One is always wrong to open a conversation with the Devil, for
however he goes about it, he always insists on having the last word.
It is hoped that possible readers of this book, who may not be
acquainted with the Catholic story, will by now have grasped one
essential fact – that the general decline of the Church was brought
about by the Council that goes by the name of Vatican Two.
Furthermore, that the Council was called by John XXIII who, like
several of the prelates and many of lesser title under his Papal
wing, were clandestine members of secret societies, and who were,
according to the age-long ruling of the Church, excommunicate and
therefore debarred from fulfilling any legitimate priestly function.
The disastrous results of their being allowed to do so, with Papal
approbation (since both the Popes who followed Pius XII were part of
the over-all conspiracy, while the recent John Paul I and John Paul
II are subject to suspicion) are apparent to the most superficial
observer. Such results are the outcome of Paul VI’s main wish
regarding the implementation of Vatican II, as expressed in his last
will and testament, and repeated more than once by John Paul II:
‘Let its prescriptions be put into effect.’
Those prescriptions were defined years ago in the policies of Adam Weishaupt,
Little Tiger, Nubius, and others (already quoted) for
their trained disciples to infiltrate, and then to wear down the
authority, practices, and very life of the Church. This they have
accomplished, under the guise of progress or liberation.
Every aspect of the Church, spiritual and material, has been taken
over, from Peter’s Chair, with its once regal dignity, to a
faldstool in the most insignificant parish church. The few priests
who recognized this were kept in the background, or, if they managed
to get a hearing, were exposed to ridicule; and surveying the scene,
with its disorders, the exhibitions of profanity, and sexual
aberrations staged in some of its most revered buildings, including
St. Peter’s, one is tempted to think of a once highly disciplined
Guards brigade being transformed into a mob of screaming hooligans.
One may pass from the truism, that little things are little things,
to a more comprehensive realization that little beginnings are not
little things; and it is by working precisely on that principle that
the modern controllers of the Church achieved their ends without
producing too much alarm among the populace at large.
They began by relaxing formal disciplines and inhibitions, such as
keeping Friday as a meatless day. Then certain symbols, rituals, and
devotions went. The old liturgical language of Latin practically
disappeared. The nun’s habit, which had never failed to inspire
respect even in the most irreligious, went out of use, as did the
cassock. The latter was sometimes replaced by jeans, as was
demonstrated by two novices who, in Rome, went up to the altar to
receive the blessing of their Father-General looking more like
hippies than future Jesuits. A small cross, worn in the lapel of a
jacket, was fast becoming the only sign that the wearer was a
The old idea of priestly authority, whether exercised by a simple
cleric or by the Pope, was effectively destroyed; and voices were
always ready to applaud whenever the Church squandered this or that
of its inheritance. ‘The priest is today no longer a special being’,
cried the exultant Yves Marsaudon, a member of the Masonic Supreme
Council of France. A congress of moral theologians, held at Padua,
went much further:
‘The individual conscience is the Christian’s
supreme authority above the Papal magisterium.’
It was becoming generally accepted that ‘one day the traditional
Church must disappear or adapt itself.’ It was to become one of many
institutions, with the accumulated legacies of two thousand years
being cast away as things of little worth.
A quick glance at available statistics, over those years, shows a
startling falling off in all the relative departments of Church
life. Vocations, baptisms, conversions, and church marriages, took a
downward plunge. The only increase was in the
number of those who walked out of the Church. Many preferred to read
the liturgy of the Mass in their homes, on
Sundays and days of obligation, rather than see its once dignified
movements parodied, and hear the historic language cheapened, in
In England, between the years 1968 and 1974, it has been reckoned
that some two and a half million people fell away; and, if one may
add to that the selling of Catholic journals, the most popular of
these, The Universe, had an average weekly circulation of nearly
three hundred and twelve thousand in 1963. Nine years later that
figure had dropped to under a hundred and eighty thousand.
In France, with eighty-six per cent of the population officially
Catholic, ten per cent put in an appearance at Mass; while a similar
figure from 1971 to 1976, applied even to Rome. During the same
period, in South America, once regarded as one of the toughest nuts
for anti-clericals to crack, and where the people were commonly
regarded as being steeped in superstition, an estimated twenty-five
thousand priests renounced their vows. Vatican sources reported that
there were three thousand resignations a year from the priesthood,
and that figure took no account of those who dropped out without
troubling to get ecclesiastical approval.
The Catholic part of Holland, where the new teaching was paramount,
was in a truly parlous condition. Not a single candidate applied for
admission to the priesthood in 1970, and within twelve months every
seminary there was closed. In the United States, in the seven years
prior to 1974, one in every four of the seminaries put up their
The traffic was all one way, for apart from the recorded drop in
church attendance, a regular procession of priests and nuns, in the
spirit of the new freedom, were deciding that marriage offered a
more comfortable daily round than life in the presbytery or
cloister. ‘Rebel priest, aged fifty, weds girl of twenty-five’ – so
ran a typical headline in the Daily Express of 9th September, 1973.
