Political-religious confusion fueling the proliferation.
It's almost impossible to keep up - unless you're on FB and Twitter. Or, listen to the radio.
I don't listen to the radio, not even Catholic radio - which appears to be just as tainted by conspiracy theories and fake news as talk shows by political pundits.
I was reading Kevin Symonds' second installment concerning Taylor Marshall's book Infiltration. A radio show was mentioned in the footnotes as a reference for the claim that Cardinal Baggio was a Freemason. I don't even know who Fr. Charles Murr, Jesse Romero and Terry Barber are. I didn't listen to the program, but the Baggio claims have been around a long time. The Holy See has never, to my knowledge, confirmed these claims. It very much echoes the Necedah/Bayside/San Damiano 'revelations' - I realized that I'm wasting my time with these issues. I'm not an academic, so no one cares what I think.
I'm just amazed at how these tropes have survived over the decades. I have no doubt Masons have influenced such stories, to discredit the Catholic Church and create division, and so on. (I came across a statement on another blog whose editor republished the first article by Symonds, stating: "Well, Paul VI knew he was a Freemason. Can we retire the New Mass now?" That's pretty much the point of the conspiracy theories and attacks against Pope Francis, from Lefebvrist circles and others.)
Conspiracy theory in the making.
Nevertheless, it seems more likely the authors of the many conspiracy theories, including naming names of clergy who may or may not be members of a Masonic Lodge, could very well be Masons themselves, or members a political movement out to discredit the Church. The political connections of clerical figures has always incited intrigue and suspicion, throughout history. A modern day example is clearly the Vigano conspiracy against Pope Francis. Vigano's recent 'Open Letter' claimed Cardinal Sarah as a signatory, although Sarah denied it, explaining:
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, tweeted: “I share on a personal basis some of the questions or concerns raised with regard to restrictions on fundamental freedoms, but I have not signed this petition.”
“A cardinal prefect of the Roman Curia must observe a certain reserve in political matters, Sarah wrote in another tweet, “so I explicitly asked this morning the authors of the petition titled ‘for the Church and for the world’ not to mention me.” - CNAThis is conspiracy theory in the making, how it gets played out will be interesting. Oddly enough, it is the second time in recent months that poor Cardinal Sarah has come under suspicion for dissembling facts.
Having said all of that, I think I should try to let this stuff go - especially now when more and more people insist upon clinging to whatever narrative they find security in. I often think of the deceptions which were able to mislead 'even the elect - if that were possible'. Thinking here of St. Therese and St. JPII.
The Leo Taxil, Diana Vaughn story.
Therese and her community had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil... The realization of which led to Therese writing in her memoirs, "I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith... [but] Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, the source of the only real and pure joy."
Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those duped. Yet it did not disturb her peace, rather it lead her to an even deeper understanding of her vocation.
Needless to say, the deception neither did harm to the Carmel or the Catholic Church, although in a way, it demonstrates to some extent how even the elect can be fooled - if possible, and only for a time. One thinks of the founder of the Legion, Marcel Maciel, and his double life; an elaborate pretense which fooled even the Pope. Unlike Taxil, it doesn't appear that Maciel was attempting to mock or destroy the Church, nor did he ever declare himself an enemy of the Church; despite that, his motivation and actions remain somewhat unexplainable.
Sr. Lucia of Fatima once wrote, diabolic delusion has swept the world, and we have witnessed over and over again how many can be easily deceived and seduced. We need to be prayerfully vigilant.
“Holy Spirit, inspire me.Love of God consume me.Along the true road, lead me.Mary, my good mother, look down upon me.With Jesus, bless me.From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me.”- St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD