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Spiritualità, Religioni and Settarismi are the main topics addressed in this website.

 Spiritualità (Spirituality) is the tendency to seek something different from the materialistic human attitude, for example, the spiritual meaning each and every one of us give to our own life

 Religioni (Religions) are well established and organized forms of spirituality

 Settarismo is a “cultic attitude”, which makes people incapable of having a constructive dialogue with other people that share different believes


Before explaining further the content of my website, I think it could be useful to give you some information about me.

I’ve been a Catholic religion teacher in a high school in Rome since 1981. I started to work as a volunteer when I got involved with a Catholic association (Group of Research and Information on Cults  -GRIS) in 1993. In 2001 I set up a Centre of Information on Cults and  New Religious Movements in Rome, Italy ( 

From 2004 until now I’ve been studying and researching many aspects regarding Psychology of Religion and its implications for groups, individuals and organizations.  

At first, I received requests for information and help only from families, members going through a crisis or former members of religious groups, journalists and law enforcement authorities. 

Over the years, I also began to be contacted for information and help by people affiliated to religious and spiritual movements, such help usually being asked when these people became to be targeted by the media, on Internet, in books written by former members, on radio and TV, etc.  

 I don’t really know why NRMs members asked me for help. I was in the “opposite field”, the “enemy side”, but their desperate requests for help made me conscious that abuses against religious groups exist and they can be perpetrated in many different ways.

Such cases gave me the opportunity to build up a useful comparison; that is, to compare the experience of people who were still affiliated in a religious group, with former members of the same group now turned hostile with respect of their old group. I found this opportunity, which I didn’t ask for and I was literally dragged in, to be very stimulating, since it opened up new horizons of awareness and made my research richer.

In 2008, for these reasons, I also started to study the anticult phenomenon and I created a special section in my website concerning this subject.

Since that moment I’ve been trying not to use the word “cult” (in Italian, “setta”) because it has some psychosocial implications. In fact, when the media or the police or someone else attribute this word to religious/spiritual groups, very often it means to catalogue this group as a dangerous one. 

The groups targeted as “cults” have various origins and they are structured as minorities characterized by alternative beliefs and practices relative to the social context. The divergence of these groups from the mainstream “consensus” may lead to tendencies that force them to be labeled as “dangerous” in the social context in which they operate.

It’s important to distinguish between different groups. Some of them are indeed dangerous, while others may harm members and nonmembers as an unintended side effect of their actions.  Because minority groups vary so much, it is important that the media and people concerned with the “cult” phenomenon understand the complexity of this matter, avoiding causing a misinformed public to label current or former members of such groups as stereotypes, rather than as unique individuals worthy of the dignity that has been affirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The main focus of this website is to promote and to spread the ideas of the Recommendation 1412 (1999) of the Council of Europe. The Recommendation regards state neutrality and equal protection before the law as fundamental safeguards against any form of discrimination and therefore calls upon state authorities to refrain from taking measures based on a value judgment concerning beliefs.

The Recommendation also emphasizes  the importance "to have reliable information on these groups that emanates neither exclusively from the sects themselves nor from associations set up to defend the victims of sects, and to circulate it widely among the general public, once those concerned have had the chance to comment on the objectivity of such information".

Moreover, the Assembly calls on the governments of member states, "where necessary, to set up or support independent national or regional information centers on groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature".

Willy Fautrè, President of Human Rights Without Frontiers, speaking about the anticult way of facing the so called "cult phenomenon", affirms that "stigmatization and demonization of a group because of the behavior of one of its members or leaders must be unequivocally condemned" (Freedom of Religion or Belief - Anti-Sect Movements and State Neutrality. A Case Study: FECRIS).


The purposes of SRS (Spiritualità, Religioni and Settarismi) are: 

- to share reliable  information,  documents and news about religious and spiritual minorities

- to provide documents and studies for understanding  the creation of deviance in the social context

- to understand the anti-cult phenomenon

- to inform about the violation of human rights perpetrated by governments or authorities who discriminate a religious minority or somebody who freely decided to join it, harming and persecuting their citizens 

- to help people to undertake strategies of receptive and constructive dialogue towards religious and spiritual minorities in Italy

- to promote integration and pacific coexistence

- to provide useful information for people concerned about the psychological manipulation and abuses occurring in any kind of groups


I hope this website will be useful for you and I thank you for taking the time to read this short introduction.

If you think this website was helpful, feel free to donate to help me keep it up and running the best way I can.




About me read also:  

The confessions of the monster in the mirror

Fragments of experience

Raffaella Di Marzio Profile