Infiltration, innuendo, and the longing for certainty

We must not cling to certainty beyond what the facts allow. Infiltration, under-researched and over-stated, fails to meet this standard.


In Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, Dr. Taylor Marshall purports to show that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Freemasons and Communists. Already ahead of its release, the hardcover was ranked #1 in several categories. The interest in this book testifies to the hunger for an explanation for the current chaos in the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, Dr. Marshall’s book comes nowhere near providing the enlightenment it promises.

Have Freemasons placed their agents within high positions in the Church? Marshal cites a 19th-century document showing that the Freemasons wanted to subvert the Church. But showing they wanted to infiltrate the Church does not prove that they actually succeeded. He cites a list of purported Freemasons that circulated around the short pontificate of John Paul I in 1978. The fact that someone circulates a list doesn’t prove the list was accurate. These facts are the beginning of a serious investigation, not the conclusion.

He shows that the town of Sankt Galen has a historical connection with Freemason and Satanic groups. He places a young Theodore McCarrick in the town of Sankt Galen in 1949. Unfortunately, simply placing these people and institutions in the same location does not tell us what they did or indeed whether they did anything at all. Indeed, Marshall himself says, “One cannot help but wonder if Sankt Galen served as an infiltration center for recruiting young men to infiltrate the priesthood. Perhaps the arrival of the fatherless Theodore McCarrick to Sankt Gallen…” (emphasis added).

In other words, Marshall is speculating, not proving. Once again, the beginning, not the end, of a serious investigation.

Likewise, to “prove” the claim that the Communists infiltrated the priesthood, Marshall cites Bella Dodd’s testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee. She claimed that the Communists had placed more than 1,000 agents in the priesthood, including four men who were cardinals. However, she does not name a single name. Rather than seek corroborating evidence, Marshall takes Dodd’s statements at face value. He tries to work out who the four cardinals might have been. Of the cardinals he considers most likely, he presents no evidence that any of them spent a single day in or near Moscow or a Communist training group, or that any had a single encounter with a confirmed Soviet agent.

Even JFK conspiracy theorists (“Lee Harvey Oswald was a Soviet agent”) can point to Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union.

I am not setting an impossibly high standard: serious research into Soviet covert operations can now be done. For instance, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, formerly of the Romanian Army, and University of Mississippi Law Professor Ronald Rychlak have shown that the Soviets created an elaborate disinformation campaign to smear Pope Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope,” starting with the play The Deputy. Rychlak wrote an entire book assembling the evidence and documenting his case; Pacepa was the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to defect from the Soviet Bloc. The combination of Rychlak’s research and Pacepa’s testimony leaves no doubt that the Soviets wanted to discredit the Catholic Church. But did the Soviets successfully place agents in the priesthood who are still operating to undermine the Church? Perhaps. Infiltration’s brief chapter adds nothing to the evidence provided by serious scholars such as Rychlak and Paul Kengor, author of numerous books on the Soviet era.

The most startling instance of under-researched but over-stated conclusion occurs in the chapter entitled, “Infiltration in John Paul II’s Pontificate.” Marshall says: “Fr. Marcial Maciel was also able to walk between the raindrops through bribes given to Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, beloved friend and counselor or John Paul II.” The context of this remarkable statement is that Marshall is describing the changes to canon law during John Paul’s reign. Marshall asks rhetorically, “Why did the Code of Canon Law under John Paul II remove the language of ‘adultery,’ ‘bestiality,’ and ‘sodomy’ from clerical punishment?” He provides no research to answer this question.

Instead, Marshall’s statement leaves us to draw conclusions from a chain of inferences. 1) John Paul II personally revised the Code of Canon Law to reduce the penalties for clerical sexual misconduct; 2) he did this for no good reason whatsoever; 3) he did it because Marcial Maciel, who was guilty of sexual misconduct, bribed Dziwisz.

Surely this is a serious charge. It deserves more substantiation than Marshall’s drive-by character assassination. In my opinion, this is an appalling lapse of scholarship and judgement, not to mention charity.

We humans crave certainty. We are comforted by being sure that we are correct. Critics of religion sometimes claim that this desire is the sign of an immature, gullible mind. I do not agree. The desire for knowledge is part of the longing for truth. I believe God placed these desires in every human heart, so we will seek him.

The current crisis of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up creates a cloud of suspicion over just about everyone. We do not know if a beloved priest accused of sexual abuse is the innocent victim of a frame-up or the guilty perpetrator of fraud, along with his other crimes. We do not know if a person making an accusation is telling the truth, exaggerating, or inventing out of whole cloth. Under these circumstances, the impulse to latch on to a global explanation for all our problems is completely understandable. The urge to blame Those Bad Guys Over There is almost irresistible.

But however understandable, we should resist the urge to embrace more assurance than the facts allow. I issue this challenge to anyone who has Infiltration in their possession. Read Chapter 9, “Communist Infiltration of the Priesthood,” with this question in mind. “If someone I care about were being investigated for a serious crime, would I be satisfied by the amount and type of evidence presented in this chapter?” If the answer is “no,” set this book aside and give serious thought to whether you want to commit to its thesis.

Even if the Freemasons and Communists did infiltrate the Church (which is by no means certain), that does not change our basic responsibility. What the Church needs now is saints, lots and lots of saints, saints who are teachers and priests and doctors and nurses and attorneys and mothers and fathers and yes, book authors and editors.

All of us must do our part to be as truthful and loving as we can be. Reach out to victims. Inform ourselves to the best of our ability. And resist the urge to run after superficial explanations and artificial certainty.

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
by Dr. Taylor Reed Marshall
Sophia Institute Press, 2019
Hardcover, 224 pages.

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About Jennifer Roback Morse 3 Articles
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown.


  1. So, Jennifer, would you recommend our buying this book and reading it so we can make up our own minds about whether the author make his case or not?

    • As a professional history, Catholic, and one who has been working of the origins of modernism for many years, I agree with this assessment. Historical analysis is not historical with out documentation regarding the facts. I just finished reading the book about Annibale Bugnini by Yves Chiron, a very careful scholar, and the whole complicated process resulted in the new liturgy. In order for Taylor’s book to be taken seriously, I would need the kind of careful documentation found in Chiron. Also,regarding infiltration, it is not impossible that many who did infiltrate might have been converted to the faith.

    • Edward, you can decide for yourself, based on my review, whether to a) buy the book and read it, b) borrow the book and read it or c) ignore it. I strongly suggest that people refrain from commenting on the book unless and until they actually read the book.

    • Marshall is not an investigative journalist and I’m sure the book reveals that. Randy Engel is and has already done great work in this area. As far as all we need to be is saints and that will solve everything is trite. John Bosco spent his hours in the middle of the night quashing theological errors in writing. Saints involve themselves in the fray in thought, word and deed. If you mean by become a saint is to simply ignore serious inquiry is naive. We are not Carthusians. Unfortunately, we have to read the authors of published articles always telling us how to react and live the crisis.

      • I cannot agree more! Ms. Randy Engel IS an investigative journalist who provides endless citations in her works. She wrote (IMHO) an excellent overview of the Book of Gomorrah (by St. Peter Damian) that he wrote in 1049 AD. She also has provided a lot of information about Opus Dei. I have found her to be a truly informative and trustworthy resource for FACTUAL information about out Church.

    • I’m not Jennifer, but I’m presuming to boldly answer your question by offering you one paragraph from Infiltration:

      “If you do not believe that Satan exists, put down this book. Moreover, if you believe that the Catholic Church can be purified merely by updated rules, policies, and canonical procedures, you’ll find little promise in the historical diagnosis and proposed cure found in this book. Saint Paul stated: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). The crisis of the Catholic Church relates to the intrusion of these “rulers of this present darkness,” and she can only be purified by sanctified warfare against the demonic.”(pp. 4-5)

    • I read the book. The reviewer is absolutely right. There is no connection of the dots, only inferences. I did gain a little information on legitimate aspects of understanding the Church’s continuous crisis, and Marshall’s overall criticisms of Vatican II and its destructive effects are entirely valid. Here, the reviewer fails to give due credit. Perhaps writing for a journal that tries to be all things to all Catholics has its effects on limiting authentic Catholic commentary and authentic outrage.

