QUAERITUR: Malachi Martin and his novel Windwsept House

From a reader:

I’ve been doing some reading of Malachi Martin and in his novel Windwsept House he says that a Black Mass was celebrated in the Vatican.  He was interviewed about this and he says it’s true and that his novel is “faction”.  Do you have any opinion about Malachi Martin?

Oddly, this book has come up in conversations several times recently.

Buy it here, if you want to read it: CLICK.

Malachi Martin is a bit of an emigma.  He was smart, to be sure, and had a spicy past. 

What leaves me puzzled is why in some of his books he made blatant errors of fact, too wrong to have been missed, so wrong that they may have been purposeful.  These errors don’t change the substance of what he is trying to get across, but they gave critics something to latch onto while ignoring the substance.  For example, Martin was a former Jesuit.  In his book on Jesuits he gets the birth date of Ignatius Loyola wrong.  Weird.

Another thing.  In his novels he wove together facts with fiction in a way that, if you aren’t careful reading it, you confuse the two.  That is his "faction" thing, I guess.

That said, in Windswept House there is something to be learned today about what is going on in the Church.  The bad guys in the book are trying to undermine the Church’s supernatural identity and reduce the Church to an instrument of social change merely.  Some of the enemies of the Church are literally in league with the devil, some are misguided dupes.

I think that people could read this book and learn a few good insights into how different attacks on the Church manifest themselves.  However, read it all with a grain of salt.

In any event, during my time working in an office of the Vatican I met some pretty interesting people.  Over a period of years I picked their brains about issues raised in Windswept House.  I can say that some of the things I heard echo many of the issues raised by Martin in the book.  I never heard anyone say that there had been for sure a satanic rite in the Vatican for the sake of undermining the Church from within.  However, given the hatred of the enemies and his servants for the spotless bride of Christ I have little doubt that something like that might have been attempted at one point or other.

These questions titillate to be sure.   Things having to do with the devil and secret groups and conspiracies are all the stuff of great tales.  But apart from all the silliness, there really are out there people who hate the Church so much that they would stop at nothing to harm her reputation, her fabric, finances and ministers. 

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  1. Irish says:

    I read it in the 1990s, before all the abuse stories became the public firestorm as they are known today. To me, it seemed a little unbelievable, although a great page-turner. Then I reread it after the information about abuse, the pink mafia, and priests involved in nambla became public. I would say Malachi Martin nailed the homosexual infiltration part of the story. Seeing how prescient he was on that angle, made me think there was something true to the other parts of the novel.

  2. Ric says:

    Martin presented a sinister and false presentation Roman Catholicism in his fictional novels with the intention of creating a macabre Catholic atmosphere to titilate fleshly minds bent on seeking a form of distorted Catholic spirituality in a tabloid flavor. Our Lord said we would know them by their fruits. Martin’s intention was to make lots of money selling his books. His books are spiritually dangerous and not Catholic. Some kooks think Martin should be canonized. Next we will want to canonize Tolkein and then maybe Rowling. As far as I am concerned they are all in the same boat.

  3. Ric: Okay, I guess that is a “no” vote.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: there really are out there people who hate the Church so much that they would stop at nothing to harm her reputation, her fabric, finances and ministers.

    Would you agree that Malachi Martin appeared to imply that some of these people are not merely “out there” but actually within the Church?

  5. Henry: Oh yes! When I said “out there”, I didn’t mean “outside the Church’s structures”.

  6. Maureen says:

    Since the ordinary ol’ Requiem Mass used to be called a “Black Mass” after the black vestments used, I’m sure that kind _was_ celebrated at the Vatican. :)

    But it’s not really a nickname you can easily use anymore, alas. Not unless you got Dan Brown to put it in a book full of lies and faketoids. And even then, most people
    would remember it as the Catholic funeral Mass being directed towards Old Scratch, and that just wouldn’t be helpful at all. (Scandals and stumbling blocks, the reckless creation of.)

  7. Ric says:

    Yes, Father Z, mine is a no vote. You can’t imagine (but maybe you do know) that there are many Catholics who think Malachi’s books are gospel truth. Some people who have read Martin’s books think that even Pope Paul participated in the so called Vatican satanic masses and that the Pope was a practicing homosexual. It get’s very wierd, disgusting and sinful and detroys faith and it is all so evil. It creates a mind of its own and church haters and magesterium haters latch on to Martin’s writings and spin them to no end. Now I am going to open a BIG CAN OF WORMS: I have heard a lot of this junk from some SSPX laity and a lot of sede vaticantists. Many have drunk from the Malachi Martin kool-aid.

