The Bugnini Effect: part 1

FROM: Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II: The Destruction of Catholic Faith Through Changes in Catholic Worship

by Michael Davies

The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Annibale Bugnini

Before discussing the time bombs in the Council texts, more specifically those in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which would lead to the destruction of the Roman Rite, it is necessary to examine the role of Annibale Bugnini, the individual most responsible for placing them there and detonating them after the Constitution had won the approval of the Council Fathers.Annibale Bugnini was born in Civitella de Lego [Italy] in 1912. He began his theological studies in the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) in 1928 and was ordained in this Order in 1936. For ten years he did parish work in a Roman suburb, and then, from 1947 to 1957, was involved in writing and editing the missionary publications of his Order. In 1947, he also began his active involvement in the field of specialized liturgical studies when he began a twenty-year period as the director of Ephemerides liturgicae, one of Italy’s best-known liturgical publications. He contributed to numerous scholarly publications, wrote articles on the liturgy for various encyclopaedias and dictionaries, and had a number of books published on both the scholarly and popular level.

Father Bugnini was appointed Secretary to Pope Pius XII’s Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948. In 1949 he was made a Professor of Liturgy in the Pontifical Propaganda Fide (Propagation of the Faith) University; in 1955 he received a similar appointment in the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music; he was appointed a Consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1956; and in 1957 he was appointed Professor of Sacred Liturgy in the Lateran University. In 1960, Father Bugnini was placed in a position which enabled him to exert an important, if not decisive, influence upon the history of the Church: he was appointed Secretary to the Preparatory Commission on the Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council. [Biographical details are provided in Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.] 

He was the moving spirit behind the drafting of the preparatory schema (plural schemata), the draft document which was to be placed before the Council Fathers for discussion. Carlo Falconi, an “ex-priest” who has left the Church but keeps in close contact with his friends in the Vatican, refers to the preparatory schema as “the Bugnini draft.” [Carlo Falconi, Pope John and His Council (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1964), p. 244.] It is of the greatest possible importance to bear in mind the fact that, as was stressed in 1972 in Father Bugnini’s own journal, Notitiae (official journal of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship), the Liturgy Constitution that the Council Fathers eventually passed was substantially identical to the draft schema which he had steered through the Preparatory Commission. [Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.] According to Father P. M. Gy, O.P., a French liturgist who was a consultor to the pre-conciliar Commission on the Liturgy, Father Bugnini “was a happy choice as secretary”:

He had been secretary of the commission for reform set up by Pius XII. He was a gifted organizer and possessed an open-minded, pastoral spirit. Many people noted how, with Cardinal Cicognani, he was able to imbue the discussion with the liberty of spirit recommended by Pope John XXIII. [A. Flannery, Vatican II: The Liturgy Constitution (Dublin: Sceptre Books, 1964), p. 20.]

The Bugnini schema was accepted by a plenary session of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission in a vote taken on January 13, 1962. But the President of the Commission, the eighty-year old Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, had the foresight to realize the dangers implicit in certain passages. Father Gy writes: “The program of reform was so vast that it caused the president, Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, to hesitate.” [Flannery, p. 23.] Unless the Cardinal could be persuaded to sign the schema, it would be blocked. It could not go through without his signature, even though it had been approved by a majority of the Commission. Father Bugnini needed to act. He arranged for immediate approaches to be made to Pope John, who agreed to intervene. He called for Cardinal Amleto Cicognani, his Secretary of State and the younger brother of the President of the Preparatory Commission, and told him to visit his brother  and not return until the schema had been signed. The Cardinal complied.Later a peritus of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission stated that the old Cardinal was almost in tears as he waved the document in the air and said: “They want me to sign this but I don’t know if I want to.” Then he laid the document on his desk, picked up a pen, and signed it. Four days later he died. [Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D., The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II (1967, rpt. Rockford, IL. TAN, 1985), p. 141.]

A Future Pope’s Masonic/Mafia Connections

From: THE RITE OF SODOMY V by Randy Engels

Montini and the Mafia:

Archbishop Montini Meets “the Shark”

Michele Sindona, aka, “the Shark” was an underworld financial fixture in Milan long before Montini became Archbishop.[80]

Born in Messina at the eastern end of Sicily in 1917, the Jesuit educated Sindona was studying law when the British and American troops invaded Italy during World War II. The enterprising Sindona decided to take advantage of the lucrative black market and went into the lemon and wheat business. Since the Sicilian Mafia controlled the produce trade, Sindona cut a deal with Mafioso head, Vito Genovese, whereby he would turn over a certain percentage of his earnings for protection from the mob for his business and his person.

In 1948, Sindona left the poorer war-ravaged southern boot of Italy and migrated north to the richer industrialized city of Milan where he became a “financial advisor” to a number of influential and wealthy Milanese. His Mafia credentials traveled north with him.

In 1954, when Sindona learned that Pius XII had appointed Msgr. Montini to the See of Milan, he secured a letter of introduction to the new Archbishop from the Archbishop of Messina, his home diocese. Sindona soon had a new client in Montini and the Milanese Church.

Archbishop Montini was so grateful to Sindona, that he took the Sicilian to Rome and introduced him to Pope Pius XII and Prince Massimo Spada, a senior official at the Istituto per le Opere de Religioni (the Institute for Religious Works). The IOR, which is popularly known as the Vatican Bank functions as a depository for the Church’s patrimony earmarked for charitable works.[81] Sindona became “a man of confidence” and was given virtually full control over the IOR’s foreign investment program.

The gross assets of the IOR at the time were over $1 billion, but money was secondary to the IOR’s tax-free status and its potential as a laundry for washing dirty money, specifically, Mafiosi earnings from heroin trade, prostitution and illegal political contributions from underground sources including Freemasons.[82]

In 1960, Sindona, operating under the old adage “the best way to steal from a bank is to own one,” purchased his own bank, the Banca Privata, and within a very short time was receiving deposits from the IOR. He used these funds to pyramid his own financial investments and started to launder illegal funds through the Vatican Bank.

