The UN Secretary-General and former president of the Socialist International Antonio Guterres recently gave an interview to Osservatore Romano. This newspaper has served as the official organ of the Holy See for nearly 160 years. Asked how people should deal with the feeling of panic, which has become widespread lately, the dignitary replied that “in recent weeks there has been a surge in conspiracy theories and xenophobic feelings” — a veiled reference to the charges made against the communist government of China. The panic would be fed by “an epidemic of disinformation,” a real “mountain of stories and misleading posts published in social media.”
To set the record straight, Guterres informs that he has “launched a United Nations communications response initiative called Verified, aimed at giving people accurate and fact-based information.” He encourages religious leaders to use their own communication networks for “To support governments in promoting public health measures recommended by the World Health Organization – from physical distancing to good hygiene – and to dispel false information and rumors.”[i]
The interview makes clear that there is a clash between two views of the so-called “coronavirus crisis,” which would be more appropriately called “confinement crisis.” One is the official version, widely disseminated by the mainstream media, and the other is the alternative version, restricted to social networks. But this alternative version is gaining such widespread support that the UN was forced to mount a twofold offensive to discredit it: The Verified monitoring system, to counter what they on social networks, and to place the infamous “conspiracy theory” label on those who question the official version. As in the old “Fascist” method, it labels to denigrate and silence opponents.
Even before Guterres’ interview, the German bishops employed the ‘conspiracy theory’ label to brand the appeal made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Theirs was merely a shameful ploy to escape the debate with the cardinals and prelates who signed the appeal.
What is the value of this label? Does the hypothesis of an anti-Christian conspiracy make any sense from the standpoint of Catholic doctrine? How should one interpret the “new normality” of the post-confinement period? Is it a spontaneous evolution or the result of one of the most monumental social engineering and ideological transshipment effort in history, as the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute recently denounced?
While these three aspects of the issue would deserve a book, we will address them in this article as briefly as possible.
What is the scientific value of the “conspiracy” label and sociological studies on “conspiracy theories”?
The sociologists who popularized the “conspiracy theories” concept describe it as simplistic explanations of natural or human events that supposedly result from the evil activities of a group of people – a minority or an entire “system” – who act in secret for a purpose other than the “official” or “obvious” version. The followers of this theory believe that the hidden plot would be uncovered linking several events or details that are disconnected but deny (or render inexplicable) the generally admitted version, which could only be explained through some machination.
According to these sociologists, the creators and adepts of such explanations are blinded by the complexity of reality, or even worse, paranoiacs who believe that the driving force behind history’s developments is not the free actions of people or bad luck but an apocalyptic conspiracy resulting from the struggle between absolute good and absolute evil, before which those sick minds feel like helpless victims.
The popularity of conspiracy theories would also result from the anxiety contemporary Western societies experience in the face of today’s unsettling scenarios such as ecological catastrophes, terrorism, growing fragmentation and complexity of reality, rapid changes, speed of information, risks associated with new technologies, etc. A sense of loss of ethical and religious values and clear social rules would also contribute to the phenomenon, leading to a distrust of existing social institutions, and the impression of having no control over the environment in which one lives.
Hence the high number of people today who believe in various “plots,” from those said to have caused the assassination of John Kennedy (attributed to the CIA or the Sicilian mafia…), to the death of Lady Diana (“plotted” by the British secret services) and the Islamist attack on the Twin Towers (allegedly organized by the Israeli Mossad or the CIA), all the way to the fanciful claims that man’s arrival on the moon was a photomontage, or that the Earth is actually flat.
There are two questionable aspects in this sociological concept of “conspiracy theories,” and the “conspiracy” label wielded against those who question the official version or media explanation of an event or reality.
First objectionable aspect: This concept places ridiculous and groundless claims circulating among insignificant groupuscules on the same intellectual footing as studies of high scientific caliber, produced by renowned intellectuals and institutions. For example, the “conspiracy theory” label allows intellectually disqualifying thousands of scientists from different areas of research, who question with substantiated data, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s predictions or conclusions. Or the very well-founded denunciations of parental associations of families concerned about educational programs aiming to impose gender theory on the school curriculum of their children, clearly promoted by the powerful LGBT lobby.
