Concerning anti-Catholic Jesuit conspiracy theories

Hello. Inasmuch as this is my first post here at Catholic Answers Forum, I should mention that do not want to spend too much time dwelling on controversial subjects, however, I am would like to ask whether any others at this forum might care to attempt an informed response to the some claims made by anti-Catholics. On a different forum site, I noticed a post composed of quotes by great men of history who, supposedly, denounced the Society of Jesus.

N.B.: Responding to charges of scandal, and calumnies, has been a well-established practice of Catholic apologists, going back to 2nd century Church Father Atheanagoras of Athens and St. Justin Martyr. On this occasion, I am not posting to debate the pros and cons of addressing such charges directly. While I respect the views of those who find this subject troublesome, if you find this subject too troublesome for your own sensibilities, please disregard this post. While I am suspicious of all of these quotes, on this occasion, my focus is on composing a well-informed, factual reply, so, please, if you believe these quotes are fake/misquotes, present some relevant facts, rather than just replying that these sound nutty, or suspicious.

Here follows a selection of some of the relevant quotes:

“My history of the Jesuits is not eloquently written, but it is supported by unquestionable authorities, [and] is very particular and very horrible. Their [the Jesuit Order’s] restoration [in 1814 by Pope Pius VII] is indeed a step toward darkness, cruelty, despotism, [and] death. … I do not like the appearance of the Jesuits. If ever there was a body of men who merited eternal damnation on earth and in hell, it is this Society of [Ignatius de] Loyola.”
John Adams (1735-1826; 2nd President of the United States)

“It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country – the United States of America – are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty. They have instigated MOST of the wars of Europe.”
Marquis de LaFayette (1757-1834; French statesman and general. He served in the American Continental Army under the command of General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War.)

“The Jesuits are a MILITARY organization, not a religious order. Their chief is a general of an army, not the mere father abbot of a monastery. And the aim of this organization is power – power in its most despotic exercise – absolute power, universal power, power to control the world by the volition of a single man *. Jesuitism is the most absolute of despotisms [sic] – and at the same time the greatest and most enormous of abuses…”
Napoleon I (i.e., Napoleon Bonaparte; 1769-1821; emperor of the French)

“All these things cause the Father-General [of the Jesuits] to be feared by the Pope and sovereigns… A sovereign who is not their [the Jesuits’] friend will sooner or later experience their vengeance.” (1852)
Luigi Desanctis (Official Censor of the Inquisition)

“The favorite policy of the Jesuits [is] that of assassination.”
Brigadier General Thomas M. Harris*

In a related thread at this forum, members 1ke and Church Militant attribute some similar quotes to the “Know Nothing” Party of the 19th century. While this sounds likely, I hope to find some credible documentation regarding the credibility of these quotes–or the lack thereof. Regrettably a link included by Church Militant is no longer working.

That’s a very old thread and link so I’m not surprised.

However, CA has some equally good information.
The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick

Here are just a few things you will “learn” if you start reading Chick tracts and comic books:

*]The Catholic Church keeps “the name of every Protestant church member in the world” in a “big computer” in the Vatican for use in future persecutions.[1]
*]But the conspiracy is much broader than this, and it has been going on for a very long time. In the sixth century, for instance, Catholic leaders manipulated the Arabian tribesman Mohammed into creating the religion of Islam to use as a weapon against the Jews and to conquer Jerusalem for the pope.[2]
*]The Jesuits instigated the American Civil War, supporting the Confederate cause and seeking to undermine the Union. When they failed, they arranged the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.[3] Later, they formed the Ku Klux Klan.[4]
*]“Jesuits worked closely with Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin” to create Communism, and it was “believed that soon . . . Communism would rise up as the new strong daughter of the Vatican.”[5] It was Rome that instigated the Bolshevik Revolution and the murder of the czar’s family.[6] The Communist “liberation theology” movement also is a Vatican plot.[7]
*]The Nazi Holocaust of the 1940s was a Vatican-controlled attempt to exterminate Jews and heretics.[8] Further, “Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco were backed by the Vatican for the purpose of setting up a one-world government to usher in the ‘˜Millennial Kingdom’ under Pope Pius XII.”[9]
*]The Vatican conspiracy is so extensive that, through the Jesuits, Rome controls the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, international bankers, the Mafia, the Club of Rome, the Masons, and the New Age movement.[10]
*]The Jesuits created the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Unity, Christian Science, and other religious groups.[11]

Alberto Magno Romero Rivera was born in 1937 in the Canary Islands. He claimed to have been a priest who served as an undercover operative of the Jesuit order to infiltrate and destroy Protestant churches and institutions. He maintained that he was so successful that he secretly was made a bishop. Yet he turned his life over to Christ and became a Fundamentalist evangelist. He claimed to have rescued his sister—a nun—after she nearly died in a convent in London.

