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Satan's smoke has made its way into the temple of God through some crack. -Pope Paul VI, 1972 The words of Pope Paul echoed the feelings of many on the Catholic right, who believed that the mainstream Catholic Church had fallen into decline. In The Smoke of Satan, sociologist Michael W. Cuneo explores what these fundamentalists believed that smoke to be and how they planned to halt its spread. From conservatives and their steadfast moral militancy, to separatists and their belief in the need for alternative communities, to Marianists and their tenets of mystical prophecy-Cuneo thoughtfully portrays the motivations of these individuals who have taken as their task the preservation of authentic Catholicism in North America. A provocative study in contemporary sociology and the first full-scale account of Roman Catholic fundamentalism, The Smoke of Satan offers new insight into the Catholic Church and explores the nature of religion in society.
Michael W. Cuneo is an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Fordham University.