      • “Perhaps writing for a journal that tries to be all things to all Catholics…”

        That must be why National Catholic Reporter and Sean Michael Winters love CWR so much. And why the RadTrads cannot get enough of CWR. It all makes sense if you don’t think about it too much.

  2. While intentional infiltration by some group (or groups) explains a lot, I’ve seen no actual evidence, so I agree with Morse’s criticism.

    • Wow, all the gay priests and bishops including the once head of the USCCB – the evil McCormick! A priest having sex on an altar with 2 prostitutes! Pope Francis praying to the Amazonian pachamama in St. Peter’s Basilica! Buddhist dancing down the aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica!

  3. I have wondered why Bella Dodd didn’t provide more evidence, and evidence that was more specific, about the infiltrators.

    • That has always been a problem for me too, and also the fact that she was not cross-examined on the names, dates, any details at the time she gave her evidence. Surely the House if UnAmerican activities, a body created specifically to root out communists, would have sought details about specific evidence of the presence of active communist infiltration into the general community? Is there an academic or investigative journalist with access to records who could possibly look into this?

    • If I am not mistaken, Alice von Hildebrand-who knew Bella Dodd-remarked that Archbishop Sheen had forbidden Dodd to reveal the names.

      • Why would sheen do such a thing? This explanation seems weak, and perhaps it was given after Sheen’s death, so he could not comment. But think about it – here we supposedly have a person with very detailed knowledge about priests sent to infiltrate the church, and she cannot name a single name???

      • Sheen Forbade it? And Alice von Hildebrand said so. I have no reason to doubt it as he was the one who brought her into the Church, or, at least, was the main influence for it. Perhaps Sheen was protecting her. Naming names would have put her on a hit list for sure.

        • I know little to nothing about this event, but I might point out that if she had insufficient evidence, it would not be unreasonable advice to tell someone not to make specific accusations charges that could not be proved.

          As a very recent example, I might point to people like Weigel and Dreher who were aware of McCarrick’s behavior for years, but lacked proof.

          • There are SEVERAL different levels of standards that apply to making statements about the evil acts of others. If you are just reporting something you heard to be accorded an interested audience, you are gossip-mongering. But if you are being asked by a House committee, whether YOU YOURSELF have substantiating evidence or not, the facts that you have, when put together with the facts other people have, can eventually create a fabric of substantiation: it is not up to you to decide whether your facts establish the substantiation all by themselves.

            Bishop Sheen, even if he was the person who brought Dodd into he Church, would not have had the authority of bishop to order Dodd not to repeat details of names & dates, unless Dodd was a member of his flock, i.e. domiciled in his diocese, Rochester NY, which is unlikely. He might have had the authority of a spiritual director, if Dodd had decided to make him so Dodd’s spiritual director, but even a spiritual director’s direction is to be disregarded if the direction contradicts valid law, and a person does have legal obligations when subpoenaed by a House Committee to give testimony. Advice from Sheen not to give details merely because Dodd lacked proof would be an incredibly poor instance of advice from Sheen, and probably would have been contradictory to valid law.

            As for Marshall’s book, there are, again, different levels of substantiation for different sorts of assertions. An assertion “Jon may have been a Mason” could be calumny or detraction, given certain conditions, or it may be a thesis asking for others to come forth with additional support or dis-proof, in other contexts. If Dr. Marshall were a professional historian, for example, one would pretty much insist on his writing a book like this with something close to a historian’s standards of evidence (which, I might point out, are vastly different from those of a court of law: history doesn’t get to cross-examine witnesses under an oath of perjury). But he is not. He should be held to a standard, of course, but one that any layman who is trying to be careful of the truth should hold to: admit that conjectures are conjectures, say when facts are facts, admit it when there are (perhaps disputed) details that would tend to controvert your thesis, and publish only what justifies being announced publicly, even when that means keeping your suspicions quiet while you are seeking better evidence. He should not engage in mere innuendo. Did Marshall live up to even this lower standard? That’s the question.

    • I agree re:Dodd. Names are needed. What has been the affect of these infiltrators? Is class warfare promoted by the Vatican? Class warfare is essential to communists. Where is the push in the Vatican for workers of the World unite a slogan of communists. Where is the push against religion in the Vatican. Communists are atheists. The infiltrators have failed.

    • I read that Bella Dodd was converted by Bishop Sheen, who asked her not to publicize what she told him. I can see that publicizing this in 1950 could have caused much confusion and mistrust of priests. Fr. Walter Ciszik told me he met a young communist agent sent to Siberia for failing to get ordained from the Jesuit seminary in Rome.

      • As Bella Dodds spiritual director he had the authority to “order” her not to publicize the names. He told her he was going to work with Pope Pius XIi to weed out the infiltrators. When he died and John XxIii came to power he ordered Sheen and Dodd not to divulge the information. This was continued under Paul Xi

  4. I recommend reading it. It is superficial and didn’t go far enough in my opinion in depth. But also, Pope Francis’ pontificate is not mentioned as much as I think it could have been. It’s worth reading as a beginning but more in depth research could have been done.

  5. Finally! Somebody has come out to seriously question these conspiracy theories which have no backing from real, rigorously produced scholarly evidence.

    • I first came across Taylor Marshall a few years ago. At first, he seemed solid and orthodox. Then suddenly he said something so weird and bizarre, that I realized he was a conspiracy guy so I stopped reading him altogether.

      Then he did several excellent analyses of the Vigano Affair on youtube. So I thought maybe I was wrong in dismissing him as a nut. So I listened. And after a while, each video became nuttier and nuttier. He believes all sorts of conspiracy theories, generally based on nothing more than rumors that circulated or things half thought out or half remembered. He even came up with a theory that their is a “Secret 3B” that the Vatican has not released – based on goofy inferences that he and his sidekick make. He totally misinterpreted many of the things that Grein said, and blew other things out of proportion. In short, he is not very careful about getting the facts straight. He seems to tend to conspiracy theories to explain everything. He relies on this supposed freemason document called the alta vendita, but it does not trace back to freemasons, it traces back to a newspaper guy who wrote a book. So it was almost certainly made up. He has a big conspiracy Catholic following on youtube, but then again, so do the flat earth people. I no longer take him seriuosly at all.

      • I, too, thought Taylor Marshall was a very good voice of Catholic thought. Well, right away he wanted money to be
        involved, so not so wonderful. The more I started researching however, the more I became convinced he was Opus Dei.Opus Dei is a very dangerous, very powerful parallel church. I believe their goal is to become _the _ Church.
        For example, in 2006 he was heading off to an Opus Dei recollection. There are other clues, but to those of you who
        do really careful research, I haven’t done enough homework. Skojec, Hahn, two of the three cardinals closest to the Pope, _LifeSite_ National Catholic Register???Opus Dei. Check it out!

        • Janet D.

          Why do you not fill in your statement “I believe their goal is to become _the _ Church.”? Let me guess, since most of the comment involve Bella Dodd and Blessed Fulton Sheen knowledge in communist infiltration. I’d like to relate your blank spaces to Blessed Sheen prediction saying Satan will established a counterfeit church resembling catholic tone only but with No Pope and Living Church Magisterium. Did Blessed Sheen predictions happened? Yes..St.Pope Paul VI see the counterfeit church inside Vatican, and St.JP2 see how this forces grow and described the Vatican II Church is going to face the Final Confrontation with the counterfeit church. Also, since Pope Benedict XVI witnessed all this event from St.Pope Paul VI to St.JP2 he knew that inside forces was operating at the Vatican and he made a statement asking for prayer that “he will not flee from the wolves”. Pope BXVI fight this wolves courageously but was exhausted along the way physically but not spiritually. Pope BXVI courage led him to seek God’s Wisdom how to fight the wolves, and the God answered him to expand the Petrine Ministry. We are so blessed today we have Two Great Popes one contemplative fighting the wolves in the power of Silence like Holy Father St.Benedict and Pope Francis fighting the packed of wild dogs(church critics & enemies) upfront. One simple question do you know who is the “counterfeit catholic church”?

      • “He believes all sorts of conspiracy theories.” Care to be specific? Your criticism is quite vague and lacking in substance. Ironic.

