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Paper short abstract:
This paper addresses the instrumentalization of the Virgin Mary through visions, apparitions and heavenly messages in order to fight supposed existential threats - atheist ideologies, apostasy and doctrinal renewal - to the R.C. Church and to the modern world at large.
Paper long abstract:
In particular since the Second World War the interventions of the Catholic saint Mary on planet earth have surged considerably. Her apparitions, together with the messages she brings along, are claimed to be supernatural, as manifestations coming directly from heaven. For devotees and believers such events form often an ultimate source of wisdom, which cannot be easily passed over. Her messages have since strongly increased in meaning and quantity. Two developments have played an important role in this. The first one was the Cold War era, the result of the threat of communism, and in particular a threat for the Church because of the communist atheist ideology. The second development was the Aggionamento, the renewal movement in the Catholic Church itself, which was perceived by many Catholics as a threat to the Catholic faith from within the organization itself. In conjunction with each other, this paper will explain how the non-human body of the holy Virgin is instrumentalized, shaped, depicted and altered by both developments.
Living with other-than-human beings in uncertain times: demons, spirits, apparitions in ethnographic and historical perspectives
Session 1 Thursday 8 June, 2023, -