Malta’s archbishop has instructed members of the clergy they cannot host Catholic members of the Gesù Salvatur community in any premises of the Catholic Church.
The instruction was made known to TVM news after interviews the newsroom carried with three former members of the traditionalist Catholic group, who claimed it had discouraged them from dating non-members and in the case of one woman, not to keep her lesbian daughter at home lest she “fall under a curse”.
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’.
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.”
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”.
After leaving the group, Attard said she had been blocked on Facebook by former friends in the community.
In a statement on Facebook, the Gesù Salvatur community said it had been informed of the Archdiocese’s communication and was trying to get in touch with the Curial authorities to understand why they had not been contacted directly of its decision.
Attard’s Kristu Iva Divorzju Le were dubbed a group of “nostalgic Catholics” by Catholic journalist and lecturer Fr Joe Borg, and described by Archbishop Paul Cremona as “a pastoral problem for the Church”.
Borg had said the Kristu Iva, Divorzju Le movement “builds no bridges with those good Catholics who after reflecting on Church teaching, studying the local situation and researching about the effects of divorce overseas support its introduction as the lesser of two evils.”