  8. Tominellay says:

    I’ve read at least eight of Martin’s books, some of them several times. They’re fascinating, and, yes, I think there’s a whole lot of fact in his novels…I think he loved the Church. I think he had a GREAT sense of humor, too…

  9. LCB says:

    Entertaining reads? Yes.
    Providing a warning about some currents in the Church? Yes.

    But was there a conspiracy to the degree he suggests? By the end of his life Fr. Martin had earned a nice amount of money, had a safe place to stay, and had patrons who would assist him if things got really bad. Yet he never publicly named names or leveled specific accusations, which he could have arranged to have done even after his death if he so wished.

    I think that Martin may be similar to Sen. McCarthy– in that there really were Communist spies, but McCarthy didn’t know who they were (or in the case of Martin, could never credibly prove it).

    What I find more disturbing is that, in some of the sexual abuse allegations there have been concrete accusations of satanism and ritualized abuse, well after the era of pop-psychology’s embracing such things for a short period of time.

  10. Kimberly says:

    I’m glad you brought this subject up Fr.Z. I also have read this book and have had questions.Your right that it needs to be read with a grain of salt. But, it did open my heart to the fact that the devil is alive and well (the smoke of the devil has entered the Church) To dismiss some of the things in the book would be foolish just like believing some would also be foolish. I do not think the Vatican is a fairy tale place to live or work. I pray for the Holy Father daily.

  11. Chas. B. says:

    Ric, I don’t see how Tolkien, Rowling, and Martin could possibly be in the same boat. Tolkien was an orthodox Catholic and an Oxford don and Rowling writes children’s books about magic hats.

    I haven’t read Martin, but the idea of Vatican “faction” reminds me of Dan Brown’s novels. They are obviously fiction, but include details that most readers will assume are fact. This model is poisoned by some puzzling factual errors (not to mention some rather controversial interpretations). The apparent difference between Malachi Martin and Dan Brown is that Martin’s errors seem to be against-the-grain and therefore maybe significant; Brown’s are the result of a general lack of intellectual rigor.

  12. Biff says:

    When asked about the veracity of WH, Fr. Hardon, SJ said it was 90% true and that 90% of the remaining 10% could be accounted for by his use of pseudonyms.

    Truly an enigmatic character. A liberal, someone accused of womanizing, a JP2 Catholic, secularized, a writer on exorcism who never practised one, a favourite Art Bell and Bob Grant Show guest, a sedevantist, someone who reputiated sedevacantism, burried in NJ by Fr. Wickens an independent traddie who supported both Iraq was and had his parish taken over by the FSSP.

    In death, Martin is even more peculiar. catholiccounterpoint.com claims he was made a cardinal and Crumoorswawey who was a blend of hinduism and sedevacantism claimed him as a mentor.

    All frequently associated with perenialism on the LeFloch Report.

    None of this even began to make sense until it was covered in the pages of E. Michael Jones’ Culture Wars Magazine and his latest book.

  13. Gus says:

    I’ve never heard of any satanic rituals in the Vatican. However, and unfortunately, I have heard of Freemasons in the Church. A priest friend of mine who works in one of the Congregations allerted me to this reality this past year. He says that there is active recruitment and that he himself has been approached about joining. All of this in the Vatican.

    Pax et Bonum

  14. FrGregACCA says:

    I think the key to understanding Martin is found in his own “Hostage to the Devil,” which contains detailed case studies of several successful exorcisms, and one exorcism which was unsuccessful. In each case, as a result of the confrontation with the demonic, the exorcist himself paid a personal price. Perhaps the highest personal price was paid by the one priest who was unable to successfully complete the exorcism with which he found himself involved.

    Martin was, apparently, himself an exorcist. I think that as time went on, beginning perhaps with the publication of “Hostage,” he too paid a huge price in terms of decreased psychological stability and deteriorated mental status.

    Let us remember to pray for the repose of his soul.

