A controversial religious group, led by William Kamm, blending apocalyptic prophecies and Catholicism, active from the 1980s.
The Order of St Charbel, founded by William Kamm, also known as “The Little Pebble,” emerged in the 1980s as a religious group combining elements of Catholicism with apocalyptic prophecies and claims of Marian apparitions.
Founding and Beliefs
Kamm established the Order of St Charbel in Australia, naming it after the Maronite saint Charbel Makhlouf. His teachings initially revolved around messages he claimed to receive from the Virgin Mary. These messages often contained apocalyptic themes and directives for his followers, such as building catacombs and undertaking paramilitary training in preparation for end-times tribulations.
Controversial Practices and Prophecies
Kamm’s prophecies and directives led to significant controversy and concern among both the public and the Catholic Church. Among his numerous claims were that he would succeed Pope John Paul II and that a comet would destroy the Earth. He also claimed the Virgin Mary instructed him to repopulate the Earth, which played a role in the group’s controversial practices and Kamm’s legal troubles.
Conflicts with the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church never recognized the Order of St Charbel or Kamm’s claimed visions and prophecies. Kamm and his followers faced multiple excommunications due to their unorthodox beliefs and practices. The group’s activities, especially those related to its survivalist and paramilitary aspects, raised significant concerns within the Church and the wider community.
Legal Issues and Imprisonment
William Kamm faced legal issues, including allegations of financial improprieties and sexual abuse. He was eventually convicted and imprisoned for sexual assault charges. These incidents and his subsequent imprisonment further tarnished the group’s reputation and raised questions about the nature of its practices and leadership.
Decline and Aftermath
The Order of St Charbel saw a decline following Kamm’s legal troubles and imprisonment. Despite claiming a significant following worldwide, the group struggled to maintain its structure and influence in the wake of these events.