Cover image for The Pope's armada : unlocking the secrets of mysterious and powerful new sects in the church
The Pope's armada : unlocking the secrets of mysterious and powerful new sects in the church
Urquhart, Gordon, 1949-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 480 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX809.F6 U76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The three most powerful ultratraditionalist movements in the Catholic Church are engaging in mysterious initiation ceremonies, using brainwashing techniques involving ego destruction, moral and spiritual intimidation, and dangerous psychotherapeutic practices on members and parishioners. This circle of power within the church, according to former member Gordon Urquhart, is hard at work creating the pope's "armada."

In a narrative that will shock, horrify, and enlighten all who follow the Catholic church, The Pope's Armada exposes the bizarre agendas of the "Focolare," "Communion and Liberation," and "Neocatechumenate" movements, which have a total world membership of 30 million. With the strong support of Pope John Paul II, these self-contained personality cults are task-forces for a crusade of extreme right-wing values.

A former top-level Focolare leader, Urquhart draws on interviews with current and ex-members, top-secret documentation, and his own experiences and research to reveal the mafia-style underworld of these organizations. The Pope's Armada depicts a potent, sinister force at work which may just be John Paul II's most enduring legacy.

Author Notes

Gordon Urquhart was an active member of the controversial Focolare Movement for nine years. He cofounded Focolare Community in Liverpool, led its UK Youth Section and edited its publication New City. Leaving in 1976, Urquhart now works in the film industry as a writer and director.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Urquhart adds a brief preface and conclusion to his previously published (1995) "expose" of three new lay movements in the Catholic Church: Focolare, Communion and Liberation, and the Neocatechumenate. A disillusioned former member of Focolare, Urquhart's negative bias is quite obvious in this string of one-sided autobiographical and anecdotal tales of aggressive and deceptive proselytism, divided families and parishes, anti-intellectualism, authoritarianism, and adulation of movement leaders. Despite the flaws Urquhart catalogs, these and other lay movements are currently flourishing in the Catholic Church, a significant trend that merits more objective consideration. Given the journalistic focus of this book, the absence of substantive sociological, historical, or theological analysis is not surprising. What is surprising and most disappointing is how little one actually learns about these movements after plowing through over 450 pages of criticism. Not recommended. J. Gresham; Fontbonne College