BOOKS RECEIVED: Taylor Marshall’s “Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within”

Prayers, please. I am down with a head cold, very stuffed up, head-achy, and fatigued.

Hence, I am catching up on some reading.  I have a stack of … no, rather … stacks and stacks of books pressing on me, calling to me.

In such conditions, I grabbed up one that promised to be a little “sensational”.

Today, I’ve read most of Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within.


Marshall’s basic point cannot really be disputed. He argues that, from the 19th century onwards, masonic and leftist secret groups – hence, Satanic – have been infiltrating the Church so as to overturn and twist her mission from within. This is clearly the case. There is too much evidence for this to deny it. Marshall takes a strong cue from the goals of the Alta Vendita in Italy which set forth a goal to, through infiltration, eventually wind up with their own Pope. You can guess, I’m sure, where he’s going with this.

Meanwhile, it is an extremely easy read and it includes some great summaries of turning points in the Church’s modern history. He closely ties in the Fatima Event (which I think is ongoing) and points to key turning points such as the Lateran Pacts as accelerating the internal takeover of the Church by her enemies. You get a sense that the book was written rather quickly, and it races along. Some footnotes, not many, substantiate certain parts. He quotes some rather curious sources, including something by the execrable Hitler’s Pope by the execrable John Cornwell, the very mention of whom should cause true Catholic eyes to itch and tear up. His appendices include both versions of the Message of La Salette, the text of the Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, Dates of Indults for Communion in the Hand, and a Timeline of the Life of Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

As you can imagine, he has sections on the Sankt Gallen Maffia, the resignation of Benedict XVI and… yes, you’ve been waiting for me to say it… the election of Francis in 2013.

In conclusion, there are two chapters on “Solving the Current Crisis” and “Spiritual Weapons against Demonic Enemies.” The whole book is framed as Satan’s attack on the Church, he even begins with Paul VI’s image of the smoke of Satan. Actually, what he says about that was quite interesting, and included a couple angles I hadn’t thought of.

As bonus, the preface is written by Bp. Athanasius Schneider. I’ll tell you: the book’s purchase would be worth it for that preface alone! Schneider is great.

Another book I have worked on a little on and off is of quite a different nature. Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in Latin Literature – Papers in honor of Reginald Thomas Foster, OCD


There are some bits in the forward that might upset the view of some people about the clarity of Latin.

On the docket is also, the newest offering in Italian, speaking of “sensational” by Antonio Socci, Il segreto di Benedetto XVI: Perché è ancora Papa.  (Benedict XVI’s Secret: Why He Is Still The Pope)


It is now in English, too, but I don’t have that.

The English version, by the way, screwed up the title. On purpose? I’d bet on it.


Socci wrote a pretty good book on the “Third Secret of Fatima” some time ago.    He contends that it has not yet been accurately revealed.  US HERE – UK HERE  Marco Tosatti’s book is a little better on the topic.

And with that, I close the circle I opened with Marshall’s book, which also looks closely at the Third Secret.

BTW… did you know that Paul VI met three times with Saul Alinksy?  And that Jacques Maritain a favorite of Paul was an Alinsky enthusiast?  And that Alinsky was a Montini enthusiast?

This (and bad cold) is enough to make your head ache and eyes tear up.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Diana says:

    I just about choked when I saw the price of “The Fourth Secret of Fatima” on your amazon link. What, is this book printed in gold?! LOL.
    For those with smaller budgets, it’s available for $10 at loreto pubs’ website. (That’s TEN dollars, not one hundred.) Granted, Father doesn’t get the amazon ping.

  2. JonathanTX says:

    I want to trust the book by Dr. Marshall, but when the very first sentence has a factual error in it, I am left wondering what else might be incorrect.

    “Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign the papacy on 28 February 2013? And why did lightning strike the Vatican that very night?”

    While Pope Benedict resigned on the 28th, he announced his resignation on the 11th, which was the night of the famous thunderbolt.

    [Lana caprina.]

  3. brasscow says:

    My thoughts were similar on Dr. Marshall’s book. It’s a very quick and EASY read and paints quite the picture. I recommended it.

  4. jaykay says:

    Yes, I bought it, reading it now. I also copped onto that particular footnote reference to John Cornwell’s awful screed, but in fairness Dr. Marshall just uses it to (accurately) reference one particular historical point: in no way does he give credence to the whole train-wreck, which has been well debunked since, in any event, and I think Cornwell eventually had to row back on some of it – mendacious cover picture and all.

    Still making my way through the book, and it’s a very useful primer. I came to it having finished a lovely book on Madre Pascalina Lehnert by Fr. Charles Murr. Quirky. Lovely. Thought-provoking. Do Z-link it!

  5. acardnal says:

    Dr. Marshall’s book has received criticism including THIS from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. Her thesis: his book is replete with conjecture and speculation without factual evidence to back it up and that is not scholarly workmanship.

    Other critics of note: Jeffrey Mirus, Dave Armstrong.
    And a lukewarm review by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

    I think the best advice is read it and decide for oneself.

