Swinging at Windmills: The Catholic Conspiracy Theories

In this Crisis Magazine classic — the most heavily debated article in the history of the publication — Sandra Miesel takes on the Church’s conspiracy junkies.

 
Question: Who’s afraid of Jews in the boardroom? Freemasons in the basement? Reds under the bed? Black helicopters in the sky? Answer: A surprising number of otherwise sensible people. Even under the new shadow of terrorism, old fears live on, breeding bogeys that knot together in a vipers’ tangle of menace.
 
Regrettably, Catholics do their share of worrying about the Judeo-Masonic-Communist conspiracy and/or the imminent arrival of the Antichrist to rule over the New World Order. Their anxieties are often fueled by anti-Semitic screeds, polemical histories, eccentric economics, and even heavenly messages. Fear-mongering is standard fare in the pages of radical traditionalist publications such as The Remnant, Catholic Family News, and The Fatima Crusader. The principal Catholic publisher of such conspiracy theories is Omni/Christian Book Club of Palmdale, California. Books and tapes of this sort are routinely featured in the mail-order catalogs of Catholic Treasures of Monrovia, California, and Our Lady’s Book Service of Constable, New York, but they may also find their way into local religious bookstores.
 
To be sure, conspiracy junkies are a tiny subculture in the midst of 63 million American Catholics. (The Remnant‘s circulation is about 7,000.) But the wily ones are learning to use the Internet, and what they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in fervor.

 
The Protocols of Paranoia
 
Anti-Semitism is the fundamental fear, the longest hatred. Historian Leonard Dinnerstein defines it as “hostile expressions toward or negative behavior against individuals or groups because of their Jewish faith or heritage.” Although antagonism toward Jews predated the Christian era, it fed — and in some places still feeds — on Christian attitudes of contempt toward the “Christ-killers.” But what’s of particular interest here is modern anti-Semitism and the hardening of conspiracy theories in the 19th and 20th centuries.
 
France was a major catalyst. Some French Catholics couldn’t forgive Jews for getting full citizenship — an unprecedented privilege in Europe — from the anti-Catholic Revolutionary government in 1790. Jews compounded their sin by prospering.
 
Accused of having too much money and power, although they constituted only 0.02 percent of the population, 19th-century French Jews were caught between feuding White Monarchists and Red Republicans. Reactionary Catholics identified Jews with the hated forces of modernity and secularization, Freemasonry and socialism. Even the early promotion of Lourdes became a vehicle for ugly anti-Semitic propaganda.
 
In the 1890s, the decade of the Dreyfus Affair, czarist Russian secret agents adapted a French satire on Napoleon III into the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Made public in 1902, this document purports to be notes from a meeting of leaders in the 2,000-year Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. The protocols provided the foundation for many of the worst anti-Semitic theories in the 20th century, influencing even Hitler.
 
Within a decade (1912), Msgr. Ernest Jouin of France had founded the International Revue of Secret Societies for conspiracy connoisseurs. Its outrage appealed to Irish Holy Ghost Rev. Denis Fahey, whose imagination had been captured by Jesuit priest Mathieu Deschamps’s Secret Societies and Society. (The Roman Jesuit publication Civiltà Cattolica had been a font of anti-Semitism in the previous generation; it had even suggested that all Jews be stripped of citizenship.)
 
Father Fahey (1883-1954) undertook a one-man crusade against what he called Jewish naturalism, which was supposedly the guiding philosophy of the Jewish nation since it rejected Our Lord. The theory goes like this: Since spurning the Bible for the Talmud and the Kabala, Jews no longer believe in God. Century after century, they systematically attack the kingship and high priesthood of Christ in a relentless drive to enthrone their race as collective messiahs over the rest of mankind.
 
Father Fahey offers no evidence of a universal Jewish antitheism or exaltation of Talmud over Torah. (Opposing “Talmudic Jews” to biblical Jews is like contrasting “Canonical Catholics” with Gospel Catholics.) No matter. On his premise of Jewish naturalism, Father Fahey erected ominous theories embellished with questionable facts from fascistic writers such as Nesta Webster, A.N. Field, and Léon de Poncins (all radical traditionalist favorites). His repetitive books — all with imprimaturs — include The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World (1935) and The Kingship of Christ and Organized Naturalism (1943), expanded as The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation (1953).
 
Even Hilaire Belloc, whose distasteful book The Jews (1937) describes Jews as inassimilable aliens, scoffed at Father Fahey’s Jewish conspiracy theories: “The thing is nonsense on the face of it.” Father Fahey retorted that Belloc just didn’t understand naturalism. (Father Fahey’s nose for Jewish naturalism was so sensitive he could detect it in the silent film classics Ben-Hur and King of Kings.)
 
Although fond of counting Jewish noses in Hollywood, the Politburo, and the United Nations, as well as sniffing out people with Jewish blood, Father Fahey denied that he was an anti-Semite because he honored pre-Christian Jews. Nevertheless, he enjoyed quoting papal policy statements against Jews, coyly refused to reject the long-debunked Protocols, praised the anti-Semitic activities of Henry Ford, and denied the death toll from the Holocaust.
 
