Both Freemasonry and the Society of Jesus (aka Jesuit order) can be seen as having more or less evolved from the Knights Templar, and the Jesuits most likely also had a hand in the creation of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. We will go through the most relevant historical evidence step by step to prove the interconnection between these fraternal orders.
Who were the Knights Templar?
Let’s begin with a brief look at the the history of the Knights Templar, the legendary Catholic crusader military order:
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), also known as the Order of Solomon’s Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until about 1312.
The order, which was among the wealthiest and most powerful, became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the order, who formed as much as 90% of the order’s members, managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, developing innovative financial techniques that were an early form of banking, building its own network of nearly 1,000 commanderies and fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land, and arguably forming the world’s first multinational corporation.
The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the order faded. Rumours about the Templars’ secret initiation ceremony created distrust, and King Philip IV of France – deeply in debt to the order – took advantage of the situation to gain control over them. In 1307, he had many of the order’s members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip.
The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.
Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built massive stone cathedrals and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world’s first multinational corporation.
The Knights Templar have, in fact, often been called the first “international bankers”, besides being a military religious order.
Jesuits – the revived Knights Templar?
Hughes de Payens himself had not that keen and far-sighted intellect nor that grandeur of purpose which afterward distinguished the military founder of another soldiery that became formidable to kings. The Templars were unintelligent and therefore unsuccessful Jesuits.
- Albert Pike, 33rd Degree Freemason, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 819
But how and why would the Jesuit Order be a continuation, or a more sophisticated new version, of the Knights Templar?
The first clue is in the common symbolism of these two orders. The Knights Templar were known for their motto in hoc signo vinces (IHSV), which means “in this sign you will conquer”, and was originally credited to the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great.
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author (c. 240 – c. 320) who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I (and tutor to his son), guiding the Emperor’s religious policy as it developed during his reign. His work De Mortibus Persecutorum has an apologetic character, but has been treated as a work of history by Christian writers. Here Lactantius preserves the story of Constantine’s vision of the Chi Rho before his conversion to Christianity. The full text is found in only one manuscript, which bears the title, Lucii Caecilii liber ad Donatum Confessorem de Mortibus Persecutorum.
The historian bishop Eusebius of Caesaria states that Constantine was marching with his army (Eusebius does not specify the actual location of the event, but it is clearly not in the camp at Rome), when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words “(ἐν) τούτῳ νίκα” (“In this, conquer”), a phrase often rendered into Latin as in hoc signo vinces (“in this sign, you will conquer”).
But the Templars also used the IHS monogram, which is today normally associated with the Jesuits, as it’s in the official seal of the Jesuit order. Here we have the IHS monogram in a church built by the Templars:
Here’s the Templar cross:
Let’s then look at the IHS symbol right above the entrance of the Church of the Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuits, in Rome:
There we have the Templar cross on top of the H, only in color black as opposed to the usual red.
The Order of Montesa, the Borgia family and the Jesuits
And now for the historical evidence linking the Jesuits to the Knights Templar. From the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), regarding the dissolution of the Templar order, we read:
The pope, irresolute and harrassed, finally adopted a middle course: he decreed the dissolution, not the condemnation of the order, and not by penal sentence, but by an Apostolic Decree (Bull of 22 March, 1312). The order having been suppressed, the pope himself was to decide as to the fate of its members and the disposal of its possessions. As to the property, it was turned over to the rival Order of Hospitallers to be applied to its original use, namely the defence of the Holy Places. In Portugal, however, and in Aragon the possessions were vested in two new orders, the Order of Christ in Portugal and the Order of Montesa in Aragon. As to the members, the Templars recognized guiltless were allowed either to join another military order or to return to the secular state. In the latter case, a pension for life, charged to the possessions of the order, was granted them. On the other hand, the Templars who had pleaded guilty before their bishops were to be treated “according to the rigours of justice, tempered by a generous mercy”.
So the Templars’ property was handed over to another Papal crusader order, the Knights Hospitaller, of which continuation today is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) aka Knights of Malta, which was established in the 19th century after the original order had dispersed in 1798 with the French invasion of Malta led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Except, in Portugal and Aragon, where the possessions of the Templars were given to the newly founded Order of Montesa.
The Order of Montesa (Valencian: Ordre de Montesa, Aragonese and Spanish: Orden de Montesa) is a Christian military order, territorially limited to the old Crown of Aragon. It was named after the castle of Montesa, its headquarters.
