New ecclesial community cult-like practices destroying personalities

“Spiritual abuse,” inflicted by the lay founders, or religious superiors, using their aura and spiritual power, often on young and fragile personalities, has distressed and surprised the Catholic bishops’ in France.

Responding to the ‘human damage’ caused by the leaders of fourteen new ecclesial (church) communities, President of the France Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georges Pointer, says the actions of these religious leaders have offended and shocked the bishops.

Bishop Pontier warned against the dangers of generalisation, but acknowledged difficulties with some groups, involving the manipulation of individual consciences.

“The gospel of Christ we want to serve, is a school of spiritual freedom”, Bishop Pointer said.

The statement made on behalf of the Conference addresses a range of abuse ranging from depression, sexual abuse, suicide and the “destruction of personalities”.

The victims were all involved in new fourteen new ecclesial (church) communities.

Critics of the several new ecclesiastical communities had complained of the “destruction of personalities” by cult-like practices.

Fourteen communities have been cited by the victims, but so far only a small number have been subject to investigation or trial: The Legion of Christ, the Beatitudes community, the Community of St John, and Hearts, have seen formal charges of misconduct lodged primarily against their founders.

In denouncing the human damage, Bishop Pointer is asking all victims in the new church communities not to remain silent but rather to come forward and make a formal complaint.

He promised help and an attentive and listening ear.



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