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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interview with Alice von Hildebrand: Should Pope Paul VI be Canonized?

I received this in an email and thought it was important enough to post it. The intro was written by Thom Nickels, a Philadelphia journalist. In reading this ask yourself whether Pope Paul VI should be canonized. I've highlighted some especially significant passages. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
"Pope Paul VI and the Slippery Slope

I recently came across this interview with Alice von Hildebrand. The interview was conducted by the Latin Mass Magazine (I am a subscriber). Alice von Hildebrand also writes for the New Oxford Review. Her words speak to the present crises in the Catholic Church.

[The interview, reproduced in part]

TLM: In terms of the present crisis, when did you first perceive something was terribly wrong?

AVH: It was in February 1965. I was taking a sabbatical year in Florence. My husband was reading a theological journal, and suddenly I heard him burst into tears. I ran to him, fearful that his heart condition had suddenly caused him pain. I asked him if he was all right. He told me that the article that he had been reading had provided him with the certain insight that the devil had entered the Church. Remember, my husband was the first prominent German to speak out publicly against Hitler and the Nazis. His insights were always prescient.

TLM: Did your husband think that the decline in a sense of the supernatural began around that time [1920s -- from an earlier question], and if so, how did he explain it?
AVH: No, he believed that after Pius X’s condemnation of the heresy of Modernism [1907], its proponents merely went underground. He would say that they then took a much more subtle and practical approach. They spread doubt simply by raising questions about the great supernatural interventions throughout salvation history, such as the Virgin Birth and Our Lady’s perpetual virginity, as well as the Resurrection, and the Holy Eucharist. They knew that once faith – the foundation – totters, the liturgy and the moral teachings of the Church would follow suit. My husband entitled one of his books The Devastated Vineyard. After Vatican II, a tornado seemed to have hit the Church ...

Even the pagan Plato was open to a sense of the supernatural. He spoke of the weakness, frailty and cowardice often evidenced in human nature. He was asked by a critic to explain why he had such a low opinion of humanity. He replied that he was not denigrating man, only comparing him to God.

With the loss of a sense of the supernatural, there is a loss of the sense of a need for sacrifice today. The closer one comes to God, the greater should be one’s sense of sinfulness. The further one gets from God, as today, the more we hear the philosophy of the new age: “I’m OK, You’re OK.” This loss of the inclination to sacrifice has led to the obscuring of the Church’s redemptive mission. Where the Cross is downplayed, our need for redemption is given hardly a thought.

The aversion to sacrifice and redemption has assisted the secularization of the Church from within. We have been hearing for many years from priests and bishops about the need for the Church to adapt herself to the world. Great popes like St. Pius X said just the opposite: the world must adapt itself to the Church.

TLM: From our conversation throughout this afternoon, I must conclude that you don’t believe that the accelerating loss of the sense of the supernatural is an accident of history.

AVH: No, I do not. There have been two books published in Italy in recent years that confirm what my husband had been suspecting for some time; namely, that there has been a systematic infiltration of the Church by diabolical enemies for much of this century. My husband was a very sanguine man and optimistic by nature. During the last ten years of his life, however, I witnessed him many times in moments of great sorrow, and frequently repeating, “They have desecrated the Holy Bride of Christ.” He was referring to the “abomination of desolation” of which the prophet Daniel speaks.

TLM: This is a critical admission, Dr. von Hildebrand. Your husband had been called a twentieth-century Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII. If he felt so strongly, didn’t he have access to the Vatican to tell Pope Paul VI of his fears?

AVH: But he did! I shall never forget the private audience we had with Paul VI just before the end of the [Second Vatican] Council. It was on June 21, 1965. As soon as my husband started pleading with him to condemn the heresies that were rampant, the Pope interrupted him with the words, “Lo scriva, lo scriva.” (“Write it down.”) A few moments later, for the second time, my husband drew the gravity of the situation to the Pope’s attention. Same answer. His Holiness received us standing. It was clear that the Pope was feeling very uncomfortable. The audience lasted only a few minutes. Paul VI immediately gave a sign to his secretary, Fr. Capovilla, to bring us rosaries and medals. We then went back to Florence where my husband wrote a long document (unpublished today) that was delivered to Paul VI just the day before the last session of the Council. It was September of 1965. After reading my husband’s document, he said to my husband’s nephew, Dieter Sattler, who had become the German ambassador to the Holy See, that he had read the document carefully, but that “it was a bit harsh.” The reason was obvious: my husband had humbly requested a clear condemnation of heretical statements.

TLM: You realize, of course, Doctor, that as soon as you mention this idea of infiltration, there will be those who roll their eyes in exasperation and remark, “Not another conspiracy theory!”

AVH: I can only tell you what I know. It is a matter of public record, for instance, that Bella Dodd, the ex-Communist who reconverted to the Church, openly spoke of the Communist Party’s deliberate infiltration of agents into the seminaries. She told my husband and me that when she was an active party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican “who were working for us.”

Many a time I have heard Americans say that Europeans “smell conspiracy wherever they go.” But from the beginning, the Evil One has “conspired” against the Church – and has always aimed in particular at destroying the Mass and sapping belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That some people are tempted to blow this undeniable fact out of proportion is no reason for denying its reality. On the other hand, I, European born, am tempted to say that many Americans are na├»ve; living in a country that has been blessed by peace, and knowing little about history, they are more likely than Europeans (whose history is a tumultuous one) to fall prey to illusions ... Judas had played his hand so artfully that no one suspected him, for a cunning conspirator knows how to cover his tracks with a show of orthodoxy.

