Overhyped and underresearched…
Assessing Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration:
Bold Exposé or Controlled Opposition?
Resisting Francis to his face? On May 15, 2019, Dr. Taylor Marshall met “Pope” Francis in Rome at a general audience, at which time he gave him the first (signed) copy of Infiltration, days before its official release. Later, when discussing the meeting in a video, Marshall said, “People on social media have attacked me on both sides as being too nice to the Pope, or too mean to the Pope…” This is precisely the confusion one expects from the recognize-and-resist position he espouses — opposition to the “Holy Father”, but a cordial and ultimately insipid opposition. In his book, he takes a similarly weak and unsatisfactory approach to the subject of the Church’s internal subversion. (image: Servizio Fotografico Vaticano / rights-managed)
by Francis del Sarto
“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
–Vladimir Lenin (attributed)
“…[F]alsehood is never so false as when it is very nearly true.”
–G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas
In the nearly two decades since its inception in 2002, Novus Ordo Watch has been dedicated to exposing the myriad irreconcilable divergences from the Magisterium of the Catholic Church to be found in both the official teachings and the daily activities of the pseudo-Catholic church that appeared in its nascent state in late 1958. Expressed in a more succinct way, our mission statement is found in the tagline as Unmasking the Modernist Vatican II Church.
Our contention is that the Catholic Church fell victim to a hostile takeover of her outward structures by her enemies, which resulted in the more or less gradual establishment of a counterfeit church with counterfeit popes and hierarchy, becoming fully formed at the completion of a counterfeit council and the promulgation of its counterfeit doctrines, counterfeit sacraments, and counterfeit canon law. What “Pope” Benedict XVI in 2005 decried as a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” — the position that acknowledges that the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) represents a substantial break from the teachings of the “pre-conciliar Church” — has proven time and again to be the correct interpretation and is most clearly and spectacularly confirmed in the “pontificate” of Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka “Pope Francis”. There has indeed been a fundamental disconnect from Catholicism, and the long-standing goal of conspirators to seize the reins of power began to come to fruition with the election of “Pope” John XXIII in 1958 and everything that followed, most notably the juggernaut of Vatican II. Thus has emerged the humanistic-Masonic pseudo-Catholic “Conciliar” church, which we sometimes call the Novus Ordo Sect or the Vatican II Church.
On the face of it, the premise of Dr. Taylor Marshall’s provocatively titled book, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, would seem to fit right in line with the Novus Ordo Watch position. After closer inspection, however, the truth is that it does, and doesn’t, correspond with ours. The points at which the two diverge will be evident as this study progresses.
Infiltration — an immediate Best$eller
Infiltration was one of last year’s surprise best-selling books on Amazon.com for the category of “Catholicism”, at one point topping the list. The popularity has continued into 2020: After a bit of a decline — a March 2 ranking had it down to #66, it rebounded strongly, and has climbed to #9 as of August 17 in Amazon Best Sellers: Best in Catholicism.
Originally appearing on Amazon back in its Kindle edition on May 23, 2019, with the hardback version being released on May 31, its meteoric rise was astonishing — nearly instantaneous — with it almost immediately becoming one of the site’s best sellers for said category. Astonishingly, within days, it already had over 900 customer reviews, with nearly all of them giving it five stars, which is tops according to Amazon’s rating system. In mid-July, the hoopla over Infiltration hadn’t abated, with it still coming in at an average of 4.8 stars based on 1200+ reviews, and as of August 2020, the rating has slipped, but ever so slightly to 4.7 stars, with Amazon reporting 1,888 customer ratings.
To truly appreciate the phenomenon, one need only note the seemingly miraculous fact that within a month or so of its release, the book was already Amazon’s top seller in three categories: General History of Religion, History of Religions, and Christian Institutions & Organizations. It topped such releases as Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion, The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors, and even New York Times bestsellers like Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus: A History, and the more recent In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.
What makes this all the more exceptional an accomplishment is that Infiltration wasn’t published by one of the major companies such as HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, or Simon & Schuster; but by Sophia Institute Press, a smallish, conservative Novus Ordo publisher (“conservative” as in one with titles that include Saint Pope Paul VI: Celebrating the 262nd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Benedict: The Spiritual and Intellectual Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI, and Day by Day with Saint Faustina) that counts its revenues in the millions of dollars, not in the billions, like the aforementioned firms. There was no mass market paperback printing of Infiltration and no high-powered hype machine for saturation marketing, yet very robust sales for the hardback and electronic Kindle editions. What could have piqued such an interest? What, that is, besides people trying to make heads or tails of how the Church could have been brought to a point where Bergoglio can be mistaken for a Pope (something the book doesn’t really answer)? Whatever the case may be, Marshall’s book was a tremendous hit.
“With the tenacity of a martial artist, the zeal of a convert, and the insight of a Catholic theologian…” is how one Amazon reviewer loftily describes Marshall’s perceived authorial acumen. Other blurbs from 5-star reviews are no less effusive in their praise: “Bombshell!!” – “Powerhouse of Information” – “A must read for all Catholics” – “Couldn’t put it down” – “I’m now truly WOKE!!” – “An extraordinary and sobering book!” – “Diabolical, Mesmerizing, Explosive! Forget the Zombie Apocalypse – this conspiracy is REAL!”, etc., ad nauseam.
In the course of a June 2019 interview with Sam Guzman of the Catholic Gentleman blog, Marshall took a moment to reflect on the great success he was having with Infiltration:
I think the reason the book is so immensely … it’s way popular [sic] than I expected, and I think it’s because it’s the first book [concerning the infiltration of the Church] to do an academic treatment with footnotes, with research, with history….
…[T]his is the first book to come with a researched, responsible [sic] … I mean this is not tin foil hat. Like if there’s not something substantiated, I leave it out of the book. You’re gonna find, I mean if you read reviews, everyone’s like, “There’s footnotes, it’s researched, I’m… I’m thankful for this.” So, I think it’s… it’s a… it’s a very calm and responsible account that takes in a lot more data than anyone expected….
(“Infiltration Interview by Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman w Dr Taylor Marshall”, YouTube, June 5, 2019; quotation begins at 32:26 time stamp.)
How completely unrealistic and gratuitously self-aggrandizing Dr. Marshall’s opinion of his own work is, will soon be evident. For now, let’s just say that if he really believes that, he’ll do well to let some air out of his ego, because it’s clearly overinflated.
In order to understand the real reason for Infiltration‘s immense start-up success, one needs to pull back the curtain, much like in The Wizard of Oz, where the larger-than-life Mighty Oz in the end turns out to be just a daft little man twirling dials and pulling levers. In the Infiltration remake, the Mighty Oz is Taylor Marshall. How so? The answer lies in Marshall’s clever marketing strategy, which gravitated to organizing a “launch team” to assist him in getting the word out about Infiltration.
Now, clearly, there is nothing dishonest or deceptive about having a launch team. However, in Marshall’s case, it’s what he directed his launch team to do and not to do that crosses the ethical line. One part of the ruse was to urge team members — there are over 2,000 member names listed in the back of the book — not to disclose to Amazon that they had received an advance copy of the book (see screen capture below):
This screenshot is taken from an email Taylor Marshall sent to his launch team. One of the members forwarded it to Novus Ordo Watch. We added the green arrow. Click on the image for a larger view.
The previous Novus Ordo Watch coverage of Infiltration has aptly described this as an example of astroturfing, one definition of which is: “organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation)” (Merriam-Webster, s.v. “astroturfing”). A complete analysis of Marshall’s promotional chicanery can be heard on TRADCAST 028 at the 1:42:40 mark. (To be fair, we must add the caveat that, contrary to what is mistakenly stated in the podcast, Marshall didn’t get all of the 813 reviews on the first day of the hardcopy edition’s release (May 31), but rather, received some in the eight days leading up to it, because the electronic Kindle edition had been released as early as May 23. This is explained further in our blog post introducing TRADCAST 028.)
Let’s just say that if Dr. Marshall pulls tricks like this to get his book to sell, it doesn’t bode particularly well for other aspects of Infiltration as we go forward in our critical analysis.
An Erratic Guide to Ecclesiastical Subversion
The present writer doesn’t know Taylor Marshall; he has never met the man. The only knowledge of him comes through videos on his YouTube channel, social media posts, background material about him mostly gleaned from the tireless detective work done at the Call Me Jorge… blog, and reading Infiltration — and occasions where he’s been the interviewee soaking in praise or waxing rhapsodic about his book.
When we first heard about Infiltration, we had high hopes that it would be a work that would contribute toward the exposure of those who burrowed within the Church, intent on inflicting upon her the greatest harm; namely, the institutional equivalent of one of those alien sci-fi/horror creatures known as body snatchers, which take over a person from within, only leaving the outward appearance of that person. In other words, there was every reason to want to like the book — its theme was clearly legit and therefore self-recommending, as it were.
Much the same is found in the opening of TRADCAST 027. Although we have important theological differences with Dr. Marshall, the book could still have been a valuable asset in terms of uncovering, presenting, and analyzing important historical facts about the infiltration of our beloved Church — much like George Neumayr, who is not a sedevacantist, provided a great collection of many of Francis’ outrages in his book The Political Pope, or like Henry Sire gave an immensely helpful portrait of the character and modus operandi of Francis in The Dictator Pope. Alas, it was not to be.