The marriage was celebrated in a Protestant church, where the
attendance was brightened by priests and nuns who were all
professionally geared to add their blessings to the confetti.
Many priests had passed beyond the hinting stage and were now openly
declaring in favour of abortion. As for the
Sacrament of Matrimony, as more and more couples tired of
encountering the same face at breakfast, the Church discovered that
it had been wrong in pronouncing them man and wife. Pleas of
consanguinity, non-consummation, or that neither party had been
validly baptized, were the order of the day, and the granting of
annulments became quite a flourishing business.
By 1972, a few years after the rot had set in, Pope Paul personally
disposed of some four thousand cases. Thus encouraged, a veritable
flood of applications followed. Very few of those in search of
‘freedom’ were definitely refused, but were advised to try again or
to come back later. In Trenton, New Jersey, Bishop Reiss was so
overworked that he nominated seventeen extra priests to help him (I
quote his own words) ‘beef up’ the number of annulments.
In March 1981 the Vatican took the quite superfluous step, so it
seemed to many, of reiterating its Canon Law 2335, which stated that
any Catholic who joined a secret society faced excommunication. To
the man in the street, who was unaware that dozens of clerics, some
in the highest offices of the Church, had already broken that law,
it seemed a mere formality. But the Vatican, acting on information
received, knew very well what it was doing. It was protecting
itself, in advance, from any likely effects of a scandal that broke
in May of the same year.
The Government of the country, headed by Christian Democrats, was
formed of a coalition that included Socialists, Social Democrats,
and Republicans. But the Communists were now demanding a place in
the coalition, for political ends that left no doubt of their
intentions. ‘The problem is’, they said, ‘to remove democratic
institutions, the State apparatus, and economic life from the
Christian Democratic power structure.’
But their efforts failed. The Christian Democrats held firm. So
their enemies resorted to a weapon that has proved no less deadly in
political warfare than assassination. They brought about a far
reaching scandal which, they hoped, would topple the existing order
of government in Italy.
It was made to appear, as part of the repercussions which, following
the break-up of Michele Sindona’s financial empire, had rumbled
through the early summer of 1981, that the activities of a
widespread and dangerous secret society, known as Propaganda Two (P2
for short) had come to light. But in the confused world of politics
and finance things do not happen as simply as that. The people who,
when compelled to do so, cry out against the machinations most
loudly, have invariably been part of the backstairs conspiracy.
fact of frauds being brought into the open may be through personal
spite, disappointed blackmail, or the probing of some
underling – ‘why couldn’t he keep quiet?’ And the self-righteous
profiteers who, from their lofty moral pedestals but with their
pockets suffering, cannot do less than publicize the swindle, have
to fume in private.
The exposure of P2 began when the police received a mysterious call
advising them to search the home of Licio Gelli (image
right), a prestigious name
in secret societies, and to investigate his relationship with the
erstwhile barrow-trundler Michele Sindona.
The mere mention of Sindona made the implicated members of the Curia
think of how to avoid being caught up in the scandal. Hence their
apparently unnecessary reminder to the world at large that Canon
2335 was still valid. Meanwhile the police had come upon a suitcase
in Gelli’s house containing the names of nine hundred and
thirty-five members of P2.
There were many prominent politicians, including three Cabinet
ministers and three under-secretaries; army generals and navy
chiefs; leading bankers and industrialists, secret service heads,
diplomats, judges, and magistrates; civil servants in foreign
affairs, defense, justice, finance, and the treasury; top names in
radio and television, and the managing director, editor and
publisher of Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere Della Sera.
Many others resigned, while a whole host of others came crashing
down, like so many Humpty Dumpties, when the
lists were published. More sizeable litter followed as the
government of Arnaldo Forlani, in its entirety, was swept off
the wall. The accusers and their victims were, of course, all
members of the same gang. It was a case of ‘Brothers falling out’
with a vengeance. The usual accusations and recriminations followed,
involving every degree of crime, even murder. The falsification of
accounts, espionage, and official stealing, passed as minor
Through it all
the Vatican reacted with only a mild fluttering of
hearts. For although the Church had shed its aura of reverence, and
its prestige had been reduced to a shadow, it remained inscrutable.
The ghost of its former self was still potent. The fatally loaded
guns might be levelled against its walls, but there was no cannoneer
to apply the match.
It was a wise cynic who said:
‘In Italy religion is a mask.’
Although no churchman had been named in the scandal, the breaking of
the Sindona story indirectly led to the Church reviewing its
attitude to the secret societies. This had, according to orthodox
belief, been settled by the said Canon Law 2335, which forbade any
Catholic, on pain of excommunication, to join one.
