By: Michael O’Farrell
THREE Irish business people – including a prominent PR executive and a millionaire dentist turned developer – have been linked to a cult-like religious enterprise that has been condemned by church leaders worldwide.
PR guru Mary Carberry, her daughter Sarah Carberry (pictured right) and Donegal dentist Breffni Cully this week refused to be drawn on the Maria Divine Mercy website that has been spreading doomsday prophecies purportedly from God – including one of imminent world war.
The site claims Maria Divine Mercy, an anonymous woman who issues the warnings, has been chosen by Jesus. Followers are encouraged to buy books and medals and one message says those who have salvation medals will be saved when the imminent Second Coming arrives.
Thanks to a slick global social media campaign, MDM has gained almost half a million registered followers, and the main website is receiving as many as 1.2m unique visitors annually. The messages were condemned by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who said they were not approved by the Church and were in some cases contradictory of Catholic teaching. The MDM phenomenon first emerged in 2010 when the group claimed it was receiving prophetic messages directly from God. But the identity of those behind the MDM project remained shrouded in secrecy – as did the amount they might be earning from donations and sales of books and medals. The only time that a woman representing MDM spoke publicly involved a 2011 interview to a small US Christian radio station.
During the 45-minute interview, she spoke of how she had been a ‘lapsed Catholic’ before she had an epiphany.
‘My life was far removed from going to Church or going to Mass. I was a high flyer businesswoman,’ she said.
The woman did not reveal her identity but informed listeners that she was Irish and a mother of four.
The mystery of her identity remained until a group of Catholic bloggers based in different countries around the world got together and took it upon themselves to investigate. They unearthed a document that has linked renowned PR executive Mary Carberry – known in PR circles as Mary McGovern – her daughter Sarah and a business associate, Breffni Cully, to the Maria Divine Mercy enterprise. All three of their names appear in Irish company records linked to businesses that profit from the Second Coming sect’s website.
‘Internet trolls are trying to destroy my life because of a job I did for someone’ Despite this documentation, none of the three Irish individuals ever responded when the bloggers repeatedly sought to contact them.
Instead, they steadfastly refused to comment on, acknowledge or deny links to the MDM operation.
Both Sarah Carberry and Mr Cully again declined to speak when approached, in person and by phone, numerous times by the MoS in the past two weeks.
However, when approached in person Mary Carberry did respond briefly to confirm that she had worked for MDM.
She argued that she was being unfairly targeted by bloggers because of a job she had done.
‘I’m sorry. I am not going to get involved with internet trolls who are trying to destroy my life because of a job I did for somebody. That’s all I have to say,’ she said.
Mrs Carberry did not specify what job she was referring to or for whom she had done it. She did, though, indicate that she was aware of the allegation that she was involved with Maria Divine Mercy. She said: ‘I can’t deal with this crap. I’m sorry. But if you honestly believe that s***, you can.
‘It is what’s called incitement to hatred crime, internet trolls talking a pack of lies, and I’m not going to get involved with it because, once I do that, I give credibility to it,’ she said.
The MoS recorded the conversation and supplied a copy to Ed Primeau (http://PrimeauForensics.com) a renowned forensic audio analyst over 30 years. His work has been used as evidence in US and international courts. Mr Primeau spent four days examining and comparing the voice of Mrs Carberry with that of the anonymous MDM representative on the US radio interview. ‘The unknown voice matches that of the known voice beyond a 90% degree of scientific certainty,’ the forensic report concludes.
Listen to the back to back voice comparison file used by Ed Primeau below. The file splices Mary Carberry’s voice speaking to the Mail on Sunday to compare it with the voice on the 2011 Maria Divine Mercy interview.
Given that more than three years separated the two recordings – and the fact that they were recorded in different formats and circumstances – the result is as strong a match as can possibly be made, according to the expert. We told Mrs Carberry of the results and invited her to clarify her association with MDM and Mr Cully but she declined to respond. We asked whether the job she acknowledged doing included acting as MDM’s spokeswoman on US radio but got no reply.
Earlier this month, the bloggers published a detailed online book revealing their findings. This research identifies companies that appear to link Sarah Carberry to MDM and to millionaire retired dentist Mr Cully. One company, Trumpet Publishing Ltd, owns Coma Books, which publishes and sells MDM books. Trumpet was set by Ms Carberry and Mr Cully in 2012. She has since resigned and transferred her shares to a German citizen associated with the MDM project.
A second company was then set up by this German man and Mr Cully, who identifies himself as Joseph Gabriel when he attends MDM events.
That company, Merdel Ltd, was set up to ‘manufacture and retail religious medals’.
The witness who signed the incorporation documents of Merdel Ltd was Mary Carberry, using her maiden name, McGovern, and her habitual address in Malahide, north Dublin.
No accounts were ever filed for Merdal and the company appears to have been closed down before it ever really traded.
Instead, a subsequently established UK company, Unico Distribution Ltd, which is selling medals advertised on the MDM website, has been trading. Neither Mr Cully nor Ms Carberry is a director of Unico.
Numerous bishops worldwide have condemned the messages and the Archdiocese of Dublin issued a clarification in April 2014, that it had not given any approval to MDM.
‘Requests for clarification have been coming to the Archdiocese of Dublin concerning the authenticity of alleged visions and messages received by a person who calls herself “Maria Divine Mercy” and who may live in the archdiocese,’ it said ‘Archbishop Martin wishes to state that these messages and alleged visions have no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic theology.
‘These messages should not be promoted or made use of within Catholic Church associations.’
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