In terms of writing ability, Marshall is a mixed bag. At times he writes well; at other times, not so much. He writes in a conversational style that’s suited for a wide audience, and that certainly has its merits. In fact, given the subject matter and the urgency of informing the public about the plot against the Catholic Church, the more people find his work readable and informative, the better. However, it’s definitely not the academic powerhouse as which he’s marketed it, nor does it qualify — to use his own lingo — as a “literary accomplishment”, if by literary he means learned, erudite, scholarly. Marshall produces rather dry, humorless, vanilla prose — he rarely makes engaging turns of phrase. His is a kind of Cliffs Notes of a CHURCH INFILTRATION 101 course.
Overall, the book is problematic. While it may provide the basics on the subject, even at that level the great importance in delivering a credible and factual presentation is obvious, since if it is unreliable there is the danger that readers may end up not getting the proper foundation on the topic, drawing false conclusions or dismissing the thesis of an infiltration of the Church altogether.
Besides, as we show in our two podcasts, it seems clear that Wikipedia was one of Dr. Marshall’s favorite research tools, although he does not ever quote or cite the online do-it-yourself encyclopedia. This isn’t to say that Wikipedia is utterly devoid of usefulness — we quote from and refer to it on this web site quite a bit –, but it should only be utilized with the understanding that it provides merely an introductory overview of a topic, that is, stepping stones to finding genuine source material — it is not a tool meant to replace the need for serious research, especially not for an “academic treatment”. That much should be clear to someone who has a Ph.D. in philosophy. Alas, this is just one of many major concerns Infiltration presents.
Reading Marshall’s book with a critical eye, it quickly becomes a matter of turning each page with trepidation, wondering what error lies in ambush next for the unsuspecting reader. Will the author of this “academic treatment” show his ignorance of Canon Law? …posit as “history” something that may or may not have happened? …make similar assertions that aren’t demonstrable? …ascribe incorrect dates to well-known events? …make careless spelling errors? …play fast and loose with punctuation in a way that deceives? …confuse one theological term for another? …present information which, though of interest, is at best tangential to the topic at hand? …use anti-Catholic sources and not even warn of the nature of such books, thus potentially endangering a reader’s faith? etc., etc., etc.
We are not exaggerating. The mistakes in Infiltration are not rare, they are quite frequent. The fact that the two special edition TRADCASTs mentioned above run for a combined three hours, and given that the majority of the time is taken up going over example after example of Marshall’s sloppiness, ignorance, confusion, and faulty reasoning — combined with an apparent indifference to getting it into publishable form — prove first and foremost that Infiltration was a rush job where the pressures of a publisher-imposed deadline may have led to the book’s overall lackluster quality.
Conspiracy: Theories, Denials, Facts
conspiracy [noun]: an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot. (Dictionary.com)
Whatever its flaws, however, Infiltration certainly hasn’t deserved some of the more mean-spirited attacks that have come its way, particularly the utterly toxic rant of Dr. Jeffrey Mirus, editor of Catholic Culture, who is technically regarded as being part of the conservative wing of the Novus Ordo Sect (he is one of the founders of Christendom College). Of all the negative critiques of the book, the harshest review undoubtedly has been Mirus’s “Infiltration: An idiot’s guide to the problems of the Church”, which reads like a catalog of the most hurtful invectives his mind could dredge up: “fundamental stupidity”, “absurdity of a crazy relative”, “Catholic far-right”, “loss of sanity”,“McCarthyism”, “a world that exists only in his head” — and, of course, the scary two-word triggering phrase meant to shut down any and all dissenting views, omnipresent in modern “nothing to see here, folks” style of reporting: conspiracy theories.
Mirus’s ad hominem attacks are at times astonishingly uncharitable in their ferocity, but all his bellicose rhetoric is at the service of his main contention, which is that conspiracies are well-nigh nonexistent, so to contend otherwise, as Dr. Marshall does, is to engage in a form of (clinical?) madness.
For a man who received a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from Princeton University, Mirus’ statistically dodgy claim that “999,999 times out of a million, we are simply dealing with the complexities and lukewarmness of a frail and sinful humanity” rather than bonafide conspiracies, is embarrassingly oblivious to the very human nature he purports to understand. Sure, he could argue that he means he doesn’t believe conspiracies happen on a larger scale, but that is demonstrably false. Antitrust laws are all about such collusion, as was witnessed in late July of this year, as CEOs from social giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet (the parent company of Google) were called before the House of Representatives to answer “questions about alleged predatory business practices, theft of digital content and aggressive copying and purchasing of competing businesses”.
Only days before that hearing, a criminal plot of a different sort was being exposed out in California. LA Weekly reported:
A South Los Angeles gang leader has been arrested by the FBI, being charged with one count of “conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act” and one count of “using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime resulting in death.”
(“South L.A. ‘Crip’ Gang Leader Arrested on Federal Charges”, LA Weekly, July 23, 2020)
It’s Mirus who’s really out of touch. Were he to be believed about the virtual nonexistence of conspiracies, then the “clear majority” of Americans who have been polled from the time of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the present — who have consistently rejected the official “lone gunman” theory in favor of the belief that more than one person planned and carried out the killing — must all be catalogued in his “crazy relative” file.
The fact is that the conspiracy denier Mirus has no clue what he’s talking about (don’t they teach critical thinking at Princeton?). Just staying on the subject of assassinations, any number of them down through history have been plotted by cabals of evildoers: Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, first and foremost (see Jn 11:53); other examples include Julius Caesar, Gustav III of Sweden, Abraham Lincoln, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg; also Paul I, Alexander II, and Nicholas II, all emperors of Russia, just to name a few out of many.
Similarly, revolutions are conspiracies. No revolutionist, be it in France, Russia, Spain, Cuba, etc., has ever gone to city hall and paid a fee to obtain a permit to engage in mayhem. Likewise, the riots (attempted mini-revolutions) seen in some American cities this summer were clearly orchestrated and thus the fruit of a conspiracy.
So, no conspiracies, Dr. Mirus? Please do yourself and your readers a favor by actually researching next time, so you won’t be putting your embarrassing ignorance on full display. Dr. Marshall at least did some research, which is more than you can say!)
Right after the release of Infiltration and its attack by Mirus, the blog The Eponymous Flower came out with “Who’s Worse? Mirus Attacks Taylor Marshall — Thinks Denying Communion to Adulterers is Extreme”, in which Marshall’s Opus Dei connections are mentioned (to be examined later in this study) and the assertion is made that despite appearances, Mirus and Marshall “are really on the same side”. Then the blog Catholic Monitor is quoted, as follows:
Mirus in his review of the book reviles Marshall and apparently the pre-Vatican II eleven Popes since 1738 for calling out “the secret machinations of the Masons” with his really funny attempt at trying to sound reasonable with his accusations in what appears to be a[n] attempt to smear their reputations.
(“Communion for Adulterers Mirus shrieks that Taylor Marshall isn’t a ‘Sound’ Catholic”, Catholic Monitor, May 31, 2019)
Several of these popes, whom Dr. Mirus presumably would accuse of wearing tin-foil tiaras, have been cited in the Novus Ordo Watch feature “A Conspiracy against the Catholic Church? The True Popes Speak”, which knocks the legs out from under the argument that the basic premise of Infiltration — conspiratorial machinations against Holy Mother Church — is delusional. The Popes themselves had ceaselessly warned us about them! Mirus and others who ridicule the notion, then, are obliged to run the fool’s errand of trying to refute these sagacious papal warnings.
A New Theology for a New “Catholicism”
Overall, we can say that Mirus’ critique of Marshall’s book is unreasonable and excessive. While we would agree that in Infiltration the author may sometimes ascribe secret scheming to events that can reasonably be explained otherwise, that he makes leaps of logic, that he doesn’t always support his contentions with compelling evidence, that he often doesn’t document his historical claims, and that at times he confuses correlation with causality, to ridicule each and every topic raised in the book in the harshest possible language is ridiculous. In this regard, Mirus simply shows himself to be a knee-jerk defender of Vatican II and the pseudo-Catholic sect it spawned, and God help anyone who dares disagree with him.
Let’s consider a specific example.
Mirus accuses Marshall of being “abysmally ignorant of theology” for associating the Nouvelle Théologie (“New Theology”) with Modernism, when in reality Marshall was quite on point. Dr. Jürgen Mettepenningen, himself an advocate of this wretched theological school, notes that the New Theology was the “inheritor of Modernism” and the “precursor of Vatican II”, as the subtitle of his book Nouvelle Théologie – New Theology says; and he happily points out that “it took a council to give the movement a positive connotation after three decades of magisterial rejection” (p. xiii; italics added).
The moniker Nouvelle Théologie was coined by Fr. Pietro Parente in 1942. He first used it in the article “Nuove tendenze teologiche” in Osservatore Romano (Feb. 9/10, 1942, p. 1). Proponents of the movement are not necessarily happy with the label; they prefer to call it ressourcement theology, as they claim to be “returning to the sources” of theology (i.e. Scripture and Tradition, especially the Church Fathers). Pope Pius XII unmasked their pious-sounding endeavor when he wrote in 1950:
It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition. Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that they can really never be exhausted. Hence it is that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh; on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: “in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church.”
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Humani Generis, n. 21)
Furthermore, in 1942 Pope Pius XII placed two books by Nouvelle Théologie Dominicans on the Index of Forbidden Books: Fr. Marie-Dominique Chenu’s Une école de théologie: le Saulchoir, and Louis Charlier’s Essai sur le problème théologique (see Mettepenningen, p. 61).
