Community of the Beatitudes: founder guilty of sexual abuse
November 17, 2011
Father Henry Donneaud, the pontifical delegate who governs the Community of the Beatitudes, has announced that the community’s founder, Deacon Gérard (Ephraim) Croissant, sexually abused sisters in the community as well as an underage girl.
“His prestige as a charismatic founder, together with the seduction of his words, led most of his victims to be taken in by supposedly mystical arguments, which covered grave violations of morality with spiritual themes,” the community’s statement noted. “The new information about the gravely culpable acts committed by several of its members, in particular its founder, has led the community to move further ahead in the process of repentance and purification of its memory.”
Founded in 1972 in France by Croissant (then a Protestant), his wife, and several friends, the movement was granted approval by the Archdiocese of Albi in 1985 and was named an international association of the faithful by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 2002. Six years later, at the behest of the Holy See, it was juridically reconfigured as a spiritual family of consecrated life, and in 2010 Cardinal Franc Rode, then prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, granted a Father Donneaud, a Dominican, the authority to lead the community.
The community’s statement also discussed allegations of sexual abuse against other members of the community, including Brother Pierre-Etienne Albert, who will soon be on trial. Nearly 100 priests, 40 seminarians, 350 sisters, and hundreds of lay faithful belong to the movement, which arose from the charismatic renewal and embraces a Carmelite spirituality.
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