Satanic Panic: WND Misleads on Speech Given by Cardinal Ahead of Conclave

Once again, we turn to WorldNetDaily:

It’s a matter so dark and serious it has only been whispered about behind closed doors in Vatican circles by courageous priests such as the late John F. O’Connor, Alfred Kunz and the late Malachi Martin.

But now, thanks to the release by the Holy See of an official bulletin titled “Acta Apostolicae Sedis,” it has been confirmed that the papal conclave that elected Pope Francis March 13 heard a message, immediately before the voting, from a senior cardinal dealing directly with the threat of “The Smoke of Satan” descending on the Vatican itself.

The meditation about “that which Christ wants from his Church” was delivered by Maltese Prosper Grech, an 87-year-old Augustinian who could not participate in the vote. After his meditation, reports the Catholic online newsletter Chiesa, he left the Sistine Chapel.

WND goes on to cite Martin directly:

…The “Smoke of Satan” reference hearkens even more directly to what a close personal friend of Pope Paul VI observed in interviews and in two books he wrote about a Satanic “superforce” at work inside the Vatican.

“Suddenly it became unarguable that now… the Roman Catholic organization carried a permanent presence of clerics who worshipped Satan and liked it,” wrote Martin. “The facts that brought the Pope to a new level of suffering were mainly two: The systematic organizational links – the network, in other words, that had been established between certain clerical homosexual groups and Satanist covens. And the inordinate power and influence of that network.”

This falls apart on more than one ground; Grech did not in fact reference the “Smoke of Satan” – the phrase was added as a subheading by a newspaper – and his talk contains nothing which confirmed or suggested sympathy with Martin’s lurid conspiracy-mongering.

At 87, Grech was too old to vote, which was why he then left the chapel. L’Osservatore Romano published a segment of his talk here, and the full text is officially published by the Vatican in PDF form here, starting at page 352. His meditation formed part of the normal proceedings that relate to how a conclave is conducted; it is apparently officially known as an “admonition”, which caught the journalistic imagination and which is why Chiesa‘s headline in English thus describes it as a “warning”.

Chiesa‘s published extracts in English included the following:

SMOKE OF SATAN IN THE CHURCH

The evil spirit of the world, the “mysterium iniquitatis” (2 Thes 2:7), constantly strives to infiltrate the Church. Moreover, let us not forget the warning of the prophets of ancient Israel not to seek alliances with Babylon or with Egypt, but to follow a pure policy “ex fide” trusting solely in God (cf. Is 30:1; 31:1-3; Hos 12:2) and in his covenant. Courage! Christ relieves our minds when he exclaims: “Have trust, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). […]

However, it should be noted that the this subheading – and others in the report – have been added by Chiesa. The phrase “Smoke of Satan” does not in fact appear in the speech as officially published in Latin. Second, it’s clear that Grech’s point is merely a general warning against compromise; to see a coded reference here to Satanic covens is simply a grotesque misreading.

WND‘s interest in all this is because it wants to promote an absurd apocalpytic “Final Pope” scenario thought up by a certain Thomas Horn; Horn and WND have alreadly published more than one grossly fact-mangling article on the subject, as I discussed here and here.

The “Smoke of Satan” is a phrase famously associated with Pope Paul VI – it dates from a 1972 homily in which the then-pope expressed frustration with the state of the church:

…faced with the situation in which the Church finds itself today, we have the feeling that the smoke of Satan has seeped through the cracks and penetrated the People [Temple] of God. It was widely believed that the Council [i.e. Vatican II] was going to usher in an era of shining brilliance in the history of the Church. Instead we have had storm clouds and shadows, an atmosphere of quest and unncertainty.

That’s from a translation by Denis Crouan in a mainstream Catholic book called The Liturgy Betrayed; he argues that “the Pope is highlighting the failure to apply the decrees of the Council in practice”, due to diocesan bureaucracies. An official summary from 1972 (translated here) has a slightly different emphasis, suggesting that the Pope was actually thinking more generally of ideas with which he disagreed:

Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”  There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation.  There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life.

