Beware of Communists Bearing Gifts

(This article builds upon a previous one published at Catholic Insight on December 9, 2018 under the title Trojan Horse in the City of God. The principal difference is that here is stressed the organic development of the clash between atheistic Communism and the Catholic Church over a hundred-year period.)

Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, is the story of the war waged by Greece against the city of Troy. Unable to vanquish the Trojans on the battlefield, the Greeks came up with a clever plot. They built a gigantic wooden horse, filled its belly with soldiers, left it on the beach and boarded their ships, pretending to go home. The Trojans, thinking the Greeks had left behind a gift of tribute to their courage, drew the great horse into the city for all the citizens to admire. Much revelry and drunkenness followed. That night the Greek ships secretly returned. The soldiers inside the horse descended to the ground and opened the gates to the city. The Greek army invaded and destroyed Troy.

There can be little doubt, so far as Catholics are concerned, that the great contest of the 20th century was not between the Allies and Axis powers of World War II. Nor was it the later cold war between Russia and America.  For Catholics, far more significant in terms of world history past, present, and future, was the conflict between the Kremlin and the Vatican.  Was there a winner of that contest? Let’s consider a brief history of a long struggle, the outcome of which is still pending.

At the impressionable age of fourteen, Joseph Stalin had read Charles Darwin, then haughtily declared himself an atheist who was not fooled by religious mumbo jumbo. This did not prevent him from exploiting the opportunity of a free seminary education to become a priest. Stalin impressed his teachers and seemed to excel in what was expected of him. But he excelled even more at what was not expected of him: reading so much atheistic and revolutionary literature that the seminary Rector had to discipline him thirteen times. Stalin then graduated to reading Marxist and Russian socialist literature, after which he organized Marxist study groups within the seminary. In 1899 he was expelled from the seminary. This event doubtless cemented his hatred for Christianity, so that by 1917, then in his fortieth year, Stalin with Lenin decided to use the newly created Russian Communist Party as a tool by which to build a totalitarian empire dedicated to the destruction of capitalism and religion everywhere. It is no wonder that Pope Pius XI would later remark: “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”

The Showdown: Joseph Stalin vs Pius XII

In 1940 Eugenio Pacelli had just been elected Pope Pius XII. Stalin was absolute dictator of Russia and well on his way to establishing the Soviet Union and the world domination of atheistic Communism. Aside from Hitler’s war on Russia, a temporary distraction, Stalin saw only one great international power that rivaled his own: the Roman Catholic Church. Following World War II, the Soviet Union annexed several eastern European countries and began a vigorous persecution of the Catholics inhabiting those countries. Following the example of the ancient Greek army’s gift of the Trojan horse, Communist party members were recruited to infiltrate the Church in those countries disguised as priests and monks. Persecution of Catholics was particularly aggressive in Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Efforts were made (much as they are now made by the atheistic Chinese government) to ween bishops and priests away from the authority of Rome and force their submission to Communist authority.

Since the Communist Party in the United States could not in those days openly subvert American institutions, there was a policy of infiltrating them with Party members who clandestinely promoted communist propaganda and recruited new members. Included among these institutions, and most favored of all targets, were the public schools, colleges, teacher unions, labor unions, and Hollywood. Americans generally know very little about what may have been the most interesting target of all … the Roman Catholic Church.

Bella Dodd (1904-1969) from New York, early in life abandoned religion, acquired a law degree, and later became a teacher. During the 1920s she was lured into the service of the Communist Party of America. Eventually she grew disillusioned with the Party. With the help of then Monsignor Fulton Sheen, a famous foe of communism, she returned to the Church in 1952. A year later she testified before a Congressional Committee as to the Communist Party’s influence in the nation’s public school systems and colleges. She also reported that she had been assigned by the Party’s superiors to recruit 1,200 young men, agents of the Communist Party, to enter Catholic seminaries and attempt to rise to high positions in the Church for the purpose of sabotaging it from within. The following is the text of an affidavit she signed to that effect.

In the late 1920s and 1930s, I personally put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to weaken the Catholic Church from within. The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops…. Right now they are in the highest places where they are working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. These changes will be so drastic that you will not even recognize the Catholic Church. Of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent. The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the faith of the people, and even use the institution of the Church, if possible, to destroy the faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion. Something that resembled Catholicism but was not the real thing. Once the faith was destroyed, there would be a guilt complex introduced into the Church … to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world,’ and to a more flexible attitude toward all religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church.