  15. Matt K says:

    One of my favorite books is Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. I highly recommend, especially if you want to understand where he is coming from. The word enigma is exactly what is my impression. I have always been interested in his works, but his sedevacantism support has made me leary of reading more. I did read somewhere else that Fr. John Hardon, SJ did know Malachi Martin and thought highly of him which says a lot. Before his death Malachi Martin was a regular guest on Art Bell’s radio show discussing exorcism and other more conspiratorial subjects. Part of me believes that the devil went to great extent to destroy his reputation because of his study of satanism.

  16. Biff says:

    Careful careful. Bloggers like Shea and Miesel will call you kooks!

  17. Ruben says:

    Thanks for posting Fr Z. For all the controversy surrounding Fr Martin’s work I do think he had a genuine love for the Church. I suppose being that he was an exorcist he fell into an unusual category of breed as it is.

    I will say that to Fr. Martin’s credit it was from him that I for the first time heard an explanation that the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ (Church Militant, Church Suffering…) and that the mass is Calvary re-presented. I was so blown away when I finally grasped these two basic teachings. I attended Catholic school from 1967 to 1976 and it was not until the age of 37 (when I heard Fr Martin) that I had ever heard any Catholic explain in this way what the Church and the mass are. Throughout my Catholic schooling all I ever had drilled into me was that the mass was a “Eucharistic banquet” and that the church was the “People of God”. It brings me sadness to think that out of all those years of Catholic schooling it would not be until for me at the age of 37 that I would finally begin to understand what the Catholic Church and the mass really are and so begin to re-learn my faith. This little catechesis played a major role in my conversion and my return to the Church and Sacraments after over 20 years.

  18. TomB says:

    I once heard Fr. Martin in an extensive interview on a New York talk show. It was fascinating to hear him speak, and in the debate with the host (I do not remember who, only that she was very hostile to the Church) he completely and utterly devastated her arguments in just a few sentences, all the while in an extremely charitable way. He practically rendered her speechless. I would love to find the archive of that show, but I no longer even recall the radio station. He also appeared regularly in Art Bell, but again was very interesting and reasonable. Listening to him speak showed me how completely reasonable our Holy Faith is.

  19. Ric says:


    Two men n’ one lady in a tub,
    Martin and Tolkien and Rowling,
    one writes of devils,
    another of hobbits,
    and the third of little boy witches,
    all make great strides
    as they push Christ aside,
    and of souls
    the most dirty of ditches.

  20. TomB says:

    Ruben – I have to agree that I also learned much from hearing him speak and from reading his books. He was very clear in his thinking and communicating.

    Fr Z – wow! That’s an expensive paperback on Amazon! I’m sure I paid less for the hardcover when it first came out, but, alas, I loaned it out many years ago, and I no longer know who to ask for its return…

  21. Hidden One says:

    I’ll vote no on Malachi Martin in terms of whether or not one should seek to learn from his writings – I have heard too much about him being a liar – but I would believe that remark by Fr. Hardon, if he in fact either wrote or said it.

    Oh, and I’d support an investigation into whether or not Tolkien should be canonized.

  22. LCB says:

    I’d like to see a source on that hardon quote if at all possible.

  23. Maureen says:

    Re: Malachi Martin — never read him. Not really into horror or political thrillers.

    Re: the others — In the early Church and the Middle Ages, many of the Church Fathers were busy arguing that pagan Socrates and Virgil were actually our own.

    In the modern Church, plenty of Catholics are busy arguing that Christian Tolkien and Rowling are actually pagans or enemies of God.

    Too much Tertullian, not enough St. Ambrose or St. Basil the Great.

  24. Biff says:


    The Station was 770 WABC and the host was Lynn Samuels.

  25. Joseph says:

    It is hard for to pin down Fr. Martin personal positions. Regarding sedavacantism: I have heard, and read him give extraordinary complements (and criticism of course) to Pope John Paul II. On the Art Bell show he once said that all the post-reform sacraments are invalid, yet elsewhere (can’t remember where exactly) he contradicts this position.

    Despite that, he helped to bring me out of a false conception of the Church which I gained in a liberal seminary. For that I am thankful to him.

  26. Henry Edwards says:


    A web search yields this personal web site of “Father Martin”, seemingly looking mostly like it would have at the time of his death 10 years ago. The home page includes a summary of his alleged career in the Church. Whether fact or fantasy, it’s hard to imagine a more fascinating biography of a Catholic priest — one purportedly instructed for the rest of his life after going underground in the U.S. to “to report directly to the reigning Holy Father whoever he may be, or to some member of the papal Curia the reigning Pope designates”.

