The Vatican Part 2

Priory of Sion

The story of the Priory of Sion is a saga which seems to leapfrog around a timeframe of nearly a thousand years and is a confusing network of intertwining mysteries of French nobles, Belgian monks, Frankish kings, the Turin Shroud, secret codes, the Vatican and an allegedly unbroken line of original thinkers, occultists and alchemists. The Priory of Sion may in truth be the guardians of political, religious and esoteric secrets so powerful that they could destroy nations and the central tenet of the Christian church.

The secret society was formed in 1090 by Godfrey de Bouillon, a French nobleman who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade and was offered the position of king of Jerusalem - a title which he refused, accepting instead the Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. He had traveled to Jerusalem with a conclave of Belgian monks who believed that he was descended from the Merovingians.

The Merovingians had ruled over a substantial part of what has now become France between the 5th and 7th centuries, but they were overthrown by the rival Carolingian dynasty. History records that the dynasty died out at this point. But the Dossiers Secrets (a collection of Priory of Sion documents, deposited anonymously in the Bibliothèque nationale Paris during the 1960s) asserts that it has survived owing to its secret activities.

The Priory of Sion also claims to have influenced many world events. In an attempt to restore descendants of the Merovingian bloodline into political power through a network of secret, esoteric and occult practices. Many of its Grand Masters were alchemists or occultists and have been behind various esoteric groups such as the Rosicrucians and some orders of Freemasons.

The society’s first base was the Abbey of Our Lady of Mount Sion in Jerusalem, the building of which was ordered by Godfrey de Bouillon. The Knights attached to it called themselves the Knights of the Order of Our Lady of Sion, and at this early stage they appeared to have been associated with the Knights Templar, but they parted company with each other in 1188.

The first Grand Master (or Nautonnier) was a Norman nobleman named Jean de Gisors. Subsequent Grand Masters have adopted the name Jean (or Jeanne for a woman). These have included:

Sandro Botticelli Leonardo da Vinci
Nostradamus Isaac Newton
Victor Hugo Claude Debussy

The current Grand Master is rumored to be a Spanish lawyer and the name Pablo Norberto has been circulated, but this individual remains unidentified. Others believe the incumbent lives in Belgium.

If the story ended there, it would be merely a curiosity, an esoteric diversion, possibly even an elaborate and well-researched hoax, but there are other threads woven into the complex fabric of this extraordinary tapestry.

The first photo of the Shroud of Turin, taken in 1898, had the surprising feature that the image on the negative was clearer than the positive image.

In the 1990s British researcher Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince were working on the Turin Shroud when they were approached by an individual who claimed to be a member of the Priory of Sion. He offered them inside information that the Turin Shroud had been faked in 1492 by the 12th Grand Master, Leonardo da Vinci, using his own face and ‘alchemical imprinting’ - a crude photographic technique. Picknett and Prince followed up the claim with their own research and in 1994 published Turin Shroud: In Whose Image? The Truth Behind the Centuries - Long Conspiracy of Silence, and three years later, The Templar Revelations: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ.

Another strand appeared with the discovery by a 33-year old priest in a small Catholic Church in 1885. The priest was Bérenger Saunière, and his discovery was made in the hilltop church of Saint Mary Magdelene in the tiny parish of Rennes-le-Château. The church, in the Languedoc region of France, had originally been the private chapel of the lords of Rennes-le-Château.

In 1891, while restoring the church, Saunière discovered a secret parchment inside one of the ancient altar supports, which some accounts report as dating back to the Visigothic period of the 7th or 8th century. Other accounts claim that he found four separate documents - two genealogies dating from 1244 and 1644 and two letters. He also discovered two encrypted messages in the graveyard outside on the tombstone of Marie de Negri d’Ables, Lady of Blanchfort, and last Lord of Rennes-le-Château, who had died in 1781.

He took his findings to his superior, the Bishop at Carcassonne, who sent him to Paris to the Saint Sulpice Seminary (a place that is thought to have been the headquarters of a secret society called Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, an early incarnation of the Priory of Sion).