Since Dodd lived in New York, it may be supposed that some of her “recruits” ended up priests of the New York City archdiocese or other eastern dioceses. Vatican II was still thirty or more years in the future. Depending on how many of those recruits were ordained and followed through on their original mission to become Trojan horses, we may speculate whether some of them were elevated to high positions within the Church, and might have been instrumental in the follow up to Vatican II, which many observers complained was a well-orchestrated thwarting of the work accomplished by the Council.) When Pope Paul VI remarked that the smoke of Satan was making its way through some crack into the temple of God, how close was he to being mindful of Stalin’s attempt to sabotage the Church from within? More concrete proof of Stalin’s effort to undermine the Catholic Church by sabotaging its seminaries could only be discovered at this point by locating hidden files buried inside secret Kremlin vaults, documents that name the recruited seminarians (unless of course such files were completely destroyed long ago).

The Homosexual Connection

A side issue here is whether the infiltration of the Church by Communist seminarians might have accompanied an infiltration by homosexuals and pedophiles. There is no record or admission I know of that this happened, yet it cannot be discounted as a real possibility. When I was in my thirties and doing research on the Communist Party in the United States, I visited a book store in Cambridge, Massachusetts famous as a repository of Communist literature and propaganda. To my surprise, a great section of the bookstore contained homosexual novels and books defending homosexuality. Since that time, it has occurred to me that these two themes promoted in the same bookstore were aimed at similar readers. Both atheistic Communism and homosexuality violate our human nature, one on the social, the other on the biological level.

If the American Communists were not behind recruiting homosexual seminarians for the purpose of discrediting the Catholic priesthood and publicly shaming the Church – they may have missed an opportunity seized by Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda during the Nazi years, when the Nazi Party tried beating down the Church by exposing pedophile priests in the press. If, among the seminarians recruited by Dodd (and possibly thousands of others recruited by other Communists worldwide) there were active sexual perverts (including pedophiles), they could have become the seedbed that has sprouted into the ghastly sex scandals today plaguing the Church worldwide. After all, the question must be answered: how is it that a Church which has declared itself so often and so firmly against homosexuality, nonetheless ordained so many homosexual priests? Bella Dodd’s testimony offers a clear and unequivocal answer: the Trojan Horse Syndrome, courtesy of Joseph Stalin.

The Curious Case of Marie Carré

We should now look at another source for the infiltration of Communists agents into the Church. In the 1960s a French nurse, Marie Carré, was attending a victim of an automobile accident. The victim expired, but among his effects at the accident scene, obtained and kept by Carré, was the manuscript of his memoirs. The victim’s identity was unknown, so that the only way to find out anything about him was to read the story of his life. That story Carré decided to publish in 1972, seven years after the close of Vatican II. The title she gave the book is, AA-1025: The Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle (AA-1025 signifies Seminary Student #1025).

The narrative begins with the discovery by the anti-apostle narrator that his “parents” are not his real parents, but that he had been adopted. Angered by this discovery and old enough in his teens to run away and survive on his own, he made his way across the border from Poland into Russia and came under the influence of a Communist policeman referred to only as Uncle. For six years he labored to learn everything he could about Communism, and his hatred for God grew daily. Then Uncle (now a highly placed police officer) summoned him to his office and said the following: “I am now going to send you to practice a militant and international atheism. You will have to fight all religions, but principally the Catholic, which is better organized. To do so, you will enter a seminary and become a Roman Catholic priest.” During this conversation, the boy revealed to Uncle his own plan for subverting the Catholic Church, which was to water down its teachings, so that in 20-50 years Catholicism would hardly be distinguishable from other Protestant faiths. This policy of blurring the distinct character of Catholicism, combined with various strategies employed to bring down respect for the papacy, would be required as a prelude to the full scale assault on all Christianity that would end in its destruction.

Subsequently, AA-1025 (a code name assigned to the anti-apostle by Uncle) was sent back to Poland, where he would apply to a bishop for entrance to the seminary. This he did, but the priest assigned to review his application, a highly spiritual man, decided that AA-1025 did not have a true vocation. Enraged by this decision and fearful that his high destiny would come to nothing, AA-1025 requested a second meeting with the priest and entered in his memoirs, with little compunction, that during the visit he murdered the priest by a Japanese method he had been taught in Russia, a method that leaves no sign of a wound. At this point in the narrative AA-1025 reminds himself that, for obvious reasons, his memoirs can never cross a publisher’s desk.

During the first three years of his seminary training, AA-1025 imagined eventually writing a new catechism that would be used throughout the world. Among the changes proposed were the rewording of the Apostle’s Creed, so that the term “Catholic” would be replaced with “Universal,” which means the same thing, but is softer on Protestant ears. This will meld the Church closer to Protestantism, which hates the Church. Then it will be necessary to gradually remove emphasis on the saints, especially those who opposed the Reformation. A great achievement would be to reassess the standing of Protestant heroes, especially Martin Luther. If Luther could be rehabilitated, it would be a sign that the time had arrived to suppress as much as possible the teachings on judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, and the ten commandments. These are to be suppressed gradually, so that in time the mercy of God will be all that really matters.