  27. CB says:

    Father, what is the proper protocol for speaking of laicized priests? I notice a lot of people still call him “Fr. Martin” but I was under the impression that since he is now a layman, we shouldn’t do that. However, if it is the proper thing to do, I want to follow it.

  28. Larry says:

    Oddly enough I came across this book only the other day. I have read some of Martin’s other books and always take them with a large grain of salt. I strongly suspect that his tale of Satanic rites in the Vatican are accurate in some part. That being said I also realize that Martin was ahead of the curve. His “faction” was a decade ahead of Dan Brown. What is more it is harder to discover the fictin vs. fact in Martin’s works. Just be carefull. Having just completed reading “The Rite” by Matt Baglio I was tempted to plunge into WH but turned instead to a little book called “Return from Tomorrow”. I am glad I did; easy read and very inspiring. It was a great bump up to the Sol. of Corpus Christi.

  29. Mr. WAC says:


    “one writes of devils,
    another of hobbits,
    and the third of little boy witches”

    The big dif here is that there is no such thing as hobbits.

  30. Boko says:

    Biff @ 10:40,

    I’ll have to get Jones’s take on MM. I’m sure it’s fascinating. Thanks for the tip. I googled “e michael jones malachi martin” and found that Martin condemned the satanic Medjugorje parody. Good for him. That led me to the amazon page for Jones’s book on Medjugorje. People who bought that book also bought other books by Rose and Martin and someone bought Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism.” You have to know how funny that is to know how funny that is, but I’ll have a smile on my face the rest of the day.

  31. Michael J says:

    About 2 years ago, it came out that Malachi Martin had some serious credibility issues. I suppose that there is a possibility that what he wrote in Windswept House could be true, but I seriously doubt it. I think the attraction for most Traditionalists is that they *wanted* what he wrote to be true as an explanation of what they were seeing.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, check this out:


  32. Mary Kay says:

    Ric, CCC2477 describes calumny as “by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.”

    Calumny describes your comments about Tolkien.

    Not only was Tolkien an orthodox Catholic as stated by Chas above, but The Lord of the Rings is stuffed to the brim with Catholic thought and scriptural allusion. You might not get into the storyline, but that does not give you permission to smear anyone, much less a fellow Catholic.

    As for Malachi Martin, I’ve never read his books. I tend to stay away from anything that is as ambiguous as people here have described. Clearly, his writing has been helpful to some. Along the lines that Fr. Greg mentioned, being involved with an exorcism or near situations is precarious. Any of the above could be possible; I don’t know enough about either Martin or his books to do anything other than pray for him, for the pope and for the Church.

    Completely off-topic is a request for prayers as I have a very important interview Wednesday morning. Thanks.

  33. dad29 says:

    IIRC, Fr. Martin was “exclaustrated,” not laicized. That meant that he was no longer a Jesuit, and could not publicly say Mass. (He could hear confessions in emergencies.)

    Fr. Fiore, an ex-OP, was one of the galley-editors for Windswept. He was kind enough to give me a “key” to the characters in the novel.

    One cannot read Windswept for “facts and circumstances.” It is clearly at least partially fiction.

    But it is useful to understand that sin affects everyone, including in the Vatican.

  34. mpm says:

    Comment by Mary Kay — 15 June 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    Good points, Mary Kay!
    I’ll be keeping your request in mind.

    KIM, Boethius (+525) was another erudite orthodox Catholic layman, killed by his employer, an Arian Emperor of the West, for whom there was immediate cultus in the diocese of Pavia where he was martyred and interred (today accompanied by St. Augustine of Hippo, of all people!). His cultus never made it onto the universal calendar, prmarily because when in prison “all” he could think of to write about was the consolation of “Philosophy”! The Horror!

  35. Ottaviani says:

    Fr. Z – I wonder if you knew a certain saintly Canadian cardinal called Eduoard Gagnon who was given the red hat by John Paul II. A friend of tradition and sympathetic to Archbishop Lefebrve, he died last year and was quite vocal about state of the church towards the end of his life.