  6. Bella Dodd’s claim–especially her statement that she herself recruited Communist moles–is often quoted but not investigated. How exactly was it done in the US in the 1930s when many boys started their studies for the priesthood out of 8th grade? How many “plants” persevered and were ordained? How was Dodd in a position to subvert future seminarians? She was a labor lawyer involved with the politics of the NY state teacher’s union. I’ve read her autobiography is available online. Most of it relates petty feuding within the generally ineffectual US Party. There’s nothing about religious plots. The Venona Intercepts, which are actual messages from Communist agents, don’t support Dodd either. (They do have one reference to recruiting an officer of the biggest Holy Name Society on the East Coast.)So what is there besides her bare assertions?
    And don’t get me started on that didactic hoax, ANTI-APOSTLE 1025….

  7. I haven’t read Taylor Marshall’s book. But I want to concur with the above article insofar as it extends to *anything* written about the Church and its history. The investigative bar for claims about alleged activities of this or that individual in the Church, let alone any claims about the extent of influence of one or another group, have to be *very* rigorously documented, as the above article suggests.
    This is indeed a requirement of charity. But we should be particularly concerned that anything that even remotely sounds like consipiratorial speculation (by anyone) harms the credibility of the very many legitimate criticisms of the current papacy. A lot is at stake at this juncture in Church history.
    I hope that Dr. Marshall responds publicly to criticisms like those above or others that have emerged.

  8. Do I need overwhelming full evidence to believe in the existence and goodness of God? No. Do I need overwhelming full evidence to believe in the existence and evil of Satan? No. Am I full of innuendo and “lack of charity” by calling the Devil: evil, in the absence of recordings, videos, documents, signed statements, declarations, etc. from Satan himself? No. All of this because this Jewish carpenter I happen to believe in as God (silly me, where’s the overwhelming full evidence) said: “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16). According to this well crafted article, this very words of Jesus Christ are documented solid evidence that proves Him to be the Absolute King of Innuendo and Lack of Charity.

    This Jewish Carpenter also said, ““Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Whoa! Huge innuendo and lack of charity again! (where’s the evidence against those wolves). By the way, those words of Jesus describe a Professional Criminal Profiler (FBI style) to a “T”. Today, we Catholics have become the opposite of Jesus Holy Will: Professional Compulsive Naive Denial Addicts, always hungry for more of it.

    Having some background in criminal profiling, this article by Jennifer Roback Morse is highly suspect itself. With evidence of orchestrated infiltration of the Catholic Church everywhere, inluding in the actions (just mute the words) of the very Pope Francis himself, and the solidly historical, fiery hatred of both Freemasons and Communists against the Catholic Church (and their infiltration tactics everywhere), I invite you to read this absolutely essential book and reach your OWN conclusions. Jesus reminds us that we need just Him, not a plethora of experts, absolute evidence and apparently “saintly, scholarly, charitable Catholics” to know the Truth and to let it make us free (John 8:32). Great books are not just destroyed by flames but also by artful, “honest”, “sincere”, “charitable” discredit.

    • Thank you Phil . I will go further and ask what frightened
      Bishop has asked Jennifer R. Morse to critique negativly
      this book. Every bishop is suspect these days.
      For the reasons you give, Phil, how can
      she even question,
      so confidently, Mr. Marshal’s
      writings.He’s simply
      saying what seems to explain what we all suspect. This wholesale destruction of our beloved Church did not just
      happen because of weak clergy. It HAD to be planned

      by powerful forces like Church hating Freemasons.
      If ‘a future saint’ – Bishop Sheen, believed what Bella
      Dodd told him about Communist infiltration that’s
      good enough for me. Clearly that’s not good
      enough for Jennifer. She is playing right into their
      hands with her unreasonable journalistic demands.
      Like MarshallI I say “ If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

      • Michael McCrory, no frightened bishop asked me to write this review. Stop making unsubstantiated claims. I raised serious questions about claims Marshall makes that he does not adequately source. You are saying you have already decided that you agree with him, regardless of the evidence he presents. That is your right and privilege. But changing the subject by attacking me does not refute or respond to the substance of my concern.

    • Gee whiz…maybe she’s part of the Masonic conspiracy. Maybe the purpose her article is to divert us from the truth (cue X-File music). Please apply Ockham’s razor. Which is more reasonable and simple? That the crisis in the Church is due to multiple societal/cultural factors including individual sinfulness. Or that the crisis is the fruit of a grand, centralized plot by Masons that would take thousands of people all working together in order to launch a multi-century attack on the Church?!

      PS: the moon landing happened.

      • Thank you Andrew. I just saw this. You made me laugh out loud! I needed that!
        Gang, my gut feeling is this: we don’t need more innuendo, half-truth and diversionary tactics. There is already way too much of that going on. IMHO, the last thing we need is for someone on the (basically sound) traditional-conservative-orthodox end of the ecclesial-political spectrum to be piling on with more.

    • Phil, what you wrote is nonsense. You basically say you don’t need anything to be investigated thoroughly, you are content to believe whatever conspiracy theories you are told. The easiest way to make a quick buck these days is to write a conspiracy book about the Catholic church. If the author is not asked to supply proof of his allegations, but merely supply goofy allegations, then anyone can write anything. The existence of Pope Francis does not mean that he is there because of freemasons and devious plots and conspiracies. If you want to believe in Bigfoot, no one can dissuade you.

  9. Perhaps Freemasons were a threat at some point in history, and it is still true today that their syncretic philosophy is not compatible with Catholicism…


    I have a very hard time believing, for example, the Shriners (all master masons) are part of some grand Luciferian plot to take over the world and destroy the Catholic Church while they build hospitals for children.

    I listened to Dr. Marshall’s podcast on his book the other day, and he and his friend kept going on about a secret Masonic document that is very hard to find and that only Dr. Marshall was able to fully uncover and include in the appendix of his new book. This left me wondering, “if no one can find this document, then how can it be the corner stone of some grand Masonic plot spanning at least two centuries?” Just who are these people directing this plan? It makes no sense. There has to be some sort of steering committee? Where do they meet? How do they recruit people? When you start thinking about it logically, it starts to fall apart really fast. Just think how much planning it takes to organize a parish BBQ. Now imagine the planning that would have to go into a multi century plot to destroy the Catholic Church. The more you think about it, the sillier it becomes.

    Yes, the Church has enemies but conspiracy theories only lead to a type of Gnosticism where only certain people think they really know what going on. The real enemy of the Church is the devil and our individual sinfulness. The cure: each individual Catholic turning to God and pursuing personal holiness.

    I’m a Catholic who goes to the traditional Latin Mass. Most people who go are ordinary, nice people who like the liturgy and the “old ways”. But there is a small cadre of people who are genuinely weird (Novus Ordo have their weirdos too…every group does). Usually trad weirdos are into all sorts of conspiracy theories and endless (and I mean endless) debates over Marian apparitions. Dr. Marshall gets into this mode when taking about certain Marian apparitions in his book. It worries and frustrates me.

    Generally, I like Dr. Marshall’s writing (I think he’s probably a really good guy who’s trying to do the right thing in very hard times), but my fear is that he’s heading down a horrible trad cul de sac that leads to nowhere. If you want to see where this can lead check out the career of Dr. Scott Hahn’s former friend, Gerry Matatics. Sad.

    • I’ve listened to lots of Marshall’s podcasts and have no doubt he is a good guy; he definitely appears (as one of the comments suggests) to want to do the right things in these difficult times.
      He has such a following now; I just hope that he doesn’t succumb to the celebrity thing, which is toxic for most people. One has the sense that he should at this point primarily spend focus on educating people about the staples of Thomistic theology and philosophy and take a breather from historical speculations. Plus as we should all do he might want to make a concerted effort to hear out people who are solidly orthodox Catholics but disagree with him in areas about which reasonable Catholics can disagree. (Some disagreements with his views are now appearing in rather acerbic form; I hope he does not reciprocate.) In good Thomistic fashion, one learns by responding to counterarguments, which is not a statement that supports relativism.
      A more general point is that it is a good time for all Catholics to look deeply at history, including a serious study of Vatican II. Ralph McInerny once said that it takes a long time for the fruits of a council to materialize. There is so much vitriol and internecine quarreling among serious Catholics, now promoted in no small part by this wayward papacy. We need a lot more sober “disputatio” if we are going to weather the crisis du jour, and especially see the fruits of Vatican 2 realized in ways no one can currently foresee.
      It is natural to be alarmed by the current pontificate, and this Pope has sowed so much division and downright vitriol, but a deep look at history ironically provides consolation that all will be well in the long run. It’s a real source of calm to see in the fact that the Church has endured this long through so many crises. Ironically, the more one learns about how many crises it has endured, the greater the consolation.