But wait…there’s more! :smiley:

*Christianity Today *further discovered that “that not only was Rivera not a Jesuit priest, but also that he had two children during the time he claimed to be living a celibate life as a Jesuit.” It explained:Although Rivera claims to have been raised and trained in a Spanish Jesuit seminary, his hometown friend, Bonilla, said Rivera was living at one point with a woman in Costa Rica named Carmen Lydia Torres. (Alberto says Rivera was sent to Costa Rica to destroy a [Protestant] seminary and that a woman named Carmen was with him, posing as his girlfriend. The seminary was not named.)
Rivera later stated on an employment form that he and Torres were married in 1963. Their son, Juan, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964, while Rivera was forking for the Christian Reformed Church there. Juan died in El Paso in July 1965, after his parents had fled New Jersey leaving numerous debts and a warrant for their arrest on bad check charges. The couple had two other children, Alberto and Luis Marx. The first two children were born during the time Alberto claimed to be a Jesuit priest in Spain.[30]

Concerning Rivera’s claim to have been made a bishop, Metz reported in *Cornerstone *that:
[INDENT]Alberto now claims that he was once a Jesuit bishop. None of his former associates remember this being part of his testimony until early 1973. Former associate Rev. Wishart (once a pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Fernando), who questioned Alberto about this, reported that Alberto admitted that he had never been ordained a bishop but used the title for prestige. He continues to call himself the bishop of his own church, the Hispanic Baptist Church (Oxnard, California).[31]

Here He Comes![1]-185x110.gif
The priest who becomes a Fundamentalist is having nightmares about being left behind when the Rapture happens. A Fundamentalist tells him that he won’t be, but goes on to him about the horrors to come, including the revelation of the pope and “the Jesuit general” as the false prophet and the beast.

Themes: Antichrist, Millennium, Pope, Rapture


After a tense confrontation between a Jewish concentration camp survivor and a group of American Nazis, a Fundamentalist kindly explains that the German Holocaust was actually a Vatican plot to kill Jews. In fact, “the Gestapo was run by the Jesuits” and “Hitler was a faithful Roman Catholic simply following the laws set forth in the Council of Trent.” Worse, the Vatican plans a new inquisition in America to force Catholicism on the United States.

**Themes: **Anathema, Conspiracy, Inquisition/Death to Non-Catholics, Nazism, Pope, Repulsive Catholics, Whore of Babylon

The Last Generation?[1]-185x109.gif
In the near future, a global totalitarian state is proclaimed, with the pope as its head. The announcement is made by a Jesuit at the United Nations. True Christian believers are driven underground and betrayed to the sinister superstate at every turn, even by evil “Hitler Youth”-type children.

**Themes: **Antichrist, Inquisition/Death to Non-Catholics, Mary, Rapture

More good sources:
Open Forum radio show
What is the Jesuit Oath?
Catholic Conspiracy Theories
Convent Horror Stories

The quotes are in relation to the French Revolution. You should read up on the French revolution and how the church was dragged in and ultimately overthrown by Napolean’s army with the Pope being dragged off to France. There was the Reign of Terror where Catholic priests were killed and there was the law passed in France to force all Catholic priests to swear allegiance to the French government first. The French needed a revolution to solve their economic problems. When this happens, people lash out at whomever has money or property and demonizes them to make it acceptable to kill them and take their stuff. This is what happened to the Church in France. In that fog of war, the stories being sent overseas to the protestants was that the evil church was being destroyed and guys like Adams were hearing some version of these stories. They were men of their times.

Now days, you can pull a quote up from a letter that a completely uninformed person from 300 years ago wrote, post it on the web and people think there is some big deep controversy. Those are our times I guess.

Holy See represented varying degrees of worldly power. Under the existing principles of Church and state, the expression of political and doctrinal dissent was treated very repressively. The rise of Protestantism and Anglicanism did not merely pose a challenge to established orthodoxy, but a threat to the worldly power of religious establishments, and Church authorities. Perhaps a more tolerant approach to Protestant dissent would have been more a more prudent course. 16th century King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland enacted a policy of toleration, sparing his country from the slaughter of the Catholic-Protestant 30 Years War (a costly war in which 30% of central Europe perished).