Father Fahey, dead for five decades, may seem an obscure figure to belabor, but his influence is still very much alive on the Catholic right. He has a larger current audience than the more famous Irish-American figure he inspired — Rev. Charles Coughlin. (Omni/Christian Book Club, a publisher of the Protocols, offers 14 titles by Father Fahey versus two by Father Coughlin.)
 
According to Leonard Dinnerstein, Father Coughlin “developed the largest following of any demagogue in American history.” Starting in 1933, Father Coughlin’s honey-tongued tirades against bankers, Communists, Roosevelt, and other enemies focused ever more sharply on Jews until he was actually recycling Nazi propaganda to his 3.5 million radio listeners, his one million weekly newspaper subscribers, and the legions in his political party, the Christian Front. He shared Father Fahey’s false belief that Jews provided the manpower and money power for the Bolshevik Revolution. Rome and the U.S. postmaster general finally silenced Coughlin in 1942.
Anti-Semitism ebbed among Catholics and other Americans after World War II, and only extremists still fear cabals of Jewish financiers or question Jews’ rights in society.
 
The Church in America has worked hard to achieve these goals, but progress hasn’t been uniform throughout the world. In 1962, a singularly vicious specimen of Catholic anti-Semitism was published just before Vatican II, reportedly by a team of twelve clerics — probably Latin Americans and one said to be a bishop — under the pen name “Maurice Pinay.” They were attempting to forestall any concessions to the Jews, such as would occur in the council’s declaration on non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate, which “deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews.”
 
“The Plot Against the Church” spews venom like a geyser of hot sewage. For them, “the damned Jews” are literally a “Synagogue of Satan” and their ubiquitous iniquity is responsible for every evil that has befallen the Church — persecutions, heresies, barbarian invasions, the Reformation, revolutions — from Roman times to the present. Moreover these adepts of black magic and Satanism are the “wirepullers” behind Freemasonry and communism, ever conspiring to destroy the Church and rule the world.
 
Father Fahey, Father Coughlin, and their forebears are among “Pinay’s” sources, and like them, “Pinay” denies being anti-Semitic. Nevertheless, “The Plot Against the Church” proposes that Jews be expelled or enslaved, despoiled of their property, segregated, and forced to wear visible marks — all in accordance with ancient Church canons and papal bulls. “Pinay” especially wants to root out Catholics of Jewish descent who are a secret fifth column subverting the Church.
 
With this sort of vileness in the recent past, is it any wonder that some Roman clerics whisper that powerful Jews are behind America’s priest scandals? Or that the Anti-Defamation League detects “hardcore anti-Semitic beliefs” in 44 percent of our foreign-born Hispanics? Fear of Jewish plots will not entirely die.

It’s the Freemasons — Again!

 
An important thread in the all-encompassing cloak of Jewish conspiracy is Freemasonry. The “Judeo-Masonic plot” remains a shibboleth among radical traditionalists because they are unshakably certain that Jews founded the Craft and use it to undermine Christianity. Some authors who push this theory include: Deschamps, Jouin, Fahey, Webster, de Poncins, Chilean cardinal José Maria Caro y Rodriguez, and Irish-Australian monsignor George Dillon, who expected that the Masonic Antichrist “will find the Jews the most inveterate haters of Christianity, the deepest plotters, and the fittest to establish his reign.”
 
These vigilants note that the central Masonic myth is the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple, point to cabalistic symbolism and Hebrew terminology in their rituals, and pronounce the enterprise Jewish. They never consider that the Old Testament–oriented Protestants who founded Masonry could have used Hebraic references, and they seem to know very little about the mystic fads that incubated the minds of early modern Europe. (The original Rosicrucians and similar crazes have been richly analyzed by Frances Yates.) Finally, the purveyors of this theory fail to ask what — aside from conspiring — Masons got from the Craft. Using actual lodge records, Margaret Jacob’s Living the Enlightenment shows that the appeal lay in civic sociability outside the limits of class and station.
 
Contemporary historians trace Masonry to lodges of “operative” stonemasons in late 16th-century Scotland that were taken over by men interested in the symbolic possibilities of architecture. Such “speculative” masons active in England by the 1640s formed the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. The Craft reached Europe by 1721 and America by 1730 before attracting its first papal condemnation in 1738. Eight more denunciations would follow because of Masonry’s anti-supernaturalism, indifference to religion, and objectionable oaths. Catholics are still forbidden to join, although canon law doesn’t mention Freemasons by name.
 
In 1776, what Jacob calls “a radicalized mutation of the Masonic gene” brought forth the Illuminati, founded by canon law professor Adam Weishaupt. (Febrile minds imagine Jews having had a hand in the matter.) These mystic masterminds of Masonry were closed down by the Bavarian police in 1785 but are still imagined to lurk in the corridors of power.
 
Being generally liberal in politics, Masons often participated in revolutions. The Masonic affiliations of Washington, Franklin, and other founding fathers mean that, for some traditionalist Catholics, the United States has no right to exist. Or so says The Remnant’s top writer, Solange Hertz, author of The Star-Spangled Heresy: Americanism and an implacable foe of the Judeo-Masonic peril. (For good measure, Hertz has denounced Mother Teresa as a New Ager.)
 