The Knights Templar had been received with enthusiasm in Crown of Aragon from their foundation in 1128. King Alfonso I of Aragon, having no direct heir, bequeathed his dominions to be divided among the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, but this bequest was annulled by his subjects in 1131. The Knights Templar had to be contented with certain castles, the chief of which was Monzón. Although the Aragonese branch of the order was pronounced innocent at the famous trial of the Templars, Pope Clement V‘s Bull of suppression was applied to them in spite of the protests of King James II of Aragon in 1312.
King James II persuaded Pope John XXII to permit him to regroup the Templar properties in Aragon and Valencia, and to create a new military order not essentially differing from that of the Templars, which should be charged with the defence of the frontier against the Moors and the pirates. The new order was dedicated to Our Lady, and based at Montesa. Pope John XXII approved it on 10 June 1317, and gave it the Cistercian rule.
The order derived its title from St. George of Montesa, its principal stronghold. It was affiliated to the Order of Calatrava, from which its first recruits were drawn, and it was maintained in dependence upon that order.
The first of the fourteen grand masters was Guillermo d’Eril. In 1485, Philip of Viana renounced the Archdiocese of Palermo to become grand master. He died fighting the Kingdom of Granada in 1488. The office of grand master was united with the Crown by Philip II in 1587.
And who was the last grand master before the office was united with the Spanish Crown? Pedro Luis Garceran de Borja, the half-brother of St. Francis Borgia, the third Superior General of the Jesuit order. They were from the House of Borgia, which produced two Popes.
The House of Borgia (/ˈbɔːrʒə/; Italian: Borgia [ˈbɔrdʒa]; Spanish and Aragonese: Borja [ˈboɾxa]; Valencian: Borja[ˈbɔɾʒa]) was an Italo-Spanish noble family, which rose to prominence during the Italian Renaissance. They were from Aragon, the surname being a toponymic from the town of Borja, then in the Crown of Aragon, in Spain.
The Borgias became prominent in ecclesiastical and political affairs in the 15th and 16th centuries, producing two popes: Alfons de Borja, who ruled as Pope Callixtus III during 1455–1458, and Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia, as Pope Alexander VI, during 1492–1503.
Especially during the reign of Alexander VI, they were suspected of many crimes, including adultery, incest, simony, theft, bribery, and murder (especially murder by arsenic poisoning). Because of their grasping for power, they made enemies of the Medici, the Sforza, and the Dominican friar Savonarola, among others. They were also patrons of the arts who contributed to the Renaissance.
The original emblem of the Order of Montesa was basically the Templar Cross, as we can see below in the picture of Francisco Crespi de Borja, another Knight of the order from the House of Borgia.
Francisco Crespi de Borja, Order of Montesa
The current emblem is an amalgamation of the Templar cross and the emblem of the Order of Calatrava (dissolved in 1838), as the two orders were affiliated.
The House of Borgia were a major force behind the Jesuit order in its early days, and even more so were the House of Farnese.
Its most important members included Pope Paul III, Alessandro Farnese (a cardinal), Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (a military commander and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands), and Elisabeth Farnese, who became Queen of Spain and whose legacy was brought to her Bourbon descendants.
A number of important architectural works and antiquities are associated with the Farnese family, either through construction or acquisition. Buildings include the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola, and ancient artifacts include the Farnese Marbles.
Pope Paul III was the one who officially established the Jesuit order in 1540, and his grandson Cardinal Alessandro Farnese was the one who built the Church of the Gesu. Thats why the name of Alessandro Farnese is carved on the facade of the church, above the fore-mentioned IHS emblem with the Templar cross.
Church of the Gesu in the Piazza del Gesu, Rome.
The Jesuits and Freemasonry
Was the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry actually created by French Jesuits affiliated with the dethroned and exiled adherents of the Scottish Catholic House of Stuart? Looking at historical sources, it seems plausible it was.
In the eighteenth century the Jesuits were charged with having an intimate connection with Freemasonry, and the invention of the Degree of Kadosh was even attributed to those members of the Society who constituted the College of Clermont. This theory of a Jesuitical Freemasonry seems to have originated with the Illuminati, who were probably governed in its promulgation by a desire to depreciate the character of all other Masonic systems in comparison with their own, where no such priestly interference was permitted. Barruel scoffs at the idea of such a connection, and cans it (Histoire de Jacobinisme iv, page 287) “la fable de la Franc-Maçonnerie Jésuitique” meaning an invention of false or Jesuitical Freemasonry. For once he is right. Like oil and water the tolerance of Freemasonry and the intolerance of the “Society of Jesus” cannot commingle. Yet it cannot be denied that, while the Jesuits have had no part in the construction of pure Freemasonry, there are reasons for believing that they took an interest in the invention of some Degrees and systems which were intended to advance their own interests. But wherever they touched the Institution they left the trail of the serpent.