While some of the implications seem repulsive, the quotes by President John Adams and Napoleon appear to be documentable, and, while I believe there are exceptions, inasmuch as I would oppose evasions, it may become necessary to concede most of these quotes. At this stage, the proper response would appear to be one of addressing each quote in its historical context. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and even after the rise of Protestantism, the religious congegregations, local Sees, and the Holy See represented varying degrees of worldly power. Under the existing principles of Church and state, the expression of political and doctrinal dissent was treated very repressively. The rise of Protestantism and Anglicanism did not merely pose a challenge to established orthodoxy, but a threat to the worldly power of religious establishments, and Church authorities. Perhaps a more tolerant approach to Protestant dissent would have been more a more prudent course. 16th century King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland enacted a policy of toleration, sparing his country from the slaughter of the Catholic-Protestant 30 Years War (a costly war in which 30% of central Europe perished).

Inasmuch as the rise of Anglicanism and Protestantism became the occasion of intolerance and many persecutions under Anglican, Protestant, and Catholic states, there was some justification for benign intrigues in order to arrange for the welfare and security of persecuted Catholic believers.

I cannot research the details any further, but the John Adams quote comes from a book about a plot to assassinate and overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England, which involved Fr. John Ballard, S.J. and Sir Anthony Babington, in which the plotters also attempted to recruit King Phillip II of Spain.

The Babington Plot

Yes, Frankenfurter, I am well acquainted with the historical context in that case. The anti-religious regime of the French Revolutionaries ruthlessy fought all opposition, and perpetrated some of the worst atrocities in European history up to that time. I do not care to speculate on how or when Napoleon got his information. The Society of Jesus was suppressed practically everywhere in 1775 (with few exceptions–I believe Polish authorities forbad the publication of the Bull suspending the Society), [edit–1775, that is, at least 3 years prior to the French Revolution] however, prior to the suppression, the Society of Jesus had held great power and influence both in Bourbon France, and in the country of Napoleon’s Austrian adversaries.

I have, likewise, made the effort to inform myself of the misrepresentations, exaggerations, and falsehoods of Protestant propagandists, such as the Black Legend of the Spanish Inquisition, and John Foxe’s writings.

In the case of the Jesuits, I do not believe the record absolutely rules out every charge of intrigue or treachery, but I believe the most rash charges raised by some sides can be refuted…

Further explanation of some earlier points: After the religious divisions of the 16th-19th centuries, mutual intolerance and persecutions were the reality in the Western world. Anglican and Protestant governments were persecuting Catholic pirests, monks, nuns, educators, and lay people. Human rights activist and dissident author Christopher Fogarty estimates over that over 5 million Irish who refused to “take the soup” (i.e. refused to deny their Catholic Faith in exchange for a meal at a Protestant/Anglican soup kitchen) were forcibly starved by Loyalist militias, abetted by 1/2 of the ground forces of the British Empire, from 1848-1852 (c.f., Fogarty, “The Irish Holocaust,” 1999). Protestants have often claimed that the Jesuits instigated the repeal of France’s policies of toleration under the Edict of Milan. If that were so, I would object, however, persecutions of Catholics in England, Scotland, and Ireland, were as violent and more atrocious than what was done under Catholic authorities, and probably moreso. The violence of the mutual Catholic/Protestant persecutions of that age, however, justified some benign intrigues, in order to provide for the security and welfare of Catholic believers.

One of the most suspect anti-Jesuits was the late Charles Chiniquy, an ex-priest and ex-Catholic. I do not rule out the possibility of some half-truths in Chiniquy’s accusations against churchmen of his own time, however, his writings and reputation reveal his tendency to misstate facts; his bad temper; his moral failings; and his inclination to embellish his writings with some occasional hyperbole and sensational accusations. I do not exclude the possibility that Chiniquy may have experienced some unfair treatment by those he targeted with his invective, however, given his inconsistencies, there is nothing remarkable persuasive about his claims as the exclusive witness to the sensational Church intrigues and scandals he purports to disclose.

Chiniquy’s claims regarding Abraham Lincoln’s supposed anti-Catholic sentiments are blatantly askew from Lincon’s publicly stated views:

Historians Paul F. Boller Jr. & John George–commentary on the anti-Catholic rant Chiniquy ascribed to then (1856) Illinois attorney Abraham Lincoln (alleged by Chiniquy in “50 Years in the Church of Rome”):

"… [Chiniquy’s alleged quote of an anti-Jesuit rand by Lincoln] circulated among Catholic-haters in this country since the late 19th century, but there is nothing of Lincoln in them. They were written by Charles Chiniquy, a Canadian-born priest who settled in Kankakee County, Illinois, in 1851, as head of a Catholic colony, and then abandoned his faith, began spewing out hatred for his former religion, and invented anti-Catholic utterances for Lincoln as part of his anti-Catholic campaign.