After the election of Pope Paul VI, Sindona followed Montini to Rome and became a major player at the IOR. His operations and financial portfolio grew exponentially. In 1964, Sindona formed an international currency brokerage firm called Moneyrex with 850 client banks and annual financial dealings of $200 billion. Many members of the Palazzo, the rich and famous of Rome, used the firm to shield their fortunes from taxation through illegal offshore accounts. Sindona kept a secret ledger of his clients’ transactions with Moneyrex as insurance for a rainy day. The Vatican and Pope Paul VI, along with the name and numbers of the secret accounts of high ranking members of the Christian Democratic Party as well the Socialist and Social-Democratic Parties were all in Sindona’s little black book.

By the late 1960s, the “Gruppo Sindona” included six (later nine) banks in Italy and abroad and more than 500 giant corporations and conglomerates. One of the banks, the Franklin National Bank of New York, the 18th largest bank in the United States with assets of more than $5 billion, was purchased in part with money Sindona had skimmed off from his Italian banks.[83] He also skimmed off funds from his secret masters, that is, the Sicilian Mafia and, after 1971, from the Propaganda Duo (P2), a Mafia-inspired Masonic Lodge catering to Italy’s elite headed by Grandmaster Licio Gelli. In addition, Sindona was handling financial transactions for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which during the post-war period was pouring large sums of money into Italy, some of which made its way to the Vatican Bank.[84]

Meanwhile Sindona’s friend, Pope Paul VI was the recipient of bad tidings from the State. The Italian government was threatening to remove the fiscal tax exemption on the Church and Church properties and investments that the Holy See had enjoyed since the days of Mussolini’s Fascist regime. Under the revised tax-code, the Vatican State would be taxed like any other corporate entity. Sindona proposed a scheme to hide Vatican money in offshore investments and the pope agreed.

One of Sindona’s prominent protégés was a native Milanese by the name of Roberto Calvi.

Calvi was the central manager of the Banco Ambrosio, Italy’s most prominent Catholic bank as distinguished from the lay or secular banking institutions operated by the Jews and Freemasons. Calvi was a man after Sindona’s own heart, which spelled disaster ahead not only for the Banco Ambrosiano, but also for its major depositor, the Holy See. Calvi had his own connections to the IOR through Monsignor Macchi, Montini’s personal secretary. He was also on excellent terms with an American priest at the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Paul Marcinkus.



  1. This section on Vatican finance is based in information taken from a large number of publications and web sites including Conrad Goeringer, “History of the IOR – Murder, Bank, Strategy – the Vatican.” See also David A. Yallop “In God’s Name – An Investigation into The Murder of Pope Paul I.” (Free downloadable e-book available at this site.)

Other footnotes available on request.

A Conciliar Pope with the Odour of Masonry

While there is little indication that Paul VI was a formal Mason, there is no doubt that his programme of reform was completely in line with the agenda of Freemasons to create an ape of the Church.

Anonymous Catholic

FROM: Society of Saint Pius X

Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment

On December 20, 2012, Benedict XVI authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree recognizing the “heroic virtues” of Paul VI, pope from 1963 to 1978. Now only a miracle obtained through the intercession of Paul VI is necessary to proceed to his beatification. Apparently the postulator for his cause, Fr. Antonio Marrazzo, has already chosen a case to present to the medical commission, the cure of an unborn child diagnosed with severe malformation. According to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, the beatification could take place in 2013.

Paul VI is the pope who closed the Second Vatican Council, opened by his predecessor John XXIII. It was during Paul VI’s pontificate that the Novus Ordo Missae was developed. He wrote unhesitatingly to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1976, “The Second Vatican Council is no less authoritative than the Council of Nicea, and is even more important in some respects.”

Archbishop Lefebvre, who was suspended a divinis during Paul VI’s pontificate, gave his opinion of Paul VI to the seminarians of Econe in the lecture series he gave on the Magisterium that provided the material for his book They Have Uncrowned Him (Angelus Press, 1994).

Chapter 31, “Paul VI, a Liberal Pope,” provides a strong indication of what the Society of St. Pius X’s founder would have said about the pending beatification. DICI has introduced headings in the form of questions into Archbishop Lefebvre’s text, the better to follow his analysis.

How will Paul VI be judged by the Church of the future?

Obviously, the Church will one day judge this council and these popes. How will Paul VI, in particular, fare? Some call him heretic, schismatic, and apostate; others believe themselves to have proved that he could not have acted for the good of the Church, and that therefore he was not in fact pope—the theory held by sedevacantists. I do not deny that these opinions have some arguments in their favor. Perhaps, you will say, in 30 years secrets will have been revealed, or elements that should have been obvious to contemporary observers will stand out, statements made by this pope in complete contradiction to the traditions of the Church, etc. Perhaps. But I do not believe that such hypotheses are necessary; in fact, I think it would be a mistake to espouse them.

Others think, simplistically, that there were two popes: one, the true pope, imprisoned in the cellars of the Vatican, and the other, an imposter, his double, seated on the throne of Peter, working for the destruction of the Church. Books have been published about the two popes, based on the ‘revelations’ of a possessed person and on supposedly scientific arguments that state, for instance, that the double’s voice is not the same as that of the real Paul VI…!

What is your own explanation of Paul VI’s pontificate?

The real solution seems entirely different to me, much more complex, more difficult, and more painful. It is given us by a friend of Paul VI, Cardinal Danielou. In his Memoirs, published by a member of his family, the cardinal clearly states, “It is clear that Paul VI is a liberal pope.”

Such is the solution that seems the most historically likely, because this pope was himself a fruit of liberalism. His whole life was permeated with the influence of the men he chose to surround him or to rule him, and they were liberals.

Paul VI did not hide his liberal leanings; at the Council, the men he chose as moderators to replace the presidents appointed by John XXIII, were Cardinal Agagianian, a cardinal of colorless personality from the Curia, and Cardinals Lercaro, Suenens and Dopfner, all three liberals and the pope’s friends. The presidents were sidelined at the head table, and these three liberals directed the conciliar debates. In the same way, Paul VI supported the liberal faction that opposed the tradition of the Church throughout the entire Council. This is a recognized fact. Paul VI repeated—I quoted it to you—the exact words of Lammenais at the end of the Council: “L’Eglise ne demande que la liberte” – the Church only seeks freedom—a doctrine condemned by Gregory XVI and Pius IX.

Paul VI was undeniably very strongly influenced by liberalism. This explains the historic evolution experienced by the Church over the last few decades, and it describes Paul VI’s personal behavior very well. The liberal, as I have told you, is a man who lives in constant contradiction. He states the principles, and does the opposite; he is perpetually incoherent.