Aside from the Pope and his Holy Office, one of the most ardent foes of this new, pseudo-Catholic theological movement was the great and saintly Dominican theologian Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964), who astutely recognized in the New Theologians the true danger they represented (and which, after roughly 60 years of the Nouvelle Théologie having had free rein, is now evident in the theological wasteland they have caused).
The eminent Dominican Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange was one of the most dogged opponents of the “New Theology”. (image: Wikimedia Commons/public domain)
In his 1907 encyclical Pascendi, Pope St. Pius X denounced Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies” (n. 39) and noted that “there is no surer sign that a man is tending to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for the scholastic method” (n. 42; cf. Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, n. 13). The notorious Fr. Yves Congar, much like Mirus’s boss, “Pope” Francis, ridiculed Neo-Scholasticism as but a rigid “wax mask” unable to comprehend lived religious experience (see Mettepenningen, Nouvelle Théologie – New Theology, pp. 31-32). It is not too surprising, therefore, that we should find Dr. Mirus dissing what he calls a “heavy-handed neo-scholasticism”.
But it is he, rather than Marshall, who seems to exhibit abysmal ignorance concerning the lineage of the crypto-Modernist New Theology, for Marshall is right: There is no substantial difference between the Modernism Catholics fought over 100 years ago and what we must resist in our own time.
The reason for Mirus’ endorsement of the New Theology and rejection of any criticism of it is obvious: The Nouvelle Théologie became the official theology of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar pseudo-magisterium. If the New Theology falls, so does the council, and with it the entire Vatican II Sect.
More Conspiracy Facts
So, unlike some of Marshall’s most virulent and uncharitable critics, who mock him as a “conspiracy theorist”, we wholeheartedly support his basic thesis about the Church having been infiltrated. In fact, at this point it should be obvious. And this really goes beyond what the deniers want people to believe is just a theory, thereby hoping to negate its value. A theory in any field is simply a more or less plausible set of ideas drawn up to explain certain facts or phenomena when their true cause has yet to be uncovered.
When something is labeled a conspiracy theory today, it is usually intended as a smear term to stifle free and open discussion of a subject. And yet, as we have noted already, history is full of conspiracies — not mere theories, but facts.
Germane to the subject of infiltration in the Church are some of the revelations from the 2000 book The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel. Here is an important avenue of research that was missed altogether by Taylor Marshall, though it does greatly corroborate the testimony of the ex-Communists he mentions, such as Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson. The Venona papers came from the Soviet secret archives after the “fall of Communism”, and Western scholars were permitted to inspect them. The Marxists, of course, viewed the Catholic Church as their mortal enemy, but orders were given to make attempts at a feigned friendship.
10,000 Strong! Members of the Holy Name Society in Cincinnati, OH, are shown participating in a parade from 1911. Information from the Soviet Union’s secret archives made public after the “fall of Communism” revealed that the Holy Name Society was one of the lay groups that had been infiltrated. By Vatican II, it had become a mere shell of itself. (image: cincinnativiews.net / public domain)
In America, this plan was implemented by the Communist Party USA, commencing in June 1938. The following fairly lengthy passage will give us more insight, as part of the plan is revealed to be the infiltration of Catholic organizations:
Earl Browder, the CPUSA leader, addressed a message to Catholics blithely pretending that Communists and Catholics had the same goals, adding piously, “We extend the hand of brotherly cooperation to the great mass of democratic Catholics.”
The real reason for this “outstretched hand” was explained at a secret meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee in December 1938. “We can see what this Catholic question means,” he said, “in the building of the democrat front, when we consider the Catholics in the Democratic Party. The overwhelming majority of Catholics of all national origins are Democrats. This is further emphasized when we note their important position in the leadership of the Democrats and the Democratic apparatus. We cannot begin to touch the Democratic Party at any point, particularly in the industrial centers and also the progressive wing, without being confronted with active Catholic leaders.” The report was sent to Moscow and the authors of this book found it in the Communist International archives. Ironically, Louis Budenz left the Communist Party in 1945 and soon became an active Catholic and anti-Communist. After his conversion, he explained to his fellow Catholics how the Communists used “the outstretched hand” to infiltrate and manipulate them.
Another document in the Comintern archives prepared for Moscow by the American Communists in 1937 was titled “Confidential report on work in religious and non-religious Catholic organizations.” The reason for the outstretched hand, it explained, was that “a real race is on as to which force will win over the Catholic people in this country — the forces of reaction and fascism as represented by the Catholic church or the forces of progress and democracy.” The report revealed that the Communist Party had sent agents into such Catholic organizations as the Holy Name Society. In one parish, the Communists boasted, “We have a Party comrade who is secretary of the Holy Name branch in this parish, which is one of the largest branches in the city. In addition, this branch is the most important because of the fact that it gives leadership and shapes the policies of most of the reactionary and anti-Communist campaigns that are now developing in the Catholic world. This comrade is well known in conservative Irish Catholic circles, and the many offices which he holds in various Catholic organizations.…”
The report discussed “one of the most outstanding leaders of the anti-Communist campaign — a Paulist priest, Father Ward. Father Ward is also the editor of a monthly anti-Communist paper entitled Wisdom.” The publication had a circulation of twenty thousand, but the Party boasted, “We have two Party members now on the editorial staff….” While the Communists didn’t identify those Party members, they provided enough information to identify one of them as Jeremiah F. O’Carroll, described as “secretary of the Catholic missionary order, president of the Irish Emergency Relief organization in 1930, widely known as a conservative in Irish circles, staff correspondent of the leading anti-Communist publication Wisdom, secretary of the Paulist Holy Name Society.…”
O’Carroll’s true affiliations were eventually revealed to the Catholic organizations by a young Catholic, William Harmon, who had been enticed into the Communist Party by fellow members of the Transport Workers Union. Although he remained a Communist for only a short time, he was made secretary of his Party unit in September 1937. In testimony in September 1938 before the Dies Committee, Hamon identified O’Carroll as a member of the Communist Party unit: “This is the man who was an organizer in Brooklyn, sent there by the Central Committee [of the Communist Party]. He had connections with the various Catholic organizations in this city; he was a member of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, and worked with the Paulist Fathers, and, I understand, was working for them at the time and living with them. He was a member of the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus. He was brought to Brooklyn for the expressed purpose of beating down Communist propaganda…. However, he was transferred out of Brooklyn shortly after that. I exposed him to the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, and they canned him. He denied it, but never showed up again in any meeting. I understand he was expelled from various organizations he belonged to.” The March 1939 issue of Wisdom nevertheless describes J. F. O’Carroll as a “staff correspondent”.
(Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors [Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2000], pp. 412-415)
What we are seeing today in terms of destructive influences, both in the Church and society at large, is the long-term consequence of these moles being allowed to remain in place after efforts to expose them were blocked, and being allowed, without interference, to sneak their comrades into the same compromised groups. Society is now afflicted with what is rightly termed cultural Marxism, and it is rapidly taking control wherever it has a presence.
We must be vigilant against those working openly to bring about the sort of immoral policies that historically have taken place hush-hush and in the dark. With the ascendance of cultural Marxism in a “post-Christian” world, these people no longer remain hidden; one can find them at universities teaching courses in so-called “gender studies”, at statehouses signing bills approving infanticide, at public libraries allowing drag queen story hours, or at the offices of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement (some extreme members of which make it seem more like BLM stands for Burn Loot Murder). In fact, among the stated objectives of BLM one can find the destruction of the family, which is indirectly also an attack on God, who brought it into being as the cornerstone of society. The BLM website states:
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
(Quoted in Susan Jones, “Niger Innis: BLM Seeks to ‘Overthrow Western Civilization,’ ‘Disrupt’ the Traditional ‘Nuclear Family'”, CNS News, June 9, 2020. Please understand we will not link directly to the BLM web site, although we have verified that the quote is accurate.)
One of the leaders of BLM has openly stated that they are “trained Marxists”. That makes a great deal of sense, as the group’s “disrupt the nuclear family” rhetoric is entirely consistent with one of the goals Karl Marx mentions in The Communist Manifesto: “Abolition of the family!”
Along the same lines, the same can be found throughout the Novus Ordo Church: Modernist seminary professors are free to indoctrinate young men into accepting apostasy as true Catholic doctrine; clerics regularly give “Communion” to politicians who promote abortion, the LGBT agenda, and other policies in flagrant violation of Catholic doctrine; religious who have no other “vocation” than being so-called “social justice warriors”; and a corrupt and faithless hierarchy that promotes these and other attacks on the Church, or at least looks the other way.
We must disabuse ourselves of the idea that the only conspiratorial agendas are drawn up and carried out hidden away from view. No, today’s cabal is open and in-your-face about what its objectives are, because now they believe they have so much momentum that they can’t be stopped. This concept goes back a century to the British author, humanist, globalist and Fabian Socialist H. G. Wells, who mapped it out in his book The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution. (Wells was also very hostile to Catholicism, and his book Crux Ansata is subtitled An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church.)
In The Open Conspiracy, the author argues for the establishment of thousands of ad hoc groups in various walks of life that will seek to impose a new vision on society, while steadfastly refusing to compromise in any way with the “ancient order”. The ultimate goal will be a world religion. All of this sounds suspiciously like what is being pushed by groups advocating a “new world order”, and “Pope” Bergoglio’s calls for what would coalesce into a one-world religion, in both the video below (see accompanying blog post here) and so many other similar instances, especially his Declaration on Human Fraternity with a Muslim imam, in which he blasphemously declares that God has willed there to be a diversity of religions in the same way that He wills there to be a diversity of sexes and races and languages.