They sought to convert its pure philanthropy and toleration into political intrigue and religious bigotry. Hence it is believed that they had something to do with the invention of those Degrees, which were intended to aid the exiled house of Stuart in its efforts to regain the English throne, because they believed that would secure the restoration in England of the Roman Catholic religion. Almost a library of books has been written on both sides of this subject in Germany and in France.
- Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences
This degree originated thirty years before the French Revolution of 1789, and was active in producing it. The lodge-theory was that of the anarchists of today, that, if institutions or religion, and government were abolished;, human passions, like fluids, would find their level in universal peace and happiness. Communists guillotined their king, and hung their bishops to lampposts; proclaimed “liberty and equality;” and put their religious creed over the gate of their cemetery: “There is no God! Death is an eternal sleep.” The last degree of their system required the candidate to stab his brother, or nearest friend, as a traitor to the lodge, and amid the brother’s groans, and pleadings for his life, they laid the candidate’s gloved hand on the beating heart of a lamb. And, if he stabbed, they removed the blinder, and swore him to vengeance against Church and State. This was “The Royal Secret.” This explains the vengeance sworn in this and other degrees of that day. (See Robison’s Conspiracy, p. 299.) But, in this country, and at this day, this degree is senseless, and worthless. Its bluster about freeing the people, is meaningless, and itself not worth reading.
But how happens this once “Ne plus ultra” degree to be so prolix and stupid as to be scarce worth reading?
The answer is this: when formed by Jacobin Jesuits, in 1754, in the Jesuits’ College of Clermont, Paris, it was “the Military Organization,” as the candidate was told. It then crowned the Rite of Perfection of 25 degrees, which was adopted by “the Council of Emperors,” four years later; that is, in 1758. The Jacobins, like the Chicago anarchists lately hung were then secretly swearing to do what they afterwards did, viz., wage war on the government. Hence this 32nd grade was not called a degree, but an “organization,” as it was. But when adopted by Morin’s Sovereign Inspectors, at Charleston, S. C., in 1801, no war was then contemplated, but by Aaron Burr, and he was soon tried by Jefferson, for his life. The country was then peaceful, and satisfied and pleased with their free constitution, adopted in 1789, only twelve years before. Of course, no fighting was contemplated. True French sympathizers elected Jefferson that year; but the French revolution had reacted, and the Monroe doctrine was soon adopted, to keep the United States free from foreign entanglements. Masonry now did not mean fight, but money and false worship.
What then were Dalcho, Mitchell and Provost to do? They had resolved on an “Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,” to rule the false worships of Masonry throughout the world. They adopted a scale of thirty-two degrees; and placed this Military degree at the head: because, it had been, as the notes and ritual say: “the Ne Plus Ultra degree,” and it would not do to leave it out. They therefore stretched it, and stuffed it into its present shape, prolix enough. Hence the hotch-potch flummery of a camp of nine sides, with stupid Masonic explanations for every corner.
But the one “mission and object” (Mackey) of Masonry is kept steadily in view; which is the worship of the god of this world, who is Satan, as the “Grand Architect of the Universe;” and to accomplish this by inventing “a religion in which all mankind agree;” and this, by putting all earth’s religions upon a level, and uniting them together in Masonic worship, which is boldly avowed in rituals, lexicons, and philosophical degrees. This is, (in Revelation, 13, 14,) called: the image of the beast, made by “them, that dwell on the earth;” that is, everybody; every creed, and no creed; all who join secret lodges. But this world-religion must have some form and shape, to hold together; and be taxed; hence, it takes the form, or image, of the beast. Lodge despotism is as absolute as Romish despotism, and is the image of it; and it is made, as we have seen, by the lamb-dragon beast, which is Popery; “that great city, (Rome) which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Rev, 17, 18.)