Other critics, such as Ted Flynn in Hope of the Wicked, ferret out Masonic symbolism in our national emblems because Masons were involved in the designs. He reads the American Eagle as a Masonic phoenix and the Statue of Liberty as a Masonic goddess. Flynn’s source, Ralph Epperson, tries to make former President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration facing the Washington Monument into Masonic sun worship.
 
Because the Masons claim the number 13, it must be theirs — everywhere. But units of 13 in our Great Seal refer to nothing more ominous than the 13 original colonies, which existed for 44 years before the Revolution — rather a long wait to match a Masonic timetable. The alarming All-Seeing Eye also happens to be an old sign of the Holy Trinity, found in Baroque churches. (One breathlessly awaits revelations about the AOL logo.)
 
But it was the French, not the American, Revolution that stamped the Masons and their Illuminati masters as experts in rebellion, according to theories separately propounded by ex-Jesuit Augustin de Barruel (1741-1820) and Scotsman John Robison (1797-1798) and still popular in paranoid circles. Contemporary histories prefer to see people with radical sympathies becoming Masons rather than Masons becoming radicals.
 
Masons were, of course, active in the Latin-American revolts against Spain, the revolutions of 1848, and the reunification of Italy. They did immense harm to the Church in the Mexico Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. But to blame them for uniting the German Empire and for overthrowing the Manchus is just piling on.
 
Continental “Grand Orient” Masons were the instigators in these conflicts. Nearly all the world’s Brethren, however, belonged to Anglo-Saxon lodges. They had no need to attack the Establishment because they were the Establishment, especially in Great Britain, where royals were their traditional protectors and the Craft was called “the Tory Party in aprons.”
 
As for America, Behind the Lodge Door by Paul Fisher looks at the sorry record of American Masons in outbreaks of nativism, the Ku Klux Klan, and church-state relations. But Fisher, who does not link Masonry with the Jews, far exceeds his evidence to connect them with ancient cults, Illuminati plots, and the assassination of President Kennedy. William Wahlen’s Christianity and American Freemasonry is a far more sensible Catholic book on the subject.
 
Anglo-Saxon Masonry is fading away, no longer attracting many men to its “Light,” no longer conferring advantages in business or politics. Neither U.S. Supreme Court justices nor archbishops of Canterbury are Masons these days. Relations between Church and Craft are more polite than formerly. But some Grand Orient brethren still managed to do dramatic harm in 1981 by scamming the Vatican’s bank out of millions and by conspiring against the Italian government in the P-2 Lodge scandal.
 
Although none of the thousand men enrolled in P-2 was a Catholic cleric, the notion that the Church, particularly the Italian Church, is packed with secret Masons lives on. Why, it was plotted out more than 150 years ago in The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita and similar documents outlining well-laid plans to pervert the Church and elect a Masonic pope. This fantasy was promoted by Malachi Martin (who claimed there were Satanists in on it, too) and preached by ex-Dominican John O’Connor (who thinks only one or two cardinals are really Catholic).
 
Ecclesiastical Masonry is a favorite radical traditionalist explanation for Vatican II and the changes it made. Paul VI’s top officials were rumored to have been Masons, and a Mason is supposed to have mutilated the Mass. Their dastardly plan calls for the next pope to be the Antichrist or his servant.
 
And drawing on Revelations 13, locutionist Rev. Stefano Gobbi has recorded apocalyptic messages about “the black beast,” Satan-worshipping lay Masonry, and “the beast like a lamb,” traitorous ecclesiastical Masonry. These were to set up a false church and a false Christ by 1998. Apparently, the End Times have since been rescheduled.

 
Communist Financiers
 
It wasn’t enough for Jews to have one secret hand operating as Freemasonry; they needed a second hand operating publicly as Communism — or so the vigilants say. Because Karl Marx was a rabbi’s son, Communism was a Jewish invention. No matter that Marx denounced all faiths including his own; race trumps religion for anti-Semites. They pore over long lists of early Bolshevik officials matched with putative Jewish birth names and tote up the ranks of Jewish-American financiers who are said to have bankrolled the Russian Revolution. Father Fahey found this so engrossing, he even devoted a book to it, The Rulers of Russia.
 
Such “facts,” however, are unknown to historians who work from original sources. It was imperial German gold, not money from Jewish-American financiers, that bankrolled the Bolsheviks. Possibly originating as White Russian propaganda, these tales were picked up by Fascists.
 
Missing are discussions of why secular Jews might have hated the czars. The conspiracy theorists don’t say much about the centuries of pogroms and cruel laws, the creation of the Protocols released locally in 1902, and Europe’s last trial of a Jew for ritual murder in 1913. Neither do we hear of purges thinning the ranks of Communist Jews or strident Soviet anti-Zionism between the World Wars or repressions that led a million Jews to emigrate to Israel in the 1980s.
 