    In a 2001 edition of The Latin Mass there was an interesting interview with Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand who related this:

    Paul VI had asked Gagnon to head an investigation concerning the infiltration of the Church by powerful enemies. Cardinal Gagnon (at that time an Archbishop) accepted this unpleasant task, and compiled a long dossier, rich in worrisome facts. When the work was completed, he requested an audience with Pope Paul in order to deliver personally the manuscript to the Pontiff. This request for a meeting was denied. The Pope sent word that the document should be placed in the offices of the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically in a safe with a double lock. This was done, but the very next day the safe deposit box was broken and the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. The usual policy of the Vatican is to make sure that news of such incidents never sees the light of day. Nevertheless, this theft was reported even in L’Osservatore Romano (perhaps under pressure because it had been reported in the secular press). Cardinal Gagnon, of course, had a copy, and once again asked the Pope for a private audience. Once again his request was denied. He then decided to leave Rome and return to his homeland in Canada. Later, he was called back to Rome by Pope John Paul II and made a cardinal.

    Lest anyone thinks this is all conspiracy theories…

  36. Ric says:

    Mary Kay…

    there are two things which come from the pens of men, true spiritual writings and human vanity. There is no in between. People who try to make secular writings sacred or elevate secular writers to the level of spiritual writers have got things messed up. There is a strange phenomena today which tries to find things “catholic” in secular works. If you think writing about mythological creatures with hairy feet that dine on mushrooms and live in middle earth represents catholic art, go figure. This is not calumny. Calumny is designed to injure some ones reputation. From a literary persepctive, sure, Tolkien and to perhaps a lesser extent Rowling are decent writers. But the stuff they write is not Catholic literature. Again, people who look for “secret catholic meanings and allegories” in the works of Tolkien are hurting themselves. This stuff was not written by divine inspiration. Just because people say a writer was an “orthodox” catholic it is a false syllogism to state that his or her writings are chock full of ” Catholic thought and scriptural illusion.” It’s in vogue today to claim things secular as Catholic. If that is all we have today, heaven help us! Again, stories about mushroom eating hobbits who live underground is not Catholic Spiritual writing. I don’t care what Tolkein’s personal spirituality was, but I never heard of a Catholic saint writing about mushroom eating hobbits. Give me a break. People see what they want to see. A Catholic priest once insisted that I go to the movies with him and a bunch of students to see Lord of the Rings because it was very spiritually uplifiting and I would see Our Lord “hidden” in the story line. I pray for Catholics who try to tell me they see Our Lord in Lord of the Rings (Tolkien) or go around telling people that the Cardinals and Bishops hosted Black Masses inside the Vatican ( Martin).

  37. ssoldie says:

    Thank you Fr.Z, I have read M.M.’s books and find them very interesting, and yes! there is the evil one among us, in and out of the Church at all times, just look around, he has and still is doing his best.

  38. mpm says:


    Just two things?
    Sometimes this Catholic has to write checks!

  39. Boko says:

    Here’s one key floating around: http://www.traditio.com/tradlib/wind.txt

    And Ric, agreed about Tolkien’s evil mushroom-eating hobbits, of course, (and let’s not forget that those mushrooms were STOLEN–for shame!!) but don’t you think we’re wasting our time complaining about LOTR when The Sound of Music has been corrupting our youth for generations? The hills are alive, indeed!

  40. Biff says:


    Martin was secularized not laicized. To wit, he got permission to leave the Jesuits. Hardon stayed in.

  41. Woody Jones says:

    I had lost interest in Malachi Martin for some time, but now that he has been brought up, I recall hearing him in an interview, conducted by a Canadian Trad. Interestingly, in that interview, Martin insinuated (as I recall it) that while still a Jesuit during Vatican II, he was sent (by his order one presumes) to Rome for the purpose of … blackmailing certain bishops to make sure their votes went right (I suppose with the Rhine Group, in other words). I suppose one would always want to take him with a large grain of salt, but there you have it.

  42. Mary Kay says:

    Ric, some clarifications, brief clarifications because I’m on the run and may have to do this in pieces:

    I didn’t say that Tolkien’s writing was sacred, I said it was full of Catholic thought. There is a difference.

    Tolkien and Rowling should never be bracketed together.

    Nor did I say to look for “secret catholic meanings.” There’s no “secret code” a la the nonsense of Dan Brown.