- Jonathan Blanchard, Scotch Rite masonry illustrated : the complete ritual of the ancient and accepted Scottish Rite profusely illustrated, 1905, p. 449-451
The 32nd Degree of the Scottish Rite even has the same motto as the Jesuits – ad majorem Dei gloriam, which means “For the greater glory of God”:
But the key to the importance of this 32nd degree, is its MOTTO: “Ad majorem Dei gloriam.” This is the motto of the Jesuits; who, with the apostate Ramsay, made these French degrees, falsely called Scottish. This motto was adopted by their founder, Ignatius Loyola; and is still the motto of the order which he founded, in an underground chapel of the Holy Martyrs in 1534, seventeen years after Luther nailed his Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, in 1517. The reformation had only fairly begun, and this underground, secret order of Jesuits met the Reformation, and has turned it back. Some principalities in Germany, once Protestant, are now under Popish princes! That order now rules Popedom, though once prohibited by it, as Masonry is now.
- Jonathan Blanchard, Scotch Rite masonry illustrated : the complete ritual of the ancient and accepted Scottish Rite profusely illustrated, 1905, p. 457
A confirmation by a Masonic authority:
Field blue; on it is a golden lion, holding in his mouth a key of gold, and a gold collar around his neck, with the figures 525 on the collar. Motto at the base, “Custos Areani,” and in some rituals, “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” – the latter is the motto of the Jesuits. Around this standard are stationed the Knights of the Sun, the Commanders of the Temple, and the Princes of Mercy, 28th, 27th, and 26th degrees. Standard Bearer, Aholiab.
- Charles T. McClenachan, The Book of the Ancient and accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1914, p. 473
Incidentally, the the black solar symbol on the official seal of the Jesuit order also has exactly 32 rays;
After the Jesuit order was officially suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 by the brief Dominus ac Redemptor, the greatest protectors of Jesuits in Europe were Catherine the Great, the Orthodox Empress of Russia, and Frederick the Great, the protestant King of Prussia.
When the Society of Jesus was suppressed, the Pope permitted the rulers of individual countries not to issue the bull of suppression. Catherine of Russia was the most famous of those who did not promulgate the bull, but Frederick II of Prussia was another. On September 13 1773 he informed Pope Clement XIV that the Jesuits would not be suppressed in Prussia.
King Frederick II of Prussia and Tsarina Catherine II of Russia, apprehensive that the Society’s suppression would antagonise their new Polish subjects through the disruption or destruction of the Jesuit colleges, refused to promulgate and enforce the brief. News of Prussia’s recalcitrance reached Rome first. There were stories of the opening of a novitiate, of the king’s use of Jesuits in public functions, and of Frederick’s soliciting the Sorbonne’s opinion on the legitimacy of the Society’s survival to quell the scruples of some Jesuits who believed their continuation depended solely on a technicality. The Society survived in Prussia until 3 January 1776. But even after that date reports continued to reach Rome about the Prussian king’s fondness for the Society.
- Thomas McCoog SJ, Jesuit Restoration – Part Three: The Survival of the Jesuits, August 20, 2014
And, as it happens, Frederick the Great was a Freemason.
Frederick II, King of Prussia, surnamed the Great, was born on January 14, 1712, and died on August 17, 1786, at the age of seventy-four years and a few months. He was initiated as a Freemason, at Brunswick, on the night of August 14, 1738, not quite two years before he ascended the throne… We hear no more of Frederick’s Freemasonry in the printed records until the 16th of July, 1774, when he granted his protection to the National Grand Lodge of Germany, and officially approved of the treaty with the Grand Lodge of England, by which the National Grand Lodge was established. In the year 1777, the Mother Lodge, Royal York of Friendship, at Berlin, celebrated, by a festival, the king’s birthday, on which occasion Frederick wrote the following letter, which, as it is the only printed declaration of his opinion of Freemasonry that is now extant, is well worth copying:
“I cannot but be sensible of the new homage of the Lodge Royal York of Friendship on the occasion of the anniversary of my birth bearing, as it does the evidence of its zeal and attachment for my person. Its orator has well expressed the sentiments which animate all its labors; and a society which employs itself only in sowing the seed and bringing forth the fruit of every kind of virtue in my dominions may always be assured of my protection. It is the glorious task of every good sovereign and I will never cease to fulfill it. And so I pray God to take you and your Lodge under his holy and deserved protection.”
- Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences
The “Piazza del Gesu Freemasons”, Jesuits and Mussolini
In Italy, there’s a Masonic lodge called Gran Loggia d’Italia degli ALAM (Antichi Liberi Accettati Muratori) or “Grand Lodge of Italy of the A.F.& A.M. (Antient Free and Accepted Masons)”. It was formed by a large group of Scottish Rite Freemasons who left the Grand Orient of Italy (GOI) after a schism in 1908. The schism happened because they disagreed with the radical and anticlerical orientation the GOI had taken after electing a new Grand Master. And so, the exiled Masons founded a new more pro-Church lodge, and they were popularly known as the “Piazza del Gesu Freemasons” because their headquarters was originally at the Piazza del Gesu, Rome, practically right next to the mother church of the Jesuits!
On May 19, 1922, the Grand Lodge of Italy was invited to Lausanne for the World Conference of the supreme Scottish rite councils, to the detriment of the Grand Orient of Italy . This new recognition translated into a real triumph for Palermi, who, galvanized by the success achieved in Lausanne, openly showed his support for fascism by applauding the March on Rome, and sending an official telegram with which he wished for the success of the newborn Mussolini Government.
The support of the Masonic communion of Piazza del Gesù at the taking of power by Mussolini was not a mere declaration of courtesy. The American historian Peter Tompkins in the book “Dalle carte segrete del Duce“, (2001), has shown that all four “quadrumvirs” of the March on Rome (Italo Balbo, Michele Bianchi, Cesare Maria De Vecchi and Emilio De Bono) belonged to the Grand Lodge of Italy.
The Lateran Treaty (Italian: Patti Lateranensi; Latin: Pacta Lateranensia) was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the “Roman Question“. They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.
Jesuit priest Pietro Tacchi Venturi was a middleman between Mussolini and the Papacy:
Pietro Tacchi Venturi (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjɛtro ˈtakki venˈturi]; 1861—March 18, 1956) was a Jesuit priest and historian who served as the unofficial liaison between Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943, and popes Pius XI and Pius XII. He was also one of the architects of the 1929 Lateran Treaty, which ended the “Roman Question” (a dispute over the status of the papacy since the Italian unification), and recognized the sovereignty of Vatican City, which made it an actor of international relations. A claimed attempt to assassinate Venturi with a paper knife (actually the result of a homosexual lover’s quarrel), one year before the treaty’s completion, made headlines around the world. Venturi had begun the process of reconciliation by convincing Mussolini to donate the valuable library of the Palazzo Chigi to the Vatican.
The Knights Templar, Vatican and Freemasonry
Now, in regards to Freemasonry, we don’t really even have to look at history to see the obvious connection to the Knights Templar.
There’s an order affiliated with Freemasonry that’s actually called the Knights Templar (full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta). The individual orders united within this system are principally the Knights of the Temple (Knights Templar), the Knights of Malta (named after the Papal military order Knights of Malta), the Knights of St Paul, and only within the York Rite, the Knights of the Red Cross.
York Rite Knights Templar regalia
Then there is the Christian fraternal order Red Cross of Constantine, or more formally the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Appendant Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St John the Evangelist, which was inspired by the Roman Catholic dynastic order Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. The Constantinian Order was of course named after Constantine the Great, and their motto is the same as for Templars, i.e., in hoc signo vinces.
Red Cross of Constantine regalia
Cross of the Constantian Order
The Red Cross of Constantine also has an appendant order called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, named after the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a prestigious Papal chivalric order.
Lastly, below is an emblem of the York Right Knights Templar from the 1800s with the IHS monogram inside a Masonic pyramid symbol. Even if it wasn’t intended, one could see it symbolizing the interconnection between the Knights Templar, Freemasons, and the Jesuits.
The Suppression of the Jesuits, Illuminati and the French Revolution
Adam Weishaupt was born on 6 February 1748 in Ingolstadt in the Electorate of Bavaria. Weishaupt’s father Johann Georg Weishaupt (1717–1753) died when Adam was five years old. After his father’s death he came under the tutelage of his godfather Johann Adam Freiherr von Ickstatt who, like his father, was a professor of law at the University of Ingolstadt. Ickstatt was a proponent of the philosophy of Christian Wolff and of the Enlightenment, and he influenced the young Weishaupt with his rationalism. Weishaupt began his formal education at age seven at a Jesuit school. He later enrolled at the University of Ingolstadt and graduated in 1768 at age 20 with a doctorate of law. In 1772 he became a professor of law. The following year he married Afra Sausenhofer of Eichstätt.