      • When he supposedly “unocvered” the fact that Pius XII was too sick to govern the church in his last years ( he wasn’t) and that Pius XII switched confessors to someone who was supposedly “liberal” and therefore Pius XII only made the changes to the good friday liturgy because he had been taken over by his confessor, I had to laugh out loud. Once you become a conspiracy nut, every bit of evidence supports your conspiracy. Personally, I think that once you put yourself outside the Catholic church by endorsing the breakaway sect Catholic beliefs, you lose your ability to reason. Most of them exhibit a total inability to think logically and to weigh evidence carefully. Taylor Marshall has also said that Lefebvre was the good guy at Vatican II, so you can tell what direction he is headed in. It is all so very pathetic.

    • There is a good piece by Bishop Schneider about Mary, conquerer of all heresies, and the Freemasons, on the 300th anniversary of their founding here; Yes, it is 1 Peter 5, which I used to really respect but have since learned is Opus Dei. Nevertheless,
      it is a very good article. Freemasons plan to destroy the Catholic Church is more or less common knowledge. Where do
      they meet, etc. It makes it sound like a fairy tale This is absolutely fact. There are lodges throughout the world. Most recently they have become much more bold about their activities, though it started as a secret society.

    • “The real enemy of the Church is the devil and our individual sinfulness. The cure: each individual Catholic turning to God and pursuing personal holiness.”

      Amen! I agree with your statement 100%

  10. A known homosexual abuser of seminarians was made Cardinal and then influenced the current Pontiff to place homosexual sympathizers in the college with him. While the scholarship might be lacking, common sense says there is something here, especially reducing sanctions against perverts when the same was exploding out of control. One would expect men of God to increase sanctions to prevent the widespread abuse of children!

  11. We are definitely in a time of massive spiritual awakening. This is VERY good news! Stay close to Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, and watch your Father work! Open your heart to the Holy Spirit. Prayer and fasting with a Real conversion from sin is very important in your walk in Christ. Beware of the elitist “I am God” mindset!!

    -“Trust in Jesus”- pax

  12. [This, from a non-Rad Trad.]

    Both the book and this article are suspect.

    Yes, documentation, the shifting of evidence, is crucial; yet, serious and obvious questions are left unasked.

    For one, why and how was Bella Dodd recruited to testify. What of her disposition was deep-sized. Where deposited? At the time, the Catholic hierarchy was quite powerful – and capable of smart poker plays, especially with politicians of democratic controlled ethnic constituents.

    Another point, neither the book nor article define “conspiracy (theory)”. Its origins as a research peg, or article of faith. The link below should assist.

    Regarding that too easy pulling in of Oswald (in this sort of conversation). Now that President Trump has declassified nearly all of the JFK documents (except those pertaining to one ‘living American’ – mercifully, now deceased) we should be careful how we reference it. At age fourteen, a mere ten weeks after the assassination – on the edge of Idaho’s Salmon River Wilderness – I understood (due to an encounter) that any forthcoming official narrative would be pure bunk. (Now confirmed by executive order by President Trump.) Does that “event” of mine count as historical evidence? It certainly taught me institutional mistrust – including the writing of history.

    At eighteen I witnessed Charles Manson & Anton LeVay (of the Church of Satan) in deep conversation on Turk Street in San Francisco. Does that count as evidence – and towards what? Could their head-to-head that afternoon be counted as historically momentous?

    Or, am I just a cad putting myself in well-publicized events?! Please!

    The doing of history (rightly) is an exhausting, fraught induceing exercise.

    I understand well the limitations (of evidential value) of both above examples; yet, still, how can I deny the play both had in forming my lookout upon the world – let alone that both (space/time) occurred?

    Writing (or reviewing) the history of (from a certain angle) one of mankind’s most complicated and crucial centuries – the 19th (setting up the 20th) – is more than fraught with evidential pitfalls; it is downright dangerous.

      • To clarify:

        In preparation for any legal or congressional interrogation Bella Dodd would have been deposed (by various parties). What is the content of those documents, including the parameters of inquiry and any oath she was placed under? Where were the deposition records deposited?

        Questions any historian would ask? Did Dr. Marshall – or those questioning his methods or research biases?

        • n preparation for any legal or congressional interrogation Bella Dodd would have been deposed (by various parties).

          This is vastly over-stated. Back in 1950, there was far less perceived need for someone subpoenaed by a House committee to prepare for the questioning by working with a legal team to wrangle over the right and wrong ways of responding, and there is no necessity at all that such a person would be deposed beforehand by various parties. Nowadays the committee can direct staff to take a deposition, but it was by no means universal in 1950.

  13. I think that this discussion has become a little heated.
    These are painful times for catholic’s. For Roman Catholic’s- a scourging at the pillar.
    I have decided to buy the book, despite the new Morse Code (jest!).
    In this case, because the reviewer dismissed many points about which I have some knowledge already (Bella Dodd and the Alta Vendita (implied in her review: “19th century”), I disagree with her main point.
    The reliance on “evidence”(or lack of it), is an Enlightenment concept. Human truth.
    In a post modern world, where people are basically unteachable, evidence is trumped,by feelings.
    This defensive review, does not engage with the author (unknown to me),and teaches little.
    I would have like to know more about it, whats in the book.

  14. All the evidence one needs to understand what is happening in the Catholic Church is the book “To the Priests, our Lady’s Beloved Sons “ , the messages to Fr. Stephano Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests. Our Lady herself tells (warns) the priests what has happened, what is coming and how to remedy the situation. ALL who have taken the time to read the book understand. Fr. Gobbi was a dear friend of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI. There was a REASON John Paul II said DO NOT BE AFRAID! Only be afraid if you aren’t living the faith.

    • I’ve read Fr. Gobbi’s book. Ninety-nine per cent of it consists of unobjectionable reflections on Our Lady and other elements of the Faith. But then there are several entries offering calculations and interpretations about the Anti-Christ which–to put it mildly–are difficult to imagine emanating from the voice of Mary. Fr. Gobbi also predicted that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart would be complete by October 1988. Shortly after that date, he retired as a locutionist. Saying this in a National Catholic Register article drew many hostile reactions from readers.

      But back to Bella Dodd. There’s a whole bookshelf of memoirs/biographies of converted Communist Party members and spies, FBI counter-agents, Red Diaper Babies, etc. Where is any confirmation about actual Communists being sent into seminaries in the US? We’re not facing a great matter of metaphysics here, just asking for evidence of historical events.

      • “Fr. Gobbi also predicted that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart would be complete by October 1988. Shortly after that date, he retired as a locutionist.”

        Both sentences above are incorrect. I have a copy of Father Gobbi’s book, and it sits 6 inches from my keyboard as I type this.

        Father Gobbi’s prediction regarding the fulfillment of what is alleged to be locutions from the Blessed Virgin concerned the year 2000, not 1988. 1988 was the year that the alleged message was given regarding the last decade of the last century (given in September, not October) and can be found on pages 573-574 of his book.

        Of course, obviously 2000 has come and gone.

        Further, Father Gobbi did not “retire” from being an alleged locutionist until 1997, over nine years later (page 968, et seq.)

        I cannot speak to whether Father Gobbi was an authentic mystic, as I have no competence to make a judgment one way or another, but what cannot be disputed is that he alleged in his book numerous times that the hierarchy has been infiltrated by freemasonry and that this infiltration will reach “the summit” of the Church.

        What also cannot be disputed is that thousands of Catholics believe, or have believed, that he was a true mystic. That number includes hundreds of clergy, even bishops and cardinals.