While Saunière was in Paris, he began moving in elite circles, and may even have had an affair with A Parisian opera singer named Emma Calve, who was a high-ranking occultist (she visited him frequently at Rennes-le-Château). Whatever the nature of this relationship, one thing is certain: after his return from Paris, Saunière experienced a dramatic change in his fortunes. He received vast sums of money to refurbish the church and to build many other structures in the area, including an extensive library, a zoological garden, and a round tower called Tour Magdala (Tower of Magdalene - the woman from whom the Merovingians claim descent as the mother of Jesus' children). He also commissioned a statue of Asmodeus (‘destroyer’), the name of the apocalyptic and sexually deviant demon mentioned in the Book of Tobias, and a powerful occult figure and the mythological builder of Solomon’s temple. Asmodeus is also the symbol for anarchy. An uppercase ‘A’ inside a circle is a depiction of Asmodeus.

Inside the church, Saunière built a painted panel which is an ambiguous depiction of the body of Jesus being carried to the tomb, although the scene takes place under a full moon, and can be interpreted as the moment when his body was secretly removed from the tomb at night. He erected a plaque over the church entrance which read, ‘Terribilis Est Locus Iste’ (‘This place is terrible’), which is strikingly similar to Jacob’s exclamation in Genesis 28:17 when he saw the gate of heaven. His windfall and subsequent ostentatious wealth, coincides precisely with his important findings. He was defrocked in 1912 and died five years later in mysterious circumstances. He suffered a stroke five days after his housekeeper Marie Dernaud had ordered a coffin for him, and when a priest heard his confession, he refused to give Saunière the last rites. The secret of his wealth was apparently entrusted to his housekeeper who said she would reveal it on her deathbed. Unfortunately she too suffered a stroke which left her paralyzed and unable to speak so the secret died with her.

The two encrypted messages on the tombstone of Marie de Ne and Lord of Renee Chateau read:





The second message was decoded using a puzzle called the Knight Tour of the chessboard, in which the Knight travels to every square on the board once combined with a cipher ‘MORT EPEE’ taken from the Marie de Negri d’Ables tombstone. It is claimed that it refers to three paintings: Poussin’s Shepherds of Arcadia, Teniers' Temptation of St. Anthony, and portrait of Pope Celestine V (who was the only Pope to resign). Saunière is supposed to have viewed all three paintings at the Louvre during his visit to Paris.

So what were Saunière’s other links to the Priory of Sion? The answer lies in the symbolism that he incorporated into his decorated church, which is unusual by conventional Catholic standards and is open to Masonic interpretations. For example, French author Gérard de Sède argues that the 9th station of the cross relates to a Masonic order known as the Beneficent Knight of the Holy City. Saunière appears to be linked to Rectified Scottish Rite and also attended meetings of the Martinist Order in Lyons. Add the fact that the noble families of Saunière’s good fortune was also Masonic. According to Picknett and Prince, the Priory of Sion is really a cover used by members of the Rectified Scottish Rite and the Martinist Order.

In The Jesus Conspiracy: The Turin Shroud and the Truth About the Resurrection, Holger Kersten and Elmar R. Gruber claim that the Catholic Church engineered the Turin Shroud’s exposure as a fake, because the truth would destroy the church. They reached the shocking conclusion that Jesus was alive when he was covered by the shroud and placed in his tomb. The authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln reached a similar conclusion in their best-sellers The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy, that Jesus did not die on the cross, but lived to marry and father children with Mary Magdalene, whose descendants are the Merovingians.

Is this the Masonic secret that made Saunière rich? That Jesus was not resurrected because he didn’t die on the cross; that the holy grail isn’t a cup, but is symbolic of the Merovingian bloodline that lives on - a secret so dangerous that whoever discovers it must enter a Faustian pact and accept earthly treasures in exchange for silence?