After Pope Clement XIV’s suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, Weishaupt became a professor of canon law, a position that was held exclusively by the Jesuits until that time. In 1775 Weishaupt was introduced to the empirical philosophy of Johann Georg Heinrich Feder of the University of Göttingen. Both Feder and Weishaupt would later become opponents of Kantian idealism.
It is said Weishaupt then became deeply anticlerical, which was his supposed motive to attack the Catholic Church. I’ve even seen claims about Weishaupt having been fervently anti-Jesuit because they supposedly treated him badly while he was a professor at their university. That’s been used as an argument by some who try to debunk the Jesuit conspiracy.
But was he really? Adolph Knigge, a leading member of the Illuminati, actually accused him of being a secret Jesuit before his departure from the order in 1784:
But in 1783 dissensions arose between Knigge and Weishaupt, which resulted in the final withdrawal of the former on 1 July, 1784. Knigge could no longer endure Weishaupt’s pedantic domineering, which frequently assumed offensive forms. He accused Weishaupt of “Jesuitism”, and suspected him of being “a Jesuit in disguise” (Nachtr., I, 129). “And was I”, he adds, “to labour under his banner for mankind, to lead men under the yoke of so stiff-necked a fellow?—Never!”
So, was Weishaupt fighting against the Catholic Church because he was ideologically anticlerical, or was he in reality a frontman for the Jesuits? And was the Illuminati used as a proxy to get back at the Papacy, which had officially suppressed the Jesuit order in 1773 with the brief Dominus ac Redemptor, and at the Catholic Monarchs that had expelled them?
As most conspiracy researchers know, the Illuminati was allegedly behind the French Revolution of 1789 through having infiltrated Freemasonry. This theory was first presented by John Robison in his Proof of a Conspiracy (1797), and Augustin Barruel in Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (1799);
Towards the end of his life, he became an enthusiastic conspiracy theorist, publishing Proofs of a Conspiracy … in 1797, alleging clandestine intrigue by the Illuminatiand Freemasons (the work’s full title was Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the secret meetings of Freemasons, Illuminati and Reading Societies). The secret agent monk, Alexander Horn provided much of the material for Robison’s allegations. French priest Abbé Barruel independently developed similar views that the Illuminati had infiltrated Continental Freemasonry, leading to the excesses of the French Revolution. In 1798, the Reverend G. W. Snyder sent Robison’s book to George Washington for his thoughts on the subject in which he replied to him in a letter:
“It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am. The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of separation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a separation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.”
Interestingly enough, Barruel used to be a Jesuit priest, so make of that what you will. Anyway, many of the revolutionary leaders were indeed Freemasons:
The Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs was a prominent lodge attached to the Grand Orient de France that was particularly influential in organising French support for the American Revolution and later in the intellectual ferment that preceded the French Revolution. Benjamin Franklin was a member of this Lodge when he was serving as liaison in Paris.
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, a leader of the Liberal Aristocracy, was the Grand Master of the Grand Orient at the time of the French Revolution. In some parts of France, the Jacobin Clubs were continuances of Masonic lodges from the Ancien Régime, and according to historian Alan Forrest “some early clubs, indeed, took over both the premises and much of the membership of masonic lodges, before rebadging themselves in the new idiom of the revolution.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia alleges that the Masonic book La Franc-Maçonnerie, écrasée in 1746 predicted the program of the French Revolution, and claims to quote documents of the Grand Orient of France where Freemasonry claims credit for the French Revolution. However, the New Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967 says that modern historians see Freemasonry’s role in the French Revolution as exaggerated.
Voltaire (1694-1778), who didn’t himself participate but was regarded as a forerunner of the revolution, was a Freemason as well. Voltaire was also Jesuit educated, like Marquis de Condorcet, Marquis de Lafayette, and Maximilien Robespierre who led the Reign of Terror (1793-1794).
Napoleon’s onslaught on Catholic Monarchies, Papacy and the Knights of Malta
Before that, as a military general, Napoleon defeated the 1795 pro-Catholic royalist rebellion against the National Convention, which was the first French Revolution government. The defeat of the royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention and earned Bonaparte sudden fame, wealth and the patronage of the new government, the Directory, and he was then promoted to Commander of the Interior and given command of the Army of Italy, a field army of the French Army stationed on the Italian border and used for operations in Italy itself. It’s best known for its role during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).