Also important, the confession of sins should be eliminated altogether as “a waste of time.” (Jacques Maritain in 1975 noted that the new theologians were demoting the importance of preaching against sin, and that many Catholics had consequently come to “regard recourse to the Sacrament of Penance as an irksome and superfluous drudgery.”) Catholics, AA-1025 went on, should simply learn to follow their conscience, as the Protestants do. This, of course, means that a conscience conveniently self-oriented to oppose Church teachings may console itself that it righteously overrules those teachings. The doctrine of original sin must be abandoned and children need to be taught that the story of Adam and Eve is laughable.

Further, all the sacraments should be reduced to two, as the Protestants profess, so that the difference between Catholic and Protestants is very much eradicated. The Our Father prayer for Catholics should take on the Protestant wording, which will help draw the sects closer together. The Sacrament of Confirmation must be “vigorously suppressed and the word ‘sacrament’ should disappear from the Catholic vocabulary.” The priesthood will be retained, but only in order to teach the primacy of doctrines concerning social justice. Finally, priests will be permitted to marry, and women may be priests. And one very important thing must be discouraged and abandoned when practicable: the veneration of Mary and the praying of the rosary.

According to AA-1025, what most distinguishes Catholicism from Protestantism (and must be stamped out so that two can become one) is the doctrine of the Real Presence. Very subtly and gradually, a number of new ritual policies must be adopted to diminish the sense of the Real Presence. To begin, the phrase itself should be abandoned and replace by something like The Lord’s Supper. The usual decorum will have to be set aside, including kneeling to receive Communion. Jazz music should replace the old sacred hymns. The priest should be required to wear ordinary clothes. No more signs of the cross and genuflections. Finally, the Host will be placed in the hands rather than on the tongue. Above all, the priest must not be allowed to say those critical words: “This is my Body, this is my Blood.”

The timeline between the narrator’s ordination to the priesthood and his later years is left blank, but picks up again after Vatican II. He is disappointed that the Council did not do more damage to the Church than it did. He seems to take comfort that enough damage was done by those who twisted the recommendations of the Council to serve their purpose, calling as they did for the “Spirit of the Council” as an excuse to transform the Church from within. Yet he acknowledges that there will have to be a Vatican III to complete the radicalization of the Church and turn it completely into a vehicle for the triumph of Socialism. Among the closing words of his journal are these: “It will be only at Vatican III that I will be able to present myself with hammer and nails, not to nail God on His Cross, but rather to nail Him in His coffin.”

Earlier in his journal, before his ordination, the narrator had come to know a young Catholic girl to whom he was powerfully and romantically attracted. During this relationship he never revealed to her his plan to become a priest and be used by the Communists as a tool to bring down the Catholic Church. But he did reveal to her his hatred of the Church and everything it stood for. In a desperate attempt to save him from himself, this girl wrote him a long and touching letter which the narrator reveals in part:

“My poor Darling, you are too intelligent. Moreover, you received a shock in your childhood. I do not ask you what kind. Have you not reached the age of looking upon the past with a serene soul? It seems to me that unconsciously you are seeking revenge. Is this a noble attitude? You were a very pious boy until you reached fourteen years of age, you told me, so that all my letter is asking you is to think …. I fear that your hatred for God and His Church is the proof that you are not just a rebel, but a rebel who is a believer …. Darling, I would prefer that you never loved me on this earth rather than to know that you are, for all Eternity, in that place where tears never dry. For I love you.”

A question arises whether the publication of these memoirs of an unknown dead priest are reliably authentic. While reading them it is certainly possible to feel the intensely fanatical hatred for God that fueled them. Marie Carré, the nurse who published the manuscript, was a Protestant convert to the Catholic faith who much later became a nun. The memoirs, first published in 1972, followed the end of Vatican II by only seven years, so the drastic changes demanded by the renegade priest narrator never fully manifested themselves until well after the memoirs were published. For example, the seminarian’s plan to have the Church regard Martin Luther as more of a hero than a heretic never began to materialize until the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth in 1983. As one reviewer has remarked about the memoirs: “You could discredit this account with one exception. Most of the things the narrator wrote about leading the church to do, to weaken it, have happened in our lifetimes.”