But in spite of
that, because so many clerics, including members of the Curia, had
broken that law, negotiations between the two sides, started in
1961, had been carried on for eleven years, with Cardinal Bea, the
Pope’s Secretary of State (whose name was as doubtful as his
nationality), assisted by Cardinal Konig of Vienna, and Monsignor J.
de Toth, putting forward a more amenable version of the Church’s
These prolonged talks were more concerned with ironing out past
differences than with formulating any future policy. But they
managed to keep off the subject of hidden designs against the
Church, which had partly prompted the latter’s ban. Then came
further discussions at Augsburg in May, 1969, where consideration
was given to Papal pronouncements that roundly condemned the
societies; and there was more apprehension in conservative quarters
when such equivocal terms as placing Papal Bulls in their
‘historical context’, and the removal of past injustices, were used
to explain the purpose of the assemblies.
The outcome of this newly founded relationship fully justified the
doubts of those who feared that the Church was giving ground, and
going back on its judgments that had been defined as final; and that
the thin end of the wedge was being imposed became apparent in July
of the same year, after a meeting at the monastery of Einsiedeln,
It was there confidently anticipated, by Professor Schwarzbaver,
that no reference to the seamy side of secret societies would be
made. Neither was it. Instead it was announced that Rome’s previous
rulings on relationship between the Church and secret societies had
not been contained in Papal Bulls or Encyclicals but in Canon Law
which, as every ‘updated’ cleric knew, was being revised.
This occasioned more serious doubt in orthodox quarters. It was
recalled that Canon Law refers to a body of laws, authorized by the
Church, and ‘binding to those who are subject to it by baptism.’
Could it mean that such terms as binding, revision, and alterations,
were on the point of being subjected to new interpretations?
Moreover, more than one Papal Bull had certainly contained a
condemnation of the societies.
The societies (and this must be repeated) had no intention of
refuting their original intention of undermining the Church. They
had no need. They had so far succeeded in their design. Their own
men had infiltrated and taken over the Church at every level; and to
such an extent that the Church seemed in a hurry to abandon what was
left of its original claims, its historic rites, and majesty; and
now the societies waited for their picked men, Cardinals and others,
to present themselves before the world, cap in hand, and cry aloud
their past errors of judgments.
A definite move towards this came from the once highly orthodox
centre of Spain, where Father Ferrer Benimeli put forward the
extraordinary plea that Papal Bulls, condemning the societies, could
no longer be regarded as valid.
An undertaking that strictures imposed by Canon Law on secret
societies in the past would not again be invoked, was
given by Cardinal Konig when Church and secular representatives met
at Lichtenau Castle in 1970. Then came the statement that Canon Law
and Papal Bulls had been all very well in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, but such documents now had a mainly historical
significance, and their import could not be enacted by a Church that
was preaching the more significant doctrine of ‘brotherly love’
which, together with friendship and morality, ‘provided one of the
most excellent tenets of the societies’.
The critics of these ‘get together’ tactics saw in this a concession
to the fraternal spirit inspired by the societies, and also a
virtual endorsement of the Cult of Man that Pope Paul had preached
in the United States, and in which he had been confirmed by the
Masters of Wisdom.
The general result of these contacts, on the Church side, was
submitted for examination by the Congregation for the Faith; and the
outcome was decided in advance by the remarks and reservations that
accompanied them. It was no use looking back at what the Church had
formerly decided. Comparison showed that its past attitude was
old-fashioned, and properly belonged to a time when it had taught
‘no salvation outside the Church’.
That slogan too was outmoded; and the world’s Press, including most
Catholic organs, again went to work with a will as it always did
when it came to propagating views that undermined tradition and
reinforced the designs of those secret society members who wore
mitres in the Vatican.
With the Holy Office continuing to bend over backwards to confirm
the changes, the process of secularization gained momentum from the
autumn of 1974 onwards. It was made clear that the bar against
secret societies had become a dead letter, and that its abrogation
was bringing relief ‘to a number of good people who joined them
merely for business or social reasons’. They no longer presented a
danger to the Church.
The dismay occasioned by this in some quarters was summed up by
Father Pedro Arrupe, General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who
saw it as a concession to organized ‘naturalism’ which, he said, had
entered into the very territory of God and was influencing the minds
of priests and religious.
Naturalism, by dogmatically asserting that human nature and
human reason alone must be supreme in all things, was another echo
of the Cult of Man.
The Church’s changing attitude towards secret societies was
reflected in this country by John Cannel Heenan, who was appointed
Archbishop of Westminster in 1963 and created Cardinal two years
later. In keeping with his hopeful expectation that the Church’s ban
on the societies would soon be abolished, some of his senior clergy
were authorized to negotiate with them. The Cardinal was then
informed that a publication repeating the differences between the
two sides was on sale in Catholic bookshops in his diocese.