Either way, it’s clear that the Pope was discussing spiritual matters – but the story eventually developed that the phrase “smoke of Satan” in fact referred to a Satanic cult operating in the Vatican. In 1990 Martin claimed that Pope Paul had made “an oblique reference to an enthronement ceremony by Satanists in the Vatican”. As I discussed here, the whole thing is nonsense.

John F. O’Connor, who is cited by WND alongside Martin, is not someone with whom I was previously familar. Here’s a profile:

Born and raised in Chicago, Father O’Connor was a Military Chaplain during the Second World War. He became curious about Hitler and the “anti-Semitism” of the Nazi regime. Many soldiers asked him why, when they liberated Jews from the concentration camps, some of the Nazi guards were themselves Jewish and had even been former mayors of towns in Germany prior to the War.

Fr. O’Connor was ordered to be examined by a psychologist following a talk in which he named his Superior as a member of the Gay Rights Movement. His Superior barred young men from joining the Dominicans if they refused to accept sodomy and homosexuality as a viable life style alternative. He had been informed of this by several young males who had sought ordination. 

O’Connor sought the advice of a Canon Lawyer, Fr Alfred Kunz. Fr. Kunz was brutally murdered in a ritualistic fashion after assisting in the investigation of a satanic pedophile cult connected to the priesthood.

Various websites commend a two-hour sermon by O’Connor entitled The Reign of Anti-Christ, in which he apparently

…shows how we will be able to recognize the Anti-Christ through Bible and Current Events, that he is alive and prepared to enter world seen, about infiltration of Catholic Church, about the New World Order, end of US independence, One World Socialist Atheist Government, Wars, Paper Money, Homosexual infiltration of the Catholic Church.

An blurb for another video (pre-dating his death in 2006) advertises him as

…another of the few within the Catholic clergy that has spoken out against the Luciferian Judeo-Masonic conspiracy to destroy the Roman Catholic Church from within. Still alive, he often speaks on the Last Days, The False Prophet and on The Anti-Christ. Fr. O’Connor speaks principally on Lucifer and how he has waged war against the “Kingdom of God” and the Catholic Church for 2,000 years and how his disciples through membership in Masonry, Freemasonry and the Illuminati devised a plan called “Alta Vendetta” that is designed to take control of the Papacy.

Fr. O’Connor also spoke (prophesied?) about how these Luciferians would send missiles to destroy the U.S. (911) in the coming Third World War and about the Federal Reserve Bank and has questioned where the money goes that is paid for the interest on the USA national debt. He has also spoken extensively on how “The False Prophet” ( the next Pope) will deceive Catholics into worshiping the Anti-Christ…

Following his death, Renew America columnist Matt C. Abbott commended him as a “whistleblower” on homosexuality in the church, and drew attention to a text by a certain Randy Engel, entitled The Rite of Sodomy — Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.

4 Responses

  1. Oh yes, very juvenile of me, but I think this story is made perfect by the presence of Fr Kunz, your guide to all the confusions and darkness of the RCC, This may be because I pronounce his name as if he were German,

  2. You failed to mention what might be the most egregious nonsense in the article:

    — “Suddenly it became unarguable that now… the Roman Catholic organization carried a permanent presence of clerics who worshipped Satan and liked it,” wrote Martin. “The facts that brought the Pope to a new level of suffering were mainly two: The systematic organizational links – the network, in other words, that had been established between certain clerical homosexual groups and Satanist covens. And the inordinate power and influence of that network.”

    — “Martin revealed even greater detail of a Luciferic “enthronement ceremony by Satanists in the Vatican” in his book, “Windswept House”: “The Enthronement of the Fallen Archangel Lucifer was effected within the Roman Catholic Citadel on June 29, 1963; a fitting date for the historic promise about to be fulfilled. As the principal agents of this ceremonial well knew, Satanist tradition had long predicted that the Time of the Prince would be ushered in at the moment when a Pope would take the name of the Apostle Paul [Pope Paul VI].”

    (The first paragraph is also quoting from “Windswept House,” although the article doesn’t say so.)

    And what’s so egregious about this? It’s not just because allegations of Satan-worship are silly. It’s because “Windswept House” IS A NOVEL. It’s part of the title, printed in large letters on the book cover: “Windswept House: A Vatican Novel.”

    Yet WND omits that half of the title, and cites the book’s passages as historical fact.

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