The Broken Cross - the Hidden Hand in the Vatican
by Piers Compton, 1984
by Piers Compton, 1984
Part 2 -- Chapter 2
As already mentioned, the meeting of secret societies, which passed a number of epoch-making resolutions was held in Paris in 1935: and at about that time a Bishop from Northern Italy, who was working as representative of the Holy See in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, there underwent a strange experience that was to covert the least of the resolutions passed by the secret societies into a momentous reality.
The bishop in question was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Born in 1881, and ordained in 1904, he soon attracted the notice of the Vatican, as a Doctor of Theology and a Professor of Ecclesiastical history. In 1921 he was assigned to the Congregation of Propaganda, and after being consecrated Bishop, in 1935, he entered the diplomatic service of the Church.
His first appointments were in the Balkan, a part of the world that was far from being favorably disposed towards any Catholic influence, as Roncalli discovered. As Apostolic Visitor, or Charge d’affaires of the Holy See at Sofia, he became involved in diplomatic difficulties with the King, and these took on a more petty, but personal aspect when in 1935, he was transferred as Apostolic Delegate to Istanbul.
The current fervor for modernisation, under Mustafa Kemal, was in full swing. Some of his laws came down heavily on religion, Islamic as well as Christian, and the wearing of any kind of clerical garb, in public was strictly forbidden. The use of ecclesiastical titles was also proscribed.
Roncalli was made to feel that he was in a kind of straitjacket, never really free but watched and spied on, and his moves reported. Any contacts he might have developed were few and far between, and his invariable habit, and the end of the day, was to go home quietly, a foreign and anonymous passer-by.
One evening he felt unusually tired, and without undressing or putting out the light, he flung himself on the bed. On the walls were reminders of his earlier life, the photographs of relatives, and of the village on the Lombardy plain where they had grown up together. He closed his eyes and murmured his usual prayers. In a kind of vision he saw the faces of people, those he had heedlessly passed on the street that day, float out of a mist before him. Among them was the face of an old man with white hair and an olive skin that gave him an almost oriental look.
What followed may have been a dream, or so it appeared to have been, when daylight came. But in the quiet room Roncalli distinctly heard the old man ask: “Do you recognize me?” And without knowing what prompted him Roncalli answered: “I do, Always.”
His visitor went on: “I came because you called me. You are on the way, though you still have much to learn. But are you ready ?”
Roncalli never experienced the slightest doubt. It had all been prepared for him. He said: “I wait for you Master.”
The old man smiled and asked three times, if Roncalli would recognized him again; and Roncalli answered three time, that he would.
Even the coming of morning did not make the experience seem unusual. It would, Roncalli knew, be repeated, in a way that would give it no ordinary meaning.
He knew that time had come when he found the same old man waiting outside his lodgings; and he also felt that a more familiar situation had developed, which caused Roncalli to ask if he would join him at table.
The old man shook his head. “It is another table we must dine tonight.“ So saying he set off, with Roncalli following, into a quarter of quiet dark streets that the latter had never entered. A narrow opening led to a door at which Roncalli stopped, as if by instinct, while the old man told him to go up and wait for him.
Beyond the entrance was a short staircase, and then another. There was no light but in the almost total darkness there seemed to be voices from above, directing Roncalli’s footsteps to go on. He was brought to a stop by a door, smaller than the others, which was slightly ajar, and Roncalli, pushing that open found himself in a wide room, pentagonal in shape, with bare walls and two large windows that were closed.
There was a big cedarwood table in the centre, shaped like the room. Against the walls were three chairs one holding a linen tunic, three sealed envelopes, and some coloured girdles. On the tables was a silver-hilted sword, the blade of which, in the partial light made by three red candles in a three-branched candelabra, appeared to be flaming. Three other candles in a second branched holder had not been lighted. There was a censer about which were tied coloured ribbons, and three artificial roses, made of flimsy material, and with their stalks crossing each other.