  6. chantgirl says:

    I have ordered Infiltration, but have not received it yet, so can’t comment on substance, however, it received a good review in Crisis:

    Some of the reviews (Mirus) were more personal attack than professional pieces. I suspect that some of the critics are not ready for a more “woke” picture of VII.

  7. Unwilling says:

    We should speak, at most, of an “alleged” enthusiasm for Alinsky by Maritain. It is undeniable that they conversed with each other respectfully and cordially; but (in those days) intellectuals of opposing philosophical views or political convictions were permitted to so converse, without being accused or suspected of agreeing with the other in an extreme mode. Indeed, he and Raissa at many periods hosted a kind of salon just for this — critically to explore differing ideas. Granted, Maritain had what might be called an activist streak in his character. He began his intellectual life as a secular Jewish student. Then he became a Bergsonian. Then, after becoming a Catholic via St Thomas (vae mihi si non Thomistizavero) he got involved with the Action Française, but in 1926 rejected its activism when he saw it (per P Pius xi) to be a form of Modernism. His social-political philosophy was clearly and contextually stated in his perfectly Catholic 1949/1951 Man and the State. Maritain might have been willing to see (not naively, but tolerantly) some value in early-Alinsky “community organization”, by relating it to forms of action that flow from Catholic “subsidiarity”. But I am certain he would have rejected what we now see as Alinskyan violence.

  8. Cafea Fruor says:

    Fr. Z, I must confess I’m jealous that you’re even able to read when you’re sick. Whenever I have a cold and am stuck in bed/at home, I long to read, but head colds curtail my reading comprehension to such a point that I can only handle very light fiction. To have the time but not the brain power is torture indeed.

  9. Bailey Walker says:

    With regard to Maritain and Alinsky, there is a book of their correspondence edited by Bernard Doering, “The Philosopher and the Provocateur, The Correspondence of Jacques Maritain and Saul Alinsky” (University of Notre Dame Press, 1994). A few quotes to whet the appetite: “To my spiritual father and the man I love from his prodigal and wayward son Saul Alinsky” “You know that I am with y0u with all my heart and soul. Pray for me, Saul. And God bless you! To you the fervent admiration and the abiding love of your old Jacques” Reading this correspondence suggests a relationship that is much deeper than the conventions of respectful and cordial conversation.

  10. monstrance says:

    Fr Z,
    I feel your pain – just recovering from the same ailment.
    If you become afflicted with the night cough – Vick’s 44 Night Time Cough & Cold helps tremendously.

  11. anthtan says:

    I have not read the book, but it is unfortunate to hear that Dr Marshall cited John Cornwell as supporting evidence. Surely, that’s a red flag. It appears that important, valid points have been compromised by hastiness and a lack of rigour.

    (I and members of my family are all under the weather too. What’s going on? Is the Lord asking the sacrifices of bearing illness from members of His Body all over the world?)

  12. lifelong Catholic says:

    I just saw Jeffrey Mirus’ review of “Infiltration”. It is detailed, but I find it very uncharitable. In light of the revelations of Bella Dodd, Alice Von Hildebrand, and other respected individuals regarding the infiltration of the Church who mention Freemasons in addition to Communists and homosexuals, I am concerned about Dr. Mirus’ rather extreme reaction. Jorge Bergoglio “Francis” is reported to have said: “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.” (Maike Hickson, 1P5) He is not only splitting the Church, (ex: POPE FRANCIS SLAMS TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS DURING VISIT TO ROMANIA…Church Militant) but also causing division among loyal Catholics, e.g. Mirus against Marshall, Steve Skojec vs. Fred Martinez of Abyssum. I imagine Jorge Bergoglio and his cohorts are rejoicing.

  13. Hidden One says:

    I’m not at all quick to attribute the present divisions among those who might be called ‘traditionalists’ on the present pope, even the divisions that have occurred within his papacy. There were plenty of divisions before March, 2013, and those divisions were not all going away. Some of the voices have changed–some have died or stopped writing much in public, for example–and some of the material to disagree about is new, but it is those of us who are divided who are to blame (or praise) for how we handle our disagreements, actual, potential, pretended, and mistaken. Faithful Catholics who have placed themselves in (or keep themselves in) the public light and who treat everybody charitably, even only in their public writing/speaking, on a consistent or near-consistent basis are sadly few and far between.

  14. jaykay says:

    I’ve finished reading it. Quite honestly, and in charity, I think it needs quite a bit of editing. It seems to have been written in a hurry and, frankly, in parts reads more like an undergraduate essay… and a not particularly well-prepared one either. This is a pity. I would have expected more from one holding a doctorate. I say: in parts, and my earlier comment about it being a useful primer still stands, in terms of sources etc quoted. But I’m a bit disappointed, overall.

  15. TonyO says:

    jaykay, thanks for your balanced comments.

