Dan Burke, the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc., along with his wife Stephanie, recently interviewed Dr. Taylor Marshall, popular Catholic podcaster and author, about his book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within. The interview took place on the August 23, 2019 episode of Divine Intimacy Radio—Resources Edition, which is produced by spiritualdirection.com and Sophia Institute Press, the latter of which is the publisher of Infiltration (under their Crisis imprint). As part of a response to Mr. Burke, who jokingly prods Marshall by saying “I’ve heard that you hate the pope,” Marshall says, “Even though people have said this book trashes the pope, I don’t think anyone could open up any page in this book and show me where that happens. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone cite a page or even a quote from the book against Pope Francis” (4:13-5:46). Later, Burke asks Marshall, “Pope Francis is not the central figure of this book, is that fair to say?” Marshall responds, “Yes. I mean, Pope Francis is hardly in this book at all. […]It’s a historical study. […]There’s no conspiracy theory in this. People sometimes say there’s a [conspiracy], I say ‘What is the conspiracy theory?’ There isn’t one. […]There is no grand conspiracy set forth in this book” (15:22-16:04).

I am quite confident in asserting that, whatever Marshall says to the contrary, there is a grand conspiracy set forth in Infiltration, and the whole book is a contrived attack on Pope Francis. For the benefit of those who have not read the book—and I don’t recommend purchasing it unless you absolutely have to for the purpose of verifying its contents—I will provide a summary of the grand conspiracy that Marshall sets forth. I will be as generous as I can in my summary and not attempt to debunk any of the claims Marshall makes, since it is crucial to understand exactly what Marshall is saying before considering if it has any basis in truth. Please note: I am working from the Kindle version, so all citations from Infiltration will use chapter numbers rather than page or location numbers.

The central thesis of Infiltration is this: “The Catholic Church is in crisis because the enemies of Christ plotted organized efforts to place a pope for Satan on the Roman Chair of Saint Peter. […]It has been a slow, patient plan to establish a Satanic revolution with the pope as puppet” (1). Marshall leaves no doubt that he believes this “pope for Satan” is Pope Francis. The story begins with a document entitled The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, which was allegedly written by a member of an Italian secret society, the Carbonari, sometime in the first half of the nineteenth century. The goal of the plot proposed in this document was, as Marshall puts it, to one day have “a Freemasonic naturalistic Pope reigning on the Chair of Saint Peter […]” (2). With the election of Pope Francis by the “Sankt Gallen Mafia” of corrupt cardinals, Marshall alleges, this goal was reached: “Mission accomplished for the Sankt Gallen Mafia: at last they delivered to the world a ‘Revolution in Tiara and Cope’ as had been prophesied by the Freemasonic document Alta Vendita more than 150 years before. After a slow, patient revolution, they had secured ‘a Pope according to our heart […]’” (31). Pope Francis’s “worldview and philosophy,” Marshall states, “is essentially that of a nineteenth-century member of the Freemasonic Carbonari.”

Marshall gets from Point A (the Alta Vendita) to Point B (the election of Pope Francis) by assembling a ramshackle narrative with parts largely dredged up from existing fringe Catholic sources. What gives him leeway to shape and twist his material into any shape he wants is that he hovers between constructing a narrative with human conspirators and a narrative that is driven by Satanic, demonic forces. There is no need to prove that so-and-so was actually a Freemason if, in the end, Freemasonry, Modernism, communism, and the Sankt Gallen Mafia are all manifestations of the same Satanic plot. So if the summary I provide below seems a little disjointed or ambiguous, that is the reason.

The preliminaries being established, here is the first part of my summary of the grand conspiracy of Infiltration:

In the early nineteenth-century, the Carbonari, an Italian branch of Freemasonry, hatched a plan to infiltrate the Catholic Church. The process of infiltration would occur over a long period of time, with the ultimate goal being the election of a Freemasonic pope by corrupted cardinals. The plan that the Carbonari put into action is described in a text called The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita. The process of infiltration by Freemasons and their allies was recognized by Pope Gregory XVI and many later popes. In 1846, Our Lady of La Salette likely warned of this plot in the ‘secret’ revealed to Mélanie Calvat, which speaks of a future time when “Rome will lose faith and become the seat of the Antichrist” (3).

