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1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Bernard Doherty

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2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Massimo Introvigne

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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908–1995) was a leading figure in Latin American conservative Catholicism. In 1960, he founded the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), which quickly expanded internationally and played a significant role in conservative Catholicism during and after the Second Vatican Council. In the 1970s and 1980s, TFP was often in conflict with liberal Brazilian bishops, while it struggled to define its internal nature and chose between the ecclesial models of either a quasi-religious order or of a secular lay association mostly devoted to political issues. This struggle, after Corrêa de Oliveira’s death in 1995, led to a bitter separation between its two main branches. The Heralds of the Gospel were reorganized as a religious order recognized by the Holy See. The Fundadores (Founders) of the TFP continued as a lay association with a special interest in conservative politics. The pontificate of Pope Francis has led the Fundadores in a direction increasingly critical of the Vatican, while the Heralds of the Gospel remain a religious order within the Catholic Church and have tried to adapt to the agenda and style of the new Pope. This article reconstructs the history of the different organizations tracing their origins to the activities of Corrêa de Oliveira, including the developments after his death, utilizing the framework of the sociological theory of religious economy and of different “niches” in the intra-Catholic religious market.
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3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Susan J. Palmer, Dale J. Rose

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The Mission of the Holy Spirit or la Mission de l’Ésprit Saint (MES), founded circa 1915, is one of Quebec’s oldest alternative religions. Today it might be described as a messianic movement, based on the charisma and millenarian mission of Eugene Richer (1871–1925), a Montreal policeman known to his followers as “ERL” (Eugene Richer dit Lafleche) and believed to be the Holy Spirit Incarnate. But its origins can be traced back to small Catholic Marian prayer circle called Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur de la Régénération (NDSCR). Sometime between 1913 and 1916, the NDSCR broke from Rome, changed its name to Mission de l’Ésprit Saint, and evolved into a messianic, evangelistic sect with an alternative cosmology, distinctive practices, and a sectarian stance towards the larger society. Our purpose is to investigate this period of dramatic transformation. Recently, an important historical document has become available that sheds new light on the events surrounding the foundation of this movement and challenges the congregation’s current understanding of their own history. We explore new interpretations of the enigma of ERL’s charismatic leadership and the founding of his movement in light of this new document.
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4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Christopher Hartney

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This article develops previous research on the relationship of the seer William Kamm and his Order of St Charbel to the official Catholic Church. Kamm (b.1950) has led a long career as a mystic and communicator with the Virgin Mary and other members of the Holy Family. He has established the Order of St Charbel as a para-official organisation of the Catholic Church. This article considers how Kamm has struggled to seem officially Catholic and considers the actions and potential failure of the Church to distance itself from Kamm.
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5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Janet Kahl, Bernard Doherty

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The Magnificat Meal Movement (MMM) emerged in the early 1990s as one Australian example of the millennialist belief system sometimes referred to as ‘Roman Catholic Apocalyptic’ associated with a series of alleged apparitions of Virgin Mary. Like many of the other Marian apparitional movements which have emerged from the Roman Catholic spiritual milieu since the Second World War, the MMM soon spread internationally and caused some concern to the Roman Catholic hierarchy, especially in Australia and Ireland. Following an ecclesiastical investigation between 1997 and 1999, an official statement emphasizing the group’s lack of institutional approval or affiliation was issued by the then Bishop of Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia) William Morris in 1999. Since this time the group has undergone a radical transformation. Utilizing insights from the study of Roman Catholic apocalyptic, ‘improvisational millennialism,’ ‘conspirituality,’ and scholarship on the development of Marian apparitional movements, this article seeks to illustrate some of the ways in which the MMM has developed from its roots in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), to a cohesive and communal conservative Catholic apocalyptic group, and finally to a loose-knit online community with an increasingly eclectic millennial vision, and to identify some of the factors that have contributed to this development.
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6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Donald A. Westbrook Orcid-ID