Second objectionable aspect: The much-ridiculed “conspiracy theories” come mostly “from the right” and rarely “from the left” although so-called progressive circles officially teach that the bourgeoisie is in cahoots with politicians to exploit proletarians; that men organize to prevent the dismantling of the patriarchy and women’s liberation; or that big oil companies buy politicians, media outlets and scientists to promote the current unsustainable model of industrial development. Why this double standard, whereas pressure groups obviously exist on both sides? Why is a “conspiracy theory” only a denunciation of what runs counter the official or medically correct ‘orthodoxy’ and not the accusations of left-wing currents against representatives and defenders of the current order?
The Anti-Christian Conspiracy: Reality or Paranoid Hypothesis?
Theology and philosophy of history are the sciences that provide elements to answer this question, which is very topical. The Church has taught from the days of St. Augustine that in the course of human history, there is a struggle between the City of God and the City of Man. But does such a struggle necessarily imply a conspiracy by the forces of evil?
Several theologians, philosophers, and Catholic historians have been working on the issue. They have reached a broad consensus on the existence of an “anti-Christian conspiracy,” to use the title of a well-known work by Msgr. Henri Delassus.
The theological reasons are quite evident, and Fr. Henri Ramière S.J. summarizes them very appropriately in his work, The Kingdom of Jesus Christ in History – Introduction to the Study of the Theology of History. He begins by demonstrating that God had a goal on creating the world and follows a plan in governing it (“The Kingdom of Jesus Christ: behold the expression that best sums up the divine plan and best expresses the universal restoration and recapitulation that Saint Paul points out as the end of all God’s designs (Eph. 1:10) ”). The great promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus then goes on to study “the satanic plan” aiming to avenge on Earth the defeat that the chief of the rebellious spirits suffered in heaven.” That is what the name Satan means, i.e., adversary,” because he “only has light, energy and power to oppose Good, and to fight against divine Love.”
According to Fr. Ramière, Satan does not aim only to hinder and destroy the divine plan but hopes to execute a counter plan: “He dreams in his hatred to drag the children of God as slaves to insult, in their person, the One who defeated him.” To do this, the devil, “like Jesus Christ, needs apostles, soldiers, confessors, priests, and even martyrs.”
In ancient paganism, imitating God, the devil already had temples, sacrifices, oracles, mysteries, priests and worshippers. But, “just as the true Church was still only an outline, so the diabolic church had still not been finally organized.” Moreover, “men were not yet sufficiently enlightened to reach the degree of wickedness necessary for Satan to complete the execution of its dreadful goals.” Idolaters only recognized him as a god because they did not know the true God. But he wants adherents who join him with full knowledge through a mystery of iniquity. Fr. Ramiere writes:
“When man reaches the point of considering obedience voluntarily given to God as the worst possible unhappiness, he can connect with a seeming love for the one who leads him to revolt and tries to help him with all his power. At the same time, hatred of order produces hate of love and love of hate. It is complete wickedness.”
Just as holiness consists in loving God to the point of forgetting oneself, perfect iniquity consists in loving evil to the point of sacrificing oneself on its behalf.
Satan strives to mimick the hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ to carry out his evil counterfeiting designs and to better develop his plans of perdition. He thus establishes different powers that rise from degree to degree to direct the work of evil. “The uniform and combined action of wickedness was facilitated as communication difficulties between different peoples were overcome by scientific discoveries, and Satan’s followers better understood his plans,” adds Fr. Ramière. “This army also learned today a discipline previously unknown to them. In fact, it obeys words of order with amazing punctuality, sometimes standing still, sometimes retreating, sometimes advancing with furious impetus. All the means at its disposal fire at the same time and continuously attack the targets assigned to them.”
