What remains when Rome perishes?
When Rome falls – the world.
Its claims were monstrous. They passed beyond human reckoning. For it claimed to be the one divine and authoritative voice on earth; and it taught, gave judgment, and asserted, always in the same valid tone, confident that its message would outlive the transitory phenomena of doubt, change, and contradiction. It stood secure, an edifice of truth behind the ramparts of truth which defied the many and various attacks launched by its enemies. For it claimed a strength that was not of itself, a life-force and vigour imparted by a power that could not be found elsewhere; and because it could not be likened to any earthly thing it provoked fear, bewilderment, mockery, even hate.
But through the centuries it never wavered; never abandoned one item of its stupendous inheritance; never allowed the smallest rent to appear in its much derided mantle of intolerance. It inspired devotion and admiration even in those who scorned its mental discipline. It rose above conjecture, likelihood, probability; for the Word by which it had been founded was also its guarantee of permanence. It provided the one answer to the immemorial question – what is truth?
One of our essayists told1, as many of our schoolboys used to know, of its place in history; how it saw the beginning, as it was likely to see the end, of our worldly systems; and how, in time to come, a broken arch of London Bridge might furnish a foothold from which a traveller ‘could sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.’
But it would still stand monumental, unique, presenting as it did the symbols of endurance in this life and admission to an eternity beyond – a Rock and a Key.
It was the Catholic Church.
But now, as even those of irreligious mind have come to realise, all that has changed. The Church has dropped its guard, surrendered its prerogatives, abandoned its fortifications; and it will be the purpose of these pages to examine how and why the transformation, hitherto regarded by its adherents – and even by some of its unfriendly critics – as impossible, could have happened.
What follows is written, of set purpose, from the viewpoint of a traditional and still practising Catholic. The sentiments expressed figure here in order to emphasise the heresies, novelties, and profanities that, in the name of reformed or ‘updated’ religion, have left the Church in tatters throughout the world.
There is a feeling abroad that our civilisation is in deadly peril. It is a recent awareness, wholly distinct from the old evangelical fears that the world, in keeping with some Biblical prophecy, is coming to an end; fears that have lost much of their former simplicity, and have become more real, since the threat of nuclear war. But the end of our civilisation has more sinister implications than has the actual destruction of a planet, whether that be brought about by an ‘act of God’ or by a frenzy of total madness on the part of man.
For civilisation declines when reason is turned upside down, when the mean and the base, the ugly and corrupt, are made to appear the norms of social and cultural expressions; or, to bring it nearer to the terms of our argument, when evil, under a variety of masks, takes the place of good.
We of this generation, according to our age and temperament, have become the willing, unconscious, or resentful victims of such a convulsion. Hence the air of futility that clings about us, a feeling that man has lost faith in himself and in existence as a whole.
It is true, of course, that every age has suffered the setbacks of war, revolution, and natural disasters. But never before has man been left without guide or compass, without the assurance conveyed by the pressure of a hand in which he trusted. He is, in all too many instances, a separate being, divorced from reality, without the consolation of worthwhile art or background of tradition; and, most fatal of all as the orthodox would say, without religion.
Now it used to be an accepted part of the Catholic outlook that the Church created our civilisation, with the ethical standards, and the great body of revelation, on which man’s attitude and destiny depend.
It follows therefore, once that proposition has been accepted, that any falling off on the part of the Church must be reflected by a similar decline in the civilisation it fostered; and such a decline, as evidenced by the moral and cultural expressions of our time, is everywhere visible.
So it is that the mere mention of religion calls forth an automatic rejection on the part of men who have never given a thought to the Church’s teaching or practice, but who feel that it should somehow remedy or control the widespread erosion. They feel contempt (and contempt is a more deadly virus than scepticism) for the Church’s failure to cope with conditions that call for vital action; for its readiness to go with the stream by not speaking out against, or for even giving encouragement to, subversion; for its preachment of a watered-down version of Humanism in the name of Christian charity; for the way in which, from having been the inflexible enemy of Communism, clerical leaders at the highest level have taken part in what is called ‘dialogue’ with those who seek, not only the Church’s downfall, but the ruin of society as a whole; for the way in which it has surrendered its once proudly defined credo by admitting that there are more gods in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in its Founder’s philosophy.
This summary of misgivings brings us back to the question posed at the start of our inquiry – what has caused the changes in the Church?
Any revolution, such as the French and the Russian, must come into headlong collision with two institutions – the monarchy and the Church. The former, however deeply it may be rooted in lineage and sacramental rite, can be totally disposed of by a single blow. But a people’s religion, however defective it may have become, cannot be so easily suppressed by any force exerted from without.
Monarchy lives by acceptance, custom, and a process of recognition that can be brought to an end by the fall of a knife or the discharge of a rifle. But religion, and especially the Christian, although it may have become discredited and subject to scorn, has so far carried within itself the seeds of resurrection. Time and again a sentence of death has gone out against it; time and again it has outlived the executioner. That it will continue to do so may be taken for granted, though whether it will survive in its old untrammelled form, with its stature, infallible voice, and stamp of authority, is another matter.
Some will reject that suggestion as unthinkable. Others, while agreeing that the Church has sanctioned a change of emphasis here and there, will see it as part of the divine plan; and only a few, since it has become a characteristic of our people to reject the mere mention of a conspiracy, will see in it the working out of an age-long and deliberate scheme to destroy the Church from within. Yet there is more proof of every kind for the existence of such a conspiracy than there is for some of the commonly accepted facts of history.
Because of what follows it needs to be repeated that the average British mind does not take kindly to the idea of a ‘plot.’ The very word savours of a theatrical setting, with heavily cloaked men meeting in a darkened room to plan the destruction of their enemies. But secret scheming, hidden for the most part from the academic as from the public mind, has been the background or driving force of much world history.