        I don’t believe people who self identify as “Traditionalist” would consider Father Gobbi to be one of their number, as he used the revised missal, and in at least two parts of his book, he endorses the alleged apparitions at Medjugorge. Generally speaking, those are not “Traditionalist” leanings.

        In other words, the thousands of Catholics who believe/d in Father Gobbi are not what most would consider “Traditionalist Catholics,” yet they believe that the Church has been infiltrated by freemasonry. The idea is not unique to people like Dr. Marshall. And so it is safe to say that there are hundreds of priests (including some bishops and cardinals) who believe this to be true because they believe Father Gobbi was authentic.

        Father Gobbi’s reference to freemasonic infiltration of the hierarchy predates Dr. Marshall’s conversion to Catholicism by nearly two decades, so the idea is not new.

        And, of course, Traditionalists have believed that for even longer.

  15. Bella Dodd and the Alta Vendita are both subjects of several Youtube videos. The latter is available as a PDF online if you hunt a little for it. I am glad this article calls this out, because I don’t want to pay for a book that restates what I’ve already read or watched on the internet. I don’t mind web-based cottage industries of self-promotion like Marshall’s, but I’m disappointed when the lack of oversight results in low standards.

    • The alta vendita is almost certainly fake. Their is no independent proof that it was produced by Freemasons. The first time it appears, it appears in a book written by a frenchman in 1859. Jacques Cretineau Joly. He was a polemical newspaper man – just the sort of guy who would tend to fake such a document. He wrote one well regarded book, however he was accused of distorting his sources. He then wrote in favor of the Jesuits after they had been banned by the pope.

      In short, there is no evidence that the Alta Vendita came from a freemason. It only appears in the work of a suspect newspaperman who was known to play fast and loose with the facts.

      The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita (commonly called the Alta Vendita) is a document, originally published in Italian in 1859, produced by the highest lodge[1] of the Italian Carbonari and written by “Piccolo Tigre” (“Little Tiger”), which, according to George F. Dillon, was supposedly the pseudonym of a Jewish Freemason.[2]

  16. Morse completely misunderstands the argument. Marshall’s argument is not that actual card-carrying Freemasons are in the Church reporting back to their Freemasonic leaders at their secret headquarters. It is that the ideas of Freemasonry have infiltrated. This is about a battle of ideas. I suspect that the book wasn’t read all the way.

    Also importantly, Crisis Publications is not trying to put our doctorate thesis level research. Part of their mission is to publish books that “are direct, explaining their principles briefly, simply, and clearly to Catholics in the pews.” Morse and others want a level of detail that would cause the book to never be read. A simple presentation like this will gain a wider readership and more people looking into its claims.

    Sorry, Morse, but I can’t call myself a fan of yours anymore.

    • Respectfully, I disagree with you. Morse is correct in her assessment of Marshall’s book. He is not careful with his claims and his research is lackluster.

      Yes, I’ve gone through the book.

  17. We all carry our own experiences within us and our views are influenced by them. There is a culture within the church that ‘is is’ difficult to explain if you are an outsider, as I am. I have observed for over thirty five difficult years that there is a war going on within the church, I have referred to it, as in been similar to a Chess Board, next to every black one stands a white one, and that the church is losing this battle, as can be seen in declining congregations. Many of the black ones are/appear to be privileged members within the Church, who together colluded with the elite, in in what could be described as a Church within a Church.

    From the outside this network appears to be held together by a ..V.. that transforms it-self into a Circle of Worldly Power. All circles of worldly power rely on secrecy, this gives an advantage based on deception, and serves the Evil One. He cannot be beaten at his own game, the early Christians used signs and gesture, but these can be duplicated, then we have duplicity and confusion at play; for those on the outside, like myself, friend or foe you no longer know.

    It was put to me many years ago, “it’s a bit like the game of tag, you pass the lurgy (British slang) to someone else” Conclusion you then become part of Group think (The herd). While also been told jovially “the new holder of the lurgy always has the option to get rid of his load (Worldly troubles) by passing it on.
    The unseen innocent within the flock, have paid the price, as it could be said, self-protection is what the church/leadership sort, dereliction is what it has bought.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  18. “Even if the Freemasons and Communists did infiltrate the Church (which is by no means certain), that does not change our basic responsibility. What the Church needs now is saints, lots and lots of saints, saints who are teachers and priests and doctors and nurses and attorneys and mothers and fathers and yes, book authors and editors.”

    Everyone who cares about the true faith certainly questions what has happened to the Church since Vatican II. While your statement above is absolutely true that what is needed is saints, lots of saints, that path is impossible if one has never known the true faith and that is certainly the case if they were born after Vatican II as if you compare it and its aftermath with what went before, it should be obvious by now that the true faith is not taught.

    • Elaine you say
      “that what is needed is saints, lots of saints, that path is impossible if one has never known the true faith and that is certainly the case if they were born after Vatican II”

      You often read/hear that “thankfully no one has to die for the faith, in the West today”. But this is untrue, as there is a constant silent persecution taking place within the Church, as many Christians have suffered, in tortured silence, unto death and continue to do so.

      So, I see it rather differently, (See my post above) as what I am describing is insidious as the enemy is not perceived by the ‘faithful’ or acknowledged by the Church.

      In a game of Chess it is not possible to pretend that the opponent does not exist, to do so would be like playing snakes and ladders, without the ladders been seen on the “surface” of the board/church, ultimately you can only be taken in one direction.
      On the board of the original game of snakes and ladders each snake was embellished with one of the deadly sins and the ladders with one of the virtues. The unseen innocent (Ladders/ Virtues/’Saints’) within the flock, have paid the price as the Church embraces an ongoing self- made insidious downward spiral of self-destruction.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

  19. Dr. Morse,
    When praise for Marshall’s book was flowing in weeks ago, I wondered why I was unable to buy a copy. Who was able get a copy before the release date? Now it looks like it was a select group. (Balance redacted to stay nice.)
    Thanks for your article.

  20. I will not question the review portion of this article, not having read the book; but I do have a problem with the writers concluding remarks, which appear to counsel passivity on the part of the sheep. She lists what we do not know and the encourages that we, the sheep, “ Reach out to victims. Inform ourselves to the best of our ability.” Most of the sheep cannot reach out to the victims as many of those who were given compensation have probably had to sign non disclosure agreements: before you ask I’m guessing, no I have not researched this. In any case, how would we sheep know to whom we should reach out? Does the writer have a list she’s able to share?: so much for that bromide. The second borders on being sarcastically, offensive. Even sheep know when they are being urged to an impossible task. For most Catholics informing themselves “to the best of our ability” means having no information at all, if that means relying on the church hierarchy to tell us the truth. So unless the writer has a list of sources who will tell the sheep anything, they must rely on books such as this and whistle blowers, like Archbishop Vigano.

  21. I read the book. It is about a plot, which surely existed and probably still does. Evidence is presented, but nowhere is there a claim of proof, as Morse alleges. So who is being uncharitable?

    Aside from the evidence, there is no doubt that the Church Militant is engaged in a spiritual battle, and that prelates of the Church have embraced heretical positions. What does Marshall suggest we do about it in his book? Recognize and resist Satan and his minions, using the spiritual weapons of our Faith. Exactly. We don’t need a book to tell us this, but this book will be an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of this plot.

  22. From the mouth of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself-By their fruits shall you know them. Evidence for infiltration and corruption does exist. One good book is “No Crisis in the Church?” Another is “The Plot Against the Church.”

  23. I won’t read a book that the author’s review shows is more novel than book. Much speculation little evidence is well stated by author Jennifer R Morse. Insofar as evidence that recorded by chanceries, and the obvious verifies an onslaught infiltration of homosexuals into the Catholic Church during the two decades approx to Vat II. Despite Cardinal Sarah’s attestation to this receiving criticism he was absolutely correct. While thousands of heterosexual priests left to marry women homosexuals found a welcome haven Bishops [many themselves empathetic toward homosexuality] desperate for vocations jettisoned their serious moral obligation to vet candidates. Bella Dodd may have been correct that attempt was made to infiltrate communists though the likelihood of succeeding as some suggest seems remote. There is some verifiable history of Marxist influence with Saul Alinsky Cardinal Bernadin and priests who left and joined ranks with Alinsky. What we do know is that the crisis of faith within the Church [not to preclude other reasons] is largely due to deviate priests [and Hierarchy who aid and abet them] who having repudiated Christ by active homosexuality have softened often ignored Apostolic Tradition. The latter is inevitably consistent with the former. Therein is the major verifiable infiltration and its underlying driving force is the Evil One.