…those are the worst of the Catholics, the Inquisitors, the Jesuits!…They are simply the Romish army for the earthly sovereignty of the world in the future, with the Pontiff of Rome for Emperor…that’s their ideal, but there’s no sort of mystery or lofty melancholy about it…its simple lust of power, of filthy earthly gain, of dominaiton - something like a universal serfdom with them as master - that’s all they stand for. They don’t even believe in God perhaps.

The Jesuit order, otherwise known as the Society of Jesus (Societas Iesu in Latin, S.J.), has been the military enforcement arm of the Catholic Church since it was first founded by Ignatius Loyola of Spain in 1534 during the reign of Pope Paul III, ostensibly to combat Protestant heresy. While many feel the Jesuits are only a sub-order of the Roman Catholic Church and are merely seekers and disseminators of knowledge, they have a much darker history that many people do not know about.

And while much can be said of the Jesuit Order, and much has been written, the oath speaks not only for itself, but speaks much of the Roman Catholic Church that has used and still uses the Jesuits for it’s purposes while knowing full well the contents of the oath they bind themselves under. The Roman Catholic Church, while professing to holiness and claiming that there is no salvation outside of the Church, still harbors the Jesuit Order and commands them explicitly.

Here is the symbol of the Jesuits with the letters ‘I H S.' On the surface the society will tell you these are the Greek letters iota, eta, sigma which is supposed to be an abbreviation of the name of Jesus Christ. In reality, these letters stand for the Egyptian dieties Isis, Horus and Set. Another interesting note, we often see the letters INRI on crosses and crucifixes, and are told that it represents the Latin words Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeum or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, the Latin words that Pilate had written on a placard and nailed above Jesus’ head at the crucifixion. However, as you will see below, the Jesuits use a far different set of words with the same letters. This invites the question, ‘Which is the real meaning of the ‘I.N.R.I.’ that we see displayed today?'

Below is the Oath of Extreme Induction taken by each Jesuit Priest upon his induction into the command ranks of the Jesuit Order, found in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., Library of Congress Catalog Card #66-43354, made public in 1883. This oath is still used today.


When a Jesuit novice is about to be inducted into the higher levels of the Order, he kneels on a red cross before the Superior of the Order. Before him are two flags, the familiar yellow and white flag of the papacy, and the black flag with a dagger and red cross above a skull and crossbones, the flag of the Jesuit Order. On the Jesuit flag is written the words, IUSTUM, NECAR, REGES, IMPIOS. (It is just to exterminate or annihilate impious or heretical kings, governments, or rulers.) The Superior of the Order hands the novice a small black crucifix which he presses to his heart, and the Superior then presents to the novice a dagger. The novice grasps the bare blade and presses the point to his heart. The Superior, still holding the hilt of the dagger then speaks to the novice.


My son, heretofore you have been taught to act the dissembler: among Roman Catholics to be a Roman Catholic, and to spy even among your own brethren; to believe no man, to trust no man. Among the Reformers, to be a Reformer; among the Huguenots, to be a Huguenot; among the Calvinists, to be a Calvinist; among the Protestants, generally to be a Protestant; and obtaining their confidence to seek even to preach from their pulpits and to denounce with all the vehemence in your nature our Holy Religion and the Pope; and to descend so low as to become a Jew among the Jews, that you might be enabled to gather together all information for your Order as a faithful soldier of the Pope.

You have been taught to insidiously plant the seeds of jealousy and hatred between communities, provinces and states that were at peace, and incite them to deeds of blood, involving them in war with each other, and to create revolutions and civil wars in countries that were independent and prosperous, cultivating the arts and sciences and enjoying the blessings of peace. To take sides with the combatants and to act secretly in concert with your brother Jesuit, who may be engaged on the other side, but openly opposed to that with which you might be connected; only that the Church might be the gainer in the end, in the conditions fixed in the treaties for peace and that the end justifies the means.

