Wallabies players are said to be in ‘utter disbelief’ after the mother of young star Jordan Petaia admitted to ‘infiltrating’ Israel Folau’s church.
On Wednesday, Helen Petaia confessed to the Herald Sun that she was the anonymous parent who had gone ‘undercover’ in Folau’s church, which she described as an ‘isolated hate group’ in July.
Mrs Petaia said she became concerned when Folau started inviting fellow players to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney’s north-west, set up by Folau’s father Eni in 2013.
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She reportedly decided to attend the church herself and what she saw “disturbed her greatly.”
"I honestly do not want my son involved in what I have come to understand is false teachings and counterfeit Christianity,” she told The Herald.
“I’ve gone, I’ve checked it out and I would call them an isolated hate group.”
It has now emerged that Mrs Petaia’s actions have shocked the Wallabies camp and led to a flood of support for Folau.
According to The Australian: “many of the messages expressed players’ disappointment and ‘utter disbelief’ that Petaia’s mother had gone to such ‘extreme lengths’, going to the media to warn of Folau’s religious beliefs and her concerns about his influence on young rugby players.”
Mrs Petaia has since spoken out about the controversy, saying Folau’s father Eni told her she’s ‘going to hell’.
“I have no doubt many Christian parents would be concerned if their child was to become entangled in the false teachings and religious practices Israel Folau endorses,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“There are many Christian leaders who agree with my assessment of the Folau church.”
Mrs Petaia raised her concerns with the Australian Christian Lobby after they set up a fundraising campaign to raise money for Folau’s legal battle with Rugby Australia.
She also claimed Eni and 20-year-old nephew Josiah told her: “Only we have the truth.”
Josiah Folau sacked after ugly saga
The saga culminated in Josiah being let go from his job at a Sydney Catholic school after calling the church a "synagogue of Satan".
The 20-year-old was dismissed in July from his post as a boarding house supervisor at St Gregory's College in Campbelltown.
Josiah Folau has labelled Roman Catholicism "masked devil worship", according to Nine newspapers.
He's also posted comments and a video on Instagram that were critical of the Catholic church.
St Gregory's headmaster Lee McMaster has confirmed Josiah Folau's departure.
"We have met with Josiah recently and, in our discussions, Josiah has made the decision to discontinue his casual employment at St Gregory's College," he told News Corp.
"We respect Josiah's privacy in this matter."
The boarding house master's removal comes months after his cousin, Israel, was dumped by Rugby Australia after posting a biblical quote on social media which said homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented.
It was the second time Israel Folau sparked controversy through his social media accounts. He was reprimanded for a similar post in 2018.