War of Anti-Christ with the Church - Rev. G. E. Dillon

Kindred Secret Societies in Europe

We have seen that the use made of Freemasonry by the Atheists of the last century was a very elastic one. As it came from England it had all the qualities required by the remorseless revolutionists, who so eagerly and so ably employed it for their purposes. Its hypocritical professions of Theism, of acceptation of the Bible, and of beneficence; its terrible oaths of secrecy; its grotesque and absurd ceremonial, to which any meaning from the most silly to the deepest and darkest could be given; its ascending degrees, each one demanding additional secrets, to be kept not only from outsiders, but from the lower degrees; the death penalty for indiscretion or disobedience; the system of mystery capable of any extension; the hidden hierarchy; in a word, all its qualities could be improved and elaborated at will by the Infidels of the Continent who had made British Masonry their own.

Soon the strict subjection of all subordinate lodges to whatever Grand Orient or Mother Lodge they spring from, and on which they depend, and, above all, the complete understanding between the directors of the Masonic "powers", that is of the different rites into which the Masonry is divided, placed its entire government in a select ruling body, directed in turn by a small committee of the ablest conspirators, elected by and known to that body alone. The whole rank and file of Masonry receive their orders at present from this inner body, who are unknown to the mere masons of the lodges. The members of the committee deputed by the lodges are able to testify to the fact of the authenticity of the orders. Those who rule from the hidden recesses take care that these deputies shall be men worthy of confidence. A lodge, therefore, has its masters, it officers, and management; but its orders come through a channel that appears to be nothing, whereas it is everything in the movement of the whole mass.

Thus it happens that the master of a lodge or the grand master of a province, or of a nation, whose high-sounding titles may make him seem to outsiders to be everything, is in reality often nothing at all in the actual government of Masonry. The real power rests with the hidden committee of direction, and confidential agents, who move almost invisibly amongst the officers and members of the lodges. These hidden agents of iniquity are vigilant spies, secret "wire pullers", who are seldom promoted to any office, but content themselves with the real power which they are selected to use with dexterity and care.

It was through this system that Weishaupt obtained the adoption of illuminated Masonry at the convent of Wilhelmsbad. Through the machinations of Knigge he obtained from the delegates there assembled the approval of his plan that the ultimate end of Freemasonry and all secret plotting should be: 1) Pantheism—a form of Atheism which flatters Masonic pride. 2) Communism of goods, women, and general concerns. 3) That the means to arrive at these ends should be the destruction of the Church, and of all forms of Christianity; the obliteration of every kind of supernatural belief; and, finally, the removal of all existing human governments. This would make way for a universal republic in which the Utopian ideas of complete liberty from existing social, moral, and religious restraint, absolute equality, and social fraternity should reign. When these ends should be attained, but not till then, the secret work of the Atheistic Freemasons should cease.

At the convent of Wilhelmsbad, Weishaupt had the means taken to carry out this determination. There Masonry became one organized Atheistic mass, while being still permitted to assume many fantastic shapes. The Knights Rosicrucian, the Templars, the Knights of Beneficence, the Brothers of Amity were strictly united to Illuminated Masonry. All could be reached through Masonry itself. All were placed under the same government. Masonry was made more elastic than ever. When, as in the cases of Ireland and Poland, an enslaved nationality should be found, which the supreme Invisible Directory wished to revolutionize, and when, at the same time, the existing respect for the words of the Vicar of Christ made Masonry hateful, a secret political society was ordered to be formed on the plan of Freemasonry, but with some other name. It too put on, after the example of Masonry itself, the semblance of zeal and respect for religion, but it was bound to have horrible oaths, ascending degrees, centers, the terrible death penalty for indiscretion or treason, to be, in essence, and in every sense, if not in name, a society identical with Freemasonry.

The supreme direction of the Revolution was to contrive by sure means to have adepts high and powerful in its management; and the society was, even if founded to defend the Catholic religion, thus sure, sooner or later, to diverge from the Church and to become hostile to religion and to its ministers. The Atheistic revolutionists of the Continent in the last century learned to perfection the art to effect this; and hence the ready assistance which men who were murdering priests in Paris and throughout France and Italy, gave to the Catholics of Ireland in 1798.

Was it to relieve the Catholics of Ireland from persecution, while they themselves were to a far more frightful extent oppressing the Catholic Church, the Catholic priesthood, Catholic religious, and Catholic people, for no other reason than the profession of the Catholic faith in France and Italy? By no means. They, at the very time, had already corrupted Irishmen. Some of these were open Infidels and others were Jacobite Freemasons of no particular attachment to any form of Christianity. They shared in Napoleon's indifference to religion, and were as ready to profess zeal for their Catholic fellow countrymen as he and his soldiers were ready to profess "love" for the Alkoran and the Prophet in Egypt, or for St. Januarius in Naples.