But where the Soviet Union is concerned, the past is never forgotten; it’s not even past. Radical traditionalists are convinced that recent changes are all illusions, that the old USSR is just as Red as ever. The Fatima Crusader claims that Russia would convert to Catholicism in a day if only the pope would wave his magic crosier and consecrate it — accept no substitutes — to the Immaculate Heart.
 
Such views are fed by Alexander Golitsyn’s New Lies for Old, a small-fry KGB defector’s decipherment of the Soviets’ 50-year-old master plan for conquest. Golitsyn’s failure to foresee the fall of the Iron Curtain hasn’t shaken his supporters’ confidence. The revision of his 1984 text is read as eagerly as the original.
 
Further evidence of faith in Communist trickiness is the persistent popularity of Anti-Apostle 1025 by Marie Carré, originally published in France in 1972. This purports to be a memoir by the 1025th Red to penetrate Catholic seminaries, but it is manifestly a feeble example of radical traditionalist propaganda that even fails to factor in the Russian purges.
 
The main character is a Polish orphan — the careful reader will note he’s a Jew — recruited by a Soviet spymaster between the World Wars to penetrate and subvert the Catholic Church. This is supposed to explain post-Vatican II changes, although Communist control never altered dogma or worship behind the Iron Curtain.
 
The fable may have been inspired by a remark attributed to a Catholic convert from Communism, Bella Dodd, in the 1950s. Dodd implausibly claimed to have sent a thousand young men into American seminaries, but she also insisted that the Communist Party of the U.S.A. secretly took its orders from American capitalists.
 
Other conspiratorial threads come together in the writings of Josyp Terelya, a Ukrainian Catholic Gulag survivor and visionary. Although it’s painful to criticize someone who’s suffered so much for the Faith, his 1995 book, In the Kingdom of the Spirit, is filled with groundless claims.
Terelya sees Satanists and Masons everywhere: Marx and Engels were Masons who met at a black Mass; high-ranking Reds have always been Masons; a leading curia cardinal is a Mason; Lenin was both an anti-Christ and a hermaphrodite; Yeltsin is a demon. Five million Americans are virgin-raping Satanists, and Russian Communist armies are flooding across American states. The final Antichrist, whose name is Valentine Lavrova, is already on earth and will work through the United Nations, a Zionist creation. (Terelya is anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.) Meanwhile, Satan is coding us “through isotopes in the left hand” as Armageddon nears. Catholics who disagree with him are themselves secret Satanists.
 
Terelya represents an apparitionist strain now infecting alarmist Catholic literature. Protestant vigilants like Ralph Epperson, Gary Kah, and Dennis Cuddy make similar use of the Bible to back their speculations. Both approaches yield a turbulent mix of politics and eschatology.
 
Catholic conspiracy theorists ransack old prophecies and repackage old devotions to fit modern conditions. They have Our Lady of Good Success improbably denouncing Freemasons and the world republic — in 1610. It is safe to assume that earlier messages have been tampered with when they refer to the 20th century: No one counted by centuries before 1550.
 
Much attention is being given these days to the visionary Anne Katharine Emmerich (d. 1824), who foresaw a Masonic-led “false Church,” and to the secrets of La Salette (1846) for predicting that “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Anti-Christ.” American locutionist John Leary is currently getting politics-laden messages from Jesus warning against smart cards and “the chip in the hand.”
 
These trends fuse in the career of Ted Flynn, founder of MaxKol Communications. His Thunder of Justice (1993, written with his wife, Maureen) is a melange of messages and prophecies that failed to materialize by the year 2000. His Hope of the Wicked (2000) attempts a unified field theory of conspiracies.
 
Hope of the Wicked‘s bibliography replaces Catholic classics of paranoia with newer Protestant and conservative works, mostly from Evangelical presses or self-published. (Among such recent sources are Ralph Epperson, Gary Kah, and Richard Wurmbrand.) Yet we see the same obsessive search for coherence, the same copious but largely worthless documentation, the same faulty logic as earlier materials.
 
Overt anti-Semitism drops out, although Flynn likes to spotlight Jewish villains and makes the Rothschilds the root of all evil — they even fomented the American Civil War for gain. (His favorite villain, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, is a Catholic.) Flynn’s new scenario runs from Illuminati to Masons to Yale’s Order of Skull and Bones (why is it never the Harvard Fly Club?) to One-Worlders to an alphabet soup of enemies far and near (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Security Agency) supported by New Agers who also derive from Masonry through Theosophy — the whole cross-linked by the mostly Jewish international bankers who secretly own our Federal Reserve System. Their goal is to transform the UN into a global New World Order prepped for Luciferic mischief.
 
Flynn’s mad gallop from one menace to another is no more impressive in total than his section that blames the Rothschilds for the Civil War. But like other merchants of paranoia, he evokes the Hidden Enemy memorably sketched by historian Richard Hofstader, “a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman: sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, and luxury-loving.”
 
The Universal Foe is here, there, and everywhere. Or so the fear mongers say.
 


Sandra Miesel, a medievalist and Catholic journalist, writes from Indianapolis. This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Crisis Magazine.

