Doomsday cult set to grow

Herald Sun/June 15, 2003
By Shelley Hodgson

A doomsday sect plans a large-scale expansion in Australia.

The sect - which claims an association with the Catholic Church - is headed by Malcolm Broussard, who practiced as a Catholic priest in the US.

Fr Broussard was this week excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

NSW-based Father Broussard has proclaimed on his website to be the Order of St Charbel's first bishop.

The order has communities at Tyaak, near Seymour, and Meredith, near Geelong, as well as in NSW and South Australia.

But in a decree this week, Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham said Fr Broussard had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church after trying to have himself ordained a bishop without a mandate from the Pope.

It is the fourth decree issued by the church against the Order of St Charbel.

The founder of the sect said the ordination - conducted in Germany on March 30 - did not require the Pope's mandate and the decree meant nothing.

Self-proclaimed prophet William Kamm, known as the Little Pebble, said Fr Broussard's ordination came through the Thuc Line, which already had a special mandate from Pope Pius IX.

Mr Kamm said an appeal had been lodged against Bishop Ingham's decree.

He said Fr Broussard planned to ordain about 40 new priests, including 25 in Australia, by year's end.

"We will have more priests than the Wollongong Diocese does," Mr Kamm said.

Among those who may be ordained are head of the Meredith community Guido Colla and the Tyaak community's Ted Stokes.

Mr Kamm said he was waiting for Vatican approval of the Order's way of life before seeking his own ordination.

The Order is said to have about 500,000 followers in 160 countries - including more than 600 in Australia.

Mr Kamm claims he has made up to 570 prophecies, with more than 265 coming true.

He claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary and believes he will be Pope Peter II.

The Herald Sun reported in 2000 that members of the Order had undergone paramilitary training and were arming to protect themselves and leader Mr Kamm.

But Mr Kamm denied they were stockpiling weapons, saying his followers had obtained licences and bought guns legally so they could hunt food.

Fr Broussard is the worldwide head of the Order and Mr Kamm's right-hand man.

Father Peter Comensoli, chancellor of the Wollongong Diocese, said Fr Broussard was a priest in Texas, but had his "faculties", or licence, to operate withdrawn before coming to Australia in the early 1980s.

"It's William Kamm's movement and Broussard has been there from the beginning as one of his closest associates and has a key leadership role in the life of this movement or sect," Fr Comensoli said.

Mr Kamm denies the order is a sect or cult.

He is facing sexual assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is due to face court again in August.

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