of the child Jesus.

In establishing themselves as the Universal Christian Church of the New Testament last year, the group committed an act of schism and thus incurred automatic excommunication, the diocese stated.

The diocese stressed that “all the faithful of the diocese must be informed” of the consequences of “this very grave abuse”.


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