    • I’m glad you said this, Fr. One problem with simple explanations is that they divert attention from deeper, potentially more significant explanations. The “infiltration” of the gay sub-culture is certainly worthy of serious study, but is scarcely mentioned in Marshall’s book. At this point, I must say, I’m more concerned about the network of homosexual-activist/active-homosexual clergy than an alledged network of Freemasons.

    • What is Pope Leo talking about?

      In Ipso
      On Episcopal Reunions in Austria
      Pope Leo XIII – 1891
      To the Bishops of Austria,
      At the very beginning of our Pontificate, as We reviewed the entire Catholic world, We found much cause for joy in the many and various good works in which the bishops, the secular and religious clergy, and the faithful are constantly engaged. Nevertheless, it grieves Us to think that the enemies of the Church, joined in most wicked conspiracy, scheme to weaken and even, if possible, utterly wipe out that wondrous edifice which God Himself has erected as a refuge for the human race. This combat ardently waged against the Church far and wide, although carried on in different ways for different places, has one established plan: to remove all traces of religion from families, schools, laws, and institutions; to deprive the Church itself of its means of action and that singular virtue it possesses for the common good; and to infiltrate every vein, as it were, of domestic and civil society with the most dangerous poison of their errors. And so these adversaries have left nothing untried; their license has been boundless. In number and with violence, they have assailed the rights, liberty and dignity of the Church; the bishops and all ranks of the clergy; and especially the authority of the Roman Pontiff as well as the Pontiff himself. As a result of these attacks on the Catholic name, grave ills have befallen nations. The enemies extend their perverse views ever more widely, and the immorality and rebellion which accompany such views sweep away souls with the result that greater dangers daily threaten states and governments. Nor was any other result to be expected. Religion is the strongest bulwark of the state. It can, by proper warning and salutary prohibition, hold people fast to their obligations. But when religion is weakened, or worse still, tossed aside, then straightaway the foundations of society waver and are destroyed.

  24. Addendum to my prior post:

    What boils the blood in these debates is how easily the bludgeon meme, “conspiracy theory(ists)”, is used to stop or poison the conversation.

    As earlier stated (supported by link) debaters rarely stop to define the term, inquire as to its origins and its present “management” as a language troll (and by whom). Consult the prior link.

    A disciplined mind would ask – if only from curiosity: “Has any of the much heralded and derided conspiracy theories been shown to be true”?

    The answer is, yes; with the affirmation posing serious questions of trustworthiness of those who too easily weaponize the term to cartoonize their debate opponents and cut short the conversation. See link Below.

    Saying so does not imply I swallow Dr. Marshall’s thesis whole. In truth, I digest little of it. I may have eaten more if he had detailed – as an historian – how he gathered and evaluated evidence.

    • Sometimes things ARE conspiracy theories. You can easily identify them. They present no real evidence, merely loose speculation easily rebutted. When Taylor Marshall debates someone with knowledge of the true facts, then we can consider him serious. But conspiracy theorists never do that, since they always lose.

    • To say “he is unwilling to allow even those modern popes who have already been canonized to instruct him or his readers on what the key evils are. Instead, he must cling to his private judgment” seems more like disingenuous obfuscation than ‘clarifying’. A commenter there notes “Popes Pius IX and Leon XIII wrote encyclicals on the Masonic conspiracy and the Permanent Instruction on the Alta Vendita Pius X wrote on the Modernist”. Is Dr. Mirus willing to allow such modern popes as, e.g., the Servant of God Pius VII, the Blessed Pius IX and St. Pius X to instruct him or his readers on what some of the key evils are? If not, why not? “Whatever one may think of the implementation in various places over the years” – does someone interested in clarity write so misleadingly, dismissively? An odd, unpersuasive exercise…

  25. The reviews currently on amazon are mostly from those who follow Taylor Marshall’s blog or who have downloaded his handy Aquinas in 50 pages pdf, so they are overwhelmingly positive.

    Perhaps this article could be kinder about the fact that Taylor Marshall provides ample areas worthy of further investigation, but I agree that his claims aren’t proven. The largest claim comes in the introduction, where he says that it is a substantiated fact that Satan entered the Church some time in the last 100 years or so. The rest of the book is a sort of ‘maybe it was here, maybe it was there’ list of moments that might (upon further investigation, agreed) prove the main claim.

    On the lack of proof, to apparently lay the blame for the emptying of the pews solely at the foot of the Novus Ordo seems to this ‘tradi’ at the very least in need of vast qualification. (Opus Dei, for example, stick to the Novus Ordo in my experience, and would hardly seem to be part of the emptying of the pews phenomenon).

    What I really liked in the book is that you could take any of the first several dozen chapters with a pinch of salt or not, but his proposed solution to the problem is worth saying and worth reading – penance and prayer are our only weapons, but boy do they need using.
    This much is unobjectionable?

    In any case, I think CWR has the perfect answer to what would have been a better book:
    1. Take the widespread agreement that Francis’s papacy is a moment of huge crisis for the church, brewing for a long time and unlikely to end with the next pope.
    2. Look for past moments of crisis, such as pre-Constantine Rome.
    3. See what the saints did then.
    4. Apply something similar now.
    In other words, a book-length version of Ed Feser’s article on St Justin Martyr is the better book Marshall ought to have written.

  26. For those of us who live in the hermeneutic of non-continuity, talking about infiltration by means of Freemasons and Modernists seems to be a the musings of a tin-foiled conspiracy nut indeed. But it would not seem so to the Popes from 1800 to 1958. And those popes and their encyclicals are the primary source materials Marshall relies on.

    For example, Pope Pius VII warns in 1821 in Ecclesianam a Jesu

    “For some time this Holy See, having discovered these sects, sounded the alarm against them with high and free voice and revealed their plots against Religion and against civil society itself. For some time he had urged everyone to watch so that these sects would not dare to implement their wicked intentions. However, it is a matter of regret that the commitment of this Apostolic See did not correspond to the outcome it was aiming for and that those wicked men did not desist from the conspiracy undertaken, so that they were ultimately derived from those evils that we ourselves had foreseen. Indeed, those men, whose prominence is always growing, have even dared to create new secret societies….They simulate a singular respect and a certain extraordinary zeal towards the Catholic Religion and towards the person and the teaching of Jesus Christ Our Savior, which sometimes they sacrilegiously call Rector and great Master of their society. But these speeches, which seem to be softened with oil, are nothing more than darts fired with more security by astute men, to hurt the less cautious; those men appear in lambskin, but in intimate terms they are rapacious wolves.”

    Taylor Marshall awoke to the fact that this current papacy, and sad state of the Church, did not spring out of nothing. He has traced the problems back, and the popes who valiantly tried to prevent infiltration.

    This is not a book for the scholar or professional historian, but for those ordinary Catholics who have lived in the era of non-continuity and are totally unaware of this history.

    • You pinned the reader and the purpose of Infiltration. I posted the first paragraph of Leo XIII’s Ipso above (it’s being moderated…). It uses the words ‘conspiracy’ and ‘infiltrate.’ The ‘enemies’ of the Church are attempting to poison the faith. Ipso (1891) does not identify the enemy as Freemasonry, but his encyclical Humanum Genus (1884) does.

      Yes, the sourcing in the book is skeletal, but one can easily springboard from those to more. The book is about the influence of secular humanist ideas and people holding these ideas. Given time and entree, these ideas and the people promulgating them, do seek to destroy the Church and the faith. This is no conspiracy theory – it is fact for those who have eyes to see. I truly do not understand the strength of the opposition to this book and more so, that to its author. No, it’s not Brothers Karamozov or War and Peace. No, it’s not the Summa Theologica. Who among us has written tomes like those?

