More allegations of unauthorised exorcisms, concerns for child wellbeing emerge at Christchurch Catholic chapel

More allegations of unauthorised exorcisms and concerns about the wellbeing of young people have emerged at a small Catholic chapel in Christchurch.

One man told Newshub he had two exorcisms without permission from a Bishop, as church rules require.

He also claims to have helped counsel three people after they left the group, who were in his words "absolutely destroyed" psychologically.

A group of former members of a congregation known as The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer met with Newshub. These men and women are united in their concerns.

One man told Newshub he had two exorcisms - and he is "absolutely" sure no permission was given from the Bishop.

The man, who we'll call David, claims the exorcisms were full of puffery and theatre and says he wasn't alone.

"In my situation, I would count that I knew had exorcisms were about a dozen."

He said his exorcisms were performed by a priest who's since left the order.

But he believes current leaders, Fathers Michael Mary and Anthony Mary, who preach at a chapel in St Albans, knew they were occurring.

Father Michael denied this, telling Newshub the priest "was never a member of our community. If he did illegal exorcisms, I have no knowledge of it".

But our source does not buy this.

"The order is a law unto itself. They are above the law. They don't respect the Bishop or anyone else," he said.

"That sense of privilege must be removed."

He says he helped three other people who left The Sons, and described their mental state after leaving as "absolutely destroyed".

Like others we've interviewed, he claimed leaders interfered in family life in an attempt to grow their order. His own daughter was visited at their family home and encouraged to become a nun.

"One daughter, yes. It was an attempt at recruitment, and this is a pattern of behaviour that's gone through the whole time," he said.

Father Michael said they have "no recruitment policy or officer".

But one woman, Eva, shares similar concerns about child wellbeing.

"Young people were being very much groomed to become priests. They were dressing as mini priests, especially the boys," she said, adding they were eight, nine and 10 in age.

These photos show young boys dressed as monks stacking wood while on a so-called retreat in 2020.

Father Michael said: "These are altar boys, some as young as five and six. They choose to become altar boys with their parents' permission."

He said their child safety policy is "one of the best", altar boys "change in their own separate changing room", and "we have a Child Safety Officer".

But Eva said that in her mind, leaders Michael and Anthony are spiritually abusive.

"People put themselves in their hands, they trust them, they're guided and therein lies the danger. Therein lies the cultlike behaviour."

She too was asked to participate in an exorcism - she refused. But she said she did stumble across one being performed.

"I didn't visually see it. I only got to the point where I heard it," she said.

"[I heard] loud voices, quite a lot of aggression."

Christchurch Bishop Michael Geilan has previously stated: "We take seriously the concerns expressed by former members of the community".

And after Newshub's investigation on Paddy Gower Has Issues in July, Geilan suspended all priests in his area from doing exorcisms pending a review.