But they and their leaders in Black Masonry knew that once they could unite even the very best and truest Catholic men in Ireland into a secret society on such lines as I have described, they would soon find an entrance for Atheism into the country. They would not be wanting in means to win recruits by degrees from the best intentioned Catholics so bound by oaths, and so subjected to hidden influences. They were adepts at proselytism, especially amongst those who gave up liberty and will to unknown masters.

But the agency of the Atheists of France was carried to work the mischief it intended for Ireland upon other Catholic lands. It forced its tyranny very soon upon Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and the Rhenish provinces of Germany. That was bad enough, but it was not all. When the French revolutionary armies had departed from these countries, after the fall of Bonaparte, they left a deadly scourge that could not be removed behind them. That was the system of Atheistic organization of which we have been speaking, and which was not slow in producing its malignant fruits.

In Catholic Italy, where the scourge of the Revolution fell most heavily, the misfortune happened thus: The discontent consequent upon the multitude of political parties in that country gave the secret machinators of the Weishaupt school a splendid opportunity of again renewing their intrigues; while the miserable Government of the Bourbons in France, in permitting Freemasonry to flourish, afforded its supreme direction an opportunity to assist them in many ways. Public opinion in Germany was unripe for any Atheism unless veiled under the hypocritical pretenses of the Tugendbund. In Italy, however, though religion was strong amongst all classes, the division of the country into small principalities caused the hopes of the revolutionists to be more sanguine than anywhere else, and the opportunity of dealing a blow at the temporal power of the Pope under the national pretext of a united Italy, was too great a temptation for the Supreme Masonic Directory to resist. Besides, it could not be forgotten by them, that in making past efforts the power of the Pope was the principal cause of their many failures. They rightly judged that the complete destruction of his temporal authority was essential to Atheism, and the first and most necessary step to their ultimate views upon all Christianity, and for the subjugation of the world to their sway. The temporal power was the stronghold, the rallying point of every legitimate authority in Europe.

With a sure instinct of self-preservation, the Schismatical Lord of Russia, the Evangelical King of Prussia, the Protestant Governments of England, Denmark, and Sweden, as well as the ancient legitimate Catholic dynasties of Portugal, Austria, Bavaria, and Spain had determined at the Congress of Vienna on the restoration of the temporal dominions of the Pope. The Conservatives of Europe, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Schismatic, felt that while the States of the Church were preserved intact to the Head of the Catholic religion, their own rights would remain unquestioned—that to reach themselves his rights should be first assailed.

The Atheistic conspiracy, guided now by old, experienced revolutionists, saw also that the conservatism of the world which they had to destroy in order to dominate in its stead, could not be undermined without first taking away the foundation of Christian civilization upon which it rested, and which unquestionably, even for Christian schismatics and heretics, was the temporal and the spiritual authority of the Pope. Having no idea of a divine preservation of the Christian religion, they judged that the destruction of the temporal power would lead inevitably to the destruction of the spiritual; and as experience proved that it would be useless to attempt to destroy both altogether, they then set all their agencies at work to destroy the temporal power first. They therefore determined to create and ferment to the utmost extent a political discontent amongst the populations of the different states into which the Italian Peninsula was divided.

Now this was a difficult task in the face of the experience which the Italian people had gained of the revolutions and constant political changes brought by the French from the first attempt of the Republic to the last of the Empire. The Congress of Vienna restored most of the ancient Italian States as well as the States of the Church to the legitimate rulers. Peace and prosperity beyond what had been known for years began to reign in the Peninsula. The mass of the people were profoundly contented. They were more Catholic than ever, notwithstanding all that the revolutionary agents of France did to pervert them.

But there remained a dangerous fraction amidst the population not at all satisfied with the change which had so much improved the nation generally. This fraction consisted of those individuals and their children who benefited by the revolutionary regime. They were the men who made themselves deputies in Rome, Naples, and elsewhere, and by the aid of French revolutionary bayonets seized upon Church property and became enriched by public spoliation. These still remained revolutionary to the core. Then, there was the interest effected by their party. And finally, there was that uneasy class, educated by the many cheap universities of the country in too great number, the sons of advocates and other professional men, who, tinged with liberalism, easily became the prey of the designing men who still remained addicted to the principles and were leagued in the secret organizations of Weishaupt and his fellow Atheists. Even one of these youths corrupted and excited to ambition by the adroit manipulation of these emissaries of Satan, still active, though more imperceptible than ever, would be sufficient to kindle a flame amongst his fellows capable of creating a wide discontent.

Aided then by such elements, already at hand for their purposes, Weishaupt and his hidden Directory determined to kindle such a flame of Revolution in Italy as, in its effects, should, before long, do more harm to religion and order than even the French Revolution had caused in its sanguinary but brief career. They effected this by the formation, on the darkest lines of "illuminated" Masonry, of the terrible Sect of the Carbonari.