Through the vicissitudes of history, this diabolical plan should reach its fullness at the End of the World with the arrival “of the man who must be the supreme manifestation of satanic hatred, and offer the evil incarnated in his person to the adoration of other men.” This man of sin “will be the Antichrist par excellence and will complete the work that all partial antichrists have outlined,” producing what St. Paul called the supreme “apostasy” (2 Thes 2:3). However, “this supreme success of Satan will bring a supreme intervention by the One who already overcame him at the time when he was triumphing throughout the world,” concludes Fr. Ramière.
Based on the above, one can state without hesitation that to deny the possibility of an anti-Christian conspiracy implies denying indisputable data of faith, including Lucifer’s rebellion and his work of perdition, the evil consequences of sin, and the mystery of iniquity to which he leads, human life as a battlefield whose final outcome will take place in the Parusia.
Some liberal-minded readers could object that this is valid in theory, but that in practice, given to the diversity of characters and opposing interests, it is difficult for a group of men to come together to do evil universally.
Don Bosco, the great pedagogue who had a profound knowledge of the depths of the human soul, found precisely the opposite of what liberals assume:
“As far as bad people are concerned, I will say only one thing that may seem unlikely but is true. Suppose there is one among 500 students in a school who leads a depraved life. Then, another perverted student arrives. Both are from different regions and places, different nationalities, they in different courses and places, have never seen or met each other. Despite all this, on the second day of school, and perhaps after a few hours, you will see them together during recess. It seems that an evil spirit makes them guess who is tainted by his own blackness; or, it is as if a demonic magnet lures them to establish a close friendship. ‘Tell me who you go with, and I will tell you who you are’ is a very easy way to find mangy sheep before they turn into rapacious wolves.”[i]
Commenting on this excerpt, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira observed that, having reached a certain depth, evil endows wicked souls with a penetrating sharpness of views and mutual attraction. The resulting union accentuates in these souls their bad characteristics and increases their hatred for the good, inciting them to struggle to modify the environment. In turn, this leads them to proselytize and join efforts, establishing an organization:
“Hidden like Freemasonry, semi-hidden like Jansenism or Modernism, declared as Lutheranism or Communism, this association proposes to fight in all areas – ideological, artistic, political, social, economic, etc. – to achieve its goals. In a word, it makes Revolution,”[ii] observes the illustrious Brazilian thinker.
According to Pius XII’s luminous description of the mysterious “enemy” that has threatened the Church and the whole world for centuries, this Revolution has been the backbone of events in recent centuries:
“It is to be found everywhere and among everyone; it can be both violent and astute. In these last centuries, it has attempted to disintegrate the intellectual, moral, and social unity in the mysterious organism of Christ. It has sought nature without grace, reason without faith, freedom without authority, and, at times, authority without freedom. It is an “enemy” that has become more and more apparent with an absence of scruples that still surprises: Christ yes; the Church no! Afterward: God, yes; Christ, no! Finally, the impious shout: God is dead and, even, God never existed! And behold now the attempt to build the structure of the world on foundations which we do not hesitate to indicate as the main causes of the threat that hangs over humanity: economy without God, law without God, politics without God.”[iii]
[i] Biografia S.D.B. – B.A.C. – Madrid, 1955 – pp. 457/58
Does the Church support the primary anti-Freemasonism of some secular right-wing currents?
Freemasonry has played an important role in building this godless world, a role that it recognizes.
During his visit to the Grand Orient lodge in Paris on the 300th anniversary of the establishment of Freemasonry in France, then-President François Hollande emphatically praised its work: “The Republic knows what it owes you.” According to him, “Freemasonry did not make the French Revolution, but prepared it,” since “many Freemasons crafted the great texts of this Revolution.”