He expressed his concern. ‘If, as I suspect, it is misleading, I
shall see that it is withdrawn.’ He did so, and that publication,
together with all similar ones, disappeared.
An interested inquirer who wrote to the Cardinal on the matter
received, in reply, an assurance that the Cardinal conveyed his
blessing. The same inquirer, on calling at the Catholic Truth
Society bookshop, near Westminster Cathedral, was told that there
had been no dealings with the Cardinal, and that the booklets had
been withdrawn ‘through lack of public interest’.
The growing belief that Canon 2335 would not appear in any revised
edition of Church law, together with the fact that orthodox elements
were being out-manoeuvred, as they had been at Vatican II, led to
the Church and the societies expressing a more open relationship.
There was, for instance, a ‘dedication breakfast’ at the New York
Hilton Hotel in March, 1976, presided over by Cardinal Terence
Cooke, seconded by Cardinal Kroll, of Philadelphia, and attended by
some three thousand members of secret societies. Cardinal Brandao
Vilela of San Salvador de Behia, represented Brazil.
In his speech, Cardinal Cooke referred to this ‘joyous event’ as
marking a further stage ‘on the road to friendship’. He
regretted ‘past estrangements’, and hoped that his presence there
signified that the new understanding between the two
sides would never again be compromised. To the Cardinals and the
Masters it was not so much an outsize breakfast party as a momentous
union, effected by opponents who had never before at any time come
Cardinal Kroll, as President of the United States Bishops’
Conference, had previously been approached by Cardinal Seper,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who
voiced the fears of those who regretted the signs of vital changes
in the Church. Seper was informed that no alteration had been made,
and that none was pending within the area of central legislation.
‘It is still, and in all cases’, said Kroll, in a statement that
even to read causes a raising of the eyebrows, ‘forbidden for
clerics, religious, and members of secular institutes to belong to a
secret society organization.... Those who enroll their names in
associations of the same kind which plot against the Church, or the
legitimate civil authorities, by this very fact incur
excommunication, absolution from which is reserved for the Holy
It was true that no active plot against the Church was then in
motion. The societies could well afford to sit back and to take
breath; not through any decisive change of heart, but because the
first stage of the plot had been successfully accomplished. Two of
the societies’ choosing, in the persons of John XXIII and Paul VI,
had occupied Peter’s Chair. Others of their kind, who had received a
red hat or a Bishop’s mitre, had dominated their counsels. The next
move in the plot against the Church was being reserved for the
future, when the innovations in doctrine and practice had been
accepted by a generation who had never known what it was to respond
to the guiding hands of Popes such as the now belittled Pius XII.
The rearguard, for so the anti-Liberals may be called, made what
capital it could by harking back to Canon 2335, and to
the Sindona scandal as illustrating the widespread disasters brought
about by contact with a secret society. As part of this
campaign, a German Episcopal Conference of Bishops was held in the
middle of 1981, where it was stressed, without any
qualification, that ‘simultaneous membership of the Catholic Church
and of a secret society is impossible.’1
This was followed by the Italian Government approving a Bill to
outlaw and dissolve all secret societies, and reminding
Catholics that excommunication was still the Church’s penalty for
But both the German and Italian pronouncements were merely smoke
screens; and none recognized this more than the societies, who were
not in the least impressed. That Canon 2335, if it appeared at all
in any revised edition of Church law, would be shorn of its urgency,
had passed from being rumour and newspaper gossip to becoming an
imminent fact. An English prelate, Cardinal Heenan, had said more
than that, and had even anticipated it being abolished. While a
leading official of the societies in Rome, unruffled, said he had it
on good authority that Canon Law was being revised, as it was, in
fact, by a Commission of Cardinals that had been set up by John
XXIII and continued under Paul VI.
The official went on to say that the still apparent differences
between the Church and the societies were all part of the conflict
in the Vatican between the traditionalists and the progressives.
‘This may well have been’ – and he could well afford to shrug it off
– ‘their last attack upon us.’
That pronouncement, like every other emanating from the same
quarter, has proved to be correct.
For it has now to be accepted, according to a statement from the
Holy See, that,
‘The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith has ruled that Canon 2335 no longer automatically bars a
Catholic from membership of Masonic groups.’
It had probably been by Pope Paul’s own wish, in defiance of a
custom that was part of a Christian’s, and especially a Catholic’s,
second nature, that, after his death in 1978, there was no crucifix,
nor even the most common religious symbol, a cross, on the
catafalque when his body was placed for veneration in St. Peter’s
Was it a silent acknowledgment that his work, in compliance with the
secret counsel enjoined upon him since the time he became Archbishop
of Milan, had been well and truly done?
1. The full text is given in Amtsblatt des Ezzbistums, Cologne, June
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