Although many members of the OTO were also members of the Gnostic Catholic Church, numbering even bishops among them, their legitimacy as “priests” was always in question since they did not possess valid apostolic succession (i.e., they could not trace their lineage down an approved channel back to St. Peter, the original Pope). Thus, Crowley would write as late as the 1930s that he could not have performed a Black Mass since he was not an ordained priest. However, it seems the OTO numbered at least one ordained priest—and a cardinal, at that—among its membership.

One of the earliest publications of the OTO— the Oriflamme, published by Theodor Reuss, a founder of the Order—gave a list of organizations and individuals that were considered either members of the OTO or members of associated groups. Numbered among them was none other than Cardinal Rampolla, cited as an initiate of the Catalonian-Balearic Grand Lodge, headquartered in Barcelona: a notoriously political and even anticlerical movement that supported Catalonian nationalism. This group then came under the control of Theodor Reuss and the OTO, by 1913 at the latest (the OTO itself was founded circa 1905). However, this lodge had its origins in the irregular Masonic Order of the Rites of Memphis and Mizraim, or MM, which was founded in the late eighteenth century in France, some years after the formation of the original Freemasons.

Technically speaking, then, Rampolla would have been an initiate of the MM at the time of the death of Pope Leo XIII in 1903, but the lodge to which he belonged would be incorporated as a branch of the OTO ten years later, the year of Rampolla’s death.

Both the Catholic Church and the OTO of the present day deny that Rampolla was ever a member of the OTO, but this claim is disingenuous. While Rampolla may never have been an actual member of the OTO, he was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and specifically a “denomination” of the Order that would eventually come under the OTO aegis. More important, this was an active, political organization involved in separatist politics. Catalonian independence is still a controversial subject in Spain, that territory resting as it does in the border region with France, and with Barcelona as its most famous and most beautiful capital; a land with its own language and culture. For Rampolla to have been involved with this group is highly suggestive of a political agenda that would have been at serious odds with the Church. Had he been only a Freemason with an Italian lodge, the damage would have been bad enough, but the details that have come to light (largely in the French and German media) concerning his membership in a Catalonian lodge tend to a rather more explosive interpretation: that Rampolla, a Catholic cardinal only a few votes shy of becoming Pope, was agitating not only for Catalonian independence but also for a Masonic political agenda in general.

His bias towards France was already wellknown; he was blamed, after all, for the formation of the Franco-Russian alliance against the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy. Therefore, his politics were already suspect, and the documentation supports the general mistrust that Emperor Franz Josef of Austria— and Monsignor Jouin—had of him. He also had sympathies with the Eastern European countries, and a branch of the OTO was specifically formed to develop the Slavic regions in 1910–11, while Rampolla was still alive and—allegedly—still a Mason. Had Rampolla followed the usual practice of his lodge brothers and joined a variety of Masonic and quasi-Masonic orders in his lifetime, there is no doubt that he could have been a member of the OTO and any manner of other groups as well.

Still, many readers will react with deep skepticism that a prince of the Church would have anything at all to do with Freemasonry, an organization it believed to be dedicated to its destruction and to the overthrow of European monarchies in general. While we have shown that clergymen were definitely involved in occult and magical practices virtually throughout the Church’s two thousand year existence, in complete and total disregard for Church law and beliefs, we have yet to demonstrate that this heady combination of religion, politics, and magic still exists to this day.

This we propose to do now.

ITALIAN FREEMASONS AND THE

VATICAN BANKING SCANDAL

While the first Italian Masonic Grand Lodge was formed about 1750, the real Masonic presence was not felt until 1860 when the Supreme Council Grand Orient of Italy was founded, with its headquarters in the appropriately sinister city of Turin, a town long known to harbor occultists and revolutionaries. Several years later, in 1877, a Roman lodge was organized that called itself Propaganda Masonica, and served Masons from other cities who were based in Rome for business reasons. Thus, Propaganda Masonica became a meeting place for influential tradesmen, bankers, and politicians. What was interesting about this particular lodge was that no written records were kept of the names and identities of its members at the headquarters of the Grand Lodge. This added another element of mystery to a society that was already quite mysterious.