In the first Italian campaign Bonaparte defeated the Catholic Habsburg Monarchy’s Austrian forces, and the Treaty of Campos gave France control over most of northern Italy and Low Countries. Then Bonaparte marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending 1100 years of independence (697-1797) for the Republic of Venice.
As was already mentioned above, during the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798-1800), General Bonaparte invaded Malta in 1798, then ruled by the Order of St. John aka Knights Hospitaller;
Following the capture of Malta, Napoleon landed at Valletta on 13 June. He stayed on the island for six days, spending the first night at the Banca Giuratale and later staying at Palazzo Parisio, before most of the French fleet embarked for the campaign in Egypt. General Vaubois remained on the island with a garrison in order to maintain control, thereby establishing the French occupation of Malta. During his short stay, Napoleon dictated instructions which radically reformed the Maltese government and society, so as to bring it in line with French Republican ideals.
A few days after the capitulation, the Grand Master and many knights left the island, taking with them few movable possessions including some relics and icons. The Order received shelter from Paul I of Russia, who was eventually proclaimed Grand Master by some knights. The Order gradually evolved into the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which still exists today and has sovereignty but no territory.
Why is this significant in this context? Because of this:
Malta was at the time a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily, and Grandmaster Manuel Pinto da Fonseca, himself a Portuguese, followed suit, expelling the Jesuits from the island and seizing their assets. These assets were used in establishing the University of Malta by a decree signed by Pinto on 22 November 1769, with lasting effect on the social and cultural life of Malta. The Church of the Jesuits (in Maltese Knisja tal-Ġiżwiti), one of the oldest churches in Valletta, retains this name up to the present.
So Malta was one of the Catholic-ruled territories where the Jesuit had been suppressed, the others being the Portuguese Empire (1759), France (1764), the Two Sicilies, Parma, the Spanish Empire (1767), and Austria and Hungary (1782). And ever since the Jesuits were restored in 1814, the Knights of Malta have been de facto subordinate to them.
Then with the Napoleonic Wars, the French Empire subjugated most of the Catholic Monarchies that had suppressed and expelled the Jesuits. Here’s a map of the First French Empire in 1812:
Napoleon and the Catholic Church
In 1796, French Republican troops under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy, defeated the papal troops and occupied Ancona and Loreto.
Pope Pius VI sued for peace, which was granted at Tolentino on February 19, 1797; but on December 28 of that year, in a riot blamed by Papal forces on Italian and French revolutionaries, the popular brigadier-general Mathurin-Léonard Duphot, who had gone to Rome with Joseph Bonaparte as part of the French embassy, was killed and a new pretext was furnished for invasion. General Berthier marched to Rome, entered it unopposed on February 10, 1798, and, proclaiming a Roman Republic, demanded of the Pope the renunciation of his temporal power.
Upon his refusal he was taken prisoner, and on February 20 was escorted from the Vatican to Siena, and thence to the Certosa near Florence. The French declaration of war against Tuscany led to his removal (he was escorted by the Spaniard Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador) by way of Parma, Piacenza, Turin and Grenoble to the citadel of Valence, the chief town of Drôme where he died six weeks after his arrival, on August 29, 1799, having then reigned longer than any Pope.
Pius VI’s body was embalmed, but was not buried until January 30, 1800 after Napoleon saw political advantage to burying the deceased Pope in efforts to bring the Catholic Church back into France.
Napoleon realized the importance of religion as a means to increase obedience and his control over the French. It was not until the conclave of Cardinals had gathered to elect a new Pope that Napoleon decided to bury Pope Pius VI who had died several weeks earlier. He gave him a gaudy ceremony in an effort to gain the attention of the Catholic Church. This eventually led to the Concordat of 1801 negotiated by Ercole Consalvi, the Pope’s secretary of state, which re-systemised the linkage between the French church and Rome. However, the Concordat also contained the “Organic Articles” which Consalvi had fiercely denied Napoleon, but which the latter had installed regardless.
The papacy had suffered a major loss of church lands through secularizations in the Holy Roman Empire following the Peace of Lunéville (1801), when a number of German princes were compensated for their losses by the seizure of ecclesiastical property.
The Concordat of 1801 is a reflection of an agreement between Napoleon Bonaparte and Pope Pius VII that reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France and restored some of its civil status.
While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was largely in favor of the state; the balance of church-state relations had tilted firmly in Napoleon Bonaparte’s favour. As a part of the Concordat, he presented another set of laws called the Organic Articles.