Near the sword and the censer was an open bible, and a quick glance was enough to show that it was open at the Gospel of St. John, telling the mission of John the Baptist, passages which had always held a peculiar fascination for Roncalli. “A man appeared from God whose name was John…” The name John acquires a special significance in secret societies, who make a point of meeting on December 27th, the feast of the Evangelist, and on June 24th, feast day of the Baptist. They frequently refer to the Holy Saints John.
Roncalli heard light footsteps behind him and turned from the table. It was someone he was to hear addressed, as Roncalli had called him, the master. He was wearing a long linen tunic that reached to the ground, and a chain of knots, from which hung various silver symbols, about his neck. He put a white-gloved hand on Roncalli’s shoulder. “Kneel down, on your right knee.”
While Roncalli was still kneeling the Master took one of the sealed envelopes from the chair. He opened it so that Roncalli was able to see that it contained a sheet of blue paper on which was written a set of rules. Taking and opening a second envelope the Master passed a similar sheet to Roncalli who, standing by them, saw it was inscribed with seven questions.
“Do you feel you can answer them?” asked the Master.
Roncalli said that he did, and returned the paper.
The Master used it to light one of the candles in the second holder. “These lights are for the Masters of the Past who are here among us,” he explained.
He then recited the mysteries of the Order in words that seemed to pass into and through Roncalli’s mind without remaining there; yet he somehow felt, they had always been part of his consciousness. The master then bent over him.” We are known to each other by the names we choose for ourselves. With that name each of us seals his liberty and his scheme of work, and so makes a new link in the chain. What will your name be?”
The answer was ready. There was no hesitation.
“Johannes,” said the disciple. Always ready to his mind, was his favourite Gospel.
The Master took up the sword, approached Roncalli, and placed the tip of the blade upon his head; and with its touch something that Roncalli could only liken to exquisite amazement, new and irrepressible, flowed into every part of his being. The Master sensed his wonder.
“What you feel at this moment, Johannes, many others have felt before you; myself, the Masters of the Past, and other brethren throughout the world. You think of it as light, but it has no name.”
They exchanged brotherly greetings, and the Master kissed the other seven times. Then he spoke in whispers, making Roncalli aware of the signs, gestures that have to be performed, and rites to be carried out daily, at precise moments, which correspond to certain stages in the passage of the sun.
“Exactly at those points, three times each day, our brethren all over the world are repeating the same phrases and making the same gestures. Their strength is very great, and it stretches far. Day after day its effects are felt upon humanity.”
The Master took the remaining sealed envelope, opened it, and read the contents to Johannes. They concerned the formula of the oath, with a solemn undertaking not to reveal the Order’s secrets, and to promise to work always for good, and most important of all, to respect the law of God and His ministers (a somewhat ambiguous stipulation in view of what their surroundings implied.)
Johannes appended his name to the paper, together with a sign and a number that the Master showed him. That confirmed his degree and entry into the Order; and once again a feeling of unearthly strength welled through his being.
The master took the paper, folded it seven times, and requested Johannes to place it on the point of the sword. Once again a sudden flame ran down the length of the blade. This was carried over to the candles that were still giving light “for the Masters of the Past.”
The flames consumed it, and the master scattered the ashes. He then reminded Johannes of the solemnity of the oath he had taken, and how it would convey a sense of freedom, real freedom, that was known in general to the brethren. He then kissed Johannes, who was too overcome to respond by word or gesture, and could only weep.
A few weeks later Johannes (or Roncalli, as we must again continue to call him) was told that he was now sufficiently versed in the Cult to figure in its next conclusive phase - that of entering the Temple.
The master prepared him for what, he never disguised from Roncalli, would be an ordeal; and Roncalli’s apprehension increased when he found that no one like himself, an initiate of only the first degree, was allowed to enter the temple unless a task of great importance was about to be entrusted to him.
What could be ahead for Roncalli? Did the vision of a certain Chair, or throne, take shape in his mind as he made his way to the Temple?
There the brethren were assembled, another indication that Roncalli had been picked for some special mission. On the walls were the mysterious words, Azorth and Tetrammaton. The latter stands for the terrible, ineffable, and unpronounceable name of the creator of the universe, which was said to have been inscribed on the upper face of the cubicle, or foundation stone, in the Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem.