    Apparently you know enough about hobbits to know of their love of mushrooms, but not enough of Tolkien who disliked allegory. So no, I’m not saying there’s allegory in his writings.

    Nor did I say that LOTR has Catholic thought because of Tolkien’s orthodox Catholicism. You put that one together yourself.

    Good grief, not scriptural illusion, but scriptural allusion. I’ll come back to that.

    I’ll agree with you that it’s not spiritual writing in the same sense as say, any of the saint’s biographies.

    If anyone (much less a priest) said that you’d find Our Lord in the LOTR, I can understand where you’re coming from, because that’s not something I would say. And Tolkien would probably roll over in his grave.

    What I am saying, is that even when Tolkien wrote with the only purpose to entertain, his Catholicism shines through.

    It was from reading LOTR that I really understood what stewardship is. There’s the whole idea of a spiritual journey, the northern and southern kingdoms, and willingness to undertake a task “though I do not know the way.” There’s a lot of other instances, but they’ll have to wait for another time.

    btw, paragraph indents are your friend.

    til next time,

  43. Woody Jones says:

    An even more astonishing statement that he made in that same tape, I think, was that the dissolution so evident in many areas in the Church can be explained by Jesus having decided to liquidate it! In other words, the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it, of course, but its Founder could, and maybe has, decided it has outlived its usefulness and so should come to an end. This is so outlandish an assertion that I choose not to believe it–but I also take my own opinions with a grain of salt.

    Saludos desde Madrid, where the Cardinal presided over a very impressive Corpus Christi Mass in the Plaza de Oriente, with my wife and I, and maybe 20,000 others, present, followed by a real Eucharistic procession through the surrounding streets, ending with Benediction in front of the Cathedral. A true highlight in the Mass was the military band saluting Our Lord immediately after the Consecration by playing the Marcha Real (the national anthem). In procession were many various congregations with their standards-a very moving and impressive sight.

  44. RBrown says:

    KIM, Boethius (+525) was another erudite orthodox Catholic layman, killed by his employer, an Arian Emperor of the West, for whom there was immediate cultus in the diocese of Pavia where he was martyred and interred (today accompanied by St. Augustine of Hippo, of all people!). His cultus never made it onto the universal calendar, prmarily because when in prison “all” he could think of to write about was the consolation of “Philosophy”! The Horror!
    Comment by mpm


  45. Mark VA says:

    Oddly enough, I just finished reading “American Exorcism – Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty” by Micheal W. Cuneo:


    Father Malachi Martin and his tour de force “Hostage to the Devil” features very prominently in this interesting survey of Catholic and Protestant exorcisms (both official and bootleg varieties), deliverance ministries, discernments of demons and souls, the charismatic experience, Pentecostalism, and perspectives from the medical profession on this subject (many very sympathetic).

    I tend to view Father Malachi Martin as a popularizer of important spiritual realities. However, as Father Z noted, because of the artistic license involved here, while we keep the essential truths contained in his books, we also note his dramatic embellishments (and he had a wonderful Irish flair for them).

    I’ve known people who professed their hatred of the Catholic Church openly, without resorting to any conspiracies. They tended to view the Catholic Church as a locus of superstition, a reactionary superstructure maintained by the rich for their benefit, a sly exploiter and manipulator of consciences, an organism that has to be eliminated to “free” the people.

    In just a few early years of the Soviet rule in Russia, when such people had real power, it is estimated they murdered 130 Russian Orthodox Bishops, and about 45 thousand Russian Orthodox priests, religious, and active laity. With respect to our Church, from 1919 to 1942, they reduced the number of Catholic Churches in Russia from 1200 to 2, and priests, using various methods, from 400 to 2, as well.

    I can’t think of a clearer example of demonic activity and willing human collaboration.

  46. mpm says:


    Yes, you are right, but I was referring to the “universal” calendar.

    Because Oct. 23 on the universal calendar is the feast of St. John of Capistrano, only in special cases can anyone else celebrate this holy layman, one of the intellectual founders of Europe. Fr. Z. spoke of this some years ago:


    Tradition began very early to represent Boethius as a martyr for the Christian Faith. It was believed that among the accusations brought against him was devotion to the Catholic cause, which at that time was championed by the Emperor Justin against the Arian Theodoric. In the eighth century this tradition had assumed definite shape, and in many places Boethius was honoured as a martyr, and his feast observed on the twenty-third of October. In recent times, critical scholarship has gone to the opposite extreme, and there have not been wanting critics who asserted that Boethius was not a Christian at all, or that, if he was, he abjured the Faith before his death. The foundation for this opinion is the fact that in the “Consolations of Philosophy” no mention is made of Christ or of the Christian religion. A saner view, which seems at the present time to be prevalent among scholars, is that Boethius was a Christian and remained a Christian to the end. (Catholic Encyclopedia, online, New Advent, “Boethius”).