You have been taught your duty as a spy, to gather all statistics, facts and information in your power from every source; to ingratiate yourself into the confidence of the family circle of Protestants and heretics of every class and character, as well as that of the merchant, the banker, the lawyer, among the schools and universities, in parliaments and legislatures, and in the judiciaries councils of state, and to ‘all things to all men,' for the Pope’s sake, whose servants we are unto death.

You have received all your instructions heretofore as a novice, a neophyte, and have served as a coadjutor, confessor and priest, but you have not been invested with all that is necessary to command in the Army of Loyola in the service of the Pope. You must serve the proper time as the instrument and executioner as directed by your superiors; for none can command here who has not consecrated his labors with the blood of the heretic; for ‘without the shedding of blood no man can be saved.' Therefore, to fit yourself for your work, and make your own salvation sure, you will, in addition to your former oath of obedience to your Order and your allegiance to the Pope, repeat after me.

I, _____________________, Now, in the presence of Almighty God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the blessed Michael the Archangel, the blessed St. John the Baptist, the holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul and all the saints and the sacred hosts of heaven, and to you, my ghostly father, the Superior general of the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the Pontificate of Paul the Third, and continued to the present, do by the womb of the Virgin, the matrix of God, and the rod of Jesus Christ, declare and swear, that his holiness the Pope is Christ’s Viceregent and is the true and only Head of the Catholic or Universal Church throughout the earth; and that by virtue of the keys of binding and loosing, given to his Holiness by my Saviour, Jesus Christ, he hath power to depose heretical kings, princes, states, commonwealths and governments, all being illegal without his sacred confirmation and that they may safely be destroyed.

Therefore, to the utmost of my power, I shall and will defend this doctrine and his Holiness’ right and custom against all usurpers of the heretical or Protestant authority, and all adherents in the regard that they be usurped and heretical, opposing the sacred Mother Church of Rome.

I do now renounce and disown any allegiance as due to any heretical king, prince or state named Protestants or Liberals or obedience to any of their laws, magistrates or officers. I do further declare that the doctrines of the churches of England and Scotland, of the Calvinists, Huguenots and others of the name Protestants or Liberals to be damnable, and they themselves damned and to be damned who will not forsake the same.

I do further declare that I will help, assist and advise all or any of his Holiness’ agents in any place wherever I shall be, in any other kingdom or territory I shall come to, and do my uttermost to extirpate the heretical Protestants or Liberals’ doctrines and to destroy all their pretended powers, regal or otherwise.

I do further promise and declare, that notwithstanding I am dispensed with, to assume any religion heretical, for the propagating of the Mother Church’s interest, to keep secret and private all her agents counsels' from time to time, as they may entrust me, and not to divulge, directly or indirectly, by word, writing or circumstance whatever; but to execute all that shall be proposed, given in charge or discovered unto me, by you, my ghostly father, or any of this sacred convent.

I do further promise and declare, that I will have no opinion or will of my own, or any mental reservation whatever, even as a corpse or cadaver, (perinde ac cadaver,) but will unhesitatingly obey each and every command that I may receive from my superiors in the Militia of the Pope and Jesus Christ. That I will go to any part of the world whithersoever I may be sent, without murmuring or repining, and will be submissive in all things commanded to me.

I furthermore promise and declare that I will, when opportunity presents, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, nor sex or condition; and that I will hang, burn, waste, spoil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants' heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race.

That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poinard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed to do so by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus.

In confirmation of which, I hereby dedicate my life, soul, and all of my corporeal powers, and with this dagger which I now receive, I will subscribe my name written in my own blood, in testimony thereof; and should I prove false or weaken in my determination, may my brethren and fellow soldiers of the Militia of the Pope cut off my hands and feet, and my throat from ear to ear, my belly opened and sulfur burned therein, with all the punishment that can be inflicted upon me on earth, and my soul to be tortured by demons in an eternal hell forever.

All of which I, __________, do swear by the blessed Trinity and blessed Sacrament, which I am about to receive, to perform and on my part to receive in violably; and do call all of the heavenly and glorious host of heaven to witness these my real intentions to keep this my oath.