He likewise recognized that most “laws on liberty adopted between 1870 and 1914 were thought out and fashioned in the lodges,” including the famous law of separation of Church and State. After three centuries, he added, Masonry continues to promote the same values: “First, freedom. Freedom against obscurantism, against fanaticism, against fundamentalism. Absolute freedom of conscience against dogmas. Freedom of thought against those who intend to censor.” (A worrisome reference because thousands of Catholic priests were guillotined, shot, drowned, jailed and banished from the territory during the French Revolution in the name of the struggle for freedom against “obscurantism” and “fanaticism,” proudly prepared by the lodges.)
His eloquent recognition of the role of Freemasonry in the de-Christianization of France did not prevent François Hollande from denouncing the “plotters” who highlighted this list: “Just click on the Internet to make the conspirators reappear, that is, all those who think you are here plotting I don’t know what, I don’t know what organization, I don’t know what preparation. All of this is perfectly absurd,” he pontificated. Yet it does not seem so absurd since he went on to state that concerning the spooky question of “transhumanism,” the utopia of an “enlarged” man, “the gaze of Freemasonry is a most precious compass in this period and a light that helps understand the challenges and give them an answer.” [i]
Since members or friends of Freemasonry like François Hollande recognize its central role in advancing the de-Christianization of the West, it is legitimate to ask whether a Catholic should accept without hesitation the denunciations of a certain secular or pagan anti-Freemasonry current that attributes to the lodges a purely political or economic plan for world domination, directly intervening in each political, economic or social change.
The weak side of this simplistic anti-Freemasonry stance – which opens the flank to the demeaning accusation of “conspiracy theory” — is that it completely ignores from its view of reality the religious aspect explained above, that is, the role of the devil and bad passions that lead men to turn away from God.
For Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, the most dynamic driving force of the Revolution is that of disordered passions, and notably pride and sensuality, which lead man to revolt against the order that God placed in the universe, and to dream of an anarchic utopia in which full equality coexists with full freedom. From these profound tendencies of rebellion – expressed in a thousand aspects of daily life and in the environments and customs of society – revolutionary ideas emerge that justify them and prepare people’s minds for a change in the concrete situation, which can be sudden and radical or slow and gradual, depending on the state of moral and religious decay of that society. In other words, what has been called the Cultural Revolution, in the footsteps of Antonio Gramsci, is by far the most important factor in the revolutionary process, without which the Revolution in ideas and facts could not develop or would fail.
Primary anti-Freemasonists are totally unaware of this deeper reality of the revolutionary process, which leads them to think that it results exclusively from bad ideas spread in society and political maneuvers of hidden pressure groups.
Another fundamental difference lies in the fact that primary anti-Freemasonists believes that the ultimate purpose of these lobbies is to achieve absolute power to subject the population to universal slavery and obtain great wealth and a privileged situation. In reality, as we saw above, sometimes, with the sacrifice of their own interests, the joint forces of evil seek to drag souls away from God and conquer them for the devil. They also strive to build a world of disorder and vulgarity that will be a continuous offense to the divine Creator.
This abyssal difference between a religious and moral view of the revolutionary process and its agents, on the on hand, and a secular and exclusively political view produces a complete disparity in the focus of attention and hypotheses for interpreting the facts.
The “Coronavirus Crisis” in the Light of the Catholic Concept of Anti-Christian Conspiracy
The crisis caused by the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus from Wuhan is a good study case to see, in practice, the difference between the Catholic and counter-revolutionary views of the action of revolutionary agents and the secular and simplistic view of some adherents of anti-Freemasonism.
Today it is proven that the projections of both the WHO and the Imperial College on the eventual number of Covid-19 victims resulted from flawed mathematical models an were based on exaggerated indices of the virus’ lethality. As we approach the end of its spread, the global death toll is five times lower than the least alarmist forecasts, with no signs of a second expansive wave. It well-known that the publicity boom made around these apocalyptic predictions caused panic in the population. In turn, this led the vast majority of government officials to take drastic measures of confinement lest they should be stigmatized as irresponsible, if not genocidal. The sudden and prolonged reduction in economic activity is clearly having disastrous effects on unemployment and on the survival of thousands of medium and small companies. This requires a massive State intervention in the economy (to the delight of leftists and ecologists, who take advantage to demand that rescue plans be conditioned to the acceptance of a new model of “sustainable development”). Likewise, advocates of global governance claim that only a shared and global response would be able to solve a global crisis.
