The community of New Jeruselum in Turicato was established by people from other states, believed to be of a “low educational profile”, who joined a a dissident Catholic sect.
The sect believes that it is saving traditional religious life by singing day and might, by taking mass in Latin, and being governed by rules that they themselves created and are enforced by so-called “celestial police” who have no legal authorization to do so, and who at times “violate” constitutional rights.
However 40% of the flock are thought to have left the sect causing tensions in the community that has resulted in the demolition last week of two schools which sect members burned down. The destruction left the community without any educational centers – one had been a kindergarten and the other a primary school – since the sect had considered them “schools of the devil.”
The damage is estimated to cost at some 400 million pesos ($29 million).
In 1999 several members of the sect were expelled for refusing to obey internal regulations ordering women and young girls to be handed over for the sexual satisfaction of their spiritual leader.