August 2, 2022 (Edward J Barr) – Recent RLE articles dealt with the impact of Cardinal McCarrick on the selection of bishops who shared his philosophies (see A Chinese Connection? The McCarrick Cardinals and the secret Vatican deal). While the connection between McCarrick and like-minded bishops is fairly well established, a reader asked if there was a similar connection to alleged Freemasonry infiltration of the Church. That is, did Freemasons impact the selection of bishops as it appears McCarrick did during his tenure as “kingmaker?”
Catholics have faced the threat from Freemasonry for centuries, so it is natural that the Lodge has made attempts to subvert the Church from within. Several senior members of the Church have in the past been accused of being masons, yet conclusive proof has been elusive. Such is the case when investigating whether masons affected the selection of bishops. The closest evidence we have comes from Father Charles Murr, who was a close friend of Archbishop Edouard Gagnon, who was tasked by Pope St. Paul VI to investigate the Curia in the mid-1970s.
One of the two Cardinals whom Gagnon’s investigation focused on was Sebastiano Baggio. From 1973 to 1984 Cardinal Baggio was Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops at the Vatican. This meant that he was the “kingmaker” of bishops in the universal Church. Father Murr believes that Baggio was a Freemason, yet unfortunately the Vatican has never released the Gagnon report (see Murder in the 33rd Degree). However, we can take a cursory look at American bishops appointed during Baggio’s tenure to determine if a link could exist between Freemasons and McCarrick-like cardinals (as identified in the about referenced RLE article).
The following American cardinals were appointed to the episcopate with Cardinal Baggio overseeing the overall process at the Vatican.
1975: Cardinal Roger Mahony
1977: Theodore Edgar McCarrick
1983: Wilton Daniel Gregory
The fact that McCarrick was appointed under Baggio’s Vatican leadership is interesting. That other like-minded bishops such as Mahony were also ordained during the same time is equally interesting. The fact that there is a “gay lobby” is common knowledge. Even Pope Francis has commented on the topic. In 2013 he was quoted as stating, “In the Curia there are holy people, truly, there are holy people. But there’s also a current of corruption – there’s that, too, it’s true…. The ‘gay lobby’ is spoken of, and it’s true, that’s there… we need to see what we can do.”
Overall, while there is evidence that McCarrick-like bishops were appointed during Baggio’s reign there is no specific evidence of a Freemason connection. Even if Baggio was a Freemason, it would be difficult from his position at the Vatican to know the backgrounds of all the newly appointed bishops around the world so that he could appoint those with proclivities contrary to the teaching of the Church. However, he could if he had assistance. Of note is that from 1973 to 1980 Jean Jadot was Apostolic Delegate to the United States (note: this was the position prior to the establishment of official diplomatic ties between the Vatican and the US in1984). Jadot was known as a progressive and the architect of appointing “pastoral” prelates from the US. Thus, there is a link between Baggio and Jadot. Early in his pontificate Pope St. John Paul II replaced Jadot. He was appointed as the Pro-President of the Secretariat of Non-Christians. Normally the position was held by a cardinal, yet Jadot was never given that honor. He was replaced as Apostolic Delegate by Pio Laghi, John Paul’s secret emissary to the US and the first Papal Nuncio after formalization of diplomatic ties. From this perspective, it is possible that there is a Freemason connection. At a minimum, there was a progressive alliance that was in power of appointing American bishops.
The above noted connections may prove there is smoke, yet there is no fire. There is strong but not conclusive evidence that Freemasons had a direct and significant hand in appointing American cardinals, yet information on the topic is sparse. Even if Baggio was a freemason, there are many progressives in the Church that would have appointed similar bishops who also promote changing the perennial teachings of the Church. Freemasons would like to destroy the Church, yet others inside can accomplish the same goal. There is another area where the tentacles of Freemasonry are more pronounced – the Mass. That will be discussed in a separate article.
Edward J Barr is a catechist, an attorney, an intelligence officer, and a university faculty member. He earned a Master of Theology degree from the Augustine Institute. His new novel, The Gray Apostle: Mission of the Messiah is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine local bookstores. Mr. Barr is a contributing writer for the Roma Locuta Est blog (www.RomaLocutaEst.com)