Thurifer at episcopal consecration. 2007. Photo by my best friend’s husband.
If there’s anything the Traditional Roman Catholic likes to hate in public, it’s Freemasons, Homosexuals, and Occultists. If we talk about the smaller Traditionalist groups, these hatreds can often reach a fever pitch.
Why, then, does almost every line of Apostolic Succession within the Traditionalist Movement involve a Freemason, an Occultist, a Gnostic, a Homosexual, or a Pedophile?
The best-known example of this is Achille Cardinal Liénart (1884-1973), who participated in the conclaves that elected Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI, as well as all four session of Vatican II. According to the New York Times on the day after his death, Cardinal Liénart was considered a progressive (by the standards of the time) who supported the Worker-Priest movement, social justice initiatives, and “the development of a religious sociology capable of maintaining the church as a dynamic force in the resolution of 20th‐century problems.”
In 1976, an issue of the monthly magazine Il Borghese released a list of clergy discovered to be Freemasons, along with date of initiation and “code names” and Cardinal Liénart’s name was on it. Liénart’s legacy is that he’s the bishop consecrated a certain Frenchman named Marcel-François Lefebvre (1905-1991). It’s long been known that the largest Traditionalist group in the movement derives its apostolic succession from a liberal Freemason.
What’s not well-known, however, is that upwards of 85-90% of the smaller “Trad” groups – most of which come from the Gaston-Lopez or André Barbeau lineages – also derive apostolic succession from occult and Masonic sources. While the names in these lines may be well-known to occultists (Jean Bricaud, Robert Ambelain, Roger Caro, etc.), Traditional Roman Catholic bishops are themselves clueless about the matter. Even though one of the bishops in the Lopez-Gaston lineage has the word “Tau” in his name. Seriously, the name “Guy Jean Tau Joannes Mamistra Olivares” is right on their succession tables!
I document all of this in my new monograph, Occult Lineages within the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement, discussing the personalities and the spread of the main occult lineage throughout the Traditional Catholic Movement. I also mention the presence of an “esoteric-friendly” lineage through the John Christopher Simmons (1945-2003) which comes to him through Willoughby by way of James Banks, thanks to Simmons’ original consecration by his co-worker in ministry Roger Charles Augustine Gleaves in 1990, and would add here that Simmons also possessed the Bricaud-Ambelain lineage by virtue of his sub conditione consecration by Bertil Persson on October 30, 1992. This took place almost a year prior to his last sub conditione at the hands of Harold James Norwood on September 4, 1993, this last being is the only consecration mentioned in Traditionalist bishops’ lines of apostolic succession.
The only Traditionalist bishops’ lineages that do not seem touched by “occult” successions are the Thuc lines descending through Carmona, Zamora, and Des Lauriers, providing these are the only consecrations a given bishop had received and there are no “sub conditionals” (which tend to happen in the Trad movement for political reasons, unlike the Independent Sacramental Movement which practice sub-conditionals as a way of collecting lineages or a sign of collegiality).
Does this mean anything for the bishops still living? Not, not at all. They are still true bishops, the priests they ordain are true priests, and the Masses they say are true Masses, provided the form, matter, and intent are kept throughout. This is something else I discuss in the monograph.
Should it matter to the average “Trad?” Again, not in the least. Because again these bishops are true bishops and these priests are true priests. You’d do better to pay attention to what they’re doing with their lives and ministry now, rather than caring whether they received succession from some Gnostic Church or Francophone magical order they were never part of and never even knew existed.
But will it matter to the average “Trad?” That may be another story.
If you know anything about the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement, you’ll know they’re obsessed with optics and “occasion for scandal,” and the bishops tend to hate each other more so than they ever hated Vatican II. You’ll know there is no end to backstabbing, accusing each other of some or other impropriety, or attempting to steal each other’s parishioners. In fact if you said the only functioning “movement” these groups collectively resembled was a bowel movement, you would not be wrong.
So while it should not mean anything outside of academic curiosity, it’s up for grabs how the Trad movement will actually handle this information. Most likely they’ll ignore it or cast aspersions on me for writing something with the word “occult” in the title (not the first time!), or the larger groups may use it as yet another way to discourage people from getting involved with the smaller groups. Or the Novus Ordinarians may use it as yet another brush to paint the Traditional Movement as a place full of horrible people.
In other words, whether this information is out there or not, it’ll still be business as usual!
Should I care? Nope. I’m just surprised by it, because I was unaware of any of this until a month ago – in spite all these lines being listed right inside my succession binder. For now I’m just happy to see this truth published in a place where it’s not so difficult for the average person to find.