The world of politics is bedevilled by cliques working one against another, as becomes evident when we take note of the flaws that occur in official versions of the Gunpowder Plot, the murder of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, that of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo in 1914, the drowning of Kitchener in 1916, the shooting of President Kennedy in 1963, and even nearer to our own time, the mysterious end of Pope John Paul I, to be dealt with later in this volume.
The Church has always been the target of anti-religious men who see in its existence a threat to their progress and designs. And I use the word ‘always’ advisedly, for plotting against the Church occurs as early as the year A.D. 58. in words spoken by St. Paul to the people of Ephesus (and Paul, a trained Pharisee, when it came to warning against subversion knew what he was saying): ‘After my departure, grievous wolves shall come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall issue men speaking perverse things in order to draw away the disciples after them.’
The urge for world domination whether by force of arms, culture, or religion, is as old as history. The earliest records, without considering myth or even legend, give proof of it. Egypt, which first dominated the thought and outlook of the East, was never a purely military State. But a warlike era emerged (we may date it from about 910 B.C.) with ‘Assyria the Terrible.’ The rise of Babylon, short-lived, was followed by that of Persia, under Cyrus the Great. Then came a name that has never ceased to be synonymous with that of a vast empire and lordship of the known world, Rome. But all such powers, apart from being concerned with territorial gain, aimed also at imposing some political or social creed, the overthrowing of one standard belief and the elevation of another, a process that the ancients used to associate with the influence of the gods.
The spread of the Arian heresy, that split Christendom throughout the fourth century, becomes a landmark. It involved all the symptoms of revolution, anarchy, treachery, and intrigue. But the underlying cause was not political. Its mainspring was religious, even theological, since it turned upon a phrase coined by Arius, the Alexandrian priest whose name was given to the movement: ‘There must have been a time when Christ was not.’
That denigration of the divine being and nature of Christ, if carried to its logical conclusion, would have rendered the world that was centred on Rome to a negative state in which Europe, as we know it, would have had no future. But Rome survived, as a place of reverence for some, as a target for others; and what we now look back upon as the medieval world was filled with repercussions of the same struggle.
With the consolidation of Rome as a Papal power the objective became a more definite reality, with its purpose never in doubt and always the same, whatever temporal or domestic interpretation was placed upon it.
For the eyes of men, whether in France, Italy or Spain, England or Germany, were on Peter’s Chair, an object of controversy that has proved more potent than gold in bearing on the mind.
That was the situation in Rome during the first quarter of the twelfth century, when two rival families, the Pierleoni and the Frangipani, were angling for power. Both were rich, the Pierleoni immensely so; neither was over-scrupulous; and when the Pope, Callistus II, died in 1124, both families put up a candidate for the Papal throne. The Pierleoni’s man, Anacletus, was ‘not thought well of, even by his friends.’ But he managed to outvote his rival who was backed by the Frangipani.
Anacletus’s reign was short and unpopular, but he clung perilously to power until his death in 1138, when he was declared anti-pope in favour of Innocent II. So it came about that an organised clique, if only briefly, took over the Vatican where they installed ‘their man’, a looked-for consummation that figured in the minds of international plotters until, in our own time, it came to be realised.
It is a curious fact that man will suffer more readily for ideas, however crude, than he will for positive causes that affect his way of life; and when the perennial heresy of Gnosticism raised its head at the little town of Albi, in southern France, at the start of the thirteenth century, men flocked to it as once they had to join a crusade. But this time its principles were more extreme than those of any Christian warrior. Matter was declared to be evil; so death, which meant the ending of matter, became more desirable than life. Suicide, often brought about by men starving themselves and their families, was a privilege and a blessing; and the very foundations of the Church, with the Papal throne, were shaken as hundreds of clergy, with as many nuns, came out on the side that had more political and philosophic undertones than appear in many stories of the period.
It was a life and death struggle in which the Church, under Pope Innocent III, reacted violently by setting up the Inquisition. Its purpose was to examine Albigensians who, purporting to be orthodox, had entered the Church, and occupied some of its most exalted places in order to undermine authority and set up, in every sphere, a system of common ownership. The capture of the Papacy was, of course, their main objective, although most histories of the time are more concerned with the fate of those who failed to recite the ‘Our Father’ correctly before their questioners.
The violence and cruelty of the war that set in has left a permanent mark on history. The terms Albigensian and Inquisition are often employed as useful steps to an argument. Few realise the true significance of the struggle which left the Papal throne still secure, so far invulnerable, but always, under several guises and from any part of Europe, the object of attack.
From this time on that attack was more concentrated. It gathered strength. In 1482, at Strasbourg, it gained a new intensity as the enemies of the Pope declared their intention of waging war against him. A document dated 1535, and known as the Charter of Cologne, is evidence of the same hostility, and equally violent. Echoes of the Albigensian campaign, still insisting that non-existence was preferable to what its followers called the Satanic ordering of earthly life, lingered on in a traditionally orthodox and never thickly populated country like Portugal, where the continued activity of the Inquisition was such that, among the dozens of those sentenced to death between the years 1619 and 1627, were fifty-nine priests and nuns.
During the latter years of the eighteenth century a young man was pacing the streets of Ingolstadt, Bavaria, with hatred in his heart and a fixed determination in his mind. His hatred was directed against the Jesuits, the religious Society which had trained him and made him a Professor of Canon Law at the local university, a Society which has, incidentally, always been a successful breeding ground for nearly every type of saint and assassin.
His determination, shared at one time or another by many serious-minded young men, but all too often without dedication, was to work for the overthrow of Church and State. But his determination had roots, and Adam Weishaupt (for that was his name), was now reaping the benefit of the Society he had come to despise.