In testimony hereof I take this most holy and blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, and witness the same further, with my name written with the point of this dagger dipped in my own blood and sealed in the face of this holy convent.


You will now rise to your feet and I will instruct you in the Catechism necessary to make yourself known to any member of the Society of Jesus belonging to this rank.

In the first place, you, as a Brother Jesuit, will with another make the ordinary sign of the cross as any Roman Catholic would; then one crosses his wrists, the palms of his hands open, the other crosses his feet, one above the other; the first points with forefinger of the right hand to the center of the palm of the left, the other with the forefinger of the left hand points to the center of the palm of the right; the first then with his right hand makes a circle around his head, touching it; the other then with the forefinger of his left hand touches the left side of his body just below his heart; then the first with his right hand draws it across the throat of the other, and the latter then with his right hand makes the motion of cutting with a dagger down the stomach and abdomen of the first.

The first then says Iustum; the other answers Necar; the first then says Reges. The other answers Impios. The first will then present a small piece of paper folded in a peculiar manner, four times, which the other will cut longitudinally and on opening the name JESU will be found written upon the head and arms of across three times. You will then give and receive with him the following questions and answers.

Q: From where do you come?
A: From the bends of the Jordan, from Calvary, from the Holy Sepulchre, and lastly from Rome.

Q: Whom do you serve?
A: The Holy Father at Rome, the Pope, and the Roman Catholic Church Universal throughout the world.

Q: Who commands you?
A: The successor of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus or the Soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Q: Who received you?
A venerable man with white hair.

Q: How?
With a naked dagger, I kneeling on a cross beneath the banners of the Pope and of our sacred Order.

Q: Did you take an oath?
A: I did, to destroy heretics and their governments and rulers, and to spare neither age, sex or condition. To be as a corpse without any opinion or will of my own, but to implicitly obey my superiors in all things without hesitation or murmuring.

Q: Will you do that?
I will.

Q: How do you travel?
A: In the bark of Peter the fisherman.

Q: Whither do you travel?
A: To the four quarters of the globe.

Q: For what purpose?
A: To obey the orders of my General and Superiors and execute the will of the Pope and faithfully fulfill the conditions of my oath.

Go ye, then, into all the world and take possession of all lands in the name of the Pope. He who will not accept him as the Vicar of Jesus and his Vice regent on earth, let him be accursed and exterminated.

The many-sided facets of the mystery language have led to the adoption of widely varied dogmas and rites in the exotericism of the Church rituals. It is they, again, which are at the origin of most of the dogmas of the Christian Church, e.g., the seven Sacraments, the Trinity, the Resurrection; the seven capital Sins and the seven Virtues. The seven keys to the mystery tongue, however, having always been in the keeping of the highest among the initiated Hierophants of antiquity, it is only the partial use of a few out of the seven which passed, through the treason of some early Church Fathers - ex-initiates of the Temples - into the hands of the new sect of the Nazarenes. Some of the early Popes were Initiates, but the last fragments of their knowledge have now fallen into the power of the Jesuits, who have turned them into a system of sorcery.

It is curious to note too that most of the bodies which work these, such as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Rite of Avignon, the Order of the Temple, Fessler’s Rite, the Grand Council of the Emperors of the East and West - Sovereign Prince Masons, etc., etc., are nearly all the offspring of the sons of Ignatius Loyola. The Baron Hundt, Chevalier Ramsay, Tschoudy, Zinnendorf, and numerous others who founded the grades in these rites, worked under instructions from the General of the Jesuits. The nest where these high degrees were hatched and no Masonic rite is free from their baleful influence more or less, was the Jesuit College of Clermont at Paris.

