Friday, May 08, 2020

Conspiracy Theories spreading in time of pandemic

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.” - CNA
This 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

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Bugnini Conspiracy Theories ... in time of pandemic

New Evidence on the Freemasonic Membership of Annibale Bugnini

To be sure, I am no expert on these issues - I'm just old, and I've heard the rumors and gossip regarding Masonic/Communist infiltration of the Vatican since I returned to the sacraments in 1972.  I've read, I've heard, just about everything attempting to discredit the Popes, Vatican II, the liturgical reforms, and so on.  I know priests entirely convinced by these stories, which many lay people use to condemn the Novus Ordo, and even call into question the validity of the sacraments since the Council... not excluding Holy Orders.  Pull on that thread, and you could just about invalidate everything in the post-counciliar Church.  (Hyperbole of course.)

That said, a former FB friend, Kevin Symonds, wrote an interesting article on Taylor Marshall's book, Infiltration, specifically regarding the claims that Archbishop Bugnini was a Mason.  The author did extenssive research, which shed more light upon the speculation that Bugnini may have been a Mason.  Rorate Caeli published the review, calling it a bombshell - because it named names.  After reading the article for a second and third time, I was confused.

First, I was surprised at my Symonds findings, because they appeared to supply the documentation lacking in Marshall’s book. Symonds findings are consistent with the case against Bugnini – which despite his research, e.g. naming names, remains a case based upon hearsay and circumstantial evidence.  To my way of thinking, Masons could have planted information, accused clergy of being members, furthering an agenda, and so on.  In my opinion, it is similar to someone believing what a demon says during an exorcism - demons lie. Human beings get the facts wrong - groups bent on destroying the Church, spread misinformation.  I may be wrong, but the evidence also contradicts itself, as Symonds points out, providing specific dates, and so on. The followers of these theories, and specifically Marshall's supporters, see this portion of Symons work as a confirmation of their long-held conspiracy theories concerning infiltration.

It is disconcerting to me because the liturgical reforms of VII and specifically the Novus Ordo, is once again obfuscated by doubt and suspicion that the rite is corrupt, invalid and Masonic. It’s especially sad to me that Peter Kwasniewski picked this up and published it as a ‘bombshell’ revelation, naming names. 

Rather than 'infiltration' - conspiracy theories may be the more effective disruptive agent.

Conspiracy theories regarding infiltration, as wacky as they can be at times, may carry an element of truth to them - yet every human endeavor is always prone to corruption, and as Benedict XVI has often pointed out, 'the Lord wins in the end.'  I believe many latch onto these stories to restore a sense of order in confusing times, to offer a sense of stability in traditionalist values when modern life seems to progress too quickly to assimulate.  In the case of serious researchers, even they can be tainted by the 'conspiratorial spirit'.  Religious people frequently lack the objectivity necessary to discern real data and facts from fiction.  The more tempermental the researcher, convinced of his own qualifications and scholarship, the more likely his researched can be tainted by his own bias.

So what do I do?  I checked on these issues online, in an attempt to locate the source of these stories in the apocryphal literature that is available.  Going forward, Kevin Symonds research will no doubt be referenced - I hope for the good.  Interestingly enough, I came across an old Crisis article by Sandra Meisel concerning the so-called murder of John Paul I*, as well as a discourse regarding the P-2 Lodge in Italy - the same lodge mentioned in the Rorate piece.  I'll close with an excerpt, and leave it at that.

The P-2 Lodge
The speed with which P-2 was growing and rumors of its political extremism led regional Masonic leaders to ask for its suppression. But P-2 continued despite its official closing and is believed to have been behind two terrorist bombings — blamed on the Left — that claimed a hundred lives. Using its intelligence contacts, P-2 may have also prevented the rescue of Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro, who was kidnapped and killed by Red Brigade Communists in 1978. 
A Mason expelled from the craft for objecting to P-2’s activities gave damaging data about the lodge to Roman authorities. On March 17, 1981, the finance police raided the office of its venerable master, Licio Gelli, and found its membership list. Among P-2’s 962 members were 43 members of parliament, 43 generals, eight admirals (including all the heads of the Italian armed services), all the heads of the state security services, sundry government officials, police chiefs, businessmen, media stars, and journalists (including the editor and publisher of a major Italian newspaper). Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi, key players in the Vatican Bank scandal, were also members. P-2 was finally closed for good, but its members scattered to other lodges and continued their baleful effect on Italian public life. 
Were any Catholic clerics in P-2? Martin Short names none in his excellent study of Freemasonry, Inside the Brotherhood. Nor were any clerics placed in P-2 by Shroud of Secrecy, a sensational — and implausible — compendium of clerical gossip (although the book imagines that Masons are omnipresent within the Holy See). Witnesses interviewed by John Cornwell, including a veteran FBI agent long-stationed in Italy, denied any Masonic presence in the Vatican. 
But belief in “the Great Vatican Lodge” is still a staple in some circles. In 1976 a radical traditionalist group called the International Committee for Defense of Catholic Tradition published a list of prominent Masons in the Vatican. An overlapping list of 121 supposed Masonic prelates was published in 1978 by muckraking Italian journalist and P-2 member Mino Pecorelli of L’Osservatore Politico. Among the high-ranking officials he accused of secret membership in the craft were: Sebastiano Cardinal Baggio (head of the Congregation of Bishops), Agostino Cardinal Casaroli (Vatican foreign minister), Jean Cardinal Villot (Vatican secretary of state), and Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank. Pecorelli was shot to death in 1979, possibly in retaliation for trying to blackmail Gelli. Yallop believes that both true and false accusations are mingled in the lists. - Crisis
* "The first conspiracy book, Jean-Jacques Thierry’s La Vraie Mort de Jean Paul Ier (1983), emerged from Lefebvrist circles. It not only accused Jean Cardinal Villot of the murder but of also having substituted a double for Pope Paul VI. Other sensational — and conflicting — theories continued to appear during the 1980s… John Paul I was killed by the KGB… No, the KGB was spreading false rumors to make it look like a killing… No, it was the CIA, which wanted to make room for its candidate, John Paul II." - Meisel