It should be noted that Italian statesman Garibaldi was himself Grand Master of Italian Masonry at this time, so the link between Freemasonry and Italian politics has a long and honorable pedigree.

With the rise of Mussolini, however, Masonic lodges were closed and Freemasonry banned in the country (as it was in Germany under Hitler). The lodges went underground, and at the end of the war, in 1945, were revived and attempted to reorganize. During this period of restructuring, the lodges were numbered for convenience in creating organization charts, and the Propaganda Masonica lodge became Propaganda Lodge Number 2, or Propaganda Due, shortened to P2.

By the late 1960s Tuscan businessman Licio

Gelli was placed in control of P2 by the Grand Master of the Italian Masons. By 1980, Gelli was claiming that he was the power behind the throne of all Italian Freemasonry. By 1981, however, the Italian police were alerted to a range of questionable financial practices involving Gelli—practices that included his role in the Vatican Banking

Scandal and the death of P2 member Roberto Calvi, and the imprisonment of P2 member and international banker Michele Sindona—and his home was raided. One of the pieces of evidence uncovered during that raid was a list of P2 members: some 950 names, including politicians, businessmen, government ministers, army officers, intelligence officers . . . and high-ranking clergymen.

A partial list, published by a former member of P2, includes:

Cardinal Jean Villot, the Vatican’s Secretary of State (the same post held seventy years earlier by Cardinal Rampolla), and a man who was in favor of relaxing the rules against Catholics becoming Freemasons.

Cardinal Ugo Poletti, the Vicar of Rome.

Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, active in Third World politicking, particularly of the anticommunist variety.

And Bishop Paul Marcinkus of the Vatican Bank.

Soon, these prelates and others would become suspect in one of the more sensational assassinations of the twentieth century, if indeed it was an assassination.

On August 6, 1978, Pope Paul VI died. The former Cardinal Montini, he had been a staunch anticommunist from his earliest days as a papal nuncio in Germany during the First World War, and then as a Secretary of State under Pope Pius XII, a man called by some “Hitler’s Pope.” In his role as Secretary of State, Cardinal Montini was able to create Vatican passports to help some Nazi war criminals escape justice after the war. As Pope Paul VI, he extended his anticommunist reach even as he reaffirmed a hard-line conservative approach to the Church. Bishop Marcinkus became his right-hand man, first serving as the Pope’s bodyguard and interpreter, and later finding himself in charge of the Vatican’s finances. P2 was using these resources—and its wide network of intelligence agents, Mafia crime lords, and assassins-for-hire—to subvert leftist governments in Europe and Latin America. When the Pope died, there was no reason to fear that anything would change.

Except that on August 26, 1978, a mild Italian by the name of Albino Luciani had been elected Pope and chose the name Pope John Paul I as his Papal identity.

Thirty-three days later he would be dead.

There was automatic suspicion that the death of John Paul I was not due to natural causes. The new Pope had expressed a desire to rid the Vatican of Masonic influences. A firm believer that Freemasonry was inimical to everything Roman Catholicism stands for, the Pope was determined to make sure that any cardinal or bishop who had membership in the Masonic societies would give up that membership or be excommunicated.

Even further, the new Pope wanted to clean house at the Vatican Bank. He was appalled at the way it was being run by Bishop Marcinkus and his P2 cronies. He began sending out signals that a new Pope and a new way of running the Church had now arrived in Rome, and the scoundrels and evildoers had best beware.

At the time of Pope John Paul I’s death only weeks after his election, the principal suspects in a conspiracy to have him killed were all conveniently out of the country. That did not save them, however, for the Vatican Banking Scandal—and the P2 scandal—would break, sending bankers, spies, assassins, and occultists scurrying for cover. When it was all over, P2 banker Roberto Calvi was dead in London, and Michele Sindona was arrested in the United States. Bishop Marcinkus found himself under a warrant for his arrest, and had to stay within the sanctuary of Vatican City for years in order to avoid being picked up by the Italian authorities and indicted for his role in the affair (he passed away in February 2006 at age 84).