Shall we not have regular swarms of them here, in as many disguises as ony a king of the gypsies can assume, dressed as painters, publishers, writers and schoolmasters? If ever there was a body of men who merited eternal damnation on earth and in hell, it is this Society of Loyola’s

  • George Riemer, The New Jesuits

At what then do the Jesuits aim? According to them, they only seek the greater glory of God; but if you examine the facts you will find that they aim at universal dominion alone. They have rendered themselves indispensable to the Pope, who, without them, could not exist, because Catholicism is identified with them. They have rendered themselves indispensable to governors and hold revolutions in their hands; and in this way, either under one name or another, it is they who rule the world.

  • Luigi Desanetis, Popery, Puseyism and Jesuitism

I learned much from the order of the Jesuits…until now there has never been anything more grandoise, on the earth, than the heirarchial system of the catholic church. I transferred much of this organization into my own party.

  • Adolf Hitler

The [Nazi] S.S. was constituted according to Jesuit principles. Himmler, head of the S.S. was closely associated with the Jesuits through his father and brother. Hitler said of him, ‘I can see Himmler as our Ignatius of Loyola.'

  • Secret History of the Jesuits

Joseph Goebbels was also a trained Jesuit.

Today, Jesuits number 20,170, (with 14,147 priests), and comprise the largest religious order of men in the Catholic Church (the Franciscan family of OFM’s, Capuchins, and Conventuals has approximately 31,899 members, of whom 20,786 are priests, however the family consists of multiple orders). Jesuit priests and brothers are engaged in ministries in 112 nations on six continents. The Order is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is led by a Superior General, currently Peter Hans Kolvenbach. The General Curia of the Society is headquartered in Rome; its historic complex of buildings includes the Church of the Gesu, the Jesuit Mother Church.

Opus Dei

Deep within the Vatican is a secretive and elitist sect that only recently came to wider public attention. It is an organization that has the blessing of the pope, and it is accountable only to the Vatican (the pope gave it ‘personal prelature’ status in 1982). You don’t go looking for it. You don’t have to. If you’re a young and devout catholic with a strong vocation, it comes looking for you.

The Opus Dei (God’s Work) was founded in 1928 by Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá. It’s aim was to ‘spread throughout society a profound awareness of the universal call to holiness and apostolate through one’s professional work carried out with freedom and person responsibility.' But despite its seemingly lofty intentions, Opus Dei has caused world-wide controversy for its bizarre and dictatorial practices, its enormous wealth, and the personality cult that seems to focus so much of its spiritual energy towards its founder rather than God.

Each year more and more ex-members are going public with their personal experiences of coercion and manipulation, being cut off from family and friends, having their intellectual freedom denied, enduring mortifications, complete obedience to flawed superiors, and facing eternal damnation when they tried to break free.

To a devout catholic the message of the Opus Dei is very compelling; through devotion to the sect one can become a saint in one’s everyday life. A prospective new recruit is targeted by an Opus Dei numerary and befriended. In fact, recruitment is the top priority. At any time each numerary has a list of 10-15 candidates that he or she is seeking to befriend and recruit. They keep secret dossiers on these so-called friends, and report back each week to superiors about his/her progress. The numeraries most powerful mind-control weapon is known in religious circles as the vocation trap. As potential new recruit is given persuasive evidence of their vocation and that they have been chosen by God. By the time this vocation has been acknowledged by the recruit, he or she will already have invested so much emotional commitment that to turn away feels like a mortal sin.

Once recruited, a numerary becomes essentially a plainclothes monk or nun, observing both celibacy and poverty. If they are working, they must give all their salary to the Opus Dei. For two hours each day, they must wear a spiked chain called a cilice around the upper thigh, which is very painful and leaves small prick holes in the flesh. They must also use a chord-like whip on their buttocks and back once a week and suffer other more minor mortifications such as sleeping on the floor or fasting. Taken in isolation, this may seem misguided but not necessarily dangerous. But in the wider context of the Opus Dei’s objectives it is primarily a strong control mechanism designed to subvert sexuality (authoritarian regimes always target the sexual urge as a means of control). It is even more worrying that the founder was a misogynist who believed that women had passions that required more discipline to tame.