It figures in the pattern that is used for the evoking of evil spirits, or sometimes as a protection from them, a pattern that is known as the great magic circle is drawn between the two circles, which are composed of endless lines as symbolising eternity, various articles such as a crucifix, some herbs, and bowls of water, which is said to influence evil spirits, are placed.
Also in the temple was a cross, picked out in red and black, and the number 666, the number of the Beast in the Apocalypse. The Secret Societies, aware of the general ignorance regarding them, are now confident enough to show their hand. The American people are being made familiar with the mark of the beast on forms, brands of advertised goods, public notices: and is it mere coincidence that 666 is part of the code used in addressing letters to the British now serving (May 1982) in the South Atlantic (during the war with Argentina)? Those numbers, said to be all-powerful in the working of miracles and magic, are associated with the Solar God of Gnosticism.
The Gnostics, a Sect that flourished in the early Christian centuries, denied the divinity of Christ, disparaged revelation, and believed that all material things, including the body, were essentially evil. They held that salvation could only be achieved through knowledge (their name is derived from the Greek gnosis-knowledge). The Gospel stories they taught are allegories, the key to which is to be found in a proper understanding of Kneph, the sun god, who is represented as a serpent, and who is said to be the father of Osiris, and so the first emanation of the Supreme being, and the Christos of their Sect.
Roncalli, in his final and more elevated role for which the initiation prepared him, was to wear the image of the sun god surrounded by rays of glory, on his glove.
The colours red and black were held in reverence by the Gnostics and have been much in use by the diabolists. They are also the colours of Kali, the divine Mother of Hindu mythology; thus providing one of the several resemblances that occur between deviations from Christianity and pre-Christianity cults. It may be noted that they figured on the banners of the International Anarchist Movement, whose prophet was Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), a pioneer of libertarianism as opposed to State socialism.
While Roncalli was noting the details of the room the brethren advanced from their places near the walls until they were drawing slowly and almost imperceptibly, closer, and closer to him. When they had formed a chain they pressed forward touching him with their bodies, as a sign that their strength, which had been tried and proven in earlier ceremonies, was being transmitted to him.
He suddenly realised that, without consciously framing them, he was being given words of power that streamed from him in a voice that he failed to recognise as his own. But he was able to see that everything he said was being written down by one who had been referred to as the Grand Chancellor of the Order. He wrote in French. On a sheet of blue paper that bore the heading “The knight and the Rose.”
Judging by that and other signs, it would appear that Roncalli was affiliated with the Rose-Croix, the Rosicrucians, a society founded by Christian Rosenkreutz, a German, who was born in 1378. But according to its own claims, “The Order of the Rose and Cross has existed from time immemorial, and its mystic rites were practiced and its wisdom taught in Egypt. Eleusis, Samothrace, Persia, Chaldea, India, and in far, more distant lands, and thus were handed down to posterity the Secret Wisdom of the Ancient Ages.”
That its origin remains a mystery was emphasised by (Prime Minister) Disraeli, who said of the Society, in 1841, “Its hidden sources defy research.”
After travelling in Spain, Damascus and Arabia, where he was initiated into Arabian magic, Rosenkreutz returned to Germany and set up his fraternity of the Invisibles. In a building they designated as Domus Sancti Spiritus they followed such varied studies as the secrets of nature, alchemy, astrology, magnetism (or hypnotism as it is better known as) communication with the dead, and medicine.
Rosenkreutz is said to have died at the over-ripe age of 106, and when opened, his tomb which had been lost sight of for many years was found to contain signs and symbols of magic and occult manuscripts.
At first glance, Turkey may seem to be a country off the map: so far as the operations of a secret society are concerned. But in 1911, Max Heindel, founder of the Rosicrucian Fellowship and the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, wrote of that country in a manner that showed it was not escaping the observations of those who work with an eye on the religious, political, and social future. “Turkey” he said, “has taken a long stride towards liberty under the Young Turks of the Grand orient.
