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PowersReligion as a Social and Spiritual Force$
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Meerten B. ter Borg and Jan Willem van Henten

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231560

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823231560.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

The Power of Mary in Secessionist Warfare

The Power of Mary in Secessionist Warfare

Catholicism and Political Crisis in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Chapter:
(p.116) The Power of Mary in Secessionist Warfare
Source:
Powers
Author(s):

Anna-Karina Hermkens

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823231560.003.0008

This chapter examines the religious dimension of a complex power struggle at Bougainville, a small island group in Papua New Guinea, and elaborates the double role of religion as empowerment and inspiration of resistance. From 1988 until the late 1990s, people on Bougainville Island were immersed in a vicious war that destroyed nearly all infrastructure and social services. Religion, particularly Catholicism, played a major role during and after the crisis. The Bougainville struggle for independence was conceptualized as a holy war, whereby God was called upon in “an ideology of resistance”. People believed that peace could be achieved through prayers, especially pleas directed to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Thus, Mary's power became intertwined with national identity constructions and attempts to realize a more just and responsible society at Bougainville. The Bougainville crisis demonstrates how nationalism, custom, and religion are intertwined and how they mutually enforced an ideology of warfare.

Keywords:   Bougainville, religion, empowerment, power, resistance, holy war, Mary, Catholicism, Papua New Guinea, nationalism

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