For the spirit of the first Jesuit, Ignatius Loyola, had come down to even the apostates among his followers. Ignatius had been, as was then not uncommon in his native Spain, a gentleman soldier. He had stood fire and known the shock of enemy metal. And Adam Weishaupt could view the prospect before him with a military mind. He had thrust and vision. He knew the value of surprise, which is grounded in secrecy. And he was single-minded. All around him was strife of some sort and contradiction. He would blend mankind into one whole, eliminate tradition, which differs from people to people, and suppress dogma, which invites more untruths than the one it sets out to establish.
Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, a man set himself apart from his fellows in the name of universal brotherhood. The ideal state that Weishaupt had in mind was, of course, founded on the impossible dream of human perfection; hence his first followers went by the arrogantly priggish name of Perfectibilists.
But it soon became clear that moral impeccability was less conducive to his ends than mental enlightenment; and on the 1st day of May, 1776, the secret society that was to profoundly affect much subsequent history came into existence as the Illuminati. The date and certain of its implications are noteworthy. For on May the 1st the great Celtic pagan festival of Beltane was celebrated on hills that, wherever possible, were pyramidal in shape.
The Illuminati had by then, according to a plan they had made known in Munich in the previous year, decided on a most ambitious line of conduct. It would form and control public opinion. It would amalgamate religions by dissolving all the differences of belief and ritual that had kept them apart; and it would take over the Papacy and place an agent of its own in the Chair of Peter.
A further project was to bring down the French monarchy, which had long been a powerful influence, second only to the Papacy, in maintaining the existing European order. To that end a most efficient go-between was found in the person of one Joseph Balsamo, better known as Cagliostro, one of the world’s most agile performers on the make-believe stage.
He was backed financially, as are most if not all anarchistic leaders, by a group of bankers under the House of Rothschild. It was under their direction that the long-range and world-wide plans of the Illuminati were drawn up.
Cagliostro’s excursions in the realm of the occult have earned him a variety of epithets. He was a charlatan, an astrologer, the possessor of the secret of eternal youth and of the great universal medicine. But his claim to be possessed of an other-world influence may not have been wholly false. For, after having survived the tests that made him a full-blooded Illuminatus (the ceremony took place at night, in an underground vault near Frankfurt), he journeyed from country to country, in a black varnished coach that was decorated with magic symbols, imposing his arts upon the most influential circles, yet always with an eye on the French Court where he soon picked on Marie Antoinette as its most valuable and susceptible member.
How he finally over-reached himself, in perpetrating the swindle of the diamond necklace2, is part of the preparatory process that led to the outbreak of the French Revolution. He died most miserably in Rome, but not without leaving a reputation that still poses questions, and which is typical of the formidable effects derived from contact with the Illuminati.
As part of the secrecy that masked its strength, and also perhaps from a juvenile wish to claim classical connections, the leaders of the Society adopted classical names, mostly from Greek or Roman myth and history. Adam Weishaupt became Spartacus, the name of the Thracian slave who led a revolt against Rome. His second-in-command, Baron Knigge, chose Philo, after the neo-Platonic philosopher. The uncouth sounding Franz Zwackh elected to be Cato, the Roman statesman. The Marquis Costanzo (for the Illuminati made free with titles) became Diomedes, one of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War; while a certain Francis Mary Arouet, undersized, warped, and wizened, coined a name for himself that was destined to sound through the popular consciousness like a miniature thunder-clap – Voltaire.
It is a common enough procedure for the casual reader to glance at, or even study, the names of those who directed the anti-Bourbon fury that swept over Paris, and most of France, without realising that much of it stemmed from the Illuminati, whose members were prominent in the short-lived committees and assemblies spawned by the Revolution.
Mirabeau and Danton were two of its nearly gigantic figures. Dapper little Robespierre supplied the consistency, and the tortuous Fouche the self-preserving cunning of ice-cold brains. Talleyrand limped his way over obstacles that proved fatal to more active men. Camille Desmoulins exhibited an adolescent faith in his fellows. Marshals Murat, Masséna, Bernadotte, and Soult followed the direction of Napoleon’s bicorne hat and drove his enemies from field after field. Kellermann, as heavy as his name, remained firmly booted and spurred, unlike Lafayette, who could change his royal uniform for the garb of a republican or a diplomat. All these were Illuminati. Some worked with open eyes, actual accomplices. Others, like Desmoulins, were enthusiasts or dupes.
Their influence did not die with them. It was passed on, long after the guillotine had gone out of common use, and could be recognised as the power behind the Directory. It lessened throughout the Consulate, but came back reinforced when Louis XVIII was hoisted on to the throne after Waterloo, and it sparked off the Revolution of 1830, which signalled the end of the Bourbons whom the Illuminati had long before marked down for ruin.
The sinister designs of Weishaupt and his Society had been made known to the Bavarian Government, as the result of a thunderstorm, in 1785.
A former priest and henchman of Weishaupt, named Joseph Lanz, had been out in the storm to deliver a message, when he was struck by lightning and killed. His body was taken to the chapel of a Benedictine convent where a nun, who prepared him for burial, found documents sewn into his clothing. Their importance, it soon became clear, reached far beyond the convent, and they were passed to the authorities who rubbed their eyes on seeing they outlined a plot for overthrowing Church and State. Weishaupt was banished from Bavaria, but he promptly fell on his feet again by being protected and pensioned by the Prince of Saxe-Gotha.
By the time of Weishaupt’s death in 1830 the hand of his Society could be detected in countries other than France, though its workings were sometimes indistinguishable from those of the more politically-minded Italian movement, the Carbonari (charcoal burners). That Society had been founded by Maghella in Naples at the time of the former Marshal Murat, who had been created King of Naples by Napoleon. Its declared object was to drive out foreigners and to set up a republican constitution.