During the last few decades we have learnt much, that was previously hidden, about the rites, passwords, and practices of the secret societies. But there are few indications of the way in which they choose, from their mainly inactive rank and file, those who are looked upon as capable of furthering their designs. One of their simple instructions runs: “You must learn to govern men and dominate them, not by fear but by virtue, that is by observing the rules of the Order.” But an occult writing, which appeared in New York, is rather more explicit. “Experiments are being made now, unknown oft to the subjects themselves … people in many civilised countries are under supervision, and a method of stimulation and intensification is being applied by which they will bring to the knowledge of the Great Ones themselves a mass of information that may serve as guide to the future of the race. This was accompanied by a pointed remark that was also a pledge for one who had been judged to be suitable: “You were long the object of our observation and our study.”
In the last days of December, 1944, Roncalli was preparing to leave Turkey for Paris, where he had been appointed Papal Nuncio to the Fourth French Republic. The war was still on, and the difference between Right and Left, in politics which had split France, was violently on the surface: and it became soon clear to observers whose judgement was not affected by ecclesiastical titles that Roncalli’s innate sympathies were with the Left.
It was on his recommendation that Jacques Maritain was made French Ambassador to the Holy See. Maritain was generally regarded as a world thinker, certainly as one of the most prominent Catholic phiolosophers. The full impact of his “integral humanism” had so far been tempered by his Aquinian perspective. But later it was overcome by such contemptuous promulgations as that the social kingship of Christ had been good enough for medieval minds (and Maritain’s mentor, Thomas Aquinas, had been a medieval), but not for a people enlightened by such “instruments” as the French and Bolshevist revolutions.
His status as a ‘Catholic’ philosopher again causes doubt since, on his own testimony, he had been converted, not by any spiritual urge. Not by any theological or historical argument, by the writings of Leon Bloy (1846-1917).
In spite of its flowing musical style, Bloy’s writing is hardly the sort of stuff to convert one to Christianity. He identified the Holy Ghost with Satan, and described himself as prophet of Lucifer, whom he pictured as seated on top of the world with his feet on the corners of the earth, controlling all human action, and exercising a fatherly rule over the swarm of hideous human offspring. Compared to this vision of an affable Lucifer, God is seen to be a relentless master whose work will end in final failure when Satan displaces Him as King.
According to his own confession, Bloy was converted to what he and his disciples called “christianity” by the ravings of a poor prostitute who saw visions, and who after her affair with Bloy, died in a madhouse.
In 1947 Vincent Auriol was named President of the French Republic. He was an anti-Church plotter, one of those hardened anti-clericals who find a natural home on the continent; yet he and Roncalli became, not only cordial associates as their offices demanded, but close friends. This was not due to the Christian charity on one part and to diplomatic courtesy on the other, but to the ceremony that Roncalli had undergone in Istanbul, which established a bond of understanding between the two men.
This was given tangible expression when, in January 1953, Archbishop Roncalli was elevated to Cardinal and Aural insisted on exercising his traditional right, as the French head of State, to confer the red biretta on the newly created Prince of the Church. This occurred at a ceremony in the Elysee Palace, when Roncalli, seated on the chair (loaned by the museum) on which Charles X been crowned, received the plaudits of men who had sworn to bring him and all he stood for into dust, a design in which Roncalli was secretly pledged, though by more devious methods to assist them.
Three days later he was transferred, as Patriarch to Venice; and during the five years he was there he again showed, as in Paris, a certain sympathy for Left-wing ideologies that sometimes puzzled the Italian press.
It was during the pontificate of Pius XII that a number of priests then working in the Vatican became aware that all was not well beneath the surface. For a strange kind of influence not to their liking was making itself felt, and this they traced to a group who had come into prominence as experts, advisers, and specialists, who surrounded the Pope so closely that he was spoken of, half humorously, as being their prisoner.