Pope Pius IX recognized an external conspiracy of socialism and communism against the Church, which is why he added new prayers to follow all Low Masses, but the forces of Freemasonry first made real inroads into the Church after 1870 and the end of the Papal States. Pope Leo XIII sensed this demonic infiltration, which is why he added the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to the Low Mass. In 1889, the Freemasons erected a statue of the famous heretic Giordano Bruno in Rome—not just as a symbol of opposition to religious oppression but also as a symbol of their plan to infiltrate the clergy and elect a pope who would be “pantheistic, naturalistic, relativistic, and universalistic” (6).

Pope Pius X took direct action against the infiltration. He recognized Modernism, which he condemned in his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis as “the synthesis of all heresies,” as an “internal Freemasonic attack” on the Church (6). The central features of Modernism were naturalism, secularism, and the rejection of the good, the true, and the beautiful. This fight against Modernism was continued by Pope Benedict XV.

Under Pope Pius XI, communists began infiltrating the priesthood as part of an organized plot. This was proven later by the 1953 testimonies of Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson to the United States House Committee on Un-American Activities. Dodd testified that by 1953, four communist infiltrators had received the cardinalate. Three of these, according to Marshall, were likely Cardinals Spellman, Lercaro, and Frings. Fr. Annibale Bugnini was also an infiltrator, but a Freemason rather than a communist. Promoted to the Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948, he worked to dismantle Catholic liturgy, beginning with Holy Saturday and Holy Week.

As Pope Pius XII became weakened by illness near the end of his life, he fell under the spell of Bugnini, Fr. Augustin Bea, and the future Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini. Marshall describes these men as “three crypto-modernists” (13). In order to learn more about methods of infiltration, Montini met with Saul Alinsky, of Rules for Radicals fame, through Jacques Maritain. Bea, meanwhile, was already engaged in a process of inter-religious infiltration that began in 1945 with the “‘Bea Psalter,’ based on the Hebrew psalms,” and reached its culmination at Vatican II. As Marshall asserts, “[Bea] loved the new ‘ecumenism’ and worked with unbridled determination to appease Jewish rabbis and intellectuals and to remove anything they deemed anti-Semitic from Catholic teaching and liturgy […].”

After the possibly rigged election of Pope John XXIII, things began to move fast. In 1959, Pope John XXIII opened the Third Secret of Fatima, but chose not to divulge its contents. Much later, in 2000, the Church published the Third Secret, although it most likely withheld a second part that warned of a “great apostasy in the Church.” After unwisely ignoring the prophetic warnings of the children of Fatima, Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council. The direction of the council reflected the values of the “New Order” of Freemasonry. Pope John XXIII worked with Bugnini, Bea, and Montini to create “the novus ordo liturgy” and “novus ordo ecumenism” and prepare the way for “the novus ordo pope,” Paul VI (16).

Paul VI continued the Second Vatican Council while championing the nouvelle théologie, which Marshall describes as “Freemasonic naturalism cloaked with quotations of the Church Fathers” (18). Dignitatis humanae and Nostra aetate, both deeply influenced by Cardinal Bea, are two of the most problematic texts of the council—the latter in particular, since “Freemasons would agree wholeheartedly that any and all religions suffice to illuminate humanity” (19). But luckily for those like Archbishop Lefebvre who would later resist the reforms of the council, “nothing binding came from Vatican II.”

To be continued…

Work cited:

Marshall, Taylor R. Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church From Within. Manchester, NH: Crisis Publications, 2019.

Image: Wikimedia commons

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D.W. Lafferty, PhD, is a Catholic husband, dad, and independent scholar from Ontario, Canada. He works in higher education and has published articles on the literature of Wyndham Lewis, the conspiracy theory of Douglas Reed, and the life and legacy of Engelbert Dollfuss. Online, he tweets as @rightscholar.

The Synthesis of All Catholic Conspiracy Theory (Part 1)

22 Responses

  1. petey says:

    Cdl Spellman was a communist infiltrator.
    Well, now I’ve heard everything.

    • Nathan Turowsky says:

      This is the same Cardinal Spellman who, of course, fulminated in favor of the Vietnam War at the same time that Paul VI was begging for it to end. Some communist, unless Marshall is arguing that he was a sectarian Maoist playing the long game after the Sino-Soviet Split or something.

