[WATCH] Maltese Church denounces Gesu Salvatur cult, says it causes ‘untold harm to members’

A five-month church investigation has concluded that the Christian community group Komunità Ġesu Salvatur is causing ‘untold harm’ to its members • Bishops bar priests, religious from offering service, ask lay people not to attend meetings

Clyde Attard preaching during a Gesù Salvatur livestream
Clyde Attard preaching during a Gesù Salvatur livestream

A Christian community that adopts a “fundamentalist interpretation” of the scripture acts like a cult and is causing “untold harm” to members, a church investigation has concluded.

The five-month probe of the Komunità Ġesu Salvatur was prompted by the public confession of a former member who decried the community’s grip on its members.

The conclusions led the Maltese Episcopal Conference to issue a decree that bans priests and religious from offering their service to the community, prevents the use of religious places by the community and asks lay people to stop attending meetings.  

In one of the more damning conclusions, the Church commission led by Mgr Hector Scerri, noted that the community “demonstrates the sociological characteristics of a closed cult community which is causing untold harm to many of its members, most of whom are unfortunately unaware of it”.

The investigation found that the community gives “a wrong and confused interpretation of Church teachings, an erroneous interpretation of scriptural texts, and an attitude that hurts those who are passing through challenging situations in life”.

“Irrespective of the spiritual good that could have been done by the community over the years, one could never justify the alleged psychological and spiritual abuse perpetrated within this community,” the conclusions read.

The bishops also said that the Church will be offering free support services by professionals to members of the community, who feel aggrieved. The church also set up the helpline 25906510 for use during office hours.

The community is led by Clyde Attard, who in the 2011 divorce referendum formed part of the non-Church opposition to the legislation of divorce, under the banner Kristu Iva Divorzju Le.

Last July, on Facebook, a former community member, Amy Attard, said the community was “a cult”. 

“I used to be a part of this community which I’d rather call a cult. I was brought up in it, having my father as a leader, I believed everyone was my family and loved me. Some months ago I decided to stop going, as I understood that it wasn’t for me anymore, and it was taking up my whole life, ruining relationships as well. Couldn’t have had the courage to leave without my boyfriend and his whole family... My own parents told me I would get sick and I would be condemned to go to hell if I left,” she wrote. 

Attard said community members had suffered from staying inside the group, claiming they were “too afraid to speak as they fear they will send curses to them”.

Back then the bishops had disassociated themselves from the community and ordered priests not to offer their services until a thorough investigation is carried out.

READ ALSO: Maltese Catholic church tells priests to shun Gesù Salvatur community after complaints

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