    I read the comments above that cited critical reviews, some VERY critical, and decided that I would read those before I committed to spending time and money on the book. Glad I did: because those critiques are, mostly, absolutely atrocious as critiques. Let’t take Jeff Mirus: he can’t be bothered to cite even one specific quote at all. He also refers to Taylor making VERY broad, sweeping claims (e.g. “Marshall regards the loss of the Papal States as the beginning of the end for the Church, “, and “But he is unwilling to allow even those modern popes who have already been canonized to instruct him or his readers on what the key evils are.” ), assertions that almost certainly overstate the truth by a considerable margin. Mirus also demonstrates that he doesn’t get what modernism is or what it has done inside the Church for the last 60 years at least. Without being part of any conspiracy, he is part of the problem.

    Ron Conte is even worse: he accuses Marshall of heresy in saying that a could Pope teach error, hanging his hat on the concept that the Pope cannot teach error. Never mind the debates about how far the pope can go into error and (perhaps, maybe, heresy), it is admitted by all that Pope John XXII was teaching the error that when they die the souls of the saints do not enjoy beatitude until the end of time, until he was brought up short by theologians and changed his tune. Similarly, Conte claims that Marshall’s point of Satan “entering the Church” would be a DIRECT contradiction to the Church (a) being “the Body of Christ” and (b) being protected by the promise of the Holy Spirit. He seems to be unwilling to tackle St. Pope Paul VI, who said “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church”. He can’t be bothered to imagine a reading of Marshall’s point as being consistent with that of Pope St. Paul VI, i.e. a charitable reading of it.

    I am more comfortable with Fr. Longanecker’s point, which is that (yawn), so…? Whether all this is true or not, it doesn’t really change what we ought to be doing. But even there, I tend to think that he is oversimplifying.

    Let’s be real simple here: there is no real doubt at all that the communists wanted to bring down the Church, and that they were capable of an attempt to infiltrate it., and that they did undertake operations to infiltrate in SOME institutions they wanted to attack. There is no doubt at all that the principles of Masons are directly contrary to the Church, and that there are Masons to this day who want the Church to fail. As we have “discovered” recently (those of us paying attention new it long ago) with Uncle Ted, there were in fact circles of collusion and influence-peddling by homosexual groups to further their careers and to damage the ability of the orthodox priests to do anything about them. There is NO NECESSITY to observe all this, and to attribute to these circumstances that there was any single human agency acting to control and direct it all. The Enemy of the Church is Satan, i.e. an angel, whose intellect far exceeds our own. He was, without doubt, directing many threads and strings to produce disaster within the Church. Even if, say, the communists did not actually have a specific plan for infiltration and execute it, they DID in fact work some of Satan’s work to damage the Church, and they DID INDEED damage the Church severely with marxism both in economic theory (especially in Latin America, i.e. Liberation Theology, whose forms of thought also infiltrated areas of the Church outside of Latin America), and in terms of operational marxist practices, i.e. the cultural marxism that is the hallmark of “social justice warriors” and rank-and-file modernist liberals. It is hardly a stretch to refer to all this activity as “planned” and a conspiracy even if the ultimate head of the planning is Satan. There certainly were sub-operations that were undertaken by humans both for planning and execution: so what if the heads of LCWR orders of nuns are the unknowing tools of Satan, they DO still plan their operations to try to influence the Church to her detriment. We must be aware that our opposition is not just humans, but “powers and dominions”, and if we ignore that we are bound to be less successful in fighting against it.

  16. MrsAnchor says:

    @TonyO: Thank You for your comments, I agree with your observations very much at the end. You’ve given me a reason to give Dr Marshall’s book a read??

    I for one appreciate he’s put much of it all together for those that never grew up with Alta Vendita & Bella Dodd etc….It makes it simpler to catch others up by handing them a copy…

  17. MrsAnchor says:

    @TonyO: Thank You for your comments, I agree with your observations very much at the end. You’ve given me a reason to give Dr Marshall’s book a read??

    I for one appreciate he’s put much of it all together for those that never grew up with Alta Vendita & Bella Dodd etc….It makes it simpler to catch others up by handing them a copy…

  18. robtbrown says:

    Jacques Maritain was not from a Jewish background, secular or otherwise. He was raised a Protestant. It was his wife Raissa who was Jewish. Raissa, her mother, and her sister Vera all became Catholics.

    They were much influenced by Leon Bloy, Pere Clerissac op, and St Teresa of Avila.

    It is no surprise that Maritain carried on a correspondence with Alinsky. It is not uncommon for converts, esp. those inclined to the intellectual life, to have friends, some life long, who are non Catholics, including atheists. That notwithstanding, sometimes even the slightest intellectual exchange is not possible–in that case, the example of daily mass can sometimes crack their edifice of ignorance.

    I might add that there were many in the 1950s who naively thought that even though a secular culture would be hostile to Catholic life, a secular state would be neutral. Now that we know such neutrality is a fantasy, there are still those who accept secularism as a tradeoff.

  19. robtbrown says:

    I have no doubt there was infiltration of the Church. In fact, Markus Wolf said there was a Benedictine in Rome who had been recruited by STASI.

    That notwithstanding, IMHO, such infiltration or secular hostility (Christ said, “The world hates me.) was not the reason for the problems in the Church.

    Rather, it was that in the previous clerical and religious formation, which included neo-scholasticism, there were lacunae that were filled by Community of Man ideologies (cf Marxism and radical, dreamy ecumenism).

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