Volume 7, Issue 2, 2016
Roman Catholic New Religious Movements
Janet Kahl, Bernard Doherty
Channelling Mary in the New Age
The Magnificat Meal Movement
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.