Centre wants to break lease with Raelians

Montreal Gazette/June 14, 2000
By Lynn Moore

The centre operating under the main Jesuit-order church in Montreal wants to back out of a leasing arrangement with the Raelians, a cult-like group that believes in liberal sex and extraterrestrials.

According to documents filed at the Montreal courthouse yesterday, officials at Les Salles du Gesu had no idea that the Eglise Raelienne du Canada was the one whose doctrine teaches that humans and all other earthly life forms were created by extraterrestrials.

They want the court to nullify a long-term lease between the Bleury St. centre and the Raelians that would allow the Raelians use of the centre one Sunday a month until 2004.

The centre's administrators never would have consented to the deal if they had known with whom they were dealing.

There are about 4,500 religious sects and movements in Quebec, and the Raelian's formal use of the word "church" was confusing, the documents said. The real situation became known only after April 1 when a "gaudy and very distinctive" announcement about a Raelian conference at Gesu appeared in newspapers, the documents said.

The announcement and other Raelian fliers allude to the "God of the Bible" as being Elohim, gods from other planets, and talk about sensual meditations and advertise their UFOland in Valcourt.

Those Raelian proclamations ridicule and attack the beliefs of the centre, the court documents said.

The Salles du Gesu "has shown much tolerance and has always respected different religions and individual beliefs," but expects the same respect from others and, at a minimum, shouldn't be subject to ridicule or slander for its beliefs, the documents said.

The theatre in the centre has been the site of various shows during the jazz and comedy festivals. It also has been the venue for various artistic and cultural events.

The centre is located beneath Eglise du Gesu, which is the mother church for French-speaking Jesuits in Canada.

The centre attempted to get an temporary injunction against the Raelians, but the judge who was to hear the matter had to disqualify himself because he was taught by Jesuits, the documents said. Another judge is being sought.

The centre also tried to reach an out-of-court settlement with the Raelians but failed, the documents said.

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