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.
INFORMATION FROM THE RITE OF SODOMY V by Dr Randy Engels