The peculiar strength of such bodies has always been their secrecy, and this was in no way impugned by the signs and symbols they adopted. Sometimes they had an affected occult significance that was meant to be impressive, and this often led them to introduce merely puerile, absurd, or even unpleasant rites of initiation. There was, for instance, one Illuminati circle that persuaded candidates to enter a bath of water – persuaded, that is, by pulling them towards the bath by means of a piece of string that was tied to their genitals. And it was this perverted sexual obsession that made some of Weishaupt’s disciples undergo self-castration.
But some rites and symbols derived an undeniable significance from what is generally called Black Magic, or from the invocation of a Satanic power whose potency runs like a sinister streak through pages of Biblical, legendary, and historically verified writing.
‘By symbols’, said Thomas Carlyle in Sartor Resartus, ‘is man guided and commanded, made happy, made wretched. He everywhere finds himself surrounded with symbols, recognised as such or not recognised.’
The Illuminati made use of a shape that was probably old when Egypt reached its peak, that of a pyramid, or triangle, which has long been known to initiates as a sign of mystic or solar faith. At the top of that pyramid, or sometimes at its base, was, and in fact still is, the image of a separate human Eye, which has been variously referred to as the open eye of Lucifer, the morning star, or the eternal watcher of the world and the human scene.
The pyramid was one of the symbols that represented the unknown and nameless deity in pre-Christian cults. Centuries later it was resurrected as a symbol of the destruction of the Catholic Church; and when the first phase of that destruction had been brought about, as we shall see, by those who had infiltrated and since occupied some of the highest places in the Church, they reproduced it as a sign of their success.
It overlooked the crowds who gathered for the Philadelphia Eucharistic Congress in 1976. It was taken up by the Jesuits who edited the Society’s year book; and it appeared on a series of Vatican stamps issued in 1978.
The Eye, which can be traced back to the Babylonian moon-worshippers or astrologers, came to represent the Egyptian trinity of Osiris, the sun; Isis, the moon goddess; and their child, Horus. Isis also appeared in Athens, Rome, Sicily, and other centres of antiquity under a variety of names including Venus, Minerva, Diana, Cybele, Ceres, Proserpine, and Bellona. The Eye came to figure among the mystic solar symbols of Jove, Baal, and Apollo.
There was nothing empty or childish in the Society’s claim that its members, as evidenced by the Eye, were under constant surveillance. ‘It is understood’, so ran a dictum of the Society, ‘that anyone who reveals our secrets, either voluntarily or involuntarily, signs his own death warrant.’
And those words have been borne out, time and again. One of the first to give an instance of this was a Frenchman, named Lescure, whose son had played a briefly prominent part in the Revolution. Lescure senior was admitted to the cult of the Eye and the pyramid. But he soon repented, refused to attend their gatherings, was looked upon as a possible danger to his erstwhile brethren, and died suddenly of poison. In his last lucid moments he blamed ‘that impious horde of the Illuminati’ for his death.
Mention has already been made of the Carbonari, the Supreme Directory of which, known as the Alta Vendita3, became a kind of nucleus for all the secret societies spread through Italy. In organization and intention it was much the same as the Illuminati. Its leaders adopted a similar brand of whimsical appellations (such as Little Tiger, Nubius, Vindex, Minos), and it exhibited the same unremitting hostility towards Church and State.
This was clearly outlined in a set of Permanent Instructions, or Code of Rules, which appeared in Italy in 1818. It was written by Nubius and was addressed to a fellow conspirator called Volpi, with suggested guide lines and news of what had so far been accomplished.
Nubius, who appears to have been a man of rank in Rome, starts with a modest appraisal of the not insignificant task that had been entrusted to him. ‘As I told you before, I have been appointed to demoralise the education of the youth of the Church.’ But he was not unaware of the most difficult obstacle he would have to encounter. One great problem remained. ‘The Papacy has always exercised a decisive influence over Italy. With the arm, the voice, the pen, of its innumerable bishops, monks, nuns, and faithful of all latitudes, the Pope finds everywhere people who are prepared for sacrifice, and even for martyrdom, friends who would die for him, or sacrifice all for his sake.
‘It is a mighty lever, the full power of which few Popes have understood, and which has yet been used but partially... Our final aim is that of Voltaire, and that of the French Revolution – the complete annihilation of Catholicism, and ultimately of Christianity. Were Christianity to survive, even upon the ruins of Rome, it would, a little later on, revive and live.
‘Take no notice of those boastful and vainglorious Frenchmen, and thick-headed Germans, and hypochondriacal Englishmen, who think it possible to end Catholicism by an obscene song or by a contemptible sarcasm. Catholicism has a vitality which survives such attacks with ease. She has seen adversaries more implacable and more terrible far, and sometimes has taken a malicious pleasure in baptising with holy water the most rabid amongst them.
‘Therefore the Papacy has been for seventeen hundred years interwoven with the history of Italy. Italy can neither breathe nor move without the leave of the Supreme Pontiff. With him, she has the hundred arms of Briareus; without him, she is condemned to a lamentable impotency. Such a state of things must not continue. It is necessary to seek a remedy.
‘Very well. The remedy is at hand. The Pope, whoever he may be, will never enter into a secret society. It therefore becomes the duty of the secret societies to make the first advance to the Church, and to the Pope, with the object of conquering both. The work for which we gird ourselves is not the work of a day, nor of a month, nor of a year. It may last for many years, perhaps a century. In our ranks the soldier dies, but the work is continued.
‘We do not at present intend to gain the Pope to our cause. That which we should await, as the Jews await a Messiah, is a Pope according to our wants. We require a Pope for ourselves, if such a Pope were possible. With such a one we shall march more securely to the storming of the Church than with all the little books of our French and English brothers. And why?