From the beginning of his papacy to the fall of Napoleon I Bonaparte in 1815, Pius VII was completely involved with France. He and Napoleon were continually in conflict, often involving the French military leader’s wishes for concessions to his demands.
Relations between the Church and Napoleon deteriorated. On February 3, 1808, General Miollis occupied Rome with a division. In the next month, the puppet Kingdom of Italy annexed the papal provinces Ancona, Macerata, Fermo, and Urbino, and diplomatic relations were broken off.
On 17 May 1809, Napoleon issued two decrees from the Schönbrunn Palace near Vienna in which he reproached the popes for the ill use they had made of the donation of Charlemagne, his “august predecessor”, and declared those territories which were still under the direct control of the Papal State were to be annexed to the French empire. The territories were to be organized under Miollis with a council extraordinary to administer them. As compensation the Pope would receive a stipend of 2,000,000 francs per annum. On 10 June Miollis had the Pontifical flag, which still floated over the castle of St. Angelo, lowered.
When Pius VII subsequently excommunicated Napoleon, one of Napoleon’s officers saw an opportunity to gain praise. Although Napoleon had captured Castel Sant’Angelo and intimidated the Pope by pointing cannons at his papal bedroom, he did not instruct one of his most ambitious lieutenants, Lieutenant Radet, to kidnap the Pope. Yet once Pius VII was a prisoner, Napoleon did not offer his release; the Pope was moved throughout Napoleon’s territories, in great sickness at times, though most of his confinement took place at Savona. Napoleon sent several delegations of his supporters to pressure the Pope on various issues: yielding power; and signing a new concordat with France.
The Pope remained in confinement for over six years, and did not return to Rome until May 24, 1814, when the 5th Radetzky Hussars of the Allied forces freed the Pope during a pursuit of Napoleonic forces.
At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) the Papal States were largely restored. The Jesuits were restored. The Pope offered a refuge in his capital to the members of the Bonaparte family. Princess Letitia, the deposed emperor’s mother, lived there; likewise did his brothers Lucien and Louis and his uncle, Cardinal Fesch.
In February 1821, while exiled at Saint Helena island, Napoleon’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. He reconciled with the Catholic Church. He died on 5 May 1821, after receiving the Sacraments of Confession, Extreme Unction and Viaticum in the presence of Father Ange Vignali.
Yes, after all this, the Jesuits, having been suppressed by all these Catholic Monarchies in the latter part of the 1700s and by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 with the brief Dominus ac Redemptor, were officially restored by Pope Pius VII, who had been bulldozed by Napoleon throughout his Papacy. And after that the Jesuits soon took over the Vatican, which they have secretly ruled ever since.
It’s interesting that Napoleon then indeed reconciled with the Catholic Church before his death in 1821;
The news the pope had received that Napoleon wanted to be reconciled to the Church was true. The dreary life he led on St. Helena gave him time to turn his mind to God. He once commented to a young doctor who laughed at his growing devotion to religion, “Young man! You are perhaps too clever to believe in God; I am not so advanced as that. Not all can be atheists.” The will he wrote on St. Helena opened with strange words for a man who, most of his life, had called himself a Deist: “I die in the bosom of the Apostolic and Roman Church.” In his will, Napoleon said he wanted to be buried according to the rites of the Catholic Church.
But what’s even more interesting, is that the founder of the Illuminati Adam Weishaupt, who supposedly was an ardent adversary of the Catholic Church, did the same:
As early as 16 February, 1785, Weishaupt had fled from Ingolstadt, and in 1787 he settled at Gotha. His numerous apologetic writings failed to exonerate either the order or himself. Being now the head of a numerous family, his views on religious and political matters grew more sober. After 1787 he renounced all active connexion with secret societies, and again drew near to the Church, displaying remarkable zeal in the building of the Catholic church at Gotha. He died on 18 November, 1830, “reconciled with the Catholic Church, which, as a youthful professor, he had doomed to death and destruction”—as the chronicle of the Catholic parish in Gotha relates.
This certainly fits in with the theory that Weishaupt had been a secret Jesuit all the time, that he was a frontman for the Jesuits during their suppression in the Catholic kingdoms.
And was it just a coincidence that the French Revolution abolished the French Monarchy, which had dissolved the Jesuit order; that Napoleon lambasted other Catholic Monarchies that had done the same, and the Papacy that had officially suppressed them in 1773; and that after all the turmoil, the Jesuits arguably came out as the biggest winners?