Could you provide some examples in support of your analysis?

Here are a few examples of the thesis-antithesis conundrums that Paul VI loved to present as so many insoluble problems, mirroring his anxious and conflicted mind. The encyclical Ecclesiam suam, (August 6, 1964), provides an illustration:

If, as We said, the Church realizes what is God’s will in its regard, it will gain for itself a great store of energy, and in addition will conceive the need for pouring out this energy in the service of all men. It will have a clear awareness of a mission received from God, of a message to be spread far and wide. Here lies the source of our evangelical duty, our mandate to teach all nations, and our apostolic endeavor to strive for the eternal salvation of all men. (…) The very nature of the gifts which Christ has given the Church demands that they be extended to others and shared with others. This must be obvious from the words: ‘Going, therefore, teach ye all nations,’ Christ’s final command to His apostles. The word apostle implies a mission from which there is no escaping.” 

That is the thesis, and the antithesis follows immediately:

To this internal drive of charity which seeks expression in the external gift of charity, We will apply the word ‘dialogue.’ The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make.” 

And finally he attempts a synthesis, which only reinforces the antithesis:

Before we can convert the world—as the very condition of converting the world—we must approach it and speak to it.”[1] 

Have you another example?

Of greater gravity are the words with which Paul VI suppressed Latin in the liturgy after the Council, and they are even more characteristic of his liberal psychology. After restating all the advantages of Latin: a sacred language, an unchanging language, a universal language, he calls, in the name of adaptation, for the “sacrifice” of Latin, admitting at the same time that it will be a great loss for the Church. Here are his very words, reported by Louis Salleron in his book La nouvelle messe [The New Mass] (Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2nd ed., 1976, p. 83)

On March 7, 1965, he said to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s square: 

‘It is a sacrifice that the Church makes in renouncing Latin, a sacred language, beautiful, expressive, and elegant. The Church sacrifices centuries of tradition and unity of language in the name of an ever-growing desire for universality’.” 

The ‘sacrifice’ of which he spoke became a reality with the Instruction Tres abhinc annos (May 4, 1967) which established the use of the vernacular for reciting the Canon of the Mass aloud.

This ‘sacrifice,’ in Paul VI’s mind, seems to have been final. He explained it once again on November 26, 1969, when he presented the new rite of the Mass:

The principal language of the Mass will no longer be Latin, but the vernacular. For anyone familiar with the beauty and power of Latin, its aptness for expression of the sacred, it will certainly be a great sacrifice to see it replaced by the vernacular. We are losing the language of centuries of Christianity, we become as intruders, reduced to the profane in the literary domain of expressing the sacred. We lose, too, the greater part of the admirable, incomparable wealth of art and spirituality contained in Gregorian chant. It is with good reason, then, that we experience regret and even distress.” 

Everything therefore should have dissuaded Paul VI from imposing this ‘sacrifice’ and persuaded him to maintain the use of Latin. On the contrary, deriving a singularly masochistic pleasure from his ‘distress,’ he chose to act against the principles he had just set forth, and decreed the ‘sacrifice’ in the name of promoting understanding of prayer, a specious argument that was only a modernist pretext.

Never has liturgical Latin been an obstacle to the conversion of infidels or to their education as Christians. Quite the opposite: the simple peoples of Africa and Asia loved Gregorian chant and the one sacred language, the sign of their affiliation to Catholicism. And experience shows that where Latin was not imposed by missionaries of the Latin Church, there the seeds of future schism were planted.

Paul VI followed these remarks with this contradictory pronouncement:

The solution seems banal and prosaic, but it is good, because it is human and apostolic. The understanding of prayer is more precious than the dilapidated silks in which it has been royally clad.  More precious is the participation of the people, the people of today who want us to speak clearly, intelligibly, in words that can be translated into their secular tongue. If the noble Latin language cuts us off from children, from youth, from the world of work and business, if it is an opaque screen instead of a transparent crystal, would we fishers of men do well to maintain its exclusive use in the language of prayer and religion?” 

Alas, what mental confusion. Who prevents me from praying in my own tongue? But liturgical prayer is not private prayer; it is the prayer of the whole Church.  Moreover, another lamentable lack of distinction is present: the liturgy is not a teaching addressed to the faithful, but the worship the Christian people address to God. Catechism is one thing, and the liturgy is another. The point is not that we “speak clearly” to the people assembled in the church, but rather that these people may praise God in the most beautiful, most sacred, and most solemn manner possible. “Praying to God with beauty” was St. Pius X’s liturgical maxim. How right he was!

How would you describe a liberal?

You see, the liberal mind is conflicted and confused, anguished and contradictory. Such a mind was Paul VI’s. Louis Salleron explained it very well when he described Paul VI’s physical countenance, saying “he was two-faced.” Not duplicitous—this word expresses a malicious intent to deceive which was not present in Paul VI. No, he had a double personality, and the contrast between the sides of face expressed this: traditionalist in words, then modernist in action; Catholic in his premises and principles, and then progressive in his conclusions; not condemning what he should have, and then condemning what he ought to have preserved.

This psychological weakness afforded an ideal opportunity for the enemies of the Church. While maintaining a Catholic face (or half-face, if you like) he contradicted tradition without hesitation, he encouraged change, baptized mutation and progress, and followed the lead of the enemies of the Church, who egged him on.

Did not the Izvestia, official newspaper of the Communist Soviet party, demand from Paul VI my condemnation and that of Econe in the name of Vatican II? And the Italian Communist paper L’Unita followed suit after the sermon I gave in Lille on August 29, 1976; furious because of my attack on Communism, they devoted an entire page to their demand. “Be aware,” they wrote, addressing Paul VI, “be aware of the danger Lefebvre represents, and continue the magnificent approach initiated through the ecumenism of Vatican II.” With friends like these, who needs enemies? This is a sad illustration of a rule we have already established: liberalism leads from compromise to treason.

How should priests and faithful who are attached to tradition act under a liberal pope?

The psychology of a liberal pope is easy enough to imagine, but difficult to bear! Indeed, such a leader—be it Paul VI or John Paul II—puts us in a very delicate position.