      • jong says:

        Don’t believe anything about Dr.Marshall as very clearly if any prelates & priest were under attack from the Rad Trads that clergy definitely is not among their ranks. Look at how they are calling all Trads and catholic in disguised of prayer rally in Rome to voice out their evil protest this coming Oct-4 & 5 2019 to create chaos before the Pan Amazon Synod…among the known personalities like Michael Matt, Michael Voris, John Westen, etc..Dr.Marshall was included among the list of names who will do a prayer protest in Rome. Look how evil all the videos of Michael Matt is on his channel and when Dr.Marshall invited him on his channel, he begin promoting the evil attitude of “recognize and resist the Pope.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubXmc0WlO10&t=140s

        The article posted this statement ;
        “…Three of these, according to Marshall, were likely Cardinals Spellman, Lercaro, and Frings. Fr. Annibale Bugnini was also an infiltrator, but a Freemason rather than a communist. Promoted to the Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948, he worked to dismantle Catholic liturgy, beginning with Holy Saturday and Holy Week.”
        Any prelates and clergy who are loyal to the Pope and gave major contribution to Vatican II Council doctrines are being attack by the Rad Trads and they are painting a bad image to undermine Vatican II. This is how subtle the evil attacks of Dr.Marshall is..but can easily be discern.
        Cardinal Frings is the one who tap F.Joseph Ratzinger to made a speech that Pope Benedict XVI greatly remembered in his farewell speech to all the Clergy in February 2013.
        Cardinal Lecarco and Cardinal Spellman also have their own good contribution on Vatican II. And ofcourse Fr.Bugnini played an important role in Liturgical Reforms which is the subject of evil attacks by the Rad Trads in condemning the Novus Ordo Mass.
        Therefore all the Cardinals and esp. Fr.Bugnini was a good priest and the only obvious reasons why the Rad Trads hates them is to justify their evil attacks on the Vatican II Council documents esp. the Novus Ordo Mass.
        Dr. Marshall was suffering from “diabolical disorientation” and the meaningful words of Fyodor Dostoevsky
        “People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others.”

    • James Kabala says:

      There are rumors that Spellman may have been homosexual. I guess for Marshall that is synonymous with Communist? If he was a Communist infiltrator, he must have been a singularly incompetent one.

  2. jong says:

    D.W Lafferty
    Thanks a lot, I’ve been waiting for WPI to review Dr.Marshall “Infiltration book”, and good thing you posted an interview link on Dr.Marshall denying any conspiracy theories and direct attack on Pope Francis.,why? The denial of Dr.Marshall perfectly fits the description of Dostoyevsky:
    “People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others.”
    Fr.Dave Armstrong, Ron Conte and Dr.Jeff Mirus and lot’s of other site already proven that Dr.Marshall book contains conspiracy & attack on Pope Francis but for him to deny this is a perfect example that Dr.Marshall is suffering from “diabolical disorientation”.
    I’ve been discerning the Alta Venditta and all the Marian apparitions and prophesies related to Satan taking over the Chair of Peter thru “antipope” installation to Rome. And your article is exactly right in citing the testimony of Bella Dodd revealing they already have four Cardinalate, a candidate for papacy before Vatican II even started.
    The papal election in 1958 was the culmination of their dream as they tried to manipulate the papal election. The controversies between St.John XXIII and Cardinal Siri proved that Bella Dodd was right and Alta Venditta was now working to take over the Chair of Peter thru papal conclave. But sorry for them Papacy is a Divine Appointment and satan human cohorts cannot canonically elect a Pope thru evil means. But the Bella Dodd recruits were numbered in thousands, so as time goes by this recruits grows in numbers and occupies important positions., this Cardinals & Bishops plus priest even theologians who belong to Bella Dodd recruits are “wolves in sheep clothing”. How many of them left still inside Vatican today and to some Catholic Institute like St.JP2 Institute? NONE!
    Why, Pope Benedict XVI saw this “wolves” and even fight them, but physical exhaustion caught up with him. And, so Pope Benedict XVI wisely seek God to intervene, the “expanded Petrine Ministry” is God Wisdom to combat the “wolves”. We are blessed today having Two Great Popes both Masters in the Art of Spiritual War. Pope Emeritus fighting the wolves thru “contemplative prayer” and Pope Francis fighting the packed of wild dogs upfront. Amoris Laetetia is one of the greatest weapon Pope Francis had used to expose who are this “wolves & pack of wild dogs” inside & outside Vatican. In 2016, some of the wolves still occupies important post in Vatican but after Amoris Laetetia was introduced the voice of the wolves and their identity was expose. And Pope Francis followed-up another crucial weapon to expose all the wolves by introducing changes in CCC2267. Pope Francis enjoy the powerful intercession of Pope Emeritus BXVI because he knew the “wolves” and their united prayer (Matthew18:19) and the expanded Petrine Ministry is so powerful that it sends all the wolves to suffer “diabolical disorientation” not knowing by opposing,resisting and contradicting Amoris Laetetia and CCC2267 “openly & publicly” they gave Pope Francis a “justifiable reasons” to remove all of them from powerful positions. And all this “wolves” thought that Ab.Vigano “original testimony” was enough for them to oust Pope Francis forcibly. What is their snake tactics?