The Vatican Banking Scandal involved a scheme to use Church funds to finance questionable activities and to prop up an ailing Italian bank for use as a money-laundering machine. This could only have been possible with the assistance of someone “inside” the Vatican Bank, and that inside man was Bishop Paul Marcinkus.

Some of the funds that were diverted through the Vatican banking system were used to support the militant right-wing, anticommunist agenda of P2 and to finance assassinations of prominent leftists both in Europe and abroad. P2 had members and friends not only in Italy or even in Europe, but also in North and South America. In the United States, Gelli’s main contact was Paul Guarino, who was influential in raising funds for the Republican Party among Italian-Americans. In Latin America, P2 had its base in Montevideo, Uruguay, and another in Buenos Aires, where P2’s influential members included one of the more sinister of Argentine statesmen, José Lopez Rega, head of an Argentine death squad and nicknamed el brujo, the magician, due to his involvement in magic and the occult. Gelli himself had been a close friend of Juan Peron, the Argentine dictator who practically bankrupt his own country to finance his excesses, and who was a protector of Nazi war criminals who fled to his country at the end of World War II.

Thus, we see that regardless of the Church’s official stand on Freemasonry, occultism, secret societies, and the like, within the Church hierarchy there has always been a fascination with— and tolerance for—the black arts. These “black arts” do not only involve the summoning of demons and the performance of the Black Mass; in this day and age it also involves revolutions, assassinations, and money-laundering. The wideranging network of the P2 Masonic Lodge— numbering at least 950 persons or, according to estimates by the Italian Secret Service, more than two thousand worldwide—used all the trappings and ceremonial ritual of magic and initiation to bring together businessmen, politicians, generals, and spies in a clandestine occult Order that did not hesitate to use violence and murder as part of its “rituals.” In the years since the breaking of the P2 scandal, the intelligence agencies of various countries have discovered that car bombings, political assassinations, and terrorist attacks throughout Europe and Latin America can be laid at the door of Licio Gelli and P2. It has been said that there was a connection between P2 and the Opus Dei organization (made famous in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code), as it appears Opus Dei funds were used in some cases to prop up P2 member Roberto Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano before he mysteriously died in London, hanging from under a bridge that was itself linked to Masonic lore. Calvi claimed he had promised the fabulously wealthy and secretive Opus Dei better access to the Vatican in return for the funds he needed to keep his money-laundering machine running. The fact that the next Pope, John Paul II, would raise Opus Dei’s status as an organization answerable only to him at the time the Italian authorities were handing out indictments in the banking scandal, only affirms the connection.

The Da Vinci Code, then, doesn’t tell the whole story. Opus Dei, from its origins in fascist Spain and its heavy involvement with dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco—having at one time three of its members in Franco’s cabinet—is an important element of the tale, but P2 offers us a far more revealing exposé of what took place (and continues to take place) behind the closed doors of the Church. And once we begin studying P2, we are forced to undertake a study of Freemasonry . . . and once we have done that, we are back among the magicians, the sorcerers, the spell-casters, and all the hideous panoply of the Black Mass and Papal magic.

THE MOST DIABOLIC OF GRIMOIRES

“The Grimoire of Honorius is perhaps the most frankly diabolical of all the Rituals connected with Black Magic . . .”

A. E. Waite,

The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts

This is the environment in which we confront the Grimoire of Pope Honorius III. Said to have been first published in 1670, at the height of the La Voisin Affair, when infants were being sacrificed almost daily during Black Masses performed for desperate housewives and royal mistresses, the grimoire becomes less and less of an anomaly and more plausible as a workbook to be used by Catholic priests involved in occult practices.

The version we have before us is, indeed, dated 1670, and in Rome no less. However, it is in French, and only in French. I have been unable to locate an original version published in Italian, or Latin, or any other tongue. For that reason, and for other internal evidence that will become clear as we go along, I must assume that the grimoire was initially a French production, casting doubt on whether Honorius III would have written it. However, that is not to say that Honorius III would not have made use of it or, indeed, that other of his cardinals, bishops, or priests would not have made use of it.