In practice, our attitude must base itself on a preliminary distinction, made necessary by the extraordinary circumstances of a pope won over by liberalism.  This is the distinction we must make: when the pope says something in keeping with tradition, we follow him; when he opposes the Faith, or encourages opposition of the Faith, or allows something to be done that attacks the Faith, then we cannot follow him. The fundamental reason for this is that the Church, the pope, and the hierarchy must serve the Faith. They do not make the Faith, they must serve it. The Faith cannot be made; it is immutable, and must be transmitted.

This is why papal teachings intended to validate actions opposed to tradition cannot be followed. In following, we would participate in the self-destruction of the Church, in the destruction of our Faith.

It is clear that what is unceasingly demanded of us—complete submission to the pope, complete submission to the Council, acceptance of the entire liturgical reform—is in opposition to tradition, in the sense that the pope, the Council and the reforms lead us far from tradition, as the facts show more overwhelmingly every year. Therefore, to demand these things is to require us to participate in the downfall of the Faith. Impossible! The martyrs died to defend the Faith; we have the example of Christians imprisoned, tortured, sent to concentration camps for the Faith. One grain of incense offered to an idol, and their lives would have been safe. I was advised once, “Sign, sign saying you accept everything, and then you can continue as before!” No! One does not play games with the Faith.


1 English translation taken from the Vatican’s website, consulted Jan. 29, 2013.

Translated from Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Ils l’ont decouronne, Clovis, 3rd ed., 2008; pp. 253-260. Available in English translation at Angelus Press as They Have Uncrowned Him (1994).

(Source: DICI no. 269, 2-1-2013)

A French Mason Converts to Catholicism

From the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER February 14, 2020

Serge Abad Gallardo, a former senior official of the French government and venerable master of the Freemasons, reveals Freemasonry’s anti-Christian spiritual and ideological roots and its impact on democratic political life.

In his youth, Serge Abad Gallardo joined Freemasonry with the conviction he could contribute to make the world a better place. He turned 24 years later to Christ, convinced he had been serving the wrong cause and, above all, the wrong Master.

An architect and a former senior French territorial government official, Gallardo has been a venerable master and a member of the high ranks of the global Masonic order Le Droit Humain, which he left in 2012 after experiencing a sudden conversion at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Since then, Gallardo has been dedicating his time to sharing his long experience within Freemasonry, informing people about the mechanisms and potential dangers of such an institution through regular conferences across France.

To help spread his message about Freemasonry, which the Code of Canon Law (1374) prohibits, he has also written a number of books, among which include Je servais Lucifer sans le savoir (“I Was Serving Lucifer Without Knowing It,” Pierre Téqui, 2016) and La Franc-maçonnerie démasquée (“Exposing Freemasonry,” Good News, 2017).

His last work, Secret maçonnique ou verité catholique (“Masonic Secret or Catholic Truth,” Artege, 2019), sheds light on the problematic dimension of secrecy in Freemasonry, especially its consequences on societies and democracy.

While discussing his personal journey with the Register, Gallardo explains why Masonic activities are deeply incompatible with the Christian faith.

You decided to leave Freemasonry after a staggering conversion at the Marian shrine in Lourdes. Can you tell us more about it?

The first step of my conversion happened before a statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at Narbonne Cathedral. My son was in trouble, and I was going through a difficult time. One day, I decided to go to the cathedral that was next to my office to pray.

Soon after, I told my wife it could be nice to go to Lourdes to pray a little for me and my son. I didn’t have the faith I have now at that time, but a small ray was already arising in me when I decided to go to Lourdes. There, I went to the grotto and prayed a whole Rosary for the first time. At the end of the prayer, as I got up, my legs gave out under me and felt paralyzed. I saw a strong light coming out of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Some people around tried to help me to my feet, but my legs stayed paralyzed for many minutes.

I’d been through an incredible experience. I initially didn’t tell my wife because I wanted to do a few medical analyses first. It turned out that nothing was wrong with me. I saw a psychiatrist to make sure I wasn’t having a kind of mystic delirium, and he found I was sane.

I didn’t completely understand what happened to me right away, but I felt that God had entered my life and that everything in me was about to change forever. I made a retreat soon after, and everything made sense. This is how my real life of faith began.

I heard a priest say that, sometimes, God lets Satan act so that Satanic temptations and actions can contribute to the man’s salvation — with the human being’s will, of course. I believe it is an answer to the question of evil.

Did you leave Freemasonry right away?

Not immediately. When I got back to my lodge after all this, I started feeling that this activity was not in line with my faith. I progressively stopped attending Masonic meetings, and I spoke with some priests that confirmed the incompatibility between my faith and Masonic activity. I officially quit about a year after my return to the faith.

Have you suffered reprisals since you began reporting on your experience publicly?

When I meet my former Freemason companions on the street, most of them just turn their backs on me and won’t even say hello. Just a few of them understood my approach and respect it, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

When you are a Freemason, administrative hassles can be very easily resolved, as Freemasons are present in all public administrations. You always have a way out, but once you leave Freemasonry, you lose everything, and they can even make everything harder for you.

Did your testimony help other people open their eyes to the reality of Freemasonry or encourage them to leave it?

Yes, it helped several people. One day, I met a shopkeeper who I didn’t know was a Freemason because he belonged to another obedience [branch]. He recognized me and blamed me for writing books against Freemasonry. He eventually confessed that he was both a Catholic and a Freemason, and he thought it was totally compatible. He told me that his lodge had recruited a senior officer that suddenly resigned after reading one of my books, as he is a Catholic and he realized he was committing a serious sin. A number of former Freemasons have been writing to me to share their testimony over the past few years. I cannot change the world, but I can open some consciences.

What do you do now? Didn’t this decision to leave Freemasonry affect your professional life?

I quit Freemasonry in 2013, and I was fired from public administration in 2017. A file had been built against me in the meantime. I am one of the very few senior officials to have been fired for “unsatisfactory performance.” And it happened after 35 years of rave evaluations from my supervisors. I kept all the documents as potential proof. I went from being a highly competent public official to an underachiever. So I am unemployed today, and I hope I can retire soon.

But I accept this situation quite well. I write and give conferences for the glory of the Lord, to help people, especially the Christians, avoid the trap of Freemasonry.

How did you join Freemasonry in the first place?

I was looking for answers about spirituality, about the meaning of life, and I thought I could find them in a Masonic lodge. I was in my early 30s, and I had a high social status, which made me the perfect candidate.

Why do you think Catholicism is incompatible with Freemasonry?