Wells’ proposed groups emerged in real-life organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderberg Conference. One parallel group in the Novus Ordo Sect mentioned by Taylor Marshall in Infiltration is the so-called Sankt Gallen Mafia, although for all intents and purposes, groups such as national bishops’ conferences and endless Roman synods serve similar purposes.
Suffice it to say, for people to deny the existence of conspiracies in our times — and enormous conspiracies, at that — is simply absurd and entirely detached from reality.
Intellectual Dishonesty in Infiltration
Returning now to Taylor Marshall’s book, we find that it fails or underperforms in a some crucial areas, such as the following:
- Clearly done in a rush, some chapters are so laughably short (in one case, slightly over one page long) that certain subjects are given the “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” treatment
- Many assertions are given no source whatsoever, while footnotes that do appear are sparse and, in a couple of instances, needlessly cite anti-Catholic books (e.g., John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope) — a scandal and an embarrassment that could have been avoided if only Marshall had bothered to look beyond Wikipedia, especially considering that said books weren’t primary sources to begin with
- A number of potential key figures who ought to have been discussed, go completely unmentioned
- There are factual errors strewn throughout, and although TRADCAST notes that they are generally minor ones, it is amazing that neither the author himself nor any of his proofreaders caught them
- While drawing some proper conclusions (e.g., as already mentioned, his assertion that the Nouvelle Théologie was a dangerous re-emergence of Modernism in mid-20th century garb), “Popes” John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II, despite their highly destructive “pontificates”, are all recognized not only as legitimate claimants to the Chair of St. Peter, but as saints by the author (see his appendix entitled “Timeline of Popes in This Book”, where he refers to them as saints)
- Conveniently, although he brings up many a red flag about Roncalli (John XXIII), Montini (Paul VI), and Wojtyla (John Paul II), somehow Marshall ultimately manages to exonerate them all from the charge of being infiltrators, when they in fact bore ultimate responsibility for what was happening under their watch
One other type of omission is, in a sense, even more unconscionable than those just mentioned, because it has to do with what seems to be the deliberate attempt on Marshall’s part to gravely mislead (read: lie to) his readers. While it has been covered in the TRADCASTs, the recent Novus Ordo Watch article “Busted! How Taylor Marshall distorts what Paul VI really said about Vatican II”, and its accompanying video, “Vatican II Not Binding? How Dr. Taylor Marshall Misconstrues What Paul VI Really Said”, it’s worth briefly re-examining the deception, because if he did this with conscious, calculated intent, it throws him into the ranks of the intellectually dishonest and must cast him in the role of — let’s be kind — unreliable narrator going forward.
In Infiltration, Marshall writes:
Pope Paul VI promulgated Dignitatis humanae on 7 December 1965, and the next day he closed the Second Vatican Council and stated: “The magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements.” This effectively hamstrung the Council. It’s true that theological statements are made throughout the Conciliar documents. Yet the Council made no extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements. Nothing binding came from Vatican II. Paul VI clarified this a little over one month later when he explained: “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it has avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogma carrying the mark of infallibility.” By a divine miracle, the pope of Vatican II taught that Vatican II contained no extraordinary dogma and did not carry the mark of infallibility — meaning the documents of Vatican II are fallible and may contain error. Unlike the previous twenty ecumenical councils, the pope placed an asterisk next to Vatican II.
(Taylor R. Marshall, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within [Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2019], p. 143; italics given; bold print added.)
There are two direct Paul VI quotes cited to prove that in no way did Vatican II seek to make any extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, and this Marshall has rendered accurately. Indeed, no dogma binding the faithful was extraordinarily proclaimed at the Council, no anathema sit leveled at anyone who henceforth would deny or doubt it.
That much is true, but the author doesn’t give us the whole truth, and it’s difficult to see how a man with his education (Ph.D. in Thomistic philosophy from the University of Dallas) could do so innocently, especially when the same “mistake” occurs twice in the same paragraph. In each quote the sentence is truncated by Marshall, who chops off and discards any and all of Paul VI’s thoughts that occur after the initial clauses, which just so happen to contradict his contention that “[n]othing binding came from Vatican II.”
What did Marshall omit? See for yourself. Below we are the relevant passages in full (the exact wording may vary somewhat due to different translations being used by our sources as opposed to Marshall’s):
But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.
(Paul VI, Closing Speech for the Last General Meeting of the Second Vatican Council, Vatican.va, Dec. 7, 1965; underlining added.)
In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium. This ordinary magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents.
In the Novus Ordo Watch article already mentioned, we read:
It is important to understand that in Taylor Marshall we do not merely have a commentator making a hapless but innocent mistake about the authority Paul VI claimed Vatican II to have. We are dealing with a man who quietly omits text from a quote so that he can promote a position contradicted by what he omitted.
(“Busted! How Taylor Marshall distorts what Paul VI really said about Vatican II”, Novus Ordo Wire, July 24, 2020; italics given.)
We bring this up again since, although the point made in the passage above, and in the article’s subsequent paragraph, concerning Dr. Marshall’s obligation to use ellipsis dots (“…”) to make readers aware that some text has been omitted, there is something only implicit in the discussion that perhaps needs to be emphasized a bit more.
Glancing for a moment at Infiltration’s quotes from Montini above (see bold text), it isn’t just the absence of ellipses that’s significant but the fact that a comma has been changed to a period. While indicating omitted text by the use of ellipses would be similarly misleading for readers, at least they would constitute a kind of silent advisory saying, “Attention: I left something out, just in case you want to go look up the full quotation”. However, what Marshall did is worse: He indicated, by means of a period, that the sentence was at an end (and thus the thought completed), when in fact the sentence (and thought) continued, as indicated by a comma.
Thus, for Marshall to pretend that Paul VI said that Vatican II wasn’t binding, when in fact he went on to emphasize that the council documents, as instruments of the “supreme ordinary magisterium”, contain “authoritative teaching” and are therefore “to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful”, is undoubtedly to engage in a form of intellectual dishonesty.
If there is an alternative explanation that would mitigate Marshall’s guilt, we’re certainly willing to consider it, but we must assume that, as a Ph.D. in philosophy providing an “academic treatment” (ahem) of the subject, Marshall didn’t simply copy and paste someone else’s truncated quotes without so much as checking the original source. Keep in mind, Marshall is building his entire case for objecting to Vatican II on these (incomplete) statements by Paul VI. Surely he actually examined what Paul VI actually said. (Marshall’s recent attempt on Twitter to justify himself, went up in smoke.)
When an author pulls a trick like that, readers are permitted to ask, “What else does he have up his sleeve?” While this ruse and others that might be lurking in the pages of Infiltration don’t bode well for Marshall’s “greatest literary accomplishment”, they do perhaps lend themselves to comprising his greatest literary sleight-of-hand.
Dr. Marshall’s Amazing Conspiratorial Glass Ceiling
The term “glass ceiling” was originally coined as a metaphor for an artificial barrier that allegedly prevents women and minorities from being elevated to senior-level positions within an organization. Here it is being retooled to mean that equally artificial barrier that Taylor Marshall and other recognize-and-resist spokesmen have constructed between rank-and-file infiltrators in the Novus Ordo power structure, who are regarded as fully culpable for all the destruction they’ve wrought, and those who are perhaps the equivalent of the occult Theosophical Society’s doctrine of Ascended Masters, who have been raised above the level of human and have become virtually untouchable because of their new status: One moment a man stands below the ceiling as the vilest Modernist infiltrator, but in the next, the same man, now magically ascended, peers down through the glass as — behold — an angel of light!
To take a peek at one such “transformation”, let’s travel back to February 15, 2005, when a certain New Jersey attorney, Christopher Ferrara of Remnant and Fatima Center infamy, was prosecuting the case against one “Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger. The charge: ecclesiastical terrorism, and in particular, the “episcopal consecration” of Bruno Forte, a bonafide Modernist.
In his summation, Ferrara argued convincingly that given Forte’s shady reputation — he openly argued that the Resurrection was just a myth, and at Tübingen University associated with heretics like Hans Küng, Walter Kasper, and Ratzinger himself — by ordaining him, Ratzinger provided yet another strong indicator that he deserved the reputation of being
perhaps the most industrious ecclesial termite of the post-conciliar epoch, tearing down even as he makes busy with the appearance of building up. The longer Ratzinger “guards” Catholic doctrine, the more porous the barriers that protect it become.
(Christopher A. Ferrara, “Ratzinger Personally Consecrates Neo-Modernist Bishop”, The Remnant, Feb. 9, 2005)
After sarcastically referring to Ratzinger as “our only friend in the Vatican”, the prosecutor finished strongly:
…[I]t was Ratzinger who wrote in 1987 (in the second edition of his Principles of Catholic Theology) that the “demolition of bastions” in the Church is “a long-overdue task.” The Church, he declared, “must relinquish many of the things that have hitherto spelled security for her and that she has taken for granted. She must demolish long standing bastions and trust solely the shield of faith.” Now it seems that with the bastions all but demolished, even the shield of faith is about to clatter to the ground.
Well stated, Mr. Ferrara. There is no doubt: The defendant is guilty.
As he was leaving the courtroom in triumph, however, Ferrara’s mind went elsewhere, wondering about the fate of the Church as John Paul II was nearing death. He exclaimed:
There is no doubt the Holy Ghost will save the Church from extinction and bring about her restoration. In the end, no other result is possible. Before this happens, however, the difference between extinction and non-extinction may come to be far smaller than even traditionalists might have supposed. On the other hand, the very next Pope could be another Saint Pius X, who will finally take arms against our enemies and impose immediate restorative measures we could scarcely have imagined. Who knows which way it will go? All we can do is continue our loyal opposition, pray for the advent of a kingly, militant pope, and hope that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will soon be upon us.