In other words, the great beneficiary of the “new normality” is the anti-Christian Revolution, which choruses have always dreamed of the Universal Republic, whose outlines have changed over time and now appear as an open, multicultural, socialist and ecological society.
However, the Catholic and nuanced view of the anti-Christian conspiracy and its secular and simplistic caricature draw very different observations and conclusions concerning this huge effort to subject humanity to social engineering and ideological transshipment.
Simplistic “conspirationalists” focus on the suspicion that the virus was intentionally produced in a Wuhan laboratory as part of a biological weapons program or at least escaped from it through mishandling. They also unearth studies of crisis anticipation or science fiction novels that already evoked, in the event of a new pandemic, strict measures of social distancing. According to them, this would prove that the rulers who applied them simply obeyed a pre-planned agenda. Finally, they conjecture that the primary objective of the changes is to impose mandatory vaccination of the world population for the benefit of Big Pharma and as a preparation for the subcutaneous insertion of information-gathering microchips in the whole human race to transform them into Zombie citizens of a New World Order.
Entirely different is the focus of hypotheses and analyses of an authentically counter-revolutionary view.
Firstly, it seeks to probe the remote cultural causes of people’s attitudes to the epidemic, as well as the psychological conditions that led authorities to immediately take long-term actions, albeit disastrous. By prioritizing religious and moral factors, it denounces the failure to preach the Four Last Things – death, judgment, heaven and hell – and the resulting gradual drop in religious practice and, above all, the spread of a pagan and hedonistic conception of life in the society, which turned health into the supreme value of existence sees death as an incomprehensible and evil charade, thus making it easy to spread panic among the public.
Even the agnostic philosopher Luc Ferry, a former French education minister between 2002 and 2004, recognizes this in a recent column in daily Le Figaro. Comparing the reaction of the population to the current pandemic and that during the 1968-1969 Honk Kong flu (which alarmed almost no one despite having claimed a similar number of fatalities as Covid-19), he deduced that, in these fifty years there was a change of attitude toward death which leaves agnostics or not-so-religious in a tragic situation: “They are both less protected by the promises of the great religions in the face of death but also more exposed than ever because of the affectivity that has grown exponentially in the modern family. For a majority of them, heaven has become empty, there is no cosmos or deity that can give the slightest meaning to the death of a loved one.” These agnostics have no alternative but “to brake to a full stop before the grim deadline [death], which in my opinion explains the new and strictly speaking unheard-of scale of reactions of anxiety and confinement that we observe in the face of the pandemic.”[i]
Second, an authentically counter-revolutionary view highlights the impact that this profound change in trends has had in the field of ideas, the conclusions of which have served as a guide for decisions taken to stem the epidemic. In other words, how the neo-pagan fear of death favored what the American philosopher Matthew Crawford called “precautionism”:
“A trend that has been gaining momentum for decades and is today experiencing a moment of triumph because of the virus. It is a determination to eliminate all risk from life, a clearly bourgeois sensitivity.” Precautionism leads to a paradox: “The safer we are, the more the remaining risk appears intolerable to us.”
“The ease with which we have recently accepted the power of health experts to reshape the contours of our community life – perhaps permanently – is due to the fact that precautionism has largely supplanted other moral sensitivities that might offer some resistance. … Precautionism has become a means of moral intimidation.”[ii]
In turn, this intimidation brought about a paradigm shift in matters of health security, triggered by transferring the old fear of nuclear conflagration (which vanished after the collapse of the USSR) to fear in the face of emerging risks such as bioterrorist attacks or new infectious diseases that are particularly resistant or lethal.