If someone is very involved in Freemasonry’s initiatory step, like I really used to be, and if at the same time, he has a real living and carnal faith, an interior conflict will necessary arise. We cannot think on the one hand that God was made flesh, that Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross to save us, and on the other hand consider, like Freemasons believe, that God is something abstract, an undefined force called the Great Architect of the Universe, which is similar to a cosmic force, to a kind of naturalism. Those two things are doctrinally far too different to be compatible. Some Freemasons believe in the Christian God and think it is compatible with their Masonic activity, but it is a deep theological mistake.

The second fundamental incompatibility is that one cannot seek the truth through esoterism, resorting to rituals and “magical” processes, to some cosmic elements that are not necessarily divine, and at the same time resorting to the power of God to walk toward the Truth. These are two very incompatible and opposed paths. Such a conflict is true for worldwide Masonry, including that found in America or Europe.

Have you ever seen any clergyman in your lodge?

Not personally, but I’ve heard of some cases. I cannot testify personally, but it is very likely that representatives from the Church belong to Freemasonry. Spanish historian Alberto Bárcena dedicated a book to this topic in 2016.

While quoting extracts from Masonic initiation rites, you often mention sentences that are strangely similar to some Bible verses. What is the purpose of such a distortion? 

There definitely is a misappropriation. The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the most ancient and widely practiced rite in the world, also found in the U.S., originally referred to the Bible in high-grade rituals in order to put a mask on their activities and reassure the royal and ecclesiastic authorities.

And the presence of biblical passages is also one of the reasons why many Christians are hooked, because they are told that in Freemasonry, people swear on the Bible and they study the Gospel of St. John. But anyone can do that, make a free interpretation of the Bible and found a congregation, a sect, a group and say it is compatible with the Catholic faith as their truth is being sought in the Bible. There is a real deception behind the Masonic narrative.

What made you think that you were serving Lucifer, as the title of one of your recent books suggests?

One day, when I was an officer in the lodge of Le Droit Humain, I heard a first-grade ritual that I never heard before and that pays tribute to Lucifer. It is also part of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. I heard the venerable master say: “We must thank Lucifer for bringing light to men,” etc. I was quite taken aback.

This ritual, and Freemasonry in general, consider that religions, and Catholicism in particular, obscure the truth to believers and keep it to themselves, while Freemasonry provides keys to human beings so that they can fully free themselves.

Furthermore, in my two last books, I quoted extracts of a document that is accessible only to high-grade members, so the so-called “blue lodges” [which gather the new members] don’t have access to it. It is taken from Paroles Plurielles — a publication issued by my Masonic order — in which are compiled the best written texts regarding societal issues or Masonic rituals and that are on display in lodges. In this three- or four-page document, there is a text that praises transgression, and the one that allowed it — Lucifer. It is worth noting that Freemasons usually mention Lucifer rather than Satan.

Can members really get out of Freemasonry? Aren’t Masons forever bound by a Masonic vow?

Officially, from an administrative point of view, we can leave quite easily. Although not frequent, it is not so rare that Freemasons quit. And there is even an ad hoc commission to understand why people quit. You just need to send a letter to the venerable master, although it doesn’t have to be accepted.

But contrary to what Freemasonry says, we don’t belong to it forever after our Masonic vow. In the 1884 encyclical Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII recalls that a Freemason who comes back to the Church as a repentant Catholic is released from any Masonic vow. It is very clear.

You make a clear distinction between the institution and its members, of whom many are unaware of its true nature and the real implications of their commitment.

Absolutely. It is important for me to recall that I have nothing against Freemasons as persons. Many of them aren’t aware of the Luciferian aspect, of the kind of indoctrination and unique thought surrounding the Masonic doctrine. Some of them are really good people, convinced they are working for the good of humanity and seek to improve themselves with great intellectual honesty. However, I am strongly opposed to the aura of secrecy and mystery that surrounds Freemasonry. I think people should be able to know exactly what they are getting into. Then, if they persist in their will to get involved in Freemasonry, it becomes their personal responsibility.

Does Freemasonry really have the ability to do harm to society and political life? Are Freemasons really at the origin of societal laws such as those on abortion or same-sex “marriage,” as is often suspected, or do you think that such a claim is part of conspiracy theories as esoteric as the Freemasons’ own ideas?

It is absolutely no conspiracy theory to say that Freemasonry holds strong political power over society. There are solid proofs. In France, for instance, the law allowing the contraceptive pill (1967) was initiated by Lucien Neuwirth, who was a Freemason. In addition, the French law on abortion (1975) was promoted by Simone Veil. I don’t know if she was a Freemason herself, but she was at least openly very close to Masonic ideals [she received vibrant tributes from the greatest French Masonic lodges at her death in 2017]. Moreover, the first politician to have tried to introduce the legalization of euthanasia in France was Freemason and French senator Henri Caillavet, in 1978. In the same way, the law on same-sex “marriage” (2013) was promoted by French politician Christiane Taubira, who I met in Guyana — where I worked for a few years — and who is a Freemason.

In my book, I give figures about the two French assemblies — the Senate and the National Assembly. The Freemasons represent around 0.03% of the French population and yet 35% of France’s deputies and senators are Freemasons. It is 120 times more likely to become a deputy or a senator for a Freemason than for someone who is not.

Then there is the so-called “Fraternelle parlementaire,” an informal organization which gathers elected officials at the highest political levels. They are from all Masonic obediences, including some that are not necessarily allies. The Fraternelle is successively presided over by people from the left and the right. It is no accident that French citizens no longer know who to vote for.

The former president of the association, Bernard Saugey [senator of The Republicans, a center-right political party, and openly a Freemason], once said: “If I play my role well, parliamentarians from the left and the right will vote together on societal issues.” And now we have a new proof of that, with the law on medically assisted reproduction [recently approved by the Senate, although predominantly conservative].

One solution to this serious threat for democracy would be to abolish secrecy and oblige politicians to publicly say they are Freemasons. At least the citizens would clearly know who they vote for.

Cardinal Rampolla – the archetypal Freemason cleric

The first significant inroad made by Freemasonry into the heart of the Church was the appointment of the influential Cardinal Rampolla as Secretary of State. Ordained in 1866, Mariano Rampolla was made a bishop by Pope Leo XIII and appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Spain in 1882 for five years. 