The Gadfly Archbishop

It is well known that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in recent years has exposed corruption among Catholic clergy at the highest levels, and that he has recognized a network of priests and bishops fully engaged in advancing and protecting each other’s interests. Reading between Vigano’s lines, such clergy might be more aptly described as Trojan snakes than horses. In a recent letter to President Trump, Vigano pointed out that the archdiocese of Washington, D.C. “has been and continues to be deeply afflicted and wounded by false shepherds whose way of life is full of lies, deceits, lust and corruption. Wherever they have been, they were a cause of serious scandal for various local churches, for your entire country and for the whole Church.” Stalin’s Final Solution for destroying the Church could not have been better served than by arranging the collapse of the hierarchy’s moral authority (especially so far as non-Catholics are concerned) and the decline of Catholic morale worldwide. It can well be argued that if the “Deep State” has sought to undermine the Constitution of the United States, even more certainly has the Trojan “Deep Church” tried to sabotage the Gospel.

Pius XII died five years after Stalin, then preparations began for Vatican II.  At that point some of the priests recruited by Bella Dodd, and presumably thousands of others recruited throughout the Americas and Europe, would have been in their fifties and sixties. Conceivably, some had become prominent theologians and bishops who may have had some input into Vatican II, not to mention being perversely available in later years to distort and frustrate the will of the Council. While all this can be fairly regarded as speculative inference, it would go far to explain why it was noted by some prominent Catholics after Vatican II (such as philosophers Jacques Maritain and Dietrich von Hildebrand) that leftist theologians and professors now had the upper hand at Catholic colleges and universities. Indeed, Maritain was critical of certain presumptuous “new” theologians who had come to regard themselves, not the bishops, as the true masters and interpreters of Vatican II.

Many Catholic colleges since Vatican II have increased the dominance of liberal professors thanks to the influence of Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. and the 1967 Land O’ Lakes Declaration (one of the signers of the Declaration being a young Father Theodore McCarrick!) which turned an alarming number of once traditional Catholic colleges into willing bastions of secularism. The separation of Catholic colleges from accountability to the bishops was catastrophic, and all the more so when partial funding of these colleges was increasingly provided by non-Catholic sources such as corporate giants and government grants. The corruption of some monasteries and seminaries was also reflected in their growing reputation as “pink palaces” to which heterosexual candidates need not apply. Indeed, by 1975 Father Richard Ginder, a convicted pederast (who apparently never read Paul’s Epistle to the Romans) had published Binding With Briars—Sex and Sin in the Catholic Church, advancing his view that the Church should accept sodomy as a natural practice for homosexuals. Within a year his bishop had stripped Ginder of his priestly faculties. Yet this Trojan horse had succeeded in making his own personal stain on the Church, one that probably put a smile on Stalin’s face.

More recently in an interview Archbishop Vigano has remarked: “How can we believe that the Church will purify herself of the corruption and vice of her clerics and prelates, when they are the ones who have taken power and who are promoted to the highest levels in a web of complicity between heretics, perverts, and traitors?Let’s not forget that the legitimization of homosexuality is part of the agenda of the New World Order … not only for its destabilizing value in the social body, but also because sodomy is the principal instrument with which the Enemy intends to destroy the Catholic priesthood, corrupting the souls of the Ministers of God.

The collapse of the atheistic Soviet Empire in the 1980s was more than compensated for by the rise of atheistic Communist China. No doubt China, like the old Soviet Union, seeks to infiltrate and control Vatican policies. Starting in 2013, the year Pope Francis first sat on Peter’s throne, China (the supreme worldwide Trojan Horse) has donated several billions of dollars to the Vatican. It is reported by some that Cardinal McCarrick arranged this deal before his disgrace and removal from office. What China expects to get in return for its generous cash deposits is anyone’s guess.

To conclude, at the end of World War II, Churchill advised Stalin to be cautious when dealing with the Vatican. Stalin tauntingly asked how many fighting divisions the pope commanded. Did he forget a lesson he might have learned in his seminary days? Michael the Archangel drove from heaven Satan and his many divisions (a third of the heavenly hosts we are told) who morphed from angels into a dedicated army of demons. If Stalin did plant divisions of Judas priests inside the Church, they might at any point have seemingly triumphed to the despair of many. Yet in truth, it is the Just One, He who said the gates of hell could not prevail against him, who vanquished the demons long ago. Or as Hilaire Belloc so deftly put it: “The Church is a perpetually defeated thing that always outlives her conquerors.”

Previous article
Next article
Carl Sundell is Emeritus Professor of English and Humanities at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Massachusetts. The author of several books including The Intellectual and the Gunman, Four Presidents, and Shaw versus Chesterton, he has published various articles in New Oxford Review and Catholic Insight. He currently resides in Lubbock, Texas where he is developing a book of short essays for students of Catholic apologetics