 

Sandra Miesel

By

Sandra Miesel is a medievalist and author. She has written hundreds of articles for the Catholic press, chiefly on history, art, and hagiography, and has spoken at religious and academic conferences, appeared on EWTN, and given numerous radio interviews. She is co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code with Carl E. Olson and The Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy with Catholic journalist and canon lawyer Pete Vere. She holds master's degrees in biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois.

  • Charles

    Wow! And I thought all the radical right-wing conspiracists were all over FOX (Beck, Hannity, etc., etc., etc.), in the U.S. House (Bachmann), and on talk radio (Limbaugh, Jones, etc.).

    We do know that a certain personality type is particularly drawn to right-wing conspiracy theories: authoritarian followers (pretty much an oxymoron because authoritarians are almost all followers as opposed to just a few leaders).

    It’s particularly tough on the authoritarian followers to have an intelligent, intellectual, analytical, articulate, informed/conversant, charming, handsome, physically fit, excellent husband and parent, multi-racial and globally admired progressive in the White House who is already establishing his legacy as one of the most effective, productive and inspiring American presidents in decades.

    As a result, the radical right-wing conspiracists are now working overtime to spew their ridiculous theories at willing authoritarian followers with huge needs to have their irrational fears validated, and in some cases, their latent violence unleashed.

    Some things never change. A few years ago, we had Timothy McVeigh. Today, we have Richard Poplawski who probably won’t be watching/taping Glenn Beck on FOX or tuning in to Alex Jones on the radio for a long time, if ever again.

  • Charlotte

    Charles, please spare us the lecture. The paranoid mindset lives on the fringes of left and right. Just look at conspiracy theories about Jews if you need any confirmation–they hardly differ between left and right. Don’t tell me about Tim McVeigh unless you want to talk about the Black Panthers too. Noam Chomsky, Randall Robinson, Messers. Walt and Mearsheimer, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, (the list is representative, not exhaustive)are all as conspiracy minded as anyone on the far right. Unless of course, you also think that Bush blew up the levies in New Orleans, and bagel noshing neo-cons brought down the twin towers.

  • Kevin
  • SR

    You forgot Michael Moore

  • Mark

    “Wow! And I thought all the radical right-wing conspiracists were all over FOX (Beck, Hannity, etc., etc., etc.), in the U.S. House (Bachmann), and on talk radio (Limbaugh, Jones, etc.).” – Charles

    Chuck, don’t forget about Hillary’s “vast right wing conspiracy” which she claimed was a witch hunt attempting to fabricate allegations of an affair between her beloved hubby and Monica.

    “It’s particularly tough on the authoritarian followers to have an intelligent, intellectual, analytical, articulate, informed/conversant, charming, handsome, physically fit, excellent husband and parent, multi-racial and globally admired progressive in the White House who is already establishing his legacy as one of the most effective, productive and inspiring American presidents in decades.” – Charles

    Slow down there Charlie, you do not have sole custody of the Messiah… Chris Matthews also has a thrill that runs down his leg. I hate to break up happy families but maybe the two of you could agree to take one teleprompter each.

  • Stephen B. Wise

    It’s worth noting what Albert Einstein had to say in 1938 about the prospect of a Jewish state.

    “Just one more personal word on the question of partition. I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain — especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period. A return to a nation in the political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization of our community which we owe to the genius of the prophets.

  • Micha Elyi

    You forgot Amy Goodman.

  • dave

    Having lived now for almost 65 years, I grew up listening to the cavalier dismissals by mainstream liberals of the claims of right wing groups. I believed my college professors when they ridiculed the right. But then I went to Vietnam as a twenty-one year old Marine enlistee. Suffice it to say that the claims of liberalism were destroyed in my first two days there. Now, 40 years later, I can say without hesitation, 99 percent of what I was told in college and high school has been proven again and again, undeniably, catastrophically wrong. Virtually everything my grandfather and my mother-in-law warned me about has proven to be true. The problem though today is that conservatism has bought into economic liberalism (economic deregulation) and we are left with a cultural conservatism that doesn’t have a clue as to why it should confront the left except the “ick” factor. Condom distribution is culturally just as disastrous as clear-cutting the rain forests and the free market isn’t free. But there are groups that are pushing these agendas world-wide and they are not transparent and not open to public debate. The Catholic Faith has the answers today but a dearth of teachers and no preachers.

  • Charlotte

    It’s worth noting what Albert Einstein had to say in 1938 about the prospect of a Jewish state.

    Is it really? There were all kinds of opinions about a Jewish state before 1947. What does this have to do with the topic at hand?

    Suffice it to say that the claims of liberalism were destroyed in my first two days there.

    I don’t doubt that in the least, but doesn’t follow that the conspiracy mongers are right.

    But there are groups that are pushing these agendas world-wide and they are not transparent and not open to public debate.

    Gee, I wonder who they could be.

  • Aaron

    . . . it doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

    I never knew the extent of Catholic conspiracy theories until I encountered those who espouse them, so I think the article was useful in showing how these things live on into the present – even if it was too thorough in detailing individual examples.