It was during this time that Pope Leo released his landmark encyclical condemning Freemasonry, Humanum Genus. Released in April of 1884, this was to be his final official condemnation of the Craft. Only six months later, Pope Leo received his famous vision of the devil ‘conversing’ with God and subsequently wrote the prayer to St Michael. The date of that vision is particularly significant: it was October 13th – precisely 33 years before the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Some time after this, the Pope decreed that the St Michael prayer and the Salve Regina be recited after every Low Mass.

In 1887, the Pope promoted Rampolla to Cardinal and in the same year, appointed him as his Secretary of State. (16 years)

 It seems strange to think that a Pope who was so opposed to Masonry allowed a character like Rampolla to achieve such prominence. Perhaps Pope Leo’s confidence in Rampolla reflected something of the latter’s character: he has all the hallmarks of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Leo XIII died in 1903 and Rampolla became known as the best potential new pope, or  ‘papabile.” This was despite Rampolla’s liberal tendencies already being widely known. 

In an unusual political intervention, the French Foreign Minister urged the French Bishops to vote for Rampolla, in order to maintain the support given to the French by Leo XIII.

Some of Rampolla’s other supporters at this time were Bishop Pietro Gasparri, Rampolla’s Under-Secretary of State, Msgr della Chiesa, and his private secretary, Eugenio Pacelli. Another supporter, Bishop Rafael Merry del Val, became Pro-Secretary of the conclave. This followed the sudden death of the original Pro-Secretary, Msgr Volpini. The Pro-Secretary plays an important ceremonial role after the election of a new pontiff and is also automatically elevated to the role of Cardinal at the same time as a former Cardinal is elevated to the papacy.

Cardinal Rampolla received the highest tally in the first vote and things appeared to be going his way. Suddenly there was an unheard-of intervention by the Metropolitan of Krakow, Cardinal Puzyna, on behalf of His Imperial Majesty Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary. Franz Josef was invoking a power of veto that had not been used in 400 years to eliminate Rampolla as a candidate. Del Val had tried without success to stop this intervention from taking place.

When Rampolla realised that the request was valid, he asked that his supporters transfer their votes to the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto. The final ballot in fact elected Cardinal Santo and he took the name Pius X.

Pius X abolished the Imperial Privilege soon after his election, possibly due to the common opinion that the Emperor was motivated by political intentions. The true reason behind the intervention was not known until a decade later.

Rampolla was replaced as Secretary of State by Bishop Merry del Val; other progressive prelates, supporters of Rampolla, still held their important posts in the Vatican.  Rampolla became Secretary of the Holy Office in 1908.

The truth behind the Emperor’s intervention was not revealed until 1918, after Rampolla’s sudden demise. Amongst the Cardinal’s private papers were documents that indicated he was a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis,  or OTO, an occult arm of Freemasonry. This cult incorporates elements of Gnosticism, Kabala and Eastern mysticism and is the foundation of Aleister Crowley’s ‘sex magick.’

Of special interest in our own days is one aspect of the initiation ritual of the eleventh degree of the OTO: sodomy. Msgr Jouin believed that Cardinal Rampolla was initiated into the OTO in Switzerland and that he was a Grand Master of the OTO.


A Contemporary Vatican Freemason

Michael Heinrich Weninger was born in 1951, in Wiener Neustadt . He entered the diplomatic service of the Republic of Austria and in 1993 became head of the Austrian embassy in Belgrade. This appointment lasted until 1997. From 2008-2009, he worked in Sarajevo, again as head of the Austrian embassy. That year, his wife died and he left the diplomatic corps.

It is most likely that Weninger was already a Freemason by this time. He has said that his path crossed with many Masons from the early 2000’s and this continued after he became a priest. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Vienna in 2011 by the dissident Cardinal Christoph Schonborn. Schonborn is known for his open support for gays and hosts sacrilegious pro-sodomy events in his Cathedral annually.

In 2012, Fr Weninger became a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, working under Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Two years later, it became known that Fr Weninger was a Freemason, as his role as chaplain for three Mark Masons Lodges was published on a Masonic website. The same article related that he consecrated the new lodge of the Mark Masons no. 1954 in 2014.

When the rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University learned that Fr. Weninger was planning a book on the compatibility of Freemasonry and Catholicism, he invited the priest to study under him and write a dissertation on that topic. Fr. Weninger’s doctoral dissertation was completed in 2019: he successfully defended it, and was awarded the maximum grade of 10.0 summ cum laude.

The thesis title was Über die Aussöhnung von Katholischer Kirche und regulärer Freimaurerei (On the Reconciliation of the Catholic Church and Regular Freemasonry). It was published as a book in February of 2020 under the title of “Lodge and Altar.”

In order to prove the compatibility of Masonry with the Catholic Faith, Fr. Weninger relies on a false distinction between “regular” and “irregular’ lodges. However, Pope Pius IX, in his encyclical Etsi Multa made it very clear that there is no difference between the various forms of lodges.

One commentator points out that Fr. Weninger is wrong on another score: he writes that although Fr Weninger claims that Freemasonry is not a religion, “the fact that he published his doctoral thesis at the Institute of Spirituality (and not at the Institute of History) suggests that Freemasonry is after all a form of spirituality.”

In his book, Weninger reveals his flawed understanding of the Catholic Faith. He writes that the Church uses magic in Her rituals such as blessings and exorcisms: “The Catholic Church knows legitimate acts of magical-mysterious and thus magically effective acts”, p. 113. He further states that “magic was not and is not condemned by the Catholic Church” (p 113),thereby suggesting that the “hermetic thinking” (p 110) and magic inherent in Masonic rituals are acceptable to the Church.

While perhaps not the most reliable of sources, the occultist Leo Zagami ties the release of this book to a request from Queen Elizabeth and the United Grand Lodge of England to the Vatican to review its prohibition on Freemasonry.

Far from receiving any censure from the Vatican for his allegiance to Freemasonry, Fr Weninger’s career has continued to blossom., for example, he was a speaker at the G20 Interfaith Forum in October last year.

Like the Australian priests Fr. Stephen Hackett and Fr. Costigan, Fr. Weninger promulgates the dangerous and erroneous message that no penalty applies any longer to Catholics who are Masons. The fact that he freely spreads this heresy, and is not only not chastised but is promoted, shows that profound hold that Freemasonry has on the Roman Curia.

