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Mel Gibson forms Catholic Sect: follows antiquated ideology of Catholicism dating back to 16th century

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Mel Gibson had poured a further $10 million into his controversial sect in the Malibu hills as he oversaw the construction of a 400-seat church to expand his flock of followers, reported The Daily Telegraph (5/9/2007, p. 3).

$37m fund: A federal tax filing reveals that the troubled actor-director made the large lump sum donation earlier this year to his Holy Family Catholic Church, which is situated in the secluded Agoura Hills, the newspaper reported. The private church now has $37 million in its coffers — up from $27 million last year, according to the tax document.

Strict code: Gibson’s secretive sect was not rec­ognised by the Catholic Church be­cause it did not acknowledge the authority of the Pope or the Vatican and rejected the universally accepted teachings of the Second Vatican Council. The church — which offered a daily morning mass in Latin — followed an antiquated ideology of Catholicism dating back to the 16th century. Female followers of Gibson’s church must abide by a strict dress code, requiring them to wear veils over their hair and long skirts, with a ban on pants for women. The exclusive parish currently catered for about 70 families, with the existing chapel having seating for only 100 people.

Keeping it in the family: It was understood that Gibson, 51, also owned the construction company that was building his new place of worship. Planning documents, seen by The Daily Telegraph, revealed that the cur­rent church building would become a meeting hall for the parish. Gibson and his wife Robyn were listed in federal tax records as directors of the church. It was run out of Gibson’s Icon Produc­tion company offices in the beachside suburb of Santa Monica, with an Icon employee responsible for book-keeping. The Gibsons’ tax-free donations to Holy Family were made possible by a charity they established called the AP Reilly Foundation, which operated the church and was named after his late mother, Anne Reilly-Gibson. The foundation was created in October 1999 for the sole purpose of creating the church.

Visitors unwelcome: The church had an unlisted phone number, kept its address a secret and had asked members of the congre­gation not to release the information. The 4.5ha property — located on the scenic and quiet Mulholland Highway — was listed in public documents as being owned by Gibson’s foundation and being worth about $3.7 million. The fenced property was guarded by security and access to the church decided by a staff member at the gate. Inside, the church is spare and simple, with a very basic altar, exposed wooden beams in the ceiling, dark carpeting, a large iron light fixture and chairs upholstered in maroon fabric. Yesterday, several middle-aged women wearing long skirts, prim blouses, flat shoes and lace veils were wandering the church grounds, the newspaper reported.

The Daily Telegraph, 5/9/2007, p. 3


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