Nov 25, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/24/2020 (NXIVM, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Legal, Korea, Peru, World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, Cult Recovery)

NXIVM, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Legal, Korea, Peru, World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, Cult Recovery

" ... Despite the spate of revelations about NXIVM, though, some of its followers have remained loyal to the organization, according to a new New York Times report. As the paper notes, eight of Raniere's supporters released videos last month in which they said their branding, one of the group's most notorious aspects, was consensual, and that they hadn't been forced into sex with him. Even as public awareness of Raniere's crimes grew, some supporters danced outside the jail in Brooklyn where he was held.

Those who continue to stand by Raniere and NXIVM have continued to push back on how the organization has been portrayed. Nicki Clyne, an actor who was in Battlestar Galactica, told the Times that her marriage to the Smallville actor Allison Mack was "born from genuine love." Mack has pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy after recruiting women for NXIVM, and she is currently awaiting sentencing. As the Times notes, prosecutors have called the marriage a "sham" that allowed Clyne, who was born in Canada, to stay in the United States. Clyne, who has not been charged, also denied prosecutors' claim that she had directed some women in NXIVM to move what was known within the group as "collateral," such as nude photographs and access to financial assets, from their computers onto hard drives that they gave to her lawyer.

Ivy Nevares, who the Times said dated Raniere, gave the paper a different account. At his sentencing, she said that he required her to weigh 95 pounds and be constantly available for sex. Nevares told the Times that she needed almost a year after leaving NXIVM before she stopped seeing Raniere as a "Jesus-type figure," adding, "I was in the bubble of NXIVM for so long that I didn't know how I could navigate the world."

"If you want to go on believing he's God on Earth, that's fine," Nevares also said. "But don't go around enrolling people into this very dangerous criminal organization."

In addition to Mack, three other women in Raniere's inner circle are awaiting sentencing dates after pleading guilty to lesser crimes. Clyne told the Times that she and other Raniere supporters are currently reviewing trial evidence and "keeping an open mind.'"

" ... A court on Thursday granted bail to the leader of a minor religious sect at the center of the early coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.

The Suwon District Court, south of Seoul, allowed the bail request of Lee Man-hee, the founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, citing a low risk of destroying evidence and his deteriorating health.

The court set the bail bond at 100 million won (US$89,700) and ordered him to stay at his residence and wear an electric device to trace his movement.

The 89-year-old leader was indicted in August for allegedly submitting false documents to health authorities on the whereabouts and number of participants at Shincheonji's gatherings in February when the sect was blamed for spikes in the spread of COVID-19.

He is also accused of embezzling 5.6 billion won from church funds and holding unauthorized religious events from 2015 to 2019.

Since his arrest, he has requested bail, citing poor health.

Appearing in court earlier this month, he pleaded with the court to allow him to be released on bail, saying, 'Death would be better than living (in prison).'"

"For decades, lay movements and communities have given countless Catholics a chance to rediscover and deepen their faith.

Yet, while many bring people closer to God, questions have been raised about the influence some lay groups exercise over their members and about how the church should determine whether the movement should be reformed or dissolved when there is abuse or corruption.

In his 1998 message for the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, St. John Paul II recognized their importance and said lay movements were "one of the most significant fruits of that springtime in the church which was foretold by the Second Vatican Council."

But not all the fruit was good. And several movements and communities have faced Vatican-imposed reforms and even dissolution.

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told Catholic News Service Nov. 4 that before deciding to dissolve a movement or community, certain criteria should be met to indicate reform is possible.

"One condition would be how much that community or that movement is really willing to revise its statutes and its way of proceeding under the guidance of someone external," such as a commissioner, Zollner told CNS.

A key issue, he said, is a willingness to have a clear separation of "spiritual guidance and external power" when it comes to decision-making.

"A spiritual director should never have the power to direct the movement or a decision for a person," he said. "There needs to be a separation between who decides the mission aspect ('forum externum') and who knows about the spiritual side ('forum internum'). This is a very important point which some of those movements and some of those religious congregations have not been taking seriously, against the tradition and the law of the church."

Perhaps surprisingly, the Catholic Church has a limited number of options for intervening when it comes to lay movements and communities. While a pope can remove cardinals, priests and bishops, laypeople can be punished only by excommunication.

Another condition, Zollner said, is that there must be a set period of time — preferably between three and five years — for changes to be implemented and that a person not affiliated with the movement must determine whether the conditions of the reform have been met."

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