'Beware of false prophets' (Matthew 7:15)
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
Vacation is a joyful and interesting period, an occasion to organise various meetings and journeys to various parts of the world as well as it is time for spiritual reflection. Many of us, especially young people, want to enjoy the local countryside - the sea, lakes, the beauty of the Jura region, the mountains. Sometimes I am sad to see those who choose the furthest parts of the world at all costs and do not want to believe that our country is rich and beautiful, and does not require large sums of money, which must be spent on foreign expeditions. I remember being with students in the Mazury district. How many unforgettable esthetical, religious and poetical experiences in our community we had...We wholeheartedly thanked God for everything we did during our evening reflections in an old house. And so was it in the Stolowe Mountains or the Tatra Mountains. In the 1970s students from academic pastoral centres used to visit those regions.
Pilgrimages to holy places are a somewhat different type of summer rest, especially for young people. About 90% of pilgrims reaching Czestochowa on August days are young people. They are happy, they sing and pray a lot; they take country roads and streets in cities, and instil love for God and their dedication to the Mother of Jesus in the people they meet on their way.
Unfortunately, sects also send their messengers to summer routes. Representatives of sects join travellers, especially youth groups, and thus they try to sow their seed pointing to organisational failures, human weaknesses; they also criticise the Church. The statistics say that the number of sects increases every year and we often deal with individuals who form sectarian groups for their own use - to gain funds and treat themselves as leaders, some kind of gurus.
So we must be on alert. That concerts priests, too. First of all, we should warn young people leaving for their summer holidays against sects. And the threat is everywhere. Our fellow countrymen who work abroad are also endangered. Not knowing the language well and being in new situations they often get into trouble. And many a time the only people that offer help are members of sects. Thus real problems begin. Sects destroy people's faith, take them away from the Church and destroy their confidence in clergymen and also in the closest people. Sects feed people with their texts and ideologies. Sometimes they base their activities on the Bible, using biblical verses but interpreting them in a specific way. These sects look for friends who are pious because they know that these people are religiously sensitive.
Writing about sects in its summer issues, in the youth section 'Pokolenie', the weekly 'Niedziela' wants to warn young people against disaster. If someone finds himself in a sect he loses contact with his old environment. And if he manages to leave the sect its members persecute him, and sometimes even his life is in danger. Therefore, we ask you to inform us, priests, about sectarian activities in your environments. We should also help those who have got under the influence of some sect, to help them return to their normal lives. We appeal to you to have trust in the Church, trust in priests who defend our faith against impurity, and we certainly care for the good of people. If we want to preserve our identity, let us be with the Church and do not go away from her. Our salvation is in her.
May God bless your summer time and save you from all the dangers that sects pose.