If, until the end of the 20th century, prevention policymakers tried to calculate the real probabilities of a health threat based on reliable data from past epidemics, at the turn of the millennium a new criterion came into effect: the principle of preparedness; that is, the conviction that a country must be in a position to face any eventuality, even the worst-case scenario. This led those responsible for health security to train their minds on possible events that are hardly likely but the consequences of which would be catastrophic.
This intellectual slide was very well analyzed, by Patrick Sylberman, professor of Health History at the School of Public Health Studies, Paris, adroitly analyzed this intellectual slide in a 2013 book titled Tempêtes microbiennes. Essai sur la politique de sécurité sanitaire dans le monde transatlantique (Microbic Storms. Essay on Health Security Policy in the Transatlantic World).
The author identified three main axes in the paradigm shift in the concept of health security: 1. the growing importance attributed to fictitious scenarios to imagine responses and train reflexes; 2. the systematic preference for the logic of the worst–case scenario as a criterion of rationality even though we know that events rarely occur as imagined, and, therefore, fixation on the worst hinders thinking to arrive at a realistic assessment; and 3. the temptation to impose a superlative civic sense on the population in the hope of strengthening adherence to political institutions and acceptance of quarantines, vaccinations, or the establishment of vast health reserves.[iii]
“Health security is today the object or pretext of a vertiginous plunge into in fiction,” concluded Professor Zylberman in 2013. He added: “Exaggerated figures, unfounded analogies, biological terror scenarios are marked examples of this plunge.” As the disclaimer in old films used to read, “Any similarity with fictitious events or characters is purely coincidental.”
From the above, it appears that the radical confinement measures imposed on the population and the current blackmail of offering a partial release from “house arrest” in exchange for greater control over people’s private lives (with cellphone apps or records of visits to restaurants and other public places) are not just the implementation of a science fiction film plot (a handful of conspirators looking for immense financial or political gains), but the result of a long psychological and ideological process starting from the hedonist neo-paganism that spread in the West after World War II. The forces that favored this evolution did not create it out of nothing. Favored by disorderly passions and diabolical temptations, they rode, guided, and exacerbated the deepest tendencies of the population through cinema, television, art, culture, etc.
As Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira stated already in its inception, the revolutionary process was “strong enough to carry out all its potentialities. It is still strong enough to cause, by means of supreme upheavals, the ultimate destructions that are its logical outcome.” Today, this ultimate destruction targets the remains of civility and order, which will be swept away by the miserabilist and ecological “new normality.”
This revolutionary process sometimes follows very sinuous paths but incessantly advances towards its tragic end because it is influenced and conditioned in different ways “by all sorts of extrinsic factors (cultural, social, economic, ethnic, geographic, and others),” says the author of Revolution and Counter-Revolution.
What is important to highlight to properly understand our topic — how to distinguish between a true denunciation of the anti-Christian conspiracy from false “conspirationalism,” is that the agents of the Revolution – Freemasonry and other secret forces – are only one of these extrinsic factors but not the main driving force. The latter remains the disordered passions of pride and sensuality. It should be repeated to satiety: the Revolution is not a mere political process but results from a vast religious and moral crisis.
It is true that without the help of these agents, the Revolution would be unable to achieve the victory it seeks. To think that the Revolution could have reached its present state or advance even further without them is like believing that hundreds of letters thrown out a window could arrange themselves on the ground to spell out a literary piece, Carducci’s ‘Ode to Satan,’ concludes the late founder of the TFP.
Does such a theologically and historically grounded and balanced view of the limited role of revolutionary agents deserve the derogatory label of “conspirational”? Of course not. The question then arises: Who favors the dissemination of various “conspiracy theories,” which are simplistic at best and utterly ridiculous at worst, if not to the agents of the Revolution themselves, who gain greater freedom of action by discrediting the denunciation of an anti-Christian conspiracy, branded as a “conspiracy theory”?
Unfortunately, in this matter more than in many others, “the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” (Lk 16:8).
Translated by the staff of Fatima Today.
© Reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.