There, freemasons were not mentioned anymore: excommunication was no more inflicted upon them. This meant a final reconciliation: it was made crystal-clear that freemasonry was not fighting against Catholicism, but they were cooperating instead. Had they become members of a lodge, Catholics would not have been ousted from the ‘assembly’: no one would have asked them to renounce their faith. Common effort has ever since replaced infighting. Nowadays, many bishops and prelates told me that, as freemasons, they are doing a wonderful job for both their believers and themselves! With irregular freemasonry, of course, it is different…

Fr Weningen, in an interview for, reproduced at Freemason Wiki

Masonic elements in a California Cathedral

Christ Cathedral in Orange County, California, is another example of a modern church with Masonic overtones. The anti-Catholic theme begins outside with this contemporary take on a Masonic obelisk ….

Exterior of Christ Cathedral, California

… and continues all the way to the sanctuary and altar. The altar itself is square, unlike the rectangular design of traditional Catholic altars. It is topped by a strange crucifix with crescent-moon shapes attached to the four ends of the cross. Crescent moons are a common symbol in witchcraft and the occult.

Theologian and philosopher, Peter Kwasniewski, gives this description of the sanctuary and offers an example of Freemasonic architecture for comparison:

“The location of the altar in the center of the room, the placement and type of presiders’ chairs, the dark torches on the ground punctuating the corners, the square mensa, and the all-seeing eye below the altar table at once bring us to a blood-curdling full stop. Can it be by accident that the altar at Christ Cathedral is a carbon copy of the altar of Freemasonry? Do we have a “reasonable hope” for denial? Even a cursory look at a Masonic altar makes the visual and symbolic link inescapable.

If one ignores the superior craftsmanship and style of the following Masonic temple, one can see the exact parallel in the disposition of the chairs — the tall chair in the center flanked by lower seating on either side — and then the square altar with the freestanding candles. (There is of course a fourth candle in the church, for it would have looked too strange to retain the asymmetry of three.)
Dr Kwasniewski gave this example of a Masonic Lodge layout

One liturgical ‘expert’ who contributed to the Christ Cathedral was Brother William Woeger. Brother Woeger designed the “Crux Gemmata” – the crucifix – as well as the candlesticks, reliquary and other features. Jesus’ crown of thorns and the altar’s reliquary are studded with strange crystals, reminiscent of those used by New Agers. Below is another design by Brother Woeger, which again shows Masonic influence. Note the checked floor, another square altar, surrounded by large candlesticks and the rows of pews which face each other.

I might return to Brother Woeger in a future article.

A Vatican Freemason Promotes Indifferentism

This G20 Interfaith Forum took place last year, in October 2020. Australian readers may be interested to note that former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, was a speaker at this conference – Anonymous Catholic


A leading Vatican Freemason from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) is one of the speakers representing the Holy See at the G20 Saudi Arabia Interfaith Forum Oct. 13–16.

Father Michael Heinrich Weninger, who was outed as a Freemason when celebrating Mass at the 2014 consecration of the new lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1954, Austria, spoke Tuesday on slavery and human trafficking.

Weninger is accompanied by Islamic expert and PCID president Cdl. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot and Bologna’s Cdl. Matteo Zuppi, the latter of whom is a confidant of Pope Francis and a close ally of Italian Muslims.

Despite the interdicts of 11 popes over 200 years condemning Freemasonry and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) reiterating that membership in Masonic lodges “remains forbidden,” Fr. Weninger continues to occupy a position in the Roman curia and advocate for freemasonry.

“The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion,” the CDF ruled in 1983.

The Interfaith Forum is being viewed as a public relations strategy by Saudi Arabia under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “who has tried to put an international sheen on his despotic reign.”

Critics are slamming the Vatican endorsing the regime despite its notable human rights violations and radical departure from the ideals proposed by Pope Francis in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. Those found with Bibles, crucifixes or other Christian material still risk arrest and, if they’re foreigners, deportation.

Observers have also pointed to the unmistakable coincidence of the Interfaith Forum occurring in light of Saudi Arabia’s bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia failed to secure one of the three-year seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council, obtaining just 90 votes from the 180-member body.

Speaking to Church Militant, renowned Islamic scholar Robert Spencer called the Vatican’s participation in the Interfaith Forum “a travesty.”

“While Saudi Arabia has taken steps toward reform, there still exists no church of any other non-Muslim house of worship on Saudi soil because the Saudi government is bent on implementing Muhammad’s command that only Islam should exist on the Arabian Peninsula,” commented Spencer, author of 21 books on Islam and the Middle East.

“Those found with Bibles, crucifixes or other Christian material still risk arrest and, if they’re foreigners, deportation. Women were recently given the right to drive, but that only underscored how severely Saudi society oppresses women,” Spencer underscored.

Saudi Arabia was the only country up for membership that failed to get elected, leading Bruno Stagno, Deputy Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), to applaud the “stunning rebuke to Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman.”

It was the “only country not elected, shunned by a majority of the U.N. The kingdom reaped what it deserves for its serious violations of human rights and war crimes abroad,” Stagno observed.

Ironically, while Saudi Arabia hosts an international Interfaith Forum endorsed by Pope Francis, “with few exceptions, Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam,” HRW 2020 World Report states.

The Islamic theocracy “systematically discriminates” even “against Muslim religious minorities” while “government-affiliated religious authorities” continue to “disparage Shia and Sufi interpretations, versions and understandings of Islam in public statements, documents and school textbooks,” HRW reports.

Death Penalty, Immigration

The country is notorious for its use of the death penalty, HRW notes. On April 23, 2019, it carried out a mass execution of 37 men, including 33 from the country’s minority Shia community “who had been convicted following unfair trials.”

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry reported that the country executed 179 persons between January and mid-November 2019, mostly for murder and drug crimes. Executions are by firing squad, beheading and even crucifixion, sometimes in public.

Pope Francis has stridently opposed the death penalty in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, but has remained silent on the practice in Islamic countries and continues to ally himself with Islamic proponents of the death penalty like Saudi Arabia and Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Church Militant reported.

In stark opposition to Pope Francis’ call for the welcome and humane treatment of migrants in Fratelli Tutti, Saudi Arabia is known for its systemic oppression of migrant workers.

Further, the theocracy is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and does not have an asylum system to protect people fearing persecution.