‘Because it were useless to seek with these alone to split the Rock upon which God has built the Church. We should not want the vinegar of Hannibal4, nor gunpowder, nor even our arms, if we had but the little finger of the successor of Peter engaged in the plot; that little finger will avail us more for our crusade than all the Urbans and St. Bernards for the crusade of Christianity.
‘We trust that we may yet attain this supreme object of our efforts. Little can be done with the old Cardinals and with prelates of decided character. In our magazines, either popular or unpopular, we must find the means to utilise, or ridicule, the power in their hands. A well invented report must be spread with tact amongst good Christian families. Such a Cardinal, for instance, is a miser; such a prelate is licentious. These things will spread rapidly in the cafes, thence to the squares, and one report is sometimes enough to ruin a man.
‘If a prelate arrives in a province from Rome to officiate at some public function, it is necessary at once to become acquainted with his character, his antecedents, his temperament, his defects – especially his defects. Give him a character that must horrify the young people and the women; describe him as cruel, heartless, or bloodthirsty; relate some atrocious transaction which will cause a sensation amongst the people. The foreign newspapers will learn and copy these facts, which they will know how to embellish according to their usual style...’
Apart from the earlier indications, the main purpose of the plot, to gain control of the Papacy, had been brought to light in Florence by an opponent of the secret societies named Simonini, who carried the news of their intention to Pius VII. But the Church could do little more in the way of defence than issue warnings; while the Carbonari, reinforced by the positive declarations uttered by the Alta Vendita, pressed home its attacks.
A few years after that document was issued, Little Tiger addressed the Piedmontese group of the society in the following terms: ‘Catholicism must be destroyed throughout the whole world. Prowl about the Catholic sheepfold and seize the first lamb that presents itself in the required conditions. Go even to the depths of convents. In a few years the young clergy will have, by the force of events, invaded all the functions. They will govern, administer, and judge. They will be called upon to choose the Pontiff who will reign; and the Pontiff, like the greater part of his contemporaries, will be necessarily imbued with the principles which we are about to put into circulation.
‘It is a little grain of mustard which we will place in the earth, but the sun of justice will develop it to become a great power, and you will see one day what a rich harvest that little seed will produce.’
The policy of infiltration had already been put into effect, and Little Tiger was soon claiming that a new breed of priests, talented young men who were likely to rise high in the hierarchy, had been trained to take over and destroy the Church. And that was no empty boast, since in 1824 he was telling Nubius: ‘There are certain members of the clergy, especially in Rome, who have swallowed the bait, hook, line, and sinker.’
The persistence, the thoroughness, and the single-minded purpose of the societies which, then as now, was not to be found outside them, was never in doubt. ‘Let the clergy march under your banner in the belief that they march under the banner of the Apostolic Keys. Do not fear to slip into the religious communities, into the very midst of their flock. Let our agents study with care the personnel of those confraternity men, put them under the pastoral staff of some virtuous priest, well known but credulous and easy to be deceived. Then infiltrate the poison into those chosen hearts; infiltrate it by little doses as if by chance.’
This was soon followed by a confident assessment of the inroads that the societies had already made. ‘In Italy, they count among their numbers more than eight hundred priests, among whom are many professors and prelates as well as some Bishops and Cardinals!’ It was claimed that many of the Spanish clergy were also involved.
But, as Nubius constantly repeated, all interim victories would be hollow until a Pope who was part of their ultimate design was occupying Peter’s Chair. ‘When that is accomplished’, he wrote in 1843, ‘you will have established a revolution led by the tiara and the pluvial (ceremonial) cape; a revolution brought about with little force, but which will strike a flame in the four corners of the world.’
There was a feeling of change in the air, a change that would extend beyond the boundaries of the Church and transform many facets of existence. Little Tiger summed it up hopefully to Nubius in 1846: ‘All feel that the old world is cracking.’ And his finger must have been on the pulse of events, for two years later a highly select body of secret initiates who called themselves the League of Twelve Just Men of the Illuminati, financed Karl Marx to write the Communist Manifesto, and within months Europe was rocking with revolution.
But Nubius did not live long enough to sample whatever benefits might have come about. For activated by rumours, whether true or false, that he was letting his tongue wag too freely, the all-seeing Eye was turned in his direction and Nubius succumbed to a dose of poison.
We of this generation have lived through, and are still encountering, the political and religious aftermaths of a struggle whose causes were hidden from those who witnessed its early stages, just as they are from us who are blindly groping a way through its secondary phases. For its perpetrators, and their operations, are masked by secrecy, a secrecy so continuous, and profound, that it cannot be matched elsewhere.
When the French author, Cretineau-Joly, brought the sinister import of the Alta Vendita to the notice of Pope Pius IX (1846-78), who allowed his name to be used as a guarantee of its authority, the event, that should have called for a fanfare of silver trumpets, was drowned by the petty whistling of Parliamentary verbiage and cant. And when Adolphe Cremieux, Minister of Justice, as reported in Les Archives, Paris, in November 1861, voiced the precept that ‘Nationalities must disappear, religion must be suppressed,’ the circles that framed such statements saw that they were never diffused as forecasts of a condition that would clamour for widespread acceptance in less than a century.
Again, a reader of The Times, in Victorian England, would have noted, perhaps with an insular distaste for everything Latin, the disorders that flared from time to time in Spain, Portugal, Naples, and the Papal States. In seeking an explanation, the word ‘dagos’ might have suggested itself. But one thing is certain. He would never have thought that the man who master-minded the turmoil was no less a person than Lord Palmerston, who was the Queen’s Foreign Secretary between the years 1830-51, Prime Minister in 1855, and again in 1859 until his death in 1865.