Wonder of wonders, the prosecutor’s prayers were answered — or so he thought. Just a couple of months after the Ratzinger conviction, he and Remnant editor Michael Matt went to the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square to see if another St. Pius X would indeed be elected to replace the Koran kisser. Was he? Alas, no. It was merely the old Modernist termite, Joseph Ratzinger.
That didn’t stop Ferrara, after a brief disclaimer, from considering that the new “Pope Benedict XVI” may become a St. Pius X, courtesy of “the incomparable grace of the papal office”:
Many Catholics (myself among them) have objected, with good reason, to certain of the theological views of the man who was once known as Cardinal Ratzinger. We have protested, quite rightly, the former Cardinal’s attempt to “deconstruct” the Message of Fatima. We have even, in keeping with our duty as confirmed soldiers of Christ, expressed our conviction that as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Cardinal did not act in any serious way to protect the Church against her neo-modernist enemies and had even favored some of their errors.
But now we encounter Pope Benedict XVI, and the incomparable grace of the papal office. And that grace was evident in the Latin benediction, rich with traditional Catholic content, to which Pope Benedict proceeded without ado as he stood on the balcony before a crowd of 100,000 relatively subdued Catholics (compared to the rowdy party atmosphere we were accustomed to seeing during the last pontificate), of which crowd I was privileged to be a part. There were tears in my eyes as I heard the Latin words absolving us of our venial sins and explicitly imploring for us the grace of final perseverance. What a joy it was to hear such words from the mouth of a Roman Pontiff again.
Will the new Pontiff begin steering the bark of Peter away from the ruinous shoals of novelty and bring it back to a firm place of mooring, as in the prophecy of Don Bosco, between the twin pillars of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother? Only time will tell. And while we watch and wonder if our deliverance is really at hand, or whether, instead, the modernist subversion of the Church will only worsen, the traditionalist critique of the postconciliar aggiornamento will continue unabated—supported, in fact, by many strong statements found in the writings of the former Cardinal himself.
But whatever has been said and written before, and whatever will be said and written in the future, every Catholic owes his allegiance to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. May God bless and protect him in the stormy days to come, and may the Holy Ghost make of him a great restorer of the devastated vineyard of the Church.
(Christopher A. Ferrara, “Is This the End of Our Exile?”, The Remnant; italics given.)
Here we see the Recognize-and-Resist Glass Ceiling Principle in effect: Ratzinger has been elevated to the level above human, where it is no longer permissible even for a moment to suspect that he could be an infiltrator, regardless of what the evidence shows.
Why was Ferrara not shedding tears of lamentation that the “most industrious ecclesial termite of the post-conciliar epoch” was now in a position to do much greater damage than ever before? Why did he and Matt rave about “that supremely Catholic moment” of receiving a blessing from a Modernist termite that had now advanced all the way to the papal balcony? The Holy Ghost does not miraculously make a Modernist into a Catholic when enough “cardinals” cast their votes in conclave, as Ferrara has had to find out the hard way since 2013. Such a fanciful transformative process was pithily observed here at Novus Ordo Watch as “Ratzinger’s ontological morphing from Modernist Caterpillar to Vicar of Orthodoxy”.
Taylor Marshall uses the same kind of logic as Chris Ferrara. This becomes evident when we contrast how he resolutely attempts to excuse his “sainted pope”, Paul VI, with the historical facts and common sense. Consider the following excerpt from TRADCAST 028:
…[O]n page 161, Marshall states, “It is difficult to understand how Pope Paul VI would lament the demonic infiltration of the Church, while he promoted reforms that encouraged it”, and then he quotes Paul VI saying, “We would say that through some mysterious crack — no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation.” Well, how is it difficult to understand that, if we’re operating on the idea of infiltration? Did Taylor Marshall suddenly forget that he was writing a book on the topic of the infiltration of the Church?
You know what? When Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God, he was probably boasting. And even if he wasn’t, even if he was expressing surprise, that’s totally compatible with what an infiltrator would do: First he causes chaos within the organization, and then he plays innocent lamb and acts all surprised that everything is a mess. It worked for Paul VI, didn’t it?!
Ah, but you see, Marshall probably doesn’t want to accept that Paul VI was himself an infiltrator since Marshall believes that Paul was a true pope. See, later on — on page 192 — he says about John Paul II: “Whether one admires John Paul II or not, he was certainly not an infiltrator of the Church”. Well, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t say the Church has been infiltrated — look at the fruits! — and then the very individuals most responsible for those fruits get a pass, because you’d rather not say that they were some of those infiltrators you’re denouncing.
Such a thesis simply can’t be taken seriously, and in holding it I think Marshall is once again showing himself to be little more than a storyteller, a man who’s using his name, face, and influence to direct other people’s minds in a particular, predetermined direction, regardless of what the facts actually are.
Next is Chapter 24, on the infiltration of the Vatican Bank under Paul VI. We can pretty much skip over that. Marshall mentions that Paul VI “mysteriously” hired the Freemason and Mafioso Michele Sindona as a financial advisor, and says that this “points to deep Freemasonic infiltration in the corridors of the Vatican by 1968, three years after Vatican II”. He says that on pages 166 and 167.
Yeah, it really does point to Masonic infiltration, and it points to the idea that perhaps Paul VI was one of the infiltrators himself. But, of course, it sounds better if you attribute it to mystery instead. Right? You’ve probably heard it before: Paul VI was an enigma! You know, I don’t think there is much mystery there. If you suppose that he tried to wreck the Church, while retaining the occasional appearance of piety, orthodoxy, and sincerity, then there really isn’t much mystery left.
(TRADCAST 028; 14:13 min – 17:43 min)
“You can’t say the Church has been infiltrated — look at the fruits! — and then the very individuals most responsible for those fruits get a pass, because you’d rather not say that they were some of those infiltrators you’re denouncing”: That is the essence of the glass ceiling, giving these malefactors complete immunity from prosecution once they become “Popes”. That is either more intellectual dishonesty in Infiltration or else sheer ignorance of Catholic teaching on the papacy — take your pick. Either way, it works for the author, who more or less “must” take that position if he wants to keep from becoming a sedevacantist.
This false narrative of a puzzling Paul VI, to which Dr. Marshall latched on, is by no means a new one. Back in his day, Montini was dubbed “the Hamlet Pope” for supposedly being wavering and irresolute. This can be seen in Michael Davies’ 1977 book, Pope John’s Council, where he devotes a chapter of over thirty pages to “The Enigma of Pope Paul” (Chapter 13, pp. 173-206).
A review of Montini’s record prior to and after his 1963 election shows rather clearly that the Davies-Marshall version of him as a figure of ambiguity, who struggled to reconcile his supposed traditional side and progressive alter ego (which, of course, is an inherent contradiction), couldn’t be further from the truth. Paul VI’s “achievements” in seeing Vatican II to its completion — its inclusion of many errors and failure to condemn Freemasonry or Communism — and his efforts to replace Catholic sacraments with counterfeits, are but two major examples that suggest to an objective and reasonable person that he was, or at least may have been, an infiltrator.
Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI): Definitely not an infiltrator?
But there is more evidence — much more.
Rather than provide a comprehensive chronology of Montini from his earliest departures from the Faith as a seminarian, what follows will begin in the 1940’s, as even from that starting point there will be more than enough lowlights to overwhelmingly refute the “Paul VI the enigma” myth:
- In 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) learned that Montini, then the Sostituto (Substitute) of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, had had a secret meeting with his longtime friend, Palmiro Togliatti, who happened to be the head of the Italian Communist Party (OSS Report JR-1022 of Aug. 28, 1944; cited here). A later incident involving Italian Communists and thefts from the Vatican’s Secret Archives, which would result in Montini’s ouster from the Holy See, is covered later in this article.
- There has long been an allegation that Montini joined the Grand Orient Freemasons at some point. In an interview with the leftist Mexican weekly Proceso, no. 832 (Oct. 12, 1992), Carlos Vázquez Rangel, the head of the Masonic Lodges of Mexico, made this startling assertion: “It was in Paris where the profane Angello [sic] Roncalli and Giovani [sic] Montini were initiated, on the same day, into the august mysteries of brotherhood. So it is not surprising that much of what was achieved at John XIII’s Second Vatican Council was based on the principles and postulates of Freemasonry” (p. 4; translation by DeepL.com). While the mere claim by a high-ranking Mason would be insufficient as evidence, of course, it would be foolish to simply dismiss this out of hand. First, the claim that Masonic principles animated much of Vatican II, has been the boast of any number of leaders from the secret societies. Considering the documents the council produced, the claim is by no means silly or gratuitous (unlike the calumny against Pope Pius IX). Second, although no specific date is given, a place is mentioned: Paris. From 1944-1953, Roncalli was Apostolic nuncio to France, so that would fit. Third, these days people tend to forget that Montini and Roncalli were very close friends, and during the latter’s decade as nuncio, there was a correspondence of no fewer than 64 letters between them. (Roncalli, whose file at the Holy Office had been been marked “suspected of Modernism”, reportedly was known to go to Grand Orient meetings in Paris disguised in street clothes, and the charge was also leveled at him that nearly a decade before his French assignment, he had joined the Rosicrucians while serving as the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey.)