The Opus’ obsession with restraint of intellectual freedom is deeply disturbing. As critic Franz Schaeffer so neatly puts it, “In the dictatorship-like structure of the Opus a mistake or an evil decision by just one person on top of the organization can have fatal consequences. Their response is something like: ‘Oh well, we have built a dictatorship, but do not be worried; we have such a nice dictator on top who is such a kind person with a good heart…'"

So, what sort of man was founder Josemaría Escrivá? In April 1990, Opus Dei priests presented Pope John Paul II information in support of Escrivá’s beautification and canonization that led the pope to describe his as ‘heroically virtuous’ (although unprecedented secrecy has prevented outsiders from seeing the evidence upon which this dubious assessment was based). In July of the following year, a miraculous healing attributed to Escrivá’s intersession was authenticated, in part, by Opus Dei doctors (before a person can be canonized, evidence of miracle must be associated with the candidate).

Several ranking cardinals, at least one of the pope’s personal secretaries, and the key members of the pope’s media relations team are Opus Dei members. So it is little wonder that Escrivá’s canonization went so smoothly and any unsavory details about his private life have been buried. Now this highly lucrative personality cult has a full-fledged saint to worship - powerful incentive indeed for an organization whose main message is ‘You too can become a saint,' (so long as you give us all your money, punish yourself daily, obey completely and stop thinking).

Reports from eyewitness who knew Escrivá, many of them women, show that he was far from saintly. Former high-ranking Opus Dei member Maria del Carmen Tapia has described him as vein, inconsistent, and on occasion, obscenely angry. In her book, Beyond the Threshold, Life in Opus Dei, she described his reaction to the discovery that a woman had helped her to secretly mail letters. He angrily shouted the woman’s punishment: ‘Draw up her skirts, tear down her panties and give it to her in the ass!’ This alone should have been enough to scrap his chances of becoming a saint, but this and many other eyewitness account have been brushed aside and discredited by high-ranking Opus Dei leaders.

This urge to control information to acquire and maintain power runs throughout the strictly hierarchal structure of the Opus Dei. Absolute obedience to authority is paramount. A key text is Escrivá’s book The Way, which is laced with the theme of blind obedience without stopping to consider the reasons, is trusting that one will not be directed to do anything that is not good and ‘for the glory of God.' Chapter 2, ‘Guidance’ repeatedly rams home the message of obedience to an authoritarian ‘Director’ (he is not referring to God).

Incoming and outgoing private mail of members is read and censored. Members are forbidden from reading anything without first getting permission form their spiritual directors, even if they are required reading from university courses. The directors keep an extensive list of banned books. Furthermore, a former numerary, Joseph Gonzalez, claims, “I witnessed the numeraries, including the directors, intermittently burning book sin the garden at the back of the center. Usually protestant bibles and book on the theory of evolution." He also describes being subjected to ‘psychological coercion,' the ‘misconstruction of vocation,' and ‘stigmatization’ when ‘the directors represented leaving Opus Dei as a mortal sin.'

In an interview with GQ magazine in December 2003, Sharon Clasen, recruited as freshman at Boston College in 1981, describes how she was cut off from her family (“Opus Dei was her family now," she was told). She endured all the punishments described above, and when she tried to leave, she was threatened with damnation to hell. The only photos she was allowed to possess were of Josemaría Escrivá.

There are 85,000 Opus Dei members worldwide. In the United States there are just 3,000, but as the GQ article points out, “Some of the country’s best-known conservatives have been pegged as Opus Dei sympathizers or friends: Antonin Scalis, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, Republican senators Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback, former Information Awareness Office director John M. Poindexter and TV pundits Lawrence Kudlow and Robert Novak."

This ‘Holy Mafia’ continues to destroy lives and control minds while amassing ever more power and wealth. It has recently built a $47 million lavish headquarters in the center of Manhattan. The founder’s photographs appear everywhere. A visitor would be hard pressed to interpret the entire edifice as anything less than a worldly manifestation of the personality of ‘saint’ Josemaría Escrivá.

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