Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rome, The Devil, and the Freemasons




The article in the issue of July 21, headed "The Devil amongst the Freemasons," compels attention. Decidedly funny reading it makes, yet, when the hilarious stage has been passed, the thought presses upon one that it is a sad thing to find presumably sensible and educated people foisting such rubbish upon the adherents of any faith. That such material should be used, speaks volumes for the gullibility of the poor folks who worship in the Romish Church.
It is not so many years since that a Pope and the shining lights of the Papal world were most successfully hoaxed, and even to day, though full exposure has been made, credence is given to the remarkable story presented to them. In fact, many of their fulminations against the brethren of the mystic tie are based upon it. The man who hoodwinked them was Leo Taxil, a native of Marseilles. He was just the type of man of whom the priesthood should have been particularly suspicious, for he had issued violent anti-clerical publications, in respect of one of which, "The Secret Amours of Pius IX.," he was in 1881, at Montpelier, condemned to pay a fine of 85,000 francs. He was an adventurer of the most unscrupulous type. Assuming the role of a penitent, in April, 1885, he waited upon the Archbishop of Paris, seeking absolution from his sins. That prelate was suspicious of Taxil's pretended remorse, and handed him over to the Papal nuncio, Monsignor De Rende. Taxil's recital of his delinquencies occupied three whole days. He confessed to practically every known crime in the calendar, even murder, and he received absolution, on condition of paying a pension to a mythical widow and children. With splendid mendacity he also began to unfold his marvellous stories of the reprehensible practices of Freemasons, of whom he claimed to be one. He expounded the idea, so often to be found in Roman Catholic denunciatory writings, that in the higher grades of the craft there are secret inner circles, of whose sinister designs the great body of the brethren are kept in darkness, and that these powerful few regard the Christian God as essentially evil—a revengeful tyrant and the enemy of the human race; and that they look upon Lucifer as the true type of freedom and wisdom. The late General Albert Pike (the eminent American historian of Freemasonry) was designed the "Satanic Pope," with headquarters at Charleston, South Carolina, and the ingenious Taxil produced a ground-plan of "Satan's Chapel," a subterranean apartment in that city.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston literally gasped with astonishment when he heard of this story. Being an honest man, and anxious not to have the Church connected with so preposterous a story, he hurried off to Rome. He did not hesitate to declare the whole thing a hoax. The poor bishop was snubbed for his pains. Leo XIII. told him to hold his peace and say nothing. A few days after a tale was circulated that the prelate was himself a Mason, and therefore bound to shield his brethren. Taxil's statements, implicitly accepted as true in high ecclesiastical quarters, included one that the magical paraphernalia employed in the Satanic rites was prepared in a huge cavern under the sea at Gibraltar. The Vicar-General there declared this to be absolutely false, but his protest fell as flat as did that of the Bishop of Charleston's. Evidently the Pope didn't want to be disillusioned.
The credulous priests were hungry for more revelations, and Taxil found it out of his power, single-handed, to minister sufficiently to their voracious appetites; so he called in assistance. With a confederate named Marglotta he concocted a Masonic rite which was termed Palladium. In this a black mass was said to be celebrated. In which Satan himself appeared in person! Of this rite Marglotta wrote; "It is prepared with great carefulness, and only members of the thirty-third degree are accepted." 
It was declared that Albert Pike had been furnished by the demons with a special telephone, by means of which he kept in constant touch with other brethren under Satanic protection, in Washington, Berlin, Calcutta, Naples, and elsewhere, and, by merely rubbing a magic bracelet, he could summon Lucifer to his side at any moment. The gullible ecclesiastics were gravely informed that "one day Satan took Pike gently in his arms and bore him to the star Sirius, making the trip in a few minutes. After exploring this far-away, fixed star, he was brought back safe and sound to his room in Washington." One of Taxil's colleagues, Dr. Bataille, related that prior to the occupation of Rome by Italian troops in 1870, at a secret meeting of Freemasons, General Cadorna, a renegade priest parodied the consecration of the Host with a piece of bread which he finally threw into the fire with the words, "In honour of Lucifer." Thereupon Lucifer came up through the floor, smiled benignantly on his followers, and said "The time has come for firing the third salvo of cannon." A month later, General Cadorna entered Rome through a breach in the Porta Via. "In Luciferian language the first salvo was the Reformation,the second the French Revolution, while the third victory of Satan was the overthrow of the Pope's temporal power."
Taxil and his confederates were by no means content with their masterly efforts so far, so they next introduced upon the scene a high priestess of Palladism, who was called Diana Vaughan, and declared to be not only acquainted with the deepest mysteries of the rite, but numbered several demons amongst her acquaintances. It was represented that Diana was also anxious for salvation, and that one day, when several devils were in attendance upon her, she invoked the spirit of Joan of Arc. The foul fiends howled with anger and dismay, and, stripped of their disguises by some mysterious agency, they appeared in real form with horns, tails, and cloven hoofs. Then they vanished. Yet Diana said that Asmodeus in particular had been kind to her, had saved her life and shielded her from insult. The publication of Diana's story led to the  natural demand that she should show herself. For a time this was parried by the story that she was in retreat in a convent, and that if her whereabouts were disclosed the Freemasons would assuredly compass her destruction.