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This article introduces the theological relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to new religious movements (NRMs) in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). While other articles in this special issue provide case studies of specifically Catholic NRMs, this article is predominately concerned with examining Vatican II and post-Vatican II theology that frames the church’s relationship to such groups in often problematic and unclear terms. For instance, the traditional ecclesiastical distinction between ecumenical and interreligious affairs leaves little, if any, theological room for categorizing NRMs at large and Catholic NRMs in particular. Assuming NRMs with Catholic roots have no interest in returning to communion with the church in Rome, these “sects” or excommunicated groups may be fruitfully comparable to NRMs with restorationist leanings that resemble Catholic traditionalist movements (some of which are indeed in good ecclesial standing). The relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is one comparative example. However, unlike the LDS, excommunicated Catholics would of course not be possible candidates for ecumenical or interreligious dialogue, ironically but precisely because of disputes over claims of Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Such cases may represent a liminal position, neither “intra” nor “inter” in relation to the communion of Catholic Christendom, though the point becomes moot given competing claims to ecclesial authority.
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Bernard Doherty

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8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Angela Burt

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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Carole M. Cusack Orcid-ID

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10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Glenys Eddy

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11. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Elizabeth Miller

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12. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
David G. Robertson

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13. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Garry Trompf

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14. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Jack Tsonis

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15. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Jack Tsonis

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16. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Stefania Palmisano, Nicola Pannofino

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Starting out from a critical analysis of the historiographical category of the invention of tradition developed by Hobsbawm and Ranger (The Invention of Tradition, 1983), this article examines tradition as a fundamental resource of cultural creativity in the religious context, putting forward the alternative concept of “inventive tradition.” The creative mechanisms underlying inventive traditions can be illustrated by an exemplary case study, that of the New Age spiritual movement arising from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. This analysis shows the role played by narration as an interpretative frame through which tradition is re-elaborated and realised, adapting it to new—present—meanings. Thus hermetism, The Secret’s tradition of reference, is transformed and updated, embracing the consumer society’s typical cultural values. The innovations introduced by The Secret have become in time templates of success imitated by other religious groups.
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17. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Stefano Bigliardi

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The paper analytically reconstructs the French contactee Jean Miguères’s (1940–1992) narrative as it was developed in three books published over a decade (1977, 1979, 1987). It is argued that Miguères at first presented himself to the general public as an unsophisticated person who had had contact with extraterrestrials but later on tended to emphasize the religious undertones of his message.
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18. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Martha Bradley

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The devotees of Avatar Adi Da Samraj gather in sacred community spaces for “systematic, open esoteric school and global community of spiritual practice,” with principal sites in Fiji and in Northern California. Adidam constructs new sacred architecture embodying spiritual concepts and constructed the landscape for ritual and practice, as well as making sacred space out of buildings and landscape that was historically used for a different purpose. This process of sacralization was made meaningful through religious devotion, communion with Him, Avatar Adi Da, and a range of spiritual disciplines such as the practice of meditation and study, the creation of sacred art or architecture, and the embodied expression of devotion through diet, exercise, or physical work, practices which support the devotional Way of Adidam in the context of sacred sites “empowered” as “Agents of His Spiritual Transmission.” This article looks at the process of sacralization of the Mountain of Attention Sanctuary site and the process of constructing memory—or the way space contributes to remembering Adi Da.
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19. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Orcid-ID

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In March 2015, a Falun Gong practitioner began an extended email assault on an Australian academician, an academician who had written about the confrontation between this practitioner’s movement and the People’s Republic of China in ways that the practitioner deemed overly critical of Falun Gong. This (in many ways anonymous) person demanded that the academician retract her article, implicitly threatening to defame her, her university, and the journal in which her piece appeared, and, possibly, file a lawsuit if she did not accede to his demands. Though most non-specialists think of Falun Gong as a peaceful spiritual exercise group unjustly persecuted by Chinese authorities, it has a dark, little-known history of forcibly silencing critics. In turn, this pattern of repression is tied in with an esoteric theory of karma which prompts practitioners of Falun Gong to actively seek persecution and martyrdom.
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20. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Marco Frenschkowski

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How L. Ron Hubbard’s his views on Christianity, Buddhism and other religions develop and how do they relate to popular and academic knowledge in the 1940s and 1950s? The idea Hubbard only for economic or public relation reasons defined Scientology as a religion is a serious biographic mistake, as a survey of his earlier statements can show. Hubbard only had limited knowledge on the historic religions, however (as he himself says). But he seriously tried to find a place for Scientology in the history of religions, as can be seen from texts like the Phoenix lectures, his most elaborate discussion of how the other religions relate to Scientology. The article discusses both Hubbard´s ideas on religious history and his possible sources.
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