    • Marie says:

      Jong- Demanding people accept your theory regarding McCarrick, even if true, knowing how painful it is to some of us to read, yet you continue to bring it up says a lot about you. Despite others asking you to please stop, you choose to force your theory. In the end, without genuine kindness in your heart, words are meaningless. Anything good you may put forth is lost in your clear ‘I don’t care who I hurt” posts. Dream on if you think Pope Francis would support you on this one, on any level.

      • Christopher Lake says:


        As I’ve written recently in the WPI comments, I live in Theodore Mccarrick’s former diocese. I sincerely wish that Jong understood just how many peoples’ lives have been deeply damaged, and for some, almost destroyed, by McCarrick’s sexual abuse of them. I can’t bring myself to read Jong’s posts defending Mccarrick anymore. As soon as I see a defense of him in Jong’s posts, I have to stop reading. It is just too painful.


        You are defending a repeated, decades-long, sexual abuser of people who also happened to be a Cardinal, and you are calling him a good, kind-hearted man. For the love of Christ and His Church, please stop defending Theodore McCarrick. Pray for him, but please don’t defend him here. You are hurting your brothers and sisters in Christ who are watching and reading here, some of whom may have even been sexually abused by McCarrick.

        Pope Francis stripped Theodore McCarrick of the titles of both Cardinal and Father for very good reasons. Please listen to the wisdom of the Pope’s decision about this man, and stop defending him.

  3. Nathan Turowsky says:

    From the way Marshall treats the Church’s evolution away from political support for autocracy and Jew-bashing, a reasonable reader can only really draw one conclusion: Marshall wishes we were living under an autocrat and hates Jews.

  4. HE says:

    I’m about an inch away from stepping away from the faith. It’s been a cumulative effect for the past 3 years and probably longer. The EWTN nationalist drumbeat has had a huge part in driving me away.

    If the future of the American church is alt right Bannonism and anti semitism….it will be a church without me.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Dear HE:

      I’m sorry to hear that. Please let me assure you that all of what you are seeing today is not representative of the Church at large. Bannon’s (and Marshal et al.) influence is largely circumscribed to the USA and some likeminded think tanks / websites abroad.

      I can assure you that 90% of Catholics worldwide don’t even know these guys, and therefore their influence in the way the Church governa itself is very low

      In the meantime, the true mouthpiece of Catholicism is not Bannon, but Francis. Therefore, I sincerely do not advise you to leave the Church because of something that doesn’t represent her, or because of teachings that are not hers

      You will be in my prayers

    • Christopher Lake says:


      Please don’t leave the faith. The Church needs you. I’ve been there. I left the Church for more than a decade, feeling, at the time, like I was being virtually “driven out” (although in different ways than you describe)– and looking back, I seriously hurt myself, and others in my life who needed my faithful witness, by leaving the Church.

      The Bannonite “nationalist drumbeat” may be what certain American Catholic media personalities are now unfortunately pushing, but it is *not* the Catholic faith. It is not part of the teaching of the worldwide Catholic Church. The Church is much, much bigger than a small but vocal ultra-nationalistic, anti-Semitic faction. You won’t hear that kind of fear-based nonsense from Pope Francis, thanks be to God. Read his book, The Name of God is Mercy. It might be an encouragement to you in these strange times.