Call to Unity

At the Forum, Cdl. Ayuso flagged the pontiff’s encyclical calling for “unity, solidarity and fraternity, for bettering our ‘common home,’ as Pope Francis is continuously reminding us all.”

It is necessary to answer Pope Francis’ call to “reaffirm that we are members of the one human family,” he added.

Father Weninger remarked:

The International Conference on 21st Century Slavery stated that human trafficking constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights, particularly the sexual exploitation of women and children.

Injustice, exploitation and abuse are often deeply institutionalized due to financial profit. There is a need for faith leaders to challenge these social injustices, particularly as they constitute a fundamental issue of human rights.

Participants at the conference include Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew, Orthodox metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis of France, Coptic bishop Anba Marco, Anglican Richard Sudworth representing the archbishop of Canterbury and Sr. Sharon Eubank from the Mormons.

Prominent Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders are also participants.

Masons on the Church – Then and Now

Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII’s great encyclical warning against Freemasonry, was promulgated in 1884. In it, the Pope condemned Masonry and other secret societies in the most direct and unambiguous way. The scathing nature of his reprisal can be evaluated by the response from Masons of that time.

From the Bulletin of the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge:

Freemasonry cannont help but thank the Supreme Pontiff of the last encyclical. Leo XIII, with unquestionable authority, and wth great luxury of evidence has demonstrated once again that there is an unbridgeable gulf between the Church of which he is the representative, and the Revolution, of which Freemasonry is the right arm. It is good that the skeptics cease to entertain vain hopes. All must get used to the new order which does not recognise any other foundation than that of science and human reason, in the spirit of authority and spirit of liberty.

Enrico Delassus, “Il problema dell’ora presente”, Desclèe e C. Tipografi-Editori 1907, vol. 1, p 39. (Via Fr Villa.)

Contrast this appraisal with laudatory comments from the Masons in our present day. The following is a press release from Italy’s Grand Lodge, made after the election of Jorge Bergoglio in 2013.

The Catholic Church has chosen as Pope the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio who assumed the name of Francis. A clear-cut choice, away from the logic of the Roman Curia and of the temporal power. From the first moment on, Pope Francis, a man who comes “nearly from the end of the world,” rejecting the ermine robe and gold cross and replacing it with an iron cross, made his first tangible act. In his first words of greeting he fostered a desire for dialogue with the world and with mankind, nurturing the vivid hope for laymen and nonbelievers that change is underway. Maybe this is really what the world expects and what it expected. A new Church that knows how to reconnect love with truth in a confrontation among institutions not entrenched in the defense of their own power. It is that same hope for which the world — and especially Latin America, where the Masons Simon Bolivar, Salvador Allende and the same Giuseppe Garibaldi [especially while in Brazil] among the many who have given liberty to those peoples — has always longed for.

A message that Freemasonry itself perceives a sharp break with the past and one which is turned now to listening to the poor, the marginalized and the weakest. To the new Pontiff we send our best wishes for his good work for years to come.

Luciano Nistri, Grand Master GLVDI

(As found at OnePeterFive)

Masonic Elements in Liturgical Design

It is difficult to deny that the infiltration has penetrated very deeply into the heart of the Church when we are confronted by elements of Masonry in the very layout of some sanctuary renovations.

A fad to be found in some Australian Churches is that of eliminating the sanctuary in its original sense and placing the altar in the midst of the people.

The traditional design, with its elevated and prominent altar, clearly delineated the “Holy of Holies” as being a place set apart for the Sacrifice, accessible only to the priest and his male assistants. In the Tridentine Mass, the Epistles, Psalms and Gospel readings took place at the altar.

The Novus Ordo Mass separated the “Liturgy of the Word” from the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” and introduced a lectern from which Scripture was to be read, facing the people.

Modernists like to emphasise this separation of the “Altar of the Word” from the “Altar of the Sacrifice,” as it means less emphasis is placed on the Mass as a Sacrifice offered by Christ to His father in expiation for our sins, and more emphasis is placed on the role of the people as recipients of God’s blessings.

This leads to the idea that we are now present at Mass to “get” more than to give.

Some liturgical designers have taken this idea a step further by bringing the sanctuary right into the midst of the congregation as an attempt to disregard the proper hierarchical structure that should be present during the Mass. In this egalitarian setting, the priest loses his preeminent place and merges with the people. Focus on the priest , as a man, actually increases in this layout and the people are forced to stare at each other.

The entire setting is very anthropocentric, which is a hallmark of Freemasonry. In some of these designs, as if to increase the disrespect shown to the Lord, the priest’s chair is situated with its back to the tabernacle.

Sts Peter and Paul, Bulimba, Queensland

The designer of the Church above, Fr Tom Elich, contrasts the philosophy behind traditional liturgical design with his modern version. He points out that in the past, Christ was acknowledged as “celebrating the liturgy”, with the priest acting ‘in persona Christi‘, whereas today:

Christ celebrates the liturgy, that is, the whole Body of Christ consisting of all the baptised.  The full, conscious and active participation of all the faithful in the liturgical celebration is their right and duty by reason of their baptism (SC 14).”

[As a noteworthy aside, the priest in question held, as a fundraiser for the Church’s renovations, a Black and White Ball. It is a small point, probably coincidental, but interesting in the context of this discussion.]

Thus, the shift in philosophy from theocentric liturgy to anthropocentric liturgy is reflected in Church design. Shown below is another example of a new Church that reflects “the assembly as celebrant” philosophy. This rather sparsely-decorated cathedral, described by visitors as a ‘barn’ or a ‘basketball court’, and complete with what looks like a floating storm cloud, is said by the designer to embody “a sublime narrative of spiritual life.”

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, New South Wales.

A third example is this chapel in Queensland. Again we see the altar and ambo have been brought into the midst of the congregants. No sanctuary, as such, exists. congregants are left with little choice but to look at each other, instead of intently gazing, unimpeded, at the Holy Sacrifice unfolding before them.

Banyo Seminary Chapel

If we compare the three churches above to the typical layout of a Masonic temple, we are at once struck by some obvious similarities.

Chairs are arranged in rows with the people facing each other. A table, known as the Table of the Book, is situated between the rows of chairs. The presiders also face into the middle. It is somewhat humorous to note that, try as we might, humans can never escape from the model of a hierarchy in their endeavours. This pattern, which God has imprinted into the human psyche, must always be respected if there is to be any semblance of order.

Floorplan of a UK Lodge