  27. I also read the book, and I agree with “I Read the Book” above. The author this article has some good points, but misses the overall point. Marshall does fail to conclusively prove many of his points. He also doesn’t substantiate some of the claims that he discusses, notably about various Popes. In researching, I’ve found that some of his claims about JP2, for example, are easily countered. I also don’t agree with Marshall’s treatment of Vatican II as a modernist conspiracy. But that does not mean that various groups haven’t infiltrated parts of the church. My somewhat non-scholarly conclusion is that conspirators have been involved (though it is hard to prove) but so has the simple folly of human nature. The reality is that a notable amount of church hierarchy are not faithful Catholics, and we must pray for them to be removed and for the Church to be renewed. So whether it is conspiracy or simple sin, the fact remains that the Church is deeply in need of renewal and reform. The choice we seem to be presented with is between a kind of a deranged conspiracy expert on the one hand and an Pollyanna ostrich on the other. Both sides seem like different brands of koolaid. It’s possible to be aware of corruption while still sticking as much as possible to facts. As an example, we have some evidence of the Communist infiltration of the Church, but we don’t know who it was and Communism is long dead. The materialist, socialist baby of Communism is alive and well in the Church, though.

    • “The choice we seem to be presented with is between a kind of a deranged conspiracy expert on the one hand and an Pollyanna ostrich on the other.”

      I’m not sure how you arrived at that from reading Dr. Morse’s review. And that certainly isn’t the approach taken by CWR, which has been addressing a wide range of problems within the Church for years, ranging from corruption to rotten catechesis to capitulation to laxity and beyond.

      • Maybe Taylor Marshall gives too much credit and Morse misses a point; maybe the disaster has not been engineered by anyone, and yet is still there, although unconscious. Water “infiltrates” into the ground without really giving it much thought.

        What is called for is a book entitled ENTROPY, meaning the natural or fallen tendency of order to disassemble into randomness or disorder. The case in point might eventually be a Church refining itself first into a “polyhedral” array of undefined synods, including national councils of bishops which then become more self-made and (only) self-accountable–as is emerging in Germany.

        We will know the other shoe has dropped if (we must say IF) inter-religious dialogue with Islam (among a “pluralism” of God-willed and even equivalent(?) religions) is ever folded into “ecumenical” dialogue. A mere merger of equivalent dicasteries…a bridge too far.

        Among alternatives, entropy is neither a “deranged conspiracy” nor a “Pollyanna ostrich”–entropy is the “do nothing” alternative.

  28. For those who are interested, we at the Ruth Institute have an activists group, that attempts to encourage clergy and whistleblowers who are doing the right thing, and pressure those who are, shall we say, problematic. Any of you are welcome to send me a private message for more information.

  29. What if Taylor Marshall’s INFILTRATION: THE PLOT TO DESTROY THE CHURCH FROM WITHIN is, in fact, part of “the plot to destroy the Church from within” ?

  30. Reminds one of a Catholic version of Alex Jones / Infowars; mining youtube to collect conspiracy narratives then weaving them into a book for sale. This stuff sells.

    But isnt it enough what Our Lord Himself said 2,000 years ago? There IS a conspiracy; a tempter and deceiver and divider, always conspiring to take us down – the devil.

  31. “This book reveals significant historical roots of the current global crisis in the Church and throws light on many otherwise puzzling events of the past. Because of the lack of sufficient resource materials and since the relevant Vatican Archives are still closed to researchers, some issues considered in this book (such as the circumstances surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I) must remain as hypotheses. Other arguments presented here, however, point to the existence of a kind of ominous red thread which systematically runs through the history of the past century-and-a-half of the Church’s history.” ~ Bishop Athanasius Schneider , in his Introduction to Marshall’s book

  32. Unfortunately, trying to research the infiltration of any organization by another secret organization is often very difficult by the very nature of the secrecy involved. How many secret organizations maintain a ledger of members, especially if they are engaged in infiltration? That is the problem facing even a seasoned historian in searching for the truth about these sorts of things. It would have been prudent of Dr. Marshall to partner with an historian in collecting the background data. I am a music historian as well as a research scientist, and we spent an entire semester in graduate school in music history doing nothing but studying how to do bibliographic research on musical documents. Every discipline has its own training methods and while most of the humanities overlap in research techniques, there are some subtleties that come with each discipline. Modern computer searches have greatly facilitated historical research, but not everything has been digitized and knowing how to utilize analog data is still important in the historical sciences. If I were doing this research, I would have contacted an expert in Freemason history as a consultant to keep me on the straight-and-narrow. Likewise, with regards to Modernism and La Nouvelle Theologie, the literature is vast and highly polarized and it could take years to form an equitable judgment of the place of each piece of evidence.

    I do research in modern charismatic theology and its origins and it took me several years of library and database research before I was able to form mature conclusions. The difference between my study and that of a study of Modernism is that we have an excellent bibliographic resource of over 20,000 articles and book in the Jones bibliography of charismatic history (many of the articles just repeat the same information, so the number of truly significant articles is two orders of magnitude less). It would be very helpful to have a similar bibliography for Modernism.

    My point is that Dr. Marshall has written a semi-popular work that, at best, raises questions, but is not meant to be a scholarly treatise. I have not read the book. I could have been one of the advanced readers, but I did not want to have to leave a comment on In doing scientific research, one tries to vary only one parameter at a time. One might ask that if Modernism/Freemasonry are the primary engines driving the change in the current Church time, what would things have looked like without them? We know from other historical and sociological evidence that there was an independent liberalization of societies in the West after each World War. It seems likely that at least a part of the liberalization of the West and the Church has to do with the simple upheaval of two Global Wars. Even the French Revolution did not occur in a vacuum. There are probably multiple contributions to the current mess in the Church. Knowing how to weight each one is a job for mature judgment. This can take years of formation in history and understanding the human condition. Undoubtedly, Modernism has played a part in the current malaise in the Church, but trying to understand how things have gotten to this point when a part of the data is hidden is difficult. The reviews of Infiltration online seem more like taking a personality test than conducting a scientific inquiry. The best comment I can leave is that Dr. Marshall’s book seems to be like the lightening striking the Vatican when Pope Benedict retired: some people see it as prophetic and some see it as poor building design. I suppose we will know the truth in three hundred years or so.

    The Chicken

  33. The problem is, in a Church seemingly obsessed with secrecy, it is very difficult to find the documentation to back up or debunk such claims. What we need is more transparency at every level.

  34. In an interview with Edward Pentin recently, Professor John Rist explained why he signed an open letter accusing Francis of heresy. Here is what he said:
    I am concerned above all else to expose double-talk, which is how the present Pope has been evading charges of heresy. Uttering ambiguous and/or contradictory remarks on important issues must ultimately be viewed as a planned attempt to change doctrine by stealth. Had such ambiguities/contradictions been occasional, they could be attributed — in accord with the canonical principle of benignity — to “mere” muddle. Prolonged ambiguity on this scale requires that a sadder conclusion be drawn: that there is a design to achieve by stealth what could not be achieved by openly and unambiguously un-Catholic decrees.”

    I think the record shows clearly that Rist is right. Francis is clearly a modernist and clearly wants to change the Church beyond recognition. Mr. Marshall claims that Francis did not drop from the sky, but was the product of a long process of erosion inside the Church. I’ve also just finished a biography of Annibale Bugnini which explains clearly how the “new Mass” was able to go far beyond anyone’s thoughts during Vatican II.
    BTW: it was common knowledge in European intelligence circles that Eastern Bloc intelligence services had made great use of the “Ostpolitik” strategy pioneered by Paul VI, treating the Vatican like NATO countries as another asset to be employed in the intelligence game. JPII might well have ended up learning that the hard way.

  35. Dr. John Rist, for his signing that open letter on Bergoglio but really, for his years of scholarship, his books and his convincing witness as an Augustinian Platonist is one of my true heroes.

  36. I read the book and loved it. Sorry your reviewer did not. I believe that Venerable bishop Sheen cautioned Bella Dodd not to reveal the names, perhaps because either she’d be in danger or that the Church’s reputation would be. I don’t believe Dr.Marshall is a conspirator , but he’s always been fair. i remember even reading in parochial school in the 50s about the terrible persecutions in Mexico, and they were attributed to Communists. The Church at that time also stressed the evil of free masonry. I respect the office of the Pope, but even they can foster false friendships and make bad decisions. Perhaps in a few years we may be able to assert that Taylor just might be right.