"But Chiniquy did know Lincoln, though not very well. In 1856, Lincoln and Leonard Swett handled a case for Chiniquy in Springfield, Illinois, and years later, after Lincoln had become famous, the recusant priest falsely claimed he had been an intimate friend of Honest Abe and that the latter had secretly confided to him his fear and hatred of Catholicism. The false quote appeared in Chiniquy’s Fifty Years in the Church of Rome (Chicago, 1886), a lengthy and bitter attack on the Roman Catholic Church.

“Lincoln of course had nothing of the bigot in him, and the kind of views Chiniquy attributed to him were entirely foreign to his thinking. In June 1844, Lincoln wrote a resolution condemning the intolerance of the Know Nothing movement: ‘The guarantee of the right of conscience as found in the Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant.’ And in a much-quoted letter to his friend Joshua Speed on August 24, 1855, he expressed his dismay over the bigoted views of the Know Nothings and warned that if they triumphed the Declaration of Independence would be corrupted into reading: ‘All men are created equal, except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’”
-----Paul F. Boller Jr. & John George, “They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions,” Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 79-80

c.f., “Exposing the Lie about Lincoln’s Alleged Anti-Catholic Words”

As others at this forum probably have pointed out before, the alleged Jesuit “Extreme Oath of Induction” is a fiction (actually, a rehashed fiction). The original fake text was first peddled as a membership oath of the Knights of Columbus [KoC]. It was first published in newspapers during the 1912 race for the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania, and was used to advance the campaign of Republican Candidate Thomas S. Butler, who was running against the incumbent Catholic Democrat, and Knight of Columbus, Eugene C. Bonniwell. After losing the election to Butler, Bonniwell issued a formal complaint in Congress, while submitting a record of the libelous alleged-KoC Oath into the Congressional Record. Years afterwards, religious bigots promoting this libel changed the story, then claiming that the Oath was really a “Jesuit Induction Oath.” It does not seem as though Rep. Bonniwell, the Knight of Columbus, was attempting to hide anything, inasmuch as he knowingly and intentionally included the full text of the libel as evidence in the complaint he submitted.

The Jesuit Oath Debunked

One of the more incredible conspiracy theories charges the Jesuits with fomenting antisemitism and National Socialism in Germany. I would not dispute that St. Ignatius Loyola had very negative views regarding the Jews–Loyola once proposed an ideal world in which there would be no Jews or Muslims (in spite of having some Jewish ancestry himself). To set the record straight, however, Jesuits took a leading role in opposing Fascism and NS racial ideology, saved Jews from NS pogroms, and willingly endured prison and torture, rather than renounce their morally principled opposition. Notable anti-Nazi Jesuits included Jakob Notges, S.J.; Anton Koch, S.J.; Erich Przywara, S.J.; Gustav Grundlach, S.J.; Max Pribilla, S.J.; and Fr Anton Rosch, the Jesuit Provincial in Germany, who was imprisoned and repeatedly beaten for refusing to suspend his opposition activities.

A more detailed critique of Chiniquy’s claims:

by Joseph George Jr.

Part 1 [not my website–apologies for streaming ads]

Part 2 [not my website–apologies for streaming ads]

Related–from Philip Porvaznik’s “Evangelical Catholic Apologetics” site (some identical material):

Hello, Frankenfurter…

I had to read a 2nd time to grasp that one, this context certainly is of the greatest relevance to Adams’ remark.

I feel a debt of gratitude to my instructors for my education in history, especially Martin Slater at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, and Prof. Irwin Merker of Rutgers University. I always try to approach the historical record from an impartial, sober minded perspective, however, as a convert, I must admit that I am inclined to look for the best qualities in the faithful of previous generations.

Rather than mislead anyone, I have struggles with some matters of faith. The doctrine of Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty has often seemed to press this point too far for my own traditional sensiblities, however, I am not, otherwise, opposed the principles of civic toleration, which were, in particular situations, recommended long prior to Vatican Council II–whereby I previously mentioned the example of Poland’s tolerant 16th century King, Sigismund Augustus.

Meanwhile, as a relative of the late Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh, a friend of America’s 1st President, I am somewhat inclined to look for the best qualities in America’s founders. From my particular perspective, it is a disappointment to read about Adams’ embittered view of the Society of Jesus–although, not quite as much when considered in the historical context of that period, with revolutionary ideologues spreading their propaganda among Western intellectuals.

Not sure what happened with reply # 9–I intended the latter part of the text as an entirely new reply, however, regrettably, my new reply got fused with one of my earlier ones–even though site no longer featured an “edit” link for that reply… Hmm… Could that have been a technical bug with the posting system?

Thank you for your knowledgeable and well considered feedback, Church Militant, all of your points are well taken.

If you don’t mind my asking, do you prefer “Blackie,” “Michael,” or “Church Militant”?

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