The Cathriona White story has layers Scientology associated with it. We are only beginning to get a handle on it. Here the Sunday Times with the aid of Tony Ortega tries to take it forward.
Carrey helps carry the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in White’s home village of
Cappawhite, Co Tipperary; right, White pictured out with the actor in New York earlier this year; inset, her Californian home
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THE family of Tipperary woman Cathriona White, whose body was found last
month in her California home shortly after she ended a relationship with actor Jim Carrey, praised her as “a small-town girl with big dreams” who was “not afraid to follow them.”
“She followed them all the way to LA, and you could not get any bigger than that,” her half-brother Tadhg White told mourners at the funeral in Cappawhite, south Tipperary yesterday.
Carrey arrived at the church at 11.15am, shortly before the service began, wearing sun
glasses. He later helped family members carry White’s coffin half a mile to the local cemetery. The actor wiped away tears as he hugged members of the deceased woman’s family at her graveside, before linking arms with them on the return
journey to Cappawhite village afterwards.
White, a 30-year old film-set make-up artist and a aspiring actress, was found I
dead in her home in Los Angeles on September 28 after taking her own life. A number of suicide notes were found in her house, one reportedly referring to her love for Carrey. There was no reference at yesterday’s service to her suspected involvement with the Church of Scientology. At a separate service in California on Friday night, a dozen friends gathered to mourn White in a new-age style at the Zorthian movie set ranch on the slopes of the Angeles National Forest. On the ranch gate there was a note addressed to “Cat” reading: “You are not separate from the whole. You are one with the sun, the earth, the air. You don’t have a life. You are
life. ” It is a quote from Eckhart Tolle, the Vancouver-based lifestyle guru promoted by Oprah Winfrey.
On Friday a friend who attended the “moral service” said White had been a kind and
sweet person, but “she kept a lot of secrets to herself”. He said: “Although she tried
everything to find that Californian peace of mind, she was stressed out a lot of time – she missed her family, her relationship with Jim [Carrey] was pretty rocky and she was pretty insecure in all ways.
“She was finding it tough to pay her way with her Scientology friends, who were not
our friends. They offered big answers, which she craved. She was always looking for something spiritual, but it all came at a cost – thousands of dollars.”
White’s friend, who declined to be named, said the deceased woman had withheld from Carrey how “deep she was into [Scientology] financially”.
Tony Ortega, an online critic of the Church of Scientology, claims the Irish woman was pushing herself through a mandatory purification process called Survival Rundown, which involves an intense regime of mental exercises, saunas and doses of the Vitamin Niacin. It supposedly carries members up the “Bridge to Total Freedom” although a former member, Chris Shelton, alleged it put people into semi- hypnotic trances which can be psychologically damaging.
Scientologists have hit back at reports linking their practices to White’s death. But one of White’s friends said: “It [the church] took her money, which she could not afford, and was not there when she needed it.”
White had married Mark Burton, a cameraman she met in Los Angeles, last year
without telling her family. She White was living in Los Angeles reportedly intended to divorce Burton, who was also involved in Scientology. It has been claimed White first developed an interest in Scientology after befriending Cyril Helnwein, a photographer and son of artist Gottfried Helnwein who hosted the marriage of
Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese in his Tipperary castle in 2005. Cyril Helnwein declined to comment this weekend.
At her funeral service in Cappawhite yesterday, Fr Tadhg Furlong, parish priest,
said: “Life today presents us with many challenges and new questions. It’s easy to ask the questions but difficult to find answers.” He said White’s death was a warning that “some of our young people are under pressure. “We are acutely aware of the
vulnerability, ” he added. White was laid to rest alongside her father Pat. It emerged
following her death that she did not attend his funeral in 2012 because she was living illegally in America at the time. An investigation is continuing into the circumstances
surrounding White’s death. The results of toxicology tests will
it not be known for several weeks.
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