Friday, November 5, 2010

Vatican warns of ‘wayward’ Opus Angelorum sect

The Vatican has warned Catholic bishops around the world to monitor carefully a secretive traditionalist sect which prays to angels to combat demons.

Opus Angelorum, which means “the work of angels” in Latin, was founded by an Austrian housewife who died in 1978.

She claimed to have identified the angels and demons who were battling for the control of human beings.

The Church said some members of the sect were carrying out “activities that disturb the ecclesiastical community”.

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says Opus Angelorum first attracted the attention of the Vatican 30 years ago, after the death of its founder, a woman from the Austrian Tyrol called Gabriele Bitterlich.

Bitterlich claimed to have been in contact with an archangel and to have written down the names of hundreds of angels and demons, our correspondent says.

The sect – which operates mainly in German-speaking Europe, Brazil and India – claims that women who have had abortions are possessed by the devil.

The activities of Bitterlich’s followers, including dozens of Catholic priests and nuns, eventually attracted the attention of the Vatican which ordered an investigation, our correspondent adds.

According to a letter sent by the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1992 members of Opus Angelorum agreed to follow the doctrine of the Church in return for official recognition.

However, several members of the sect, including some priests, “have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the ‘authentic Opus Angelorum’”, the letter warned.

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