- In Ecclesiam Suam (1964), Montini’s first encyclical, he made some traditional-sounding noises, condemning those addicted to change as being a danger: “Modernism might be cited as an example. This is an error which is still making its appearance under various new guises, wholly inconsistent with any genuine religious expression. It is surely an attempt on the part of secular philosophies and secular trends to vitiate the true teaching and discipline of the Church of Christ” (n. 26). Here is an example of what Marshall and his ilk would want us to believe is evidence that Montini meant well but was perhaps led off course by what was occurring at the council (that he was in charge of, we might add). Isn’t that more evidence, they might us, that he was an enigmatic but nevertheless true Pope? Far from it. It is simply the sheep’s clothing into which the wolf wraps himself (cf. Mt 7:15). “For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:13-14). Besides, by acknowledging that Modernism is still a threat to the “true teaching and discipline of the Church of Christ”, Paul VI is testifying against himself, for it was he who demolished so many effective defenses against precisely such threats — by formally abolishing the Index of Forbidden Books in 1966 and Pope St. Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism in 1967, to mention just two key examples.
- While Vatican II was raging, Paul VI took time to visit the United Nations, where he promoted the prototype for a one-world government, calling it “the obligatory path of modern civilization and world peace”, something that fits right in with what he praised as “the cult of man” (in another translation, rendered as “we more than any others, honor mankind”). The U.N. has always been largely controlled by Socialists and Communists (see for example, the head of its so-called World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, who is a Communist). Another strong current at the U.N. is its occultism and promotion of a world religion through its association with Lucis Trust, an esoteric group based on theosophical doctrines. The mural at the U.N.’s stark and eerie “meditation room” could be an abstract mocking Christ’s Crucifixion, and is perhaps reminiscent of Paul VI’s “Bent Cross” ferula.
- One last strong indicator of Paul VI being an anti-Catholic infiltrator: In his controversial 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio, he encouraged people to work towards a “New World Order” — a term that, at that point in time, clearly meant a “post-Christian” global system: “Delegates to international organizations, public officials, gentlemen of the press, teachers and educators—all of you must realize that you have your part to play in the construction of a new world order” (n. 83). The encyclical was so shockingly un-Catholic that its edition of Mar. 30, 1967, The Wall Street Journal famously noted that parts of it are “warmed-over Marxism” (p. 14).
Whatever may be the motive behind Marshall’s attempt to quickly dismiss the idea that Paul VI could have been an active and conscious participant of the very infiltration his book is supposedly trying to expose, an unbiased look at the historical facts is definitely not it.
With regard to John Paul II, Marshall sings the same tune, claiming he was “certainly not an infiltrator”. Really? There are plenty of examples suggesting that John Paul II was definitely an infiltrator. Consider but the following:
- As Bp. Wojtyla, he was given permission by the Communist government of Poland to leave and enter the country at his leisure (attending Vatican II when staunch Catholic prelates like Hungary’s dry martyr Cardinal József Mindszenty could not even leave the American embassy in Budapest).
- He made the following manifestly heretical remark at the council on Oct. 22, 1964: “It is not the Church’s place to teach unbelievers. She must seek in common with the world” (qtd. in Henri Fesquet, The Drama of Vatican II, trans. by Bernard Murchland [New York, NY: Random House, 1967], p. 444) — a clear denial of the Great Commission (see Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16).
- Shortly before his election to the “papacy”, as “Cardinal” Wojtyla, he declared in a 1977 book that the council had changed the essence of the Catholic Church: “…[T]he Church succeeded, during the second Vatican Council, in re-defining her own nature” (Sign of Contradiction [New York, NY: The Seabury Press, 1979], p. 17). Changing a thing’s essence or nature means changing what the thing is.
- In his 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, he approvingly cites the error contained in the Vatican II decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, which claims that “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using [heretical sects] as means of salvation”. That is contrary to the Catholic dogma of no salvation outside the Church (see Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam; Denz. 468), as well as the doctrine expressed in the Roman Catechism commissioned by the Council of Trent and approved by Pope St. Pius V: “And just as this one [Catholic] Church cannot err in faith or morals, since it is guided by the Holy Ghost; so, on the contrary, all other societies arrogating to themselves the name of church, must necessarily, because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Article IX [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982], p. 107).
So, just from the standpoint of Dr. Marshall’s refusal to even entertain even the possibility that any of the Conciliar “popes” could be infiltrators bent on destroying the Church through its perverse repurposing as something antithetical to what Our Lord instituted, is yet another indicator of the untrustworthiness of his book, which, we would do well to recall once more, bears the title Infiltration.
The Books that Marshall Ignored
At this point, let’s call to mind Taylor Marshall’s colossal act of self-aggrandizement and puffery cited back at the beginning of this study:
I think the reason the book is so immensely … it’s way popular [sic] than I expected, and I think it’s because it’s the first book [concerning the infiltration of the Church] to do an academic treatment with footnotes, with research, with history….
…[T]his is the first book to come with a researched, responsible [sic] … I mean this is not tin foil hat. Like if there’s not something substantiated, I leave it out of the book. You’re gonna find, I mean if you read reviews, everyone’s like, “There’s footnotes, it’s researched, I’m… I’m thankful for this.” So, I think it’s… it’s a… it’s a very calm and responsible account that takes in a lot more data than anyone expected….
(“Infiltration Interview by Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman w Dr Taylor Marshall”, YouTube, June 5, 2019; quotation begins at 32:26 time stamp.)
This overblown statement is as absurd as it is risible. In truth, however, Marshall isn’t doing himself a favor by embellishing his work beyond the pale, because this makes any legitimate criticism of his work all the more embarrassing for him.
Marshall’s assertion that his book is the first concerning the internal subversion of the Church that is “an academic treatment with footnotes, with research, with history” is categorically false. It’s not just not the first, it’s not even the first of this century! Earlier works on various aspects of the subject include (but are not limited to — see the TRADCAST 028 show notes for more):
- 1797 — Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism by Fr. Augustin Barruel, S.J.
- 1885 — War of Antichrist with the Church and Christian Civilization by Msgr. George F. Dillon (republished in revised form in 1950 as Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked as the Secret Power Behind Communism)
- 1920 — The Mystery of Freemasonry Unveiled by Bp. (later Cardinal) José Caro Rodríguez
- 1928 — Secret Societies and the Kingship of Christ by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp.
- 1930 — Freemasonry and the Anti-Christian Movement by Rev. Edward Cahill, S.J.
- 1930 — Papacy and Freemasonry by Msgr. Ernest Jouin
- 1943 — The Kingship of Christ and Organized Naturalism by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp.
- 1962 — The Plot Against the Church by ‘Maurice Pinay’
- 1967 — Judaism and the Vatican: An Attempt at Spiritual Subversion by Léon de Poncins
- 1972 — The New Post-Conciliar or Montinian Church Rev. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga
- 1973 — Athanasius and the Church of Our Time by Bp. Rudolf Graber
- 1974 — Conspiracy Against God and Man by Fr. Clarence Kelly
- 1983 — The Broken Cross: The Hidden Hand in the Vatican by Piers Compton
- 1994 — What has happened to the Catholic Church? by Fr. Francisco Radecki and Fr. Dominic Radecki
- 1997-2016 — Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani? (11 volumes) by Atila Sinke Guimaraes
- 2009 — Paul VI Beatified? by Fr. Luigi Villa
- 2010 — The Devil’s Final Battle (2nd ed.) by Rev. Paul Kramer
- 2019 — Vatican II Exposed as Counterfeit Catholicism by Fr. Francisco Radecki and Fr. Dominic Radecki
So much for Infiltration being the “first book to do an academic treatment with footnotes, with research, with history” — ouch!
As for the “academic” part, we have already established beyond reasonable debate — both here and in the two TRADCASTs — that Marshall’s research is woeful to the point of being shoddy at times. He could very easily have remedied that by investigating his subject more seriously and in more depth. Any of the books mentioned above, and no doubt others, too, could have helped him, had he really wanted to get down to it.
While not all of these books deal exclusively with the topic of ecclesiastical infiltration, they all address the matter to some extent, and the authors generally document their assertions, often quite copiously (Compton being a bit of an exception). Interestingly enough, Dr. Marshall references only one of these works, Compton’s The Broken Cross; and although he mentions a speech by Msgr. Dillon (in passing), he is entirely silent on his book, War of Antichrist with the Church and Christian Civilization — which predated his own academic masterpiece by a mere 134 years.
What we have with Infiltration is an author writing about a subject of which he had little knowledge going into the project. That’s not a dead end in and of itself, of course, but it would have required much more serious effort than Taylor obviously bothered to give it. It appears that he decided to make up for the book’s lack of scholarly endeavor by screaming all the louder about how terrific it is. In fact, every single one of his near-daily videos now features not only his handsome face but also a permanent on-screen reminder that he is the author of Infiltration — lest you ever forget it!
(annotated screenshot of a video Taylor Marshall released on Aug. 24, 2020)
Overyhyped and underresearched — that is Marshall’s Infiltration.
Crisis Magazine: Dual Reviews and Editorial Reversal about Conspiracies
As noted, quite a few publications have carried reviews of Infiltration, running the gamut from the most fulsome praise to the most scathing criticism. It’s been polarizing to say the least. But of all those reviewing it, only one website seems to have the curious distinction of having critiqued it twice in the same month by two different columnists, and slightly different conclusions.