    • Jessica says:

      Please don’t do that. You’d just contribute to the splintering.

    • Lol Daily says:

      Dear HE, Stay the course. The Church has weathered worse and will remain even if a faction schisms away. Like the times of Tudor England or the French Revolution, we are witnessing what happens when religious leaders align too closely with radical or corrupt politics. Jesus never did, nor did he instruct His Church to.

      Stay close to the sacraments, the scriptures, the salt of the earth folks in your parish community and the words of this trustworthy Pope. God uses times of strife to raise up saints from unexpected places.

  5. Katherine Yost says:

    Wow. This is fascinating. I’m grateful for your efforts in reading through this and summarizing.

  6. L Daily says:

    The Netflix documentary “The Family” focuses renewed attention on the secretive but influential right wing evangelical political clan and its tactics. If there has been any infiltration, it has likely been by this group into the Catholic Church.

  7. Brian martin says:

    wow…All I can say is I smell Whackadoodle Doo Doo!
    that is not aimed at WPI!

  8. Mike says:

    It often appears that people of a traditionalist bent are attempting to preserve the appearance of the purity of pre-Vatican II Church and find external influences for the present crisis. However, the crisis began quite awhile ago. Pope Pius VIII and Gregory XVI allowed for the absolution of unrepentant usurers in the mid-19th century (Denzinger 1609-1612). The Scholastics of the 16th and 17th centuries struggled mightily to excuse usury as much as possible. The arguments used then are now employed to excuse adulterers, contraceptors and like sexual sins. To look for the source of the present crisis we have need only look to ourselves (any actual Freemasons, Communists and the like probably didn’t help).
    My great hope for Pope Francis is that with his care for economics and the poor is to clearly define ex cathedra usury and condemn unequivocally the many excuses made for it. Given Francis’ insistence on ambiguity with respect to moral theology, I’m fairly sure it is a vain hope.

    • Lazurus says:

      Capitalism cannot thrive without charging interest and faith in unlimited economc growth. The reason that money couldn’t be multiplied in the past is because the nature of money has changed since ancient times. Money is now valued differently over time. No investor would invest his money unless he can earn more than he put in, since his money’s true value is always shrinking over time.

      IMO, the pie-in-the-sky ideal of unlimited economic growth will lead us to resource wars, eugenics and environmental catastrophe. Mammon is having his hour.

      • Mike says:

        Yes, I’m aware of the “economic conditions have changed everything” excuse for usury, much like the excuses of “hormonal contraception/long life spans/etc. have changed everything” excuse for sexual sins. Usury is not about nature of money, but about specific types of contracts called “mutuum” (read Benedict XIV’s Vix Pervenit while referencing the Latin) or roughly equivalent to a person unsecured loan. Bonds, savings accounts, and other such securities providing “interest” or called “lending” are not the sort of contract where there is usury, however unjust they may otherwise be. Consequently, removing usury from the economy would have little impact to actual business lending and growth, but would actually make the economy healthier by not treating humans as wealth.
        Also, the excuse of time value of money for usury has already been condemned by Innocent XI (Denzinger 1191). It is true that investors want a return for the money lent, but it is not licit in a mutuum. The only licit reason to engage in a mutuum is a matter of charity. A mutuum for profit is ipso facto usurious.

      • Lazurus says:

        Lending at interest isn’t going away anytime soon. We are all slaves of this system for now. The system of money HAS changed. We can’t multiply gold coins, but we can always print more and more paper or add digits on a computer screen. The only reason this hasn’t collapsed yet is the economy has always grown. When it doesn’t we consider it a recession.

        I am planning on being a husband soon. Am I to think I am a sinner to want to provide for my family in an unjust economic system I cannot do anything about? That somehow Christ’s promises about the Church failed because it doesn’t condemn usury anymore?

  9. Jude says:

    If there was no concerted effort on the part of the enemies of the church to bring her down, I shudder to think what would have happened if there was.

    Conspiracy theories are always whacky, except for our own theories. Obama plotted against Trump – whacko, Trump colluded with the Russians, I knew it. Masons or communists infiltrated the church – whacko. Trump, EWTN and the SSPX are plotting to oust the pope – I knew it.

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