Q. 1. I understand that there are different kinds of cults. Can you explain that?
A. 1. Indeed, the word "cult" does has different meanings. A cult can be found within or outside the Catholic Church. It can be Catholic in nature or non-Catholic. Allow me to explain.
In the past, the word "cult" was usually associated with a separatist religious group, especially news groups, who beliefs and practices fell outside the perceived mainstream. Such groups could have originated from the Catholic or Protestant Churches.
Because of the harshness of the word "cult," nowadays, religious scholars prefer to refer to "cults" as "new religious movements."
In its original sense, the word "cult" was a reference to a collection of practices and rituals associated with a religion or with a particular aspect of a religion.
Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary is often referred to as a "cult" instead of "Marian devotions."
Equally, devotions to Saint Ann, the grandmother of Jesus, is referred to as a cult. This is because of the many devotions that are associated with the honoring of this Saint.
In summary, a cult can be any of the following:
• A religious group with its own rites and ceremonies.
• The veneration of a person (Virgin Mary, St. Ann) by a body of admirers.
• A group of persons bound togther because of their veneration of a thing or a person.
• A group of persons who beliefs and practices falls outside the perceived mainstream.
• A religious sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.