But those priests who were more seriously concerned set up a chain of investigation, both here and in America, where their spokesman was Father Eustace Eilers, a member of the Passionist Congregation of Birmingham, Alabama. This led to establishing the fact that the Illuminati were making themselves felt in Rome, by means of specially trained infiltrators who came from near the place in Germany where Adam Weishaupt had boasted of his plan to reduce the Vatican to a hollow shell. That the hand of the illuminati was certainly involved became clearer when Fr. Eilers, who announced that he was publishing those facts, was suddenly found dead, presumably one of those sudden heart attacks that, when dealing with secret societies, so often precede promised revelations.
Pius died on October 9, 1958, and on the 29th of that month. Angelo Roncalli, after Cardinals in conclave had voted eleven times, became the 262 pope of the Catholic Church. He was seventy-seven, but with a build well able to sustain the sixty pounds of ecclesiastical vestments with which he was weighed down for his coronation on November 4th, 1958.
Roncalli’s “election” was a signal for outbursts of welcome, often from the most unexpected quarters, to echo round the world. Non-Catholics, agnostics, and atheists agreed that the College of Cardinals had made an excellent choice,  the best, in fact for many years. It lighted upon a man of wisdom, humility, and holiness, who would rid the church of superficial accretions and guide it back to the simplicity of Apostolic times; and last but not least among the advantages that promised well for the future, the new Pope was of peasant stock.
Seasoned Catholics could not account for the warmth and admiration that greeted him as journalists, correspondents, broadcasters, and television crews from almost every country in the world swarmed into Rome. For very little had hitherto been known to the outside world about Angelo Roncalli beyond the fact that he was born in 1881, had been Patriarch of Venice, and that he held diplomatic posts in Bulgaria, Turkey, and France. As for his humble background, there had been peasant popes before. The Church could absorb them as easily as it had her academic and aristocratic Pontiffs.
But the secular world, as evidenced by some of the most ‘popular’ publications in England, insisted that something momentous had happened in Rome, and that it was only the promise of still greater things to come; while informed Catholics, who for years had pleaded the Church’s cause, continued to scratch their heads and wonder. Had some information gone forth, not to them who had always supported religion, but to those who have served up snippets of truth, or no truth at all, to titillate and mislead the public?
An Irish priest who was in Rome at the time said of the clamour for intimate details regarding Roncalli: “Newspapers, and radio, television, and magazines, simply could not get enough information about the background and career, the family and the doings of the new Holy Father.” Day after day, from the close of the conclave to the coronation, from his first radio message to the opening of the Consistory, the remarks and the activities of the new Pope were dealt out in flamboyant detail for all the world to see.
Speculation was added to interest when it became known that the new Pope wished to be known as John XXIII. Was it in memory of his father, who was named John, or out of respect for John the Baptist? Or was it to emphasise his readiness to outface or even to shock the traditional outlook? John had been a favourite name for many Popes. But why retain the numbering?
For there had been an earlier John XXIII, an anti-pope, who was deposed in 1415. He has a tomb in the baptistry at Florence, and his portrait appeared in the Annuario Pontifico, the Church’s yearbook, until recent years. It has since been removed. We know nothing to his credit, for his only recorded achievement, if the word of such a precious reprobate as himself can be believed, was to have seduced more than two hundred women including his sister-in-law.
Meantime there was a general feeling abroad that the Church was approaching a break with the traditional past. It had always evinced a proud refusal to be influenced by its environment. It had been protected, as by some invisible armour, from the fashion of the time. But now it was showing a readiness to undergo a self-imposed reformation as dramatic as that, which had been forced upon it in the sixteenth century. To some it was anticipated as a bringing up to date of Christian doctrine, a desirable and inevitable process of re-conversion, in which a deeper and ever expanding catholicity would replace the older and static Catholicism of the past.
Such a change was guardedly foreshadowed in an early statement by John XXIII when he said: “Through east and west there stirs a wind, as it was born of the spirit arousing the attention and hope in those who are adorned with the name of Christians.”
The words of ‘Good Pope John’ (how quickly he acquired that complimentary assessment) were not merely prophetic. For they spoke of changes in the once monumental Church that would be initiated by him.