  47. Trey says:


    RE: Your comment on the Church. It is an odd idea certainly, but well documented that God allows evil to occur – even to his own. Look at Job, the chosen people in exile, His Son, the martyrs, and on… This is certainly a mystery… But, haven’t we all suspected that things would get dicey for Christians in the end??? And one need look no further than Judas for a prototype of these “church men” that betray our Lord. They have always been with us…

    In a sense, though, what Fr. Martin says must be true… for the Church is in bad shape… To think that He is not allowing this, would be to suggest that there is an enemy more powerful than He is…

  48. tertullian says:

    I used to enjoy spending time with MM at Neary’s and find it hard to believe that was thirty years ago. His intentions were good but never underestimate a good imagination.

  49. MargaretC says:

    I have a question for those who have actually read MM’s work: Are they good reads?

    I ask because, while I enjoy a thriller as much as anyone, I could never make it past the first chapter of The DaVinci Code — life is too short to waste on hack writing.

    If any of MM’s opus is actually entertaining to read, I’ll give it a try — with lots of salt, of course.

  50. Phillip says:

    Fr. Martin was not a sedevacantist. On one of his tapes, I heard him clearly say “We must not judge the pope,” and “No sedevacantist will see the face of God.” I remember him saying although we may have found John Paul II’s ecumenism questionable, no one could question the pope. I also remember him saying that all of the new forms of the sacrament can be celebrated validly.

  51. RBrown says:

    Because Oct. 23 on the universal calendar is the feast of St. John of Capistrano, only in special cases can anyone else celebrate this holy layman, one of the intellectual founders of Europe. Fr. Z. spoke of this some years ago:
    Comment by mpm

    The link doesn’t justify your opinion. Fr Z wrote on the celebration in special cases for a Blessed. He notes that Boethius is a saint listed in the Martyrologium Romanum. This puts him in the Universal Calender.

    it is common in the universal calendar that there be more than one saint assigned to a date.

  52. Maureen says:

    Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy is intensely Catholic, especially if you read it after reading a bunch of earlier Church Fathers so as to get into the right frame of mind and the right set of references.

    I sorta dream about the academics who claim Boethius can’t possibly have been writing a Christian work because it doesn’t get super-explicitly Christian, running into the academics who study the old Japanese writers — who thought that if you have to come right out and say your point, you’ve done the literary equivalent of operating a massive outdoor spotlight that can be seen for a hundred miles, or annotating Dick and Jane. I think the non-Christian Boethius academics’ heads would explode.

  53. I encountered this book at a time in my life where I was suffering, and reexamining my life and my faith. I loved it, and while I did not beleive the black mass to be true, I did recognize it was a masterful work of fiction which did address several issues confronting Holy Mother Church.

  54. Mary Kay says:

    Ric, okay now that I have a little extra time. You’re right that LOTR is different than some of the spiritual reading you mentioned.

    Tolkien said his only goal was to write a long tale and in one sense, it should be read as simply a good story. It was only when I started to re-read it that the deeper levels of Catholic were apparent. It took me three reads just to get the full story line.

    I just started a book by Peter Kreeft, a noted and prolific Catholic author, that may explain it better than I could. It’s The Philosophy of Tolkien.

  55. FrGregACCA says:


    MM was a very good writer, so yes, his books are good reads, both non-fiction and “faction”. MM was no Dan Brown! I have read “Hostage”, “Keys of this Blood”, “Rich Church Poor Church,” “Kings of Kings” (an historical novel about the life of King David), “Vatican”, and “Windswept House”, the latter probably being the least well-written of the lot. “Keys” is especially noteworthy for its survey of the history of Poland and the exploits of Stefan Cardinal Wyszy?ski, of happy memory, who led the Polish Church through most of the Soviet Era, and who was a mentor to the future Pope John Paul II.