  37. Eduard Cardinal Gagnon told me he’d made a secret investigation of enemies of the Church embedded in the Vatican for Pope Paul and the list was long. He said there have always been foreign agents in the Vatican and that is Our Lord’s responsibility, not ours. Fr. Walter Ciszik told me he met a former Jesuit seminarian in Siberia, sent there as punishment for failing to get ordained. I think the major problem is that the laity have not been participating for a long time in our obligation to live lives of daily prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners as Our Lady warned at Fatima.

  38. It would be helpful if you would please be kind enough to post my comments or explain why my posts do not display. Thank you.

    • Your comments, like everybody else’s, are moderated. There is often a delay until a moderator clears it; I doubt that someone is assigned 24/7 to watch for posts.

  39. Morse writes on June 4: “The ‘infiltration’ of the gay sub-culture is certainly worthy of serious study, but is scarcely mentioned in Marshall’s book. At this point, I must say, I’m more concerned about the network of homosexual-activist/active-homosexual clergy than an alleged network of Freemasons.”

    Exactly so. As for that “network,” the needed expose–thoroughly documented!–was published in 1982, hardback: Rev. Enrique T. Rueda, “The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy,” The Devin Adair Co. for the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, 680 very-detailed pages).

    Included in the 9 chapters (and 12 appendices) are Chapters VI and VII on Homosexuality and Religion, and Relationships between Religious Organizations and the Homosexual Movement. The Church is not left out…

    An endless abundance of names, dates, events, documents–enough to satisfy criticism of Marshall’s much-less-grounded piece, but not about freemasons.

    As for the Church, the trove of information (names, etc., unlike Dodd’s testimony) is now a bit out of date, but for some reason seems to have gone unnoticed even at the time, and then later was still unmentioned in 2002 when the crisis broke totally into view.

    Still worth reading to understand how the osmosis of creeping cultural agendas combine with institutional inattention/evasion: somnambulism, paralysis, distraction, exclusive focus on social-gospel theology, business-as-usual bureaucracy, unwittingly getting in too deep, wishful thinking. Or all of the above.

  40. I can’t believe the overarching vapidness of these many criticisms that fault an alleged lack of evidence of conspiracy specifics for rejecting what was never the central premise of the book’s argument. The book is essentially about sin. The sins of Catholics. The sins of Catholics, who like all sinners, lie to themselves. When sinners commit similar types of sins, they like to lie to themselves in a similar fashion. Over time, they create a collectivized whole world view at odds with reality, at odds with God’s reality. In the case of Churchmen, they create theologies and theological structures, and schools of thought that justify their sins. There doesn’t have to be a consciously planned conspiracy individually or collectively in order to have sins develop and become a cultural force in and out of the Church. Sinners within the Church share a bond with their counterparts in sinful secular activities, and secular sinners look to be validated by an institution that is supposed to represent and protect God’s revealed truth. If we can lie about the nature of truth itself, to accommodate our sins, so much the better. Reaching a point in history of having a pope who rejects immutable truth is a sinner’s dream come true, but present history has been a long process of a corrupting ecclesial culture of the ongoing moral entropy of the human condition defined by original sin.
    The most important thing in this book is that Marshall mostly acknowledges this corruption within the ecclesial culture and how it essentially destroyed the Church’s sense of mission of confronting sin in its post-conciliar history. Why even acknowledge sin if ecumenism implies we’re all going to heaven? But then Marshall strays from this more philosophical topic and gets sidetracked to various forms of historical and sociological determinism that implicitly abandons his thread of a Catholic understanding of individual moral accountability. It is indisputably true that some Cardinals did defy canon law and collude for the election of Francis, but it’s always easier to explain evil in the world in terms that project an explanation for it onto those it is easy to assume are dissimilar from ourselves.
    There should be enough opportunities for understanding the Church in crisis and obtaining insights by seeing through the sophistry of junk theology and education, such as how accredited teachers in Catholic academia have been getting away with openly justifying the slaughter of the unborn for half a century. It’s easy to understand that forces from without are never necessary to explain the rot and corruption within when the majority of self-identified Catholics are pro-abortion. Sinful Catholics lie and desire to have their own authorities share their lies because sinful Catholics love lies as much as sinners everywhere. It’s just that simple.

  41. What testimony of Bella Dodd’s does Marshall cite? Did she specifically testify in public about infiltration of the priesthood by communists?

  42. Jennifer,
    I am an early reviewer of Dr. Marshall’s book and have left him a favorable review on Amazon. Dr. Marshall has some poorly cited sections in the book and a couple of the quotes he uses are out of context. Criticism he receives is deserved as they are careless/negligent. (Ex: Smoke of Satan quote)

    With that said, your approach is rather soft to the current state of things and does not get to the true heart of why people like this book myself included. It is not a longing for certainty that leads me to believe what he says in the book has credibility. I know we don’t know things definitively. So does Dr. Marshall. Its a desire to want to know at least in general what kind of bullets are being shot at me to defend myself and my family. Yes we need saints. Lots of saints. Especially priests who remember their call is to be shepherds and protect their flock, like Vigano! Dr. Marshall shouldn’t have to write this book. More priests should be speaking out and asking for answers on McCarrick and challenging confusing things from the Pope like Paul does with Peter in the Gospels.

    How did McCarrick become a Cardinal and why did he get away with it for so long?

    Or this question that swayed me to believe something is really not right in the Church. If you read about the truly disgusting things in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report you will understand the question. Are these men motivated by sexual gratification with young boys or is there a more sinister motive? If you can read that report and tell me those men are motivated by sexual gratification i question you judgement. Its obvious there is a severe problem and not just isolated incidences there are men who fooled their way into being priests to demonically abuse children and young boys. They Pennsylvania report is not just evidence it is definitive proof of the above statement. It begs the question how did this happen?

    I appreciate the speculative nature of Dr. Marshall on this topic. He is not without error in this, but his podcast and book opened my eyes to watch for errors in what he Pope says, don’t take things at face value with what your priest says (a priest in confession just a week ago presented a false view on sexual teachings to a friend of mine). And there are bad groups who wish to see Christianity destroyed. We have to be careful with speculation, but Jesus tells us you will know a tree by its fruits. Dr. Marshall points out there is bad fruit and bad fruit doesn’t come from good trees. So whats wrong with the tree? Lets talk about a likely answer in my book.

    I stand by my encouragement to read this book, but use prudence. The architect of this cunning attack is the devil. If you are not praying the rosary every day, don’t pick up the book you are wasting your time.

  43. Unfortunately the author is is dishonest regarding Dr. Marshall’s book. He does provide many citations an has personally met individuals directly impacted by the infiltrators as Theodore McCarrick and others. Yes not every citation in any work can be assumed to be accurate simply because someone documented it somewherenin history (the purpose if the book is not to investigate Bella Dodd or documents fremasons wrote in the 1800s, but putting it all together and making relevant to this day). Not to mention how it relates to already approved Marian apparitions and her warnings….namely Our Lady of Good Success, Our Lady of Fatima, and Our Lady of Akita (Japan) which is said by many to be the same message as Our lady of Fatima.

    That’s the take home message!!

  44. I don’t know why any Catholic listens to Taylor Marshall after he basically single handedly had the College of Saints John Fisher & Thomas More shut down; a private Catholic College that had been operating for 33 years in Fort Worth, Texas. And then he starts his own institute. How long has he been a Traditional Catholic; four or five years? He certainly wasn’t in 2014 when the College of Saints John Fisher & Thomas More had to shut down. And now he seems to want to speak for all Traditional Catholics? I think not. It’s not too hard to see that he is in it for the bottom line. $$$

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Infiltration, innuendo, and the longing for certainty -
  2. The Long Infiltration of the Catholic Church - Crisis Magazine
  3. The Long Infiltration of the Catholic Church -
  4. Conspiracy and Catholic Doctrine: A Defense of Taylor Marshall - OnePeterFive
  5. Christ-in-the-present or Christ-in-the-past-or-in-the-future – thirdkindofhumility
  6. Infiltration, innuendo, and the longing for certainty – Ruth Institute

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