Monday, May 04, 2020

Spiritual Communion in time of pandemic.

The miraculous Communion of Blessed Imelda Lambertini. (1322-1333).

Nine year old Bl. Imelda fervently desired to receive Holy Communion, although Communion was not permitted until the age of 12, in her day.  In fact it remained the law until the 20th century.  Before Pius X, daily Communion was uncommon even for religious. 

Bl. Imelda is patron saint for first communicants, but she could well be the patron of spiritual communion, since her desire to receiver the hidden Jesus, was so great, the sacred Host appeared to hover as a flame above her, which she adored with love and longing to receive.  A priest was summoned, and when he saw the miracle, he immediately administered the sacrament.  The young Imelda received in ecstasy, and the community withdrew, to allow her privacy.  When they returned, they discovered the little girl had died - died of love.  Her feast day is May 12.

May Bl. Imelda pray for us, that our loving desire for the Blessed Sacrament may be so inflamed, Our Lord cannot resist to come spiritually into our souls in spiritual communion, effecting within us the prayer of deepest recollection within the tabernacle of our hearts, united to His, within the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Presence of God in time of pandemic.

Where there is no love, put love - and you will find love. - John of the Cross

I began the day full of thanksgiving... and joy filled my heart.  It was a joy to pray over the readings and psalms of the day's Mass.  To experience that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  God seem to want to his presence to be recognized in every circumstance, every situation.  The further it seems we are from him, the closer he is.  I'll share here what I wrote on FB a few minutes ago:

If you can, try to thank God - for everything. I can't begin to tell what peace and joy is infused into the soul of one who does that. Even when you can't get to Mass or communion - nothing can separate us from His love. In these times, I don't know why, but I feel very close to Betsie Ten Boom. Here's an anecdote by her sister Corrie, from their experience in the camps.

"Shortly after they arrived at Ravensbruck, Betsie insisted that she and Corrie do as the Scriptures said and thank God for everything about the barracks they found themselves in. Corrie wondered what there was to be thankful for. Betsie started listing things:
Being assigned to the same barracks. Corrie agreed.
The Bible Corrie was holding in her hands. Corrie agreed. (By the grace of God – a miracle, one might say — they had been able to smuggle a Bible into both concentration camps. By the time they arrived at Ravensbruck, they had read through the entire New Testament twice and were working on their third time through.) 
The extreme overcrowding which allowed for more women to have an opportunity to share in the daily devotionals that she and Corrie always tried to have. Corrie agreed, but reluctantly. 
For the fleas. Uh, no. Corrie wasn’t going to do that. 
“Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.” 
“Give thanks in all circumstances,” [Betsie] quoted. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances’. Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.” 
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong. 
Time went on, and Betsie and Corrie began holding nightly “worship services” in the back of the barracks. According to Corrie: 
They were services like no others, these times in Barracks 28. A single meeting might include a recital of the Magnificat in Latin by a group of Roman Catholics, a whispered hymn by some Lutherans, and a sotto-voce chant by Eastern Orthodox women. With each moment, the crowd around us would swell, packing the nearby platforms, hanging over the edges, until the high structures groaned and swayed. 
At last either Betsie or I would open the Bible. Because only the Hollanders could understand the Dutch text, we would translate aloud in German. And then we would hear the life-giving words passed back along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, back into Dutch. They were little previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the lightbulb. 
Despite making no attempt to hide what they were doing, no one tried to stop the services. In fact, there was almost no supervision in the barrack at all. Hmmm.
One day, Corrie came back from work to find Betsie looking very happy. (They were assigned to different workgroups.) Corrie asked her why.
“You know we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,” [Betsie] said. “Well – I’ve found out.” 
That afternoon there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it. 
“But she wouldn’t.” [Betsie said.] “She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?” 
“Because of the fleas!” Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice. “That’s what she said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!'” 
Corrie continued: 
My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for." - Source

There two other 'sister saints' I admire - S. Therese and her sister Celine - two more lights who illumine the way - loving God in every circumstance.