  56. RBrown says:

    If someone wants to read Catholic literature, I recommend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Canterbury Tales, and the Divine Comedy.

  57. Craig says:

    Thank you Father Z for writing about Malachi Martin. A good and holy man, from everything I’ve read…which includes “Hostage to the Devil” and a significant amount of web research into all of these ‘accusations’. They fail. Fail miserably under scrutiny.

    Nonetheless, the evil one likes to stir up doubt and confusion.

    A brilliant man. EXTREMELY knowledgeable in ancient languages. I’d LOVE to have sat down with him for a drink and chat!

    If you want to know where his heart was at regarding the current state of affairs in the Church, his updated foreword to “Hostage” spells it out. He loved Holy Mother Church. Period. And he was no sedevacanist.

    During my conversion to the Roman Catholic Church, he gave me incredible insights into the nature of the Spiritual battle we are in, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    Thank you Father Martin. May the Eternal Light shine upon you and grant you Peace.

  58. Trent says:

    I would hope really that Latin Rite priests use the Rituale Romanum approved by Pope Paul Vth and the Council of Trent during the formal process of baptizing an infant or an adult. [There was an edition of the Rituale Romanum issued in the 1950’s which is the proper edition to use. Priests may use this edition freely because of Summorum Pontificum. The edition with translation by Weller is useful.]

    I dread the doubtful situation thousands–no–millions of souls could be in. I read recently a new book entitled “Praxis Obnoxia” that uncovered the “Liturgical Abuses” and yes “bastardization” to use the words of Marcel Lefebvre to Paul VIth concerning the Problems with the New Rite of Baptism and the “Spirit of Modernism” surrounding it, etc. I advise anyone to get the book, and send a copy to the CDF, please!

  59. I don’t know what to think about any of this. Even if there was some kind of satanism at the vatican, we know that Christ told Peter that you are the rock and the powers of hell will not prevail against you, and therefore whatever could be going on is ultimately powerless over the church.

    God Bless,

  60. S. Tallent says:

    I had heard the quote attributed to Fr. Hardon almost verbatim from him a few years before his death at a conference of Protestantism.

  61. Philip Neri says:

    The person who mentioned spending time with Fr. Martin at Neary’s bought back some fond memories. I,along with a group of other folks, ate lunch with Malachi at this pub in the nineties. It was a grand time. Fr. Martin had a wonderful sense of humor. There is no doubt in my mind that, near the end of his life(I didn’t know him earlier), Fr. Martin was completely sincere and was trying to do the right thing. It doesn’t mean he was right about everything, or that he didn’t make some big mistakes in the past. But he was a sincere Catholic who loved the Church.

  62. Georg says:

    Michael Hoffman (in his latest book) makes the case that Martin was an Irish born sephardic jew and that he was on the payroll of several NY publishers. The whole idea sounds nutty but he names names. If this persists, like the calumny against Pius XII, it’ll have to be addressed at some point.

  63. I don’t know how many people know of Malachi Martin’s background. The son of a Kerry medical practitioner, he had four brothers, three of whom were priests and four sisters, one of whom was a nun. His brothers Father Conor Martin (of the Dublin Archdiocese) and Father Francis X. Martin OSA held the chairs in metaphysics and mediaeval history respectively in University College Dublin, which was not a Catholic university. The family were brilliant, but eccentric.

    Malachi’s departure from the Jesuits and willing acceptance of indefinite suspension was, to say the least, questionable. His original outings in print were liberal, but he moved slowly to the right as time went on. He could write and speak – he was very entertaining. But how far could one trust him? He could and did commute between the clerical and lay states as suited him and he could alter between being Irish and Irish-American depending on his purposes at any given time. He did have certain insider knowledge of the Vatican, but one of his earlier works speculated on Pul Vi’s successor without once mentioning Albino Cardinal Luciani.

    To concur with Fr Z, Malachi Martin does give certain insights, but the work must be read with a grain of salt.

  64. To avoid ambiguity – four of the Martin brothers (Malachi and three of his four brothers) were priests. The other was Monsignor Leo Martin, a priest of the Dublin Archdiocese.

  65. Call Zorbin says:

    If it is useful for anybody, there is still on the www a site that was maintained by Fr. Malachi before his death. He had a FAQ section at:


    Hope it helps regarding his beliefs.


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