    At the same time, I find it counterproductive to scoff at any and every detail of anything smacking of conspiracy simply because the bulk of them are poorly reasoned and ultimately falsified. The article itself seems to take up this tone while containing in its own body the warning against it: most modern Masonic theories may indeed come from febrile minds, but the P-2 Lodge was real and did real damage.

    The question, then, is what do we do with a body of thought that we know to be mostly crackpot but that nonetheless may contain some kernels of truth? We can’t rule out on its face a Masonic plot to disrupt Vatican finances, as fantastical as that may sound, but we can’t exactly go chasing down the facts of every theory on the off chance that this one in a million just may be true. What might the lines of a workable alternative look like?

  • Marchmaine
  • bemused

    Ms. Miesel hurried her research. This is a complicated and very difficult history that cannot be compressed so easily with accuracy. Certainly a reasonable assessment cannot be drawn by a cursory skimming of a few popular (and poorly written) sources like Ted Flynn.

    For starters, Miesel claims a more “polite” Vatican -Masonic relationship, but no Catholic can affiliate with Masonry in any form, Anglo-Saxon or Continental. Why brush past that prohibition with a phrase? The reasons why the Church continues to warn Catholics to avoid Masonry is worth at least a paragraph. Clearly the Church knows something Miesel has overlooked. The same applies to her dismissal of La Salette–an approved apparition.

    Bella Dodd’s 1000 covert Soviet seminarians may be “implausible” in Miesel’s view, but it is hardly impossible.

    Miesel mistakes the name of the fictional Alexander Golitsyn of Mission Impossible fame for the actual KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn. Most of what Golitsyn said was correct. Some was erroneous. But the errors do not invalidate the accuracy of his solid information. After all, governments do change course when events offer other opportunities or throw up major hurdles.

    But most dangerous of all is the laughing tone taken in regards to “Their goal is to transform the UN into a global New World Order prepped for Luciferic mischief.”

    We can table the “Lucerferic mischief,” but that the U.N. and its most fervent supporters plan and hope for a New World Order is openly stated at the UN by those who earnestly believe that world peace will only come when there are no nation-states, no national borders. Is that a conspiracy?

    No, it is a simple statement of worldview made by politicians that include Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski (whose Catholicity is no more cover for his worldview than it was for Bella Dodd’s worldview). Brzezinski is an avowed socialist–he has said so publicly at Gorbachev’s State of the World Forums and as a fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His socialist views are now informing Obama’s presidency.

    None of this is conspiratorial in the sense meant by the conspiracy loons that that Miesel quotes. But there is a very real clash of worldviews. It is conspiratorial in the sense that until socialists/ globalists gained political mass and weight, they were less public about their true intentions. They spoke in carefully worded code-speak, as Kissinger did on Charlie Rose’s program when he referred to the necessity for an “international order.” Now they are confident that sufficient numbers of the world’s free people support their vision of a peaceful, one world governance system. Note that Obama approves of and is willing to cooperate with the UN’s demand that nations donate .07% of GDP to the UN each year.

    The question of “conspiracy” is not the pertinent question. The crucial question is what would a global governance system mean for Catholics? (Indeed, all Christians!) We already have the threat that conscience clauses will not be tolerated. How will Catholics fare in a world where homosexuality and abortion are world-wide “rights” and to teach the biblical prohibition against them is a “hate crime”?

  • MB
  • Holly

    This is a complex history, too complex for an article in which facts are stated in such a disdainful jumble, implying that all historical conspiracy theories are false, and that anyone who believes in them is an anti-semitic lunatic. Our own American Revolution would not have gotten off the ground had it not been for the conspiratorial activities of a handful of patriots. Furthermore, the nasty and arrogant tone used by Ms. Miesel in presenting her “facts” makes the article almost unreadable. Sorry, but now I remember why I canceled my subscription to Crisis Magazine so many years ago.

  • RC

    Just because you are not paranoid, does not mean that they are not out to get you.

  • Mike

    Thank you “Bemused” That article by Miesel was pathetic and unworthy of a Catholic website. This woman would censor the Mother of God. Belloc and Father Fahey were both great men, who understood the issues. Is she that ignorant of history? Does she not hear what the enemies of God are calling Pope Benedict today? These are the same types that tried to kill Pius IX. Maybe not practicing Luciferians, as they were, but certainly Luciferian in their beliefs. By the way, when Father Fahey wrote on the “Conversion of the Jewish Nation” and about the “Rulers of Russia” Belloc was incapacitated from any writing due to a stroke. Although she is correct that he criticized those who would concede too much “power” to the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, she is totally unhistorical when she says that the Jewish elite was not ruling Russia after the revolution. Does she think Father Fahey just invented the Jewish names of principal leaders in the Commintern?