“The Long Infiltration of the Catholic Church” by Julia Meloni appeared in the June 4, 2019 issue of Crisis, an online magazine identifying itself as “A Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity”; and then, on June 18, William Kilpatrick took his turn with “Infiltration: Real or Imagined?”.
Meloni comes across as someone who is clearly impressed with Infiltration. She writes:
Today, as the fire of revolution burns in the Church, Dr. Taylor Marshall’s bracing, important new book Infiltration offers an illuminating “historical diagnosis” for our present ecclesial malaise. Adroitly weaving together papal documents, Marian apparitions, historical data, and original research into the mysterious center of gravity known as St. Gallen, Switzerland, Marshall convincingly shows that the sparks of Church crisis far predate both Pope Francis and Vatican II.
(Julia Meloni, “The Long Infiltration of the Catholic Church”, Crisis, June 4, 2019)
The reviewer further refers to the author’s “sprawling connect-the-dots narrative”, but it’s sprawling in a Winchester Mystery House sort of way, because just as the latter has stairways and doors leading to nowhere, so, too, Infiltration’s dots don’t always connect in a meaningful way. Of course, that’s not entirely the author’s fault, given the nature of cabals. A prime example of unconnected dots is where Marshall covers the what surely in his mind must be one of the most crucial sections in his book, the chapters regarding the so-called Sankt Gallen Mafia and its part in recent Novus Ordo intrigues.
But even writing about the goings-on at Sankt Gallen — which definitely does have the earmarks of one of Wells’ open conspiracy groups, with some members known but agendas discussed at meetings kept hush-hush — Marshall falters. Does the group have an occult connection with Satanist Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis? There is very little in the book to verify that; the mere fact that there is an O.T.O. chapter in the same part of Switzerland as Sankt Gallen hardly connects any dots, it merely places dots in the same picture.
Curiously, while Infiltration does briefly touch on a controversy at the 1903 conclave regarding Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro (1843-1913), whose potential election as Pope was blocked by imperial veto, it entirely skips over the most explosive theory as to why the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I invoked his right (still in force at the time) to veto this candidate: because of secret ties Cardinal Rampolla allegedly had to Freemasonry (cf. Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church [Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2002], p. 123). How could Marshall miss this? Why would he not bring it up, either to defend or debunk the allegations? Is it because Wikipedia doesn’t include any information on that?
Whatever the case may be, Marshall dropped the ball again, as this would definitely have been of serious interest; otherwise, there is no earthly reason to include Cardinal Rampolla in a book about the infiltration of the Catholic Church. Which leads us back to Mrs. Meloni: There’s a woman whose biographical blurb at Crisis states that she holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale and a master’s degree in English from Harvard. How is it she is giving a thumbs-up to Marshall’s hack job? Did she do more than the most cursory skim of it? Would a work like Infiltration get a passing grade at her alma maters? And given Princeton alumnus Jeff Mirus’ goofy rant, one may be permitted to ask what’s going on at Ivy League these days.
Also writing for Crisis is William Kilpatrick, a widely-read journalist who is a former professor at Boston College. He takes a common-sense approach to Marshall’s thesis, noting that while not everything is a conspiracy, it’s good to keep an open mind on the subject:
As some of Marshall’s critics point out, his book is not a comprehensive or definitive history of the time period that he covers; some of the plots he discusses are not proven. Nevertheless, ideas don’t simply float in over the transom. They are carried by people, and sometimes, we must assume, by people with malevolent intent. It’s not enough to say that these ideas merely reflect the culture surrounding the Church; that’s simply a way of saying that no one is responsible. Moreover, it’s not enough to dismiss people who raise the possibility of plots as mere conspiracy theorists. Until the release of the Venona Project papers in 1995, communist infiltration of government agencies during the administration of FDR was wrongly regarded by many as no more than a rightwing fantasy.
(William Kilpatrick “Infiltration: Real or Imagined?”, Crisis, June 18, 2019)
Like Meloni before him, Kilpatrick gives Infiltration a fairly positive review overall.
Why Crisis decided to publish two supportive reviews of the same book within a fortnight, is a legitimate question, but we may not have to look far for the answer: Crisis is run by Sophia Institute Press, which happens to be the publisher of Marshall’s magnum opus. More positive reviews obviously means more book sales. Ker-ching!
One last comment on Crisis. Apparently their editorial policy did a 180-degree turn regarding the topic of conspiracies, but they don’t want us to know it: At some point Crisis must have scrubbed Sandra Miesel’s Dec. 2002 broadside against conspiracy theories, entitled “Swinging at Windmills”, because, after being republished on Apr. 8, 2009, it is now conspicuously absent from her list of published articles. Rhetorically, Miesel is the distaff version of Jeff Mirus. Needless to say, we don’t necessarily recommend anyone read her article, but those who are gluttons for punishment should at least be advised that she makes Mirus’ contempt for conspiracy theories look tame by comparison.
Rogues Gallery: Four Infiltrators Infiltration Missed
When it comes to a subject as vast as the infiltration of the Church, missing a name or two isn’t entirely out of the ordinary. But when you add to that the sloppy research that comes with a rush job, it’s totally expected. What follows are some important figures that in our opinion definitely should have received a dishonorable mention. (Considering space constraints, only overviews will be supplied, followed by pertinent links.)
DOROTHY DAY (1897-1980) When it comes to con jobs, few have been more complete than the promotion of Dorothy Day for Novus Ordo sainthood. John Paul II declared her a “Servant of God”, and Francis lauded her in his address before the United States Congress, but others have hailed her as the mother of liberation theology. A supposed convert from Communism, once in the Church, Day had a dual life: Feigning piety with daily Mass attendance, she continued to promote radical causes in her newspaper, The Catholic Worker. Even after Pope Pius XI forbade Catholics from collaborating with Communists, Day argued that the two could join forces for some projects. When the Marxists and Masons were attempting to destroy every last vestige of Catholicism in Spain during the Civil War, she argued that the faithful should be neutral. She worked on the collective farms in Cuba, and wrote “God bless Fidel Castro.” She likewise praised Ho Chi Minh, and when her friend Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a top official in the Communist Party USA, died and had a state funeral with processions in the Red Square, Day lamented that she couldn’t be in Moscow for the event. (Flynn bequeathed her entire estate to Day’s group.) When protestors were arrested for disrupting a liturgy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Day bailed them out of jail.
- Dorothy Day, a Communist?
- Dorothy Day, Communism, & Liberation Theology
- The Real Dorothy Day: A Castro Groupie
ANTONIO GRAMSCI (1891-1937) A strong case could be made that not Lenin or Trotsky, but the Italian comrade Antonio Gramsci was the greatest Communist theoretical thinker of the 20th century. He argued that violent revolution should give way to infiltration — not just as a way to glean information from the enemy, but to subvert their society from within. He could be called the father of cultural Marxism (though the Frankfurt School is also very important in that regard), calling for a “long march through the institutions”, one of those institutions naturally being the Catholic Church. He grasped the conflicts going on within the Church, especially that instigated by the Modernists, whom he saw as natural allies. His prison notebooks include much knowledge about that conflict, and he noted that the Modernists wouldn’t leave the Church, but be destructive change agents.
PAUL ROCA (1830-1893) A defrocked apostate French priest, Paul Roca is particularly infamous today for his notorious but accurate predictions that an occult spirit would invade the Church at an ecumenical council and transform everything. He wrote: “I feel that divine worship, as regulated by the liturgy, ceremonies, rites, and rulings of the Roman Church, will suffer a transformation soon, at an ecumenical council. It will return the Church to the venerable simplicity of the apostolic golden age, and harmonize it with the new stage of modern conscience and civilization” (quoted in Fr. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga, The New Post-Conciliar or Montinian Church [La Habra, CA: Edgar A. Lucidi, M.D., 1985], p. 194). Roca was excommunicated after refusing to recant the teachings found in his books that had been placed on the Index. He was constantly frequenting occult circles, such as the Freemasons, Kabalists, and Theosophists. During his involvement with the latter of these he became particularly well-known for his spirited, friendly debates with Madame Helena Blavatsky, which were compiled and printed in esoteric publications.
ALIGHIERO TONDI (1908-1979) A Jesuit priest and apostate who joined the Italian Communist Party in 1952, Alighiero Tondi was responsible for the deaths or imprisonment of many clergymen behind the Iron Curtain. An associate of Giovanni Montini at the Vatican, he was caught in the act of making photocopies of documents showing where Catholic priests would be brought in to replace priests already captured by the Reds. He was excommunicated and went to East Germany where he “married” a fellow comrade. In the 1970’s, Paul VI welcomed both of them into his newly-created Novus Ordo Church. The Tondi Affair is what precipitated Montini’s ouster from the Holy See by Pope Pius XII.
Marshall missed all of these characters. Alas, real research takes time and effort.
Marshall meets Bergoglio: How (not) to “Resist the Pope to his Face”
Although Marshall clearly doesn’t consider John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI to have been infiltrators, apparently he doesn’t rule out that Francis could be a subversive:
Mission accomplished for the Sankt Gallen Mafia: at last they delivered to the world a “Revolution in Tiara and Cope” as had been prophesied by the Freemasonic document Alta Vendita more than 150 years before. After a slow, patient revolution, they had secured “a Pope according to our heart; it is a task first of all to form for this Pope a generation worthy of the kingdom that we desire.”
(Marshall, Infiltration, p. 225)
Of course, if we know anything about Dr. Marshall by now, it’s that he’s a bit of an enigma himself and not always transparent in his thoughts. From his recognize-and-resist standpoint, Bergoglio may be the Lodge’s great hope, but simultaneously a defender of the Faith — you know, when he repeats “what the Church has always taught”.