For behind those Parliamentary titles, he was known to his fellow-conspirators as Grand Patriarch of the Illuminati, and therefore controller of all the sinister complex of secret societies. Glance at some of their political designs – the achievement of a united Italy under the House of Savoy; the annexation of Papal territory; the reconstitution of a Polish State; the deprivation of Austria, and the consequent rise of the German Empire.
Each of those objectives, irrespective of time, was set down on the Illuminati’s agenda. Each has been attained; and Benjamin Disraeli, who knew the whole business of plot and counter-plot, doubtless had Palmerston’s machinations in mind when he said, in 1876: ‘The Governments of this country have to deal, not only with governments, kings, and ministers, but also with secret societies, elements which must be taken into account, which at the last moment can bring all plans to naught, which have agents everywhere, who incite assassinations and can, if necessary, lead a massacre.’
The leaders of the Italian Revolution, Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour were the servants of the Eye, while such monarchs of the time as Victor Emmanuel II and Napoleon III also came within its radius.
Throughout the remainder of the century the attack on orthodoxy gathered weight. In 1881 the Prime Minister of France, Leon Gambetta, could openly declare: ‘Clericalism, that is the enemy.’ A more popular orator roared: ‘I spit upon the rotting corpse of the Papacy.’ And the same year provided ample evidence of the hostility that was ready to break out in the most unexpected parts of the continent. For when the body of Pius IX was being transferred from the Vatican basilica to the church of St. Lawrence-outside-the-Walls, the cortège was attacked by a mob armed with cudgels. Amid their shouted obscenities a street battle developed before the body of the dead Pope could be saved from being flung into the Tiber. The authorities, siding with the rioters, took no action.
So in that way, and by many devious routes, the contests of early Christian times, and of the Middle Ages, were being continued. But now the Church’s enemies were shifting their attacks from open warfare to peaceful penetration, which was more in keeping with the spirit of the time.
‘What we have undertaken’, proclaimed the Marquis de Franquerie in the middle of the 19th century, ‘is the corruption of the people by the clergy, and that of the clergy by us, the corruption which leads the way to our digging the Church’s grave.’
An even more confident prediction, and on a new note, was made some sixty years later: ‘Satan must reign in the Vatican. The Pope will be his slave.’ Confirmation of this, and in much the same words was to be given in a revelation received by three illiterate children aged ten, eight, and seven respectively, at the little town of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. It took the shape of a warning that, at that time of day, seemed frankly ridiculous: ‘Satan will reign even in the highest places. He will even enter the highest position in the Church.’ [The author is quoting a version of the Third Secret current during the 80's; the version published by the Vatican in June 2000 does not contain these remarks].
Some indication of the prophetic, or carefully planned projects of the secret societies, may be read into a letter addressed to Mazzini, dated April the 15th, 1871, and catalogued in the British Museum Library. At that time wars were conducted on a comparatively small and restricted scale, but this letter, written more than forty years before the first world conflict started, may be interpreted as a forecast of the Second World War, together with more possible hints of a third and still greater catastrophe that is yet to come. Here it is quoted:
‘We will unleash the Nihilists and atheists, and we will provoke a formidable social catastrophe which, in all its horror, will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, original savagery, and the most bloody turmoil.
‘Then everywhere the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the majority of world revolutionaries, will extinguish the destroyers of civilisations; and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will be from that time without compass, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out to the public view, a manifestation which will result from the general revolutionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.’
In the above a term is used that, in the course of these pages, may call for clarification. It needs to be understood that the enemies of the Church were not atheists according to the commonly accepted meaning. They rejected religion as represented by the Christian God whom they refer to as Adonay, a being who has, they say, condemned the human race to a recurring round of suffering and darkness.
But their intelligence calls for the recognition of a god, and they found one in Lucifer, son of the morning and bearer of light, the brightest of the archangels who led the heavenly revolution in a bid to make himself the equal of God.
The highly developed Luciferian creed, until the end of the 1939 war, was directed throughout the world from a centre in Switzerland. Since that time its headquarters have been located in the Harold Pratt Building, New York.
But although such places may be named, the veil of secrecy surrounding the inner circle of world government has never been broken. Nothing else in the world has remained so hidden, so intact; and the existence of such an inner circle was acknowledged by no less a person than Mazzini who, although one of the arch conspirators, was compelled to admit, in a letter written shortly before his death to a Doctor Breidenstine: ‘We form an association of brothers in all points of the globe. Yet there is one unseen who can hardly be felt, yet it weighs on us. Whence comes it? Where is it? No one knows, or at least, no one talks. This association is secret even to us, the veterans of secret societies.’
The Voice, the universal brotherhood magazine, first published in England in 1973, later transferred to Somerset West, Cape Province, South Africa, has this to say about it: ‘The Elder Brothers of the Race usually move through the world unknown. They seek no recognition, preferring to serve behind the scenes.’
In his often quoted book 1984, George Orwell refers to this inner party, or universal brotherhood, and how, apart from its secrecy, the fact of its not being an organisation in the usual sense makes it invulnerable. While Sir Winston Churchill, in his study of Great Contemporaries, says: ‘Once the apparatus of power is in the hands of the Brotherhood, all opposition, all contrary opinions, must be extinguished by death.’
And there are enough strange deaths recorded even in these pages to make one pause over that.
The introduction of Satan as a fresh element in the struggle met with less response in heterodox England than it did upon the continent. For there, belief in the positive power of evil, and cases of diabolical possession, were not always regarded as moonshine. What had happened at the Ursuline convent at Louviers, in Normandy, and at another convent (also Ursuline) at Aix-en-Provence, in the region of Marseilles, both in the seventeenth century, could still inspire nervous glances over the shoulder.
At Louviers, young nuns and novices had there attended Black Masses where the Host was consecrated over the private parts of a woman stretched upon the altar. Portions of the Host had then been inserted into those parts. One of the Franciscan friars who served the convent dealt in love philtres made of the sacramental wafer dipped in menstrual blood and that of murdered babies.