The excited people were insistent, and then when doubts began to be expressed as to whether Diana had any existence at all, Taxil hired an American girl earning her living as a typewriter in Paris, to assume the character, and the young lady entered heartily into the hoax, and appears to have enjoyed it. Under Taxil's direction she wrote letters to leading Roman Catholics, and even the Pope and several cardinals. The stories of evil published were sold by tens of thousands as they were printed. Then the name of another woman, Sophia Walder, but termed by the Luciferians Sophia Sapho, is introduced. Concerning her, a devil named Bitru announced in the presence of kindred souls that she was to have a daughter who would in turn become the grandmother of Antichrist. One day at a banquet, a mischievous brother poured some drops of the holy water of Lourdes into her lemonade. This caused intense pain which was only relieved by her vomiting fire! The promised child was afterwards declared to have been born at Jerusalem, to the unbounded joy of the fraternity. Sophia, however, does not seem to have materialised in the person of a typist or any other female like Diana did. Yet the credulous priests and their flocks believed in her existence. They accepted implicitly the story that the devil, in the form of a crocodile, played the piano at a Masonic entertainment. They accepted without question a statement that there was a lodge-room at Freiburg, in Switzerland, hewn out of solid rock, provided with altars and other accessories for the worship of Satan, and where the most shameful orgies were carried on. It was related that "one altar, in the form of a triangle was an image of the demon Baphomet, was used for stabbing the body of Christ, in the form of consecrated wafers, with a dagger." This roused intense anger amongst the Roman Catholics, and they were inflamed to a high pitch of excitement. The conspirators went so far as to name a young lady of Freiburg, who was said to have stolen the holy wafers. This found publication in the "Moniteur da Rome." The young lady instituted a suit of defamation which ended in the priest-editor being fined 25,000 lire and sent to gaol for four years. 
These supposed revelations deeply stirred the Church newspapers, and Taxil was acclaimed a champion of the faith. In 1887, Leo XIII. received him in solemn audience, and he was told by the Pope that his "life was very precious for labours and battles for the faith." Taxil prepared a book of prayers, published as of Diana's authorship, which was approved by the Archbishop of Genoa, and Cardinal Parochi sent his "dear daughter in the Lord" his blessing and the benediction of the Pope. So late as 1896, the late Pope's private secretary, Vincenzo Sardi, wrote urging Diana to "continue to write and unmask the godless sect." "The Civita Cattolica," the organ of the Vatican and the Jesuits, praised her "inexhaustibleness in precious revelations, which are unparalleled for accuracy and truthfulness;"
An important stage was reached by the holding of an anti-Masonic congress at Trent. It met on September 20, 1898, and Leo XIII. honoured it with a special apostolic brief. It is too long to quote here, but it may be taken for granted that the Pope did not mince matters in asking the congress to devise means for resisting "the impious doctrines" of Freemasons. The gathering had the approval of the whole Roman hierarchy, except in English-speaking countries, and there were delegates from Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Portugal, and French-Canada. Such absurd statements were made concerning Freemasonry that many of the members, foremost among them the Germans, confessed themselves ashamed, and left after the first sittings. Prince Loewenstein presided, and there seemed to be fair unanimity of opinion that the worship of Satan was a vital principle in the craft. Dr. Gratzfeld, Archbishop of Cologne, expressed his opinion that Diana Vaughan and her revelations were palpable frauds, and was rewarded with tempestuous marks of disapproval. Another German, Dr. Baumgartner, put some extremely-pointed questions about Diana, but his language was deemed offensive, and so he was called to order. An investing committee reported on January 22. 1897, that "no thoroughly convincing evidence had been furnished for or against the existence of Diana Vaughan and the authenticity of the writings attributed to her." The religious journals, however, all fiercely championed Diana, and the Yankee typist must have had many a good laugh over the matter.
Taxil, infinitely shrewder than his dupes, realised that he had gone far enough, and that he had better make as graceful a retreat as he could. So he sent out invitations to many leading people to meet him at the rooms of the French Geographical Society in Paris, on April 19, 1897. The promise that Diana Vaughan would be there caused intense excitement. They little knew what was in store for them. After the visitors had been entertained for a while, Taxil mounted the rostrum, and said: "Reverend sirs, ladies and gentlemen, you wish to see Diana Vaughan; look at me, I am that lady." Step by step he narrated the development of his imposture through a period of over 10 years. Tho audience gasped in astonishment. He did not spare one detail to show the horrified churchmen how completely they had been deceived and made parties to his outrageous lies. As "Diana" he had received in all 500,000 francs, in addition to the profits from the sale of his books. He said some of the priests, through ignorance and imbecility had helped him greatly, but there were some knaves among the clergy, for detecting the fraud, they fostered it for their own profit; and even the Vatican had sought by means of the mythical Diana to perpetrate frauds upon the faithful.
Did this confession kill the hoax?  Not a bit of it; the "Osservatore Cattolica," of Milan, declared that Taxil had been kept a close-prisoner by the Freemasons, and that some other individual had personated him. Another journal announced that the craft had caused Diana to be immured, in a lunatic asylum. Dr. Bataille was as unreserved as Taxil in admitting his share in the fraud. It was, he said, "a rare opportunity to coin money out of the crass credulity and boundless cupidity of the Catholics." Therefore, he joined forces with Taxil, and made a swinging profit out of the venture.  Some of the Romish priests were furious over the affair. They came in for endless ridicule from the secular press, and all the answer some of them could make was, "The Freemasons paid Leo Taxil to deceive Catholics." The Bishop, of Grenoble, Monsignor Fava, a year after the exposure had come, published a work in which he adhered to his belief in the diabolical character of Freemasonry, and the Pope, on receipt of a copy of the volume, wrote some Latin verse which adopted the bishop's view.
There are to-day thousands of people who believe in Taxil, and Diana, and all the rest of the band of conspirators, and the works they published are still on the library shelves of the Vatican. They have never been repudiated, but actually serve as text books for those who wish to attack the craft. That they have inspired certain denunciators even in Sydney has been more than once painfully apparent. No fewer than 17 different works were published by Taxil, and they sold like hot cakes.

 Watchman 4 August 1910,

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