Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
By Taylor R. Marshall
Crisis Publications, 2019, 307 pp.
Fifty-four-years after its concluding session, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) continues to divide the ranks of Roman Catholics. The council attempted to “modernize” the church in several respects, most significantly, by switching the mass liturgy from Latin to the vernacular language of each country/region and by propagating a conciliatory approach to Protestants, Jews and members of all other religions. Traditionalist and many conservative Catholics were dismayed and anguished as the changes of Vatican II were implemented in Catholic parishes across the United States and the rest of the world in the late-1960s. The resentment simmered for decades, mainly beneath the surface, except for the flagrant exception of arch-conservative, French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, and his breakaway Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), but pope Francis and his progressive reforms have increasingly galvanized the traditionalist-conservative camp to once again consider radical options.
Over the past year, Catholic traditionalists and conservatives have become emboldened with their published criticisms of Jorge “pope Francis” Bergoglio and their books are evidently finding a receptive audience. With “Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within,” Catholic traditionalist, Taylor Marshall takes the attack against Vatican II, liberal Catholicism, and pope Francis to a whole ‘nother level.
Marshall posits that 19th-century Freemason conspirators plotted to secretly subvert Roman Catholicism through infiltration over a long period of time. The author contends that by the end of the papacy of Pius XII in 1958, the Judas saboteurs and their fellow travelers had secured some of the highest offices of the church and were able convoke the Second Vatican Council and push forward their disastrous declarations. Marshall describes pope John XXIII and Paul VI as entirely sympathetic to the aims of the Freemason conspirators, and young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope Benedict XVI, as one of the council’s progressive firebrands. Pope John Paul II, though somewhat sympathetic to Vatican II and especially to its ecumenical-interfaith approach, calmed conservatives with his return to old school piety. Likewise, Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, who had gradually shifted to a more conservative viewpoint over the decades, mollified the reactionaries with his aim to “reform the reform.” However, with the election of Bergoglio to the papacy in 2013, the alleged Masonic saboteurs and double-agents were once again able to push their agenda. The only solution, Marshall advises his conservative-traditionalist readership, is to adopt the “recognize and resist” approach of his hero, archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which is to recognize Francis as a legitimate pope, but resist all of his progressive novelties.
Taylor’s conspiracy theories regarding Vatican II and its despised Novus Ordo (“new order”) vernacular mass liturgy are breathtaking in their audacity. Taylor writes like the Catholic version of infamous worldwide Jesuit conspiracy theorists, Alberto Rivera and Jack Chick. But make no mistake, there is a growing audience within Catholicism for this kind of sensationalistic paranoia. This book bears a “Crisis Publications” imprint, but it’s VERY interesting to note that Crisis is a subsidiary of Sophia Press, which is a part of the EWTN conservative Catholic media empire. Yes, EWTN is providing a soapbox for anti-Francis, conspiracy theorists.
It’s utterly fascinating to observe this internecine jousting between the increasingly polarized factions within Catholicism, however, whether one searches within the camp of pope Francis and his progressive allies on the one extreme or within the camp of the conspiracy-obsessed Catholic conservatives and traditionalists on the other extreme, one cannot find the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.