At the other convent, a young girl had writhed on the ground, exposing every part of her body, and screaming obscenities relating to sodomy and cannibalism. Other members of the community claimed that their minds and bodies were being tormented by Beelzebub, the demon worshipped by the Philistines, the so-called Lord of the Flies because he appeared dripping sacrificial blood that attracted hordes of flying insects. In both cases the evil influence was traced to Satanically inspired priests, who perished at the stake. Part of the evidence, at the trial of one, was a pact with Satan signed in the priest’s blood.
Later in the same century the Abbé Guibourg celebrated the same kind of mock religious rite sometimes with the help of Madame de Montespan, one of the fading mistresses of Louis XIV, who took part in the hope of reviving the King’s passion for her. There again the blood of a murdered child, and that of a bat, mingled with the sperm of the officiating priest to boost the sacramental wine.
It was common for the mock celebrant on such occasions to wear a cardinal’s robes. Black candles stood on the altar. The cross was in evidence, but reversed, and there were pictures showing a crucifix being trampled by a goat. A star, a black moon, and a serpent figured in erotic paintings around the walls, and the only name spoken in reverence was that of Lucifer. Initiates frequently received Communion at a properly constituted church, but it was only to carry the Host away in their mouths and then to feed it to animals and mice.
A typical Black Magic centre, or Temple of Satan, was set up in Rome in 1895. A group of interested people, curious to sample its meaning, somehow managed to penetrate a little beyond its threshold, and what they saw was described by one of them, Domenico Margiotta5: ‘Its lateral walls were hung with magnificent red and black damask draperies.6 At the further end was a great piece of tapestry upon which was the figure of Satan at whose feet was an altar.
‘Here and there were arranged triangles, squares, and other symbolic signs. All around stood gilt chairs. Each of these, in the moulding which cupped its back, had a glass eye, the interior of which was lighted by electricity, while in the middle of the temple stood a curious throne, that of the Great Satanic Pontiff.’ Something in the silent atmosphere of the room terrified them, and they left more quickly than they had entered.
With the Illuminati raising its head again, and even as far afield as Russia, there were signs that its influence had penetrated the top level of the Church. It had done so in the person of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla (1843-1913) one of those significant, yet shadowy and largely unknown figures whose like can be found only in the covertly sinister pages of Vatican history.
A native of Sicily, and a Liberal in outlook, he entered Papal service during the pontificate of Leo XIII, and had been Secretary of Propaganda before becoming Secretary of State.
An Englishman who claimed to have known him, and to have made him acquainted with the occult, was Aleister Crowley, who had been born in the then demulcent town of Leamington in 1875, and who had then passed, by way of Cambridge, to become one of the most controversial figures in the world of mystery. People of intelligence still shake their heads over trying to answer such questions as to whether he was a master of the Black Arts, a dabbler in them, or merely a pretender. Somerset Maugham, who knew him well, gave his opinion that Crowley was a fake, ‘but not wholly a fake.’
He was certainly, as shown by his writings, a master of corruption. For what may be most charitably called his spiritual aspirations were tempered by a blatant sensualism. It was through the flesh that his being leapt out to embrace mystery. The images that passed into his mind came out deformed, often with a sexual connotation; and, like others of his kind who wander on the border of the unknown, he found comfort in sheltering behind a variety of fantastic names such as Therion, Count Vladimir Svaroff, Prince Chiva Khan, the Laird of Boleskin, a title that he tried to live up to by wearing a kilt. To his mother he was the Great Beast (from the Apocalypse). Crowley responded by calling her a brainless bigot.
By filing his two canine teeth he made them into fangs, which enabled him to implant a vampire’s kiss on the throat or wrist of any woman who was unlucky enough to meet him. He married Rose Kelly, a sister of the painter Sir Gerald, who later became President of the Royal Academy.
She was a weak sub-normal creature, who could evidently overlook his pleasant little way of hanging a mistress upside down by her heels in a wardrobe, just as she could agree with the names he bestowed upon their daughter, I Nuit Ahotoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith.
Whether or not there was any definite connection between Rampolla and Crowley, the Cardinal’s steady rise in the hierarchy offered a solid contrast to Crowley’s futile preoccupation with the societies of the Golden Dawn and the Oriental Templars, to which were affiliated such bodies as the Knights of the Holy Spirit, the Occult Church of the Holy Grail, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, the Order of Enoch, the Rite of Memphis, and the Rite of Mizraim.
When Leo XIII died in 1903, and a conclave was called to elect his successor, Rampolla was known to be well in the running. His nearest rival was the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Sarto, a less impressive figure, as the world judges, but with an aura of goodness, or even natural saintliness about him, that Rampolla lacked.
At the first scrutiny, twenty-five votes were in his favour, while Sarto polled only five. As the voting proceeded the latter steadily increased his standing, but Rampolla continued to forge ahead. That seemed to have established the pattern of the voting, and, as though to accelerate its obvious result, the French Foreign Minister took the unusual step of requesting his countrymen among the Cardinals to back Rampolla.
Were hidden strings being pulled? Almost certainly they were. But if so the Sicilian’s opponents, who may have been aware of his being a suspected Illuminatus, came forward with a last-minute objection that dashed his claim. The Emperors of Austria, who were still recognised as legatees of the non-existent Holy Roman Empire, had been invested with the hereditary right to exercise a veto on candidates for the Papal throne whom they found unacceptable.
That veto was now expressed by the Cardinal of Cracow (a city that was then in Austria), in the name of the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. Some said it was the veto of the Holy Ghost. Rampolla’s hopes foundered, and the mind of the conclave swung round in favour of his nearest challenger, Sarto, who became Pope Pius X.
