Pilgrims walk to shrine
Vatican outlaws ‘Little Pebble’ – order to disband
By Chris Lindsay
The Vatican has outlawed the so-called “Little Pebble”, the Nowra-based self-styled religious leader William Kamm.
It authorised the Bishop of Wollongong, Bishop Peter Ingham, to issue a decree against Kamm and his associates, outlining the Church’s rejection of his claims and teachings, and ordering him to disband his movement.
Bishop Ingham called on Kamm, who has falsely claimed official Catholic status, to renounce his movement, saying his teachings and activities are false and in clear contradiction to the Catholic Church.
The decree will remain in force until such time as “Kamm and his associates, for the sake of their eternal salvation, renounce all their manifestly false claims to legitimacy within the Catholic Church and permanently cease all activities contrary to the teachings, authority and discipline of the Catholic Church”.
The decree, endorsed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, followed a canonical investigation which rejected Kamm’s claim of supernatural visions and repudiated his teachings.
Bishop Ingham said that his office in Wollongong had received many letters and calls over the years from people concerned that family and friends had been caught up in Kamm’s movement.
He hoped they would take comfort in the Church’s clear stand against it.
Kamm claims to have had visions from the Virgin Mary, who, he says, gave him the name “Little Pebble” to protect his real identity. He says he has been the vehicle for more than 500 prophecies from Mary – and even Jesus Christ – after God ‘spoke’ to him in a paddock in 1984.
He told a Sydney newspaper, after the decree outlawing him from the church was announced, that his “strike rate” as a seer was about half, with 250 prophecies coming true. He would not reveal what they were.
Kamm had predicted a massive natural disaster which would force the cancellation of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and an earthquake which would flood most of Sydney after the partial destruction of Warragamba dam. He has predicted the end of the world “as we know it” at Easter 2004.
The decree officially outlaws Kamm’s movement, and places him, his activities and his associates outside the Church.
Bishop Ingham’s decree reflects the consistent and long-standing position of the diocese, and follows in the line of diocesan decrees issued in 1984 by Bishop William Murray and 1999 by Bishop Philip Wilson, who – as Archbishop of Adelaide – has been a keynote speaker at the US bishops conference in Dallas, Texas (see page 12).
The long and exhaustive canonical investigation included interviewing Kamm .
Apart from rejecting his claims of supernatural visions, it found that his teachings were false, harmful and contrary to those of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Ingham said he hoped the decree will be the catalyst for the end of a movement that has caused considerable anguish and harm for individuals and families, and division within the Catholic Church over the past 20 years.
The decree orders Kamm and his followers to cease all activities contrary to the teaching, authority and discipline of the Catholic Church, and to disband the so-called Order of St Charbel, with its communities around Australia (including Cambewarra, near Nowra; Tyaak and Meredith, Victoria; Ormeau, Queensland; and Reeves, South Australia) and in other countries around the world.
Bishop Ingham said: “The Diocese of Wollongong is ready to help people who had been followers of the ‘Little Pebble’, and who may be traumatised by the fact they were now officially outside the Catholic Church.
“Kamm has attempted to claim he had the support of the Church, but now this canonical investigation has led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to repudiate categorically the activities of Kamm.
“The Holy See has given its full and clear support to the long-standing and consistent position of the Diocese of Wollongong … telling me to repudiate Kamm’s activities. If Kamm considers himself a loyal Catholic he would not want to operate outside the Church or encourage others to do so. People’s lives will change as a result of this decree.
“His followers who thought they belonged to the Catholic Church will find out that they don’t and that, in fact, Kamm’s movement is at odds with the Church and his teachings offensive to it.
“Officially, this is now an outlawed organisation.”
A hotline (1800 225 922) has been established for people seeking support or help.
The bishop is urging people to take advantage of the pastoral care and counselling the Church has to offer.