Greenbelt Interfaith News

    January 1998

    Observatorium for Cults Formed in Belgium
    Golden Compass

    An Observatorium for Cults and Religious Movements will be established soon in Belgium, after political parties have reached a consensus on the topic. In particular, members of the Flemish Christian-Democrats CVP were initially opposed to the proposal, but they seem to agree now. The observatorium is a result of the report of the Belgian parliamentary cult commission, voted upon on April 29, 1997. One of the remarkable suggestions of the report was the formation of an independent center for observing cults. In addition, France has started an information office on cults that provides information to family members and ex-cult members. It is known that the commission was inspired by the French information office and by a British information network on religious movements. The federal institution, along with members of different scientific disciplines, will gather information on all kinds of possible sects and sectarian movements.

    The commission also presented in April a list of 189 "suspected" groups, which caused a lot of criticism of the conclusions of the cult commission. At that time, the Belgian Bishops reacted because they believed that the definition used of sects was too wide. As a result, some recognized Catholic organizations were mentioned on the list of 189 "suspected groups", including Catholic movements like Opus Dei. The commission mentioned last April the importance of preventing cults and disseminating information on them.

    Information in this article was supplied by the Flemish and Walloon Public Television (BRT and RTBf).

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