When Marshall visited the Vatican for the General Audience of May 15, 2019, somehow he had secured the privilege of lining up with other VIPs to meet and greet the “Pope”. The encounter has not been lacking in publicity (see also the photo at the very top of this article, published by the Vatican):
(click image for larger version; source: youtube.com [screenshot] / fair use)
This is interesting because at that encounter Marshall finally had his chance to “resist Francis to his face” (cf. Gal 2:11). Instead of courageously rising to the occasion, however, he excitedly shook the Modernist’s hand, gave him a copy of his academic masterpiece (which Francis will obviously never read, especially not in English), and chatted briefly with him.
After his friendly meet-and-greet with Francis, Marshall posted the following on Twitter:
Marshall talks at length about his meeting with the “Holy Father” in a video released May 24, 2019, where he attempts to defend his happy encounter with the apostate Jesuit on the grounds that “he’s the Pope!” and he “salute[s] him”:
Taylor emphasizes that he gave Francis a copy of Infiltration and explained to him what it’s about. He believes that constitutes resisting him to his face, as he made clear in this reply to a comment in the concomitant live YouTube chat:
In the video, he asks rhetorically: “What else do you want me to do?”
For one thing, he could have done what Fr. Georges de Nantes (1924-2010) did: He wrote Books of Accusation for Heresy, Schism, and Scandal against Paul VI, John Paul II, and the author of the 1992 Catechism and attempted to hand them to the “Popes” directly — something the Vatican police weren’t too keen on permitting.
The Abbé Georges de Nantes (1924-2010) holding up his Book of Accusation against Paul VI on Apr. 10, 1973. (image: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo / rights-managed)
One will be permitted to suspect that Marshall’s primary motive for meeting with Bergoglio was self-serving: He obviously knew it would make for a great photo opportunity that would help him promote his book, and it would serve as a “rite of passage” that would confer upon him, at least in the minds of the public, much-needed credibility as an important, influential author — you know, the kind that “gave his book to the Pope”.
What good is it to hand Francis a copy of Infiltration, except to make yourself look good? Does Marshall seriously think that Bergoglio, who gets dozens of diplomatic and personal gifts every week, will ever even touch it a second time? Francis struggles with English, to boot. No doubt that copy of Infiltration went straight to the place where all the other gifts he gets on a daily basis end up, probably in some locked-up bunker somewhere in Vatican City, never to be looked at again. Never, that is, until Francis decides to raffle them all off.
If only Marshall had spent as much time and effort on the book’s contents as he did to ensure its successful marketing, it might actually have been worth getting!
Infiltration: Where Does It Start and Where Does It Stop?
There’s one final loose end to cover: Why is there nothing in Infiltration about the controversies that for many decades have swirled around a powerful, secretive, elitist, cult-like group in the bosom of the Church that’s at least as influential an ecclesial power broker as the Sankt Gallen Mafia, and which a staunch anti-Modernist with ties to the Holy See once described as “a form of Christian Masonry”?
We are talking about Opus Dei.
The answer may be found in the influences on, and associations of, Taylor Marshall subsequent to his conversion. (He used to be an Episcopalian, i.e. Anglican, clergyman.)
In January 2006, Marshall wrote about the “pure gold” he was finding in the spirituality and theology of a man whose book The Way he was reading. He was referring to Fr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975), a Spanish priest who in 1928 founded the highly influential — and later, highly controversial — secular institute called Opus Dei [literally, “Work of God”]. Marshall’s interest in Fr. Escriva, who was declared a “saint” by John Paul II, can fairly be called an obsession: In June 2006, just a month after his entrance into the Novus Ordo religion, Taylor’s wife gave birth to a boy they named “Jude Ambrose Josemaria”. In sharing that news, he spoke of his “deep devotion to this holy man and his writings”, and how “I attend daily Mass at the St Josemaria Chapel (at the Catholic Information Center)…”.
Dr. Marshall’s fascination with Opus Dei has continued well beyond then. In April 2014 he was pleased to write on his Facebook page: “I’m about to go to the Dallas Opus Dei recollection. Anyone else going tonight?”; clarifying in the comments section that “I’m not a member. Just a groupie.”
Fr. Wlodimir Ledóchowski (1866–1942) The Jesuits’ 26th Superior General and a staunch anti-Modernist and anti-Communist, he silenced Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and warned the Vatican that Opus Dei was functioning as a secret society. (image: Wikimedia Commons / public domain)
Ironically, in light of Infiltration’s subject matter, one of the most persistent charges against Opus Dei has been the way in which it has preferred to operate as a shadowy power broker much of the time, even to the point of the society being likened to an archenemy of the Church:
From its earliest days, Opus Dei has attracted opposition. The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Wlodimir Ledochowski (1866–1942), told the Vatican he considered Opus Dei “very dangerous for the Church in Spain.” He described it as having a “secretive character” and saw “signs in it of a covert inclination to dominate the world with a form of Christian Masonry.” These allegations against Opus Dei from within well-regarded ecclesiastical circles (“the opposition by good people,” as Escrivá called it), which happened time and again in its history, are considered to be some of the roots of present-day accusations coming from the most varied quarters.
(Wikipedia, s.v. “Controversies about Opus Dei”; italics added.)
For all its uniqueness in mission and structure, Opus Dei is best known for being secretive. It has a special set of greetings: “Pax” and “In aeternum” (“Peace” and “In eternity”). Its 1950 constitution barred members from revealing their membership without permission from the director of their center. In 1982 a new document repudiated “secrecy or clandestine activity,” and Bohlin, the U.S. vicar, claims that the continuing impression is a misunderstanding based again on decentralization….
Yet Opus will still not identify its members, and many prefer not to identify themselves. In England, in late 2004, the Labour government’s Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, went months before confirming she had received “spiritual support” from Opus. (Her exact status remains unclear.) Nor, as [John] Allen shows in his book [Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church], will Opus formally own up to many of its institutions.
(David Van Biema, “The Way of Opus Dei”, Time, Apr. 16, 2006; italics added.)
Marshall called himself “just a groupie”, which would make him an associate or at least a kind of fellow traveler, but given the group’s secrecy about its members, there’s really no way of knowing whether he later took the next step and has undergone initiation into its “venerable mysteries”, so to speak.
There’s one more note to touch on here regarding this quasi-secret society. Given the corruption and blatant apostasy so often seen in today’s Jesuits and the suspicion that surrounds them, some readers might have raised their eyebrows at hearing that one of the very first critics of Opus Dei was the head of the Society of Jesus. Any concern here, however, is misplaced.
Fr. Ledochowski was a staunch anti-Modernist who “openly sided with Cardinal [Rafael Merry] del Val” of the Holy Office with regard to the controversial doctrines taught by Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. At only 37 years of age, Cardinal Merry del Val had been picked by Pope St. Pius X as his Secretary of State, and Pius X considered him a saint.
According to Fr. Ledochowski’s entry in the French-language edition of Wikipedia, in 1925 the Jesuit Superior General ordered Teilhard to step down from his teaching position and to sign a statement in which he withdrew his controversial statements about original sin (Teilhard had argued that it wasn’t a stain on the soul, but merely a phase in the evolutionary process), else face expulsion from the Jesuits. It was only after his death in 1942 that Fr. Ledochowski’s liberal successor relaxed the censures imposed upon Teilhard.
For a long list of various milestones in Taylor Marshall’s public life, including more evidence of his connections with the Escriva group Opus Dei, please consult the “Taylor Marshall Timeline” provided by the Call Me Jorge… blog:
Perhaps we now know why Marshall has nothing to say about Opus Dei in his book.
Quo Vadis, Taylor Marshall?
At last we conclude our lengthy assessment of Dr. Marshall and his supposed academic masterpiece, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within.
A few short years ago, he was a not-so-well-known blogger and podcaster who even defended Francis’ disastrous “Apostolic exhortation” Amoris Laetitia. Alas, he has successfully scrubbed all such content off the internet, so we’re not even able to furnish any evidence of it. The rise to his current status as an apparently omnipresent “traditional Catholic” commentator and explainer-in-chief, has been meteoric. His book Infiltration has played no small part in that — not, obviously, because of the “quality” of the content, but on account of the clever marketing efforts Marshall put into it.
Not only did he make sure that his book would have heaps of glowing reviews on Amazon the day of its hardcover release, he had also gotten himself an all-important appointment with the “Holy Father” for maximum publicity, just in time. In addition to giving numerous podcast and YouTube interviews about his book, he also ended up appearing on FOX News and One America News. On account of the latter, he received a shout-out on Twitter from U.S. President Donald Trump a few weeks ago, and on July 24, 2020, it was announced that Marshall had been appointed to the “Catholics for Trump” advisory board. Did Opus Dei pull some of the strings behind the scenes here?
To be clear: There is nothing wrong with advertising one’s work, even doing so in a clever way (as long as no deception is involved). Here, however, the question is whether the marketing and publicity efforts are commensurate with the effort put into researching and writing the book. It is one thing to solemnly promote a truly excellent work, and quite another to hype a book of lousy quality as though it were a literary masterpiece. The latter would qualify as that disreputable business practice known as false advertising.
In light of everything presented above and in other places on this web site, people can decide for themselves whether they think their purchase of Infiltration was money well spent — and whether they believe Taylor Marshall is simply a scholar gone wrong, or an opportunist, or perhaps… an infiltrator.