  • Tony

    Sandra Miesel has little grasp of Church and secular history. Her analysis fails to address Karl Marx religious faith in Lucifer, as evident in his diabolical poem Oulenem. She has ignored The Permanent Instruction Of The Alta Vendita, and the evidence contained in the Book Of Zohar or the Encyclopaedia Judaica, the correspondence of Weishaupt to Robespierre, the correpondence of Caravel The Great Jew to Oliver Cromwell, the financial backing of Abraham Sausso to enable William Of Orange to usurp the Stuart King James VII from the British Throne in order to seize control of Britain’s money issue through a bogus institution in private hands that was named The Bank Of England. She ignores the setting up of the Federal Reserve at Jekyll Island, the major financing for the Bolshevik Revolution by Jacob Schiff, funneled through the Warburg banks that were owned by his co-religionists. (see Wall Street And The Bolshevik Revolution – Professor Antony Sutton, also Wall Street And The Rise Of Hitler- Sutton)

    Jewish Freemasonry has always been the enemy of the Church, and the diabolical Nostra Aetate’s origins have been traced to members of the Bnai Brith. I suggest that she read a work given papal approval, Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked, by Monsignor George Dillon, 1884, or The Plot Against The Church, M. Pinay, 1962, or perhaps Proofs Of a Conspiracy For The Destruction Of All Christian Kingdoms And The Christian Religion, Professor James Robison, 1788.

  • Kiki

    I, too, was quick to dismiss all conspiracy theories in a similar manner but very recently, something has come to light that sure sounds like it wasn’t done by one madman and had helpers/sympathizers/assistance in his sick plan for Catholic domination: Macial. There was admission of Marxist thinking in his formation and it’s simply impossible that he carried out what he did – as deeply and as long as he did – without others helping him.

    Three+ years ago, I would have scoffed at this, too. Not anymore.

  • Sandra Miesel

    For those of you who offered reading suggestions, be assured that this article was no hasty job. I own and have carefully analyzed all the books mentioned and many more. I’ve been studying the RadTrad fixation on the “Judeo-Masonic Conspiracy” since the early 90s.(THE PLOT AGAINST THE CHURCH is in a class all by itself for sheer vileness.)If you don’t like my interpretations, show why they’re wrong.If you don’t like my tone, allow me to point out that I hate stupidity worse than vice.

  • Donna

    Basing arguments on the way surnames ‘sound’, for crying out loud ?
    I have a good friend with a “Jewish-sounding ” surname. As a matter of fact, he happens to know that is a Jewish surname. He is a fervent Catholic – cradle, not convert. Through personal research into his ancestry, he discovered that he had an ancestor that converted from Judaism to Catholicism – 300 years ago ! His amount of Jewish blood is tiny at best, but he happens to have the surname handed down by that long-ago convert.
    So much much for my friend’s “Jewish-sounding surname ” ! [smiley=laugh]

  • Lori Pieper

    In regard to the P2 being dangerous, that is true, but then the P2 is hardly a typical example of Masonry. In reality, it seems to have been a wright-wing anti-Communist organization with plans for a coup should things turn too far to the left in Italy. Italy’s Grand Orient Lodge more or less disowned the P2.

    Which is why the supposed involvement of the P2 in a “Masonic plot” to kill Pope John Paul I is so silly. I take one this story in my blog:

    http://tinyurl.com/cxkn59

    Parts I-III on David Yallop’s boook *In God’s Name* are especially important for this.

  • Ken
  • Brendan Flaherty

    Why hasn’t Sandra Miesel followed her thesis to its logical end and condemned Popes Leo XIII and Pius IX for their encyclicals and syllabuses exposing Masonic conspiracy against the Church? Pope Pius IX in his syllabus identified masonic organizations as accomplices to the synagogue of Satan:

    “Venerable Brothers, it is surprising that in our time such a great war is being waged against the Catholic Church. But anyone who knows the nature, desires and intentions of the sects, whether they be called masonic or bear another name, and compares them with the nature the systems and the vastness of the obstacles by which the Church has been assailed almost everywhere, cannot doubt that the present misfortune must mainly be imputed to the frauds and machinations of these sects. It is from them that the synagogue of Satan, which gathers its troops against the Church of Christ, takes its strength. In the past Our predecessors, vigilant even from the beginning in Israel, had already denounced them to the kings and the nations, and had condemned them time and time again, and even We have not failed in this duty.” (Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors)

    Sandra Miesel has by inference condemned Popes Leo XIII, Pius IX many other popes and countless Catholics who understood as they did that Masonic organizations do indeed conspire against the Church through frauds and machinations. Let her condemn these popes explicitly then for their promulgation of “far right conspiracy theories” rather than focusing her attack only on targets long ago blackened by the Judeo-Masonic Lodge of B’nai B’rith and other such disreputable organizations.

    “… the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus)

    “This war is directed at the same time against the heavenly and the earthly kingdoms, against the faith of our ancestors and the culture which they handed on to us. It is thus doubly evil, being guilty of a divine offense no less than a human one. Is its chief source not that very masonic sect which We discussed at length in the encyclical Humanum Genus of April 20, 1884, and in the more recent one of October 15, 1890, addressed to the bishops, the clergy and the Italian people? With these two letters We tore from the face of masonry the mask which it used to hide itself and We showed it in its crude deformity and dark fatal activity.”(Custodi di Quella Fede, Pope Leo XIII)

    Popes who condemned Masonry for its hostility to the Church:

    Pope Clement XII, Pope Benedict XIV, Pope Clement XIII, Pope Pius VI, Pope Pius VII, Pope Leo XII, Pope Pius VIII, Pope Gregory XVI, Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI

  • Kurt

    Sandra Miesel smugly dismisses conspiracies such as the Protocols of Zion, without explaining why so much of our history of the recent past closely parallels its content.

