A report on sexual assault within the religious community of the Brothers of Saint John highlights the central role played by its founder, Father Marie-Dominique Philippe and denounces the “systemic dimension” of the assaults.
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An enlightening report. After three years of work, the religious congregation of Saint-Jean unveils a report on sexual violence within the community founded in 1975 by Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, whose abuse was discovered by the congregation in 2019. 800 pages of testimonies and archives on the numerous attacks on this spiritual guide who died at the age of 93 and on his means of influence repeated for years.
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Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, founder of the Congregation of Saint-Jean, is in reality a theologian with a misguided spirituality, a potential aggressor raging in the confessional, the homes of charity, in apartments. The actions of the spirit guide ranged from fondling the cheek to more violent sexual assault. The report thus identifies 24 female victims, mostly nuns, and three men. Its authors fear a number below the reality.
“How could a community have been allowed to drift so far?”
Prey in this religious institute which over the years is no longer a learning environment, but plagued by perversity. Because Marie-Dominique Philippe, a figure of Catholicism, is not the only one: it is in fact an entire religious community which is parasitized and poisoned by other aggressors and which this internal investigation also reveals.
In addition to the theologian, 72 brothers committed sexual violence against 167 victims. The study also identifies six “predatory” women. How a community adored by the whole Church of France and by two Popes was able to crack down for decades, says Véronique Margron, president of the Conference of Religious of France (Corref): “Reading this report made me nauseous. How could a community have been allowed to drift so far? What makes such blindness possible?”
By exposing these grips and violence”systemic“, the Brothers of St. John write in the report want “bring justice to the victims and put an end to a drift spread over so many years“.