But it was not generally believed that the veto expressed by the ‘very Catholic’ Emperor of Austria was alone responsible for barring Rampolla’s way, though he never, after the conclave, played any influential role in Rome.
After his death, Rampolla’s papers passed into the keeping of Pius X. After reading them he put them aside with the comment: ‘The unhappy man! Burn them.’ The papers were put on the fire in the Pope’s presence, but enough of them survived to furnish material for an article that appeared in La Libre Parole, in 1929 in Toulouse.
Some of the papers emanated from a secret society, the Order of the Temple of the Orient, and they provided proof that Rampolla had been working for the overthrow of Church and State. A notebook, discovered at the same time, throws a surprising sidelight on the possible Aleister Crowley connection; for several of the societies affiliated to the Temple of the Orient were those which have already been named, such as the Occult Church of the Holy Grail, and the Rite of Mizraim, in all of which Crowley exercised some great or small influence.
So it may have been that in the last days of world peace the secret societies came very near to attaining, through Rampolla, their centuries-old goal ― by claiming a Pope of their own.
Growing chaos, and the replacement of traditional values by those of a new order, which were the tangible effects of the 1914 war, were seized upon as offering favourable opportunities to those who never ceased regarding the Church as their one great enemy. For early in 1936 a convention of secret societies was held in Paris; and although attendance was strictly limited to ‘those in the know,’ English and French observers managed to be present. Their accounts of the meeting appeared in the Catholic Gazette of February, 1936, and a few weeks later in Le Réveil du Peuple, a Paris weekly.
No one could fail to notice how closely the sentiments and topics that were there treated correspond to those put forward by Nubius and in the Alta Vendita more than a century before. What follows is a slightly shortened copy of the English version:
‘As long as there remains any moral conception of the social order, and until all faith, patriotism, and dignity are uprooted, our reign over the world shall not come. We have already fulfilled part of our work, and yet we cannot claim that the whole of our work is done. We still have a long way to go before we can overthrow our main opponent, the Catholic Church.
‘We must always bear in mind that the Catholic Church is the only institution which has stood, and which will, as long as it remains in existence, stand in our way. The Catholic Church, with its methodical work and her edifying moral teachings will always keep her children in such a state of mind as to make them too self-respecting to yield to our domination. That is why we have been striving to discover the best way of shaking the Catholic Church to her very foundations. We have spread the spirit of revolt and false liberalism among the nations so as to persuade them away from their faith and even to make them ashamed of professing the precepts of their religion and obeying the commandments of their Church.
‘We have brought many of them to boast of being atheists, and more than that, to glory in being descendants of the ape! We have given them new theories, impossible of realisation, such as Communism, anarchism, and Socialism, which are now serving our purposes. They have accepted them with the greatest enthusiasm, without realising that those theories are ours, and that they constitute the most powerful instrument against themselves.
‘We have blackened the Catholic Church with the most ignominious calumnies, we have stained her history, and disgraced even her noblest activities. We have imparted to her the wrongs of her enemies, and have brought these latter to stand more closely by our side. So much so that we are now witnessing, to our greatest satisfaction, rebellions against the Church in several countries. We have turned her clergy into objects of hatred and ridicule, we have subjected them to the hate of the crowd. We have caused the practice of the Catholic religion to be considered out of date and a mere waste of time. We have founded many secret associations which work for our purpose, under our orders and our directions.
‘So far, we have considered our strategy in our attacks upon the Church from the outside. But this is not all. Let us explain how we have gone further in our work to hasten the ruin of the Catholic Church, and how we have penetrated into her most intimate circles, and have brought even some of her clergy to be pioneers of our cause:
‘Apart from the influence of our philosophy, we have taken other steps to secure a breach in the Catholic Church. Let me explain how this has been done. We have induced some of our children to join the Catholic body with the explicit intention that they should work in a still more efficient way for the disintegration of the Catholic Church, by creating scandals within her.
‘We are grateful to Protestants for their loyalty to our wishes, although most of them are, in the sincerity of their faith, unaware of their loyalty to us. We are grateful to them for the wonderful help they are giving us in our fight against the stronghold of Christian civilisation, and in our preparations for the advent of our supremacy over the whole world.
‘So far we have succeeded in overthrowing most of the thrones of Europe. The rest will follow in the near future. Russia has already worshipped our rule. France is under our thumb. England, in her dependence upon our finance, is under our heel; and in her Protestantism is our best hope for the destruction of the Catholic Church. Spain and Mexico are but toys in our hands. And many other countries, including the United States of America, have already fallen before our scheming.
‘But the Catholic Church is still alive. We must destroy her without the least delay and without the slightest mercy. Most of the Press of the world is under our control. Let us intensify our activities. Let us spread the spirit of revolution in the minds of the people.
‘They must be made to despise patriotism and the love of their family, to consider their faith as a humbug, their obedience to the Church as a degrading servility, so that they may become deaf to the appeal of the Church and blind to her warnings against us. Let us, above all, make it impossible for Christians outside the Catholic Church to be reunited with her, or for non-Christians to join the Church; otherwise our domination over them will never be realised.’
2. A complicated affair involving a Cardinal’s thwarted passion, impersonation, and forged letters. Well treated by Hilaire Belloc in his book on Marie Antoinette, who was dragged down by the scandal.
3. Literally the ‘old shop’ or the ‘old sale.’ Secret society meetings were often disguised as auction sales to avert suspicion.
4. Ancient historians considered that the Alpine passes were too narrow to afford passage to Hannibal’s army, with its elephants, and that he must have used hot vinegar to split the rock.
5. La Croix du Dauphine, 1895.
6. Colours that are frequently mentioned throughout this book, especially at the initiation of Pope John XXIII.