    “We must now face the harsh truth that the objectives of communism are being steadily advanced because many of us do not recognize the means used to advance them. … The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a Conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst.”
    Quote from J. Edgar Hoover

  • Jack

    I would sum this article up as this :
    ” Move Caholic sheeple , move along , nothing to see here folks , so just move along ”

    But, I don’t think it’s working.

  • Jimn

    The irony is rich!

    Was Christ handed over to a reluctant Roman government to be crucifed by a Judaic/Pharisee conspiracy ?

    A basic understanding of Christianity might be helpful here!

  • Mark

    If the protocols of zion were a forgery , they sure did get it right and more than a century ahead of time !
    They should be studied for that reason alone.

    It’s interesting that so many charges are laid and by so many world wide and across all of history , and yet facts and reality and the specifics are never refuted other than to attack the accusers with the ridiculous Orwellian slanders of being “racists” or “anti-semites ”

    Funny , this article only further indicates that there is much truth to what it is trying to discredit and it provides sources for truth seekers .

  • Jerry
  • Matt
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Al
  • Diego
  • Al
  • Al
  • James
  • Abe
  • Alphonsus
  • Dan Guenzel
  • dgabriel

    …and now I understand why she couldn’t grasp the simple, overt fact that the book’s theme (& the movie’s) come straight from the Kabbalah & the Talmud.

    In her book she makes mention of the secret society known as the “Ordo Templi Orientis” or “OTO”. Spawned by black magician Aleister Cowley & his clear teaching that Western “magick” is based almost exclusively on the Kabbalah (or his spelling “Qabalah”) But Sandra is so disdainful of “conspiracy theories” & consequently ignorant of them altogether, she very characteriscally misspells the occult group as “Ordo Templi Orientalis”! How amusing it was to my friend, who is an aspiring member of the “OTO”, and how easy it then was for him to dismiss Miesel’s explanations & continue on in his descent into the occult & his hatred of all things “Catholic”.

    But as Tom Hanks’s character remarked as he opened the chapel’s underground vault, upon seeing the alchemical hexagram, “Just as the pagans would have wanted it.”

  • danny
  • Jeff

    There are two possibilities :

    1 Everything in politics /religion is on the up and up so that
    all of these guys are demented crazies that sacrificed much for their “hateful delusions”

    2 In politics/religion there are groups who use secrecy as means to their self-serving goals.

    Personally , I think it would be naive to go with possibility number one .

  • John Paul
  • Johann
  • danny
  • gary albertus
  • PhilippeDeChampaigne

    I think Catholics like the writer of this article are going to wake up one day….in a concentration camp.

  • DAVID

    Bella Dodd was conditionally baptised by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Her true story reveals the lengths Communists went to in order to infiltrate and subvert the Church from within. Google it.

  • Veriseeker

    Had this same discussion in a cafe near Medjudorie. The citizens were so open and friendly to a stranger-American on conspiracies. One very elderly gentleman summed it up well, “our history is many times older than yours. We KNOW the powerful have constantly conspired for power and control throughout our history. It is the same in your country.” He was right.
    As a top exec once at Fortune 500 company, nothing happens inside the structure without management knowing and/or controlling it. Same in politics-society. Freemasonry provides the best method for doing this and several ex-Masons have told me so personally.
    Is it a coincidence that all 12 Federal reserve banks are run by Jews plus the Chairmanship? Is it another coincidence that the top 3 Wall Street firms are also? Or that of the Fed chairmen since 1913, about 65% have been Jewish? Jews are less than 2% of the American population making this historical ‘coincidence’, anything but.
    These points are not racism, but obvious facts, and to ignore such trends is simply foolish. A small subset of this group are masonic-wicked conspirators. Some are Cabalists, some atheist, and some just greedy. Some are very open now about how close they are to world domination. Most of us are not going to be alive to see Jesus return in large measure to their schemes. You’d better do some honest research.

  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • Catholic
  • True Catholic
  • True Catholic
  • InsideCatholic.com is a judeo-ma
  • James

    No mention that “Leonard Dinnerstein” is a Jew, as is “Sandra Miesel”. Hardly likely to be neutral. This is pure Judeo-Masonic propaganda from start to end. No attempt to tackle the issues, but rather gloss over them with name-calling and epithets here and there.

  • Salvelinus

    Rubbish…

  • If you only had a clue and it looks like you don’t even know the Bible. Read Apocalypse 2:9 and 3:9. The enemies of Jesus Christ as the same today as they were in the past. Our Lady of Fatima warned that Communism would spread throughout the world. Fr. Fahey’s excellent book, The Ruler’s of Russia, gives the facts, and you surely need to wake up!

MENU