TLM: Do the two books by the Italian priest you mentioned before the interview contain documentation that would provide evidence of this infiltration?

AVH: The two books I mentioned were published in 1998 and 2000 by an Italian priest, Don Luigi Villa of the diocese of Brescia, who at the request of Padre Pio has devoted many years of his life to the investigation of the possible infiltration of both Freemasons and Communists into the Church. My husband and I met Don Villa in the sixties. He claims that he does not make any statement that he cannot substantiate. When Paulo Sesto Beato? (1998) was published the book was sent to every single Italian bishop. None of them acknowledged receipt; none challenged any of Don Villa’s claims.

In this book, he relates something that no ecclesiastical authority has refuted or asked to be retracted – even though he names particular personalities in regard to the incident. It pertains to the rift between Pope Pius XII and the then Bishop Montini (the future Paul VI) who was his Undersecretary of State. Pius XII, conscious of the threat of Communism, which in the aftermath of World War II was dominating nearly half of Europe, had prohibited the Vatican staff from dealing with Moscow. To his dismay, he was informed one day through the Bishop of Up[p]sala (Sweden) that his strict order had been contravened. The Pope resisted giving credence to this rumor until he was given incontrovertible evidence that Montini had been corresponding with various Soviet agencies. Meanwhile, Pope Pius XII (as had Pius XI) had been sending priests clandestinely into Russia to give comfort to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. Every one of them had been systematically arrested, tortured, and either executed or sent to the gulag. Eventually a Vatican mole was discovered: Alighiero Tondi, S.J., who was a close advisor to Montini. Tondi was an agent working for Stalin whose mission was to keep Moscow informed about initiatives such as the sending of priests into the Soviet Union.

Add to this Pope Paul’s treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty. Against his will, Mindszenty was ordered by the Vatican to leave Budapest. As most everyone knows, he had escaped the Communists and sought refuge in the American embassy compound. The Pope had given him his solemn promise that he would remain primate of Hungary as long as he lived. When the Cardinal (who had been tortured by the Communists) arrived in Rome, Paul VI embraced him warmly, but then sent him into exile in Vienna. Shortly afterwards, this holy prelate was informed that he had been demoted, and had been replaced by someone more acceptable to the Hungarian Communist government. More puzzling, and tragically sad, is the fact that when Mindszenty died, no Church representative was present at his burial.

Another of Don Villa’s illustrations of infiltration is one related to him by Cardinal Gagnon. Paul VI had asked Gagnon to head an investigation concerning the infiltration of the Church by powerful enemies. Cardinal Gagnon (at that time an Archbishop) accepted this unpleasant task, and compiled a long dossier, rich in worrisome facts. When the work was completed, he requested an audience with Pope Paul in order to deliver personally the manuscript to the Pontiff. This request for a meeting was denied. The Pope sent word that the document should be placed in the offices of the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically in a safe with a double lock. This was done, but the very next day the safe deposit box was broken and the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. The usual policy of the Vatican is to make sure that news of such incidents never sees the light of day. Nevertheless, this theft was reported even in L’Osservatore Romano (perhaps under pressure because it had been reported in the secular press). Cardinal Gagnon, of course, had a copy, and once again asked the Pope for a private audience. Once again his request was denied. He then decided to leave Rome and return to his homeland in Canada. Later, he was called back to Rome by Pope John Paul II and made a cardinal.

TLM: Why did Don Villa write these works singling out Paul VI for criticism?
AVH: Don Villa reluctantly decided to publish the books to which I have alluded. But when several bishops pushed for the beatification of Paul VI, this priest perceived it as a clarion call to print the information he had gathered through the years. In so doing, he was following the guidelines of a Roman Congregation, informing the faithful that it was their duty as members of the Church to relay to the Congregation any information that might militate against the candidate’s qualifications for beatification.

Considering the tumultuous pontificate of Paul VI, and the confusing signals he was giving, e.g.: speaking about the “smoke of Satan that had entered the Church,” yet refusing to condemn heresies officially; his promulgation of Humanae Vitae (the glory of his pontificate), yet his careful avoidance of proclaiming it ex cathedra [infallible doctrine]; delivering his Credo of the People of God in Piazza San Pietro in 1968, and once again failing to declare it binding on all Catholics; disobeying the strict orders of Pius XII to have no contact with Moscow, and appeasing the Hungarian Communist government by reneging on the solemn promise he had made to Cardinal Mindszenty; his treatment of holy Cardinal Slipyj, who had spent seventeen years in a Gulag, only to be made a virtual prisoner in the Vatican by Paul VI; and finally asking Archbishop Gagnon to investigate possible infiltration in the Vatican, only to refuse him an audience when his work was completed – all these speak strongly against the beatification of Paolo VI, dubbed in Rome, “Paolo Sesto, Mesto” (Paul VI, the sad one) ...

God alone is the judge of Paul VI. But it cannot be denied that his pontificate was a very complex and tragic one. It was under him that, in the course of fifteen years, more changes were introduced in the Church than in all preceding centuries combined. What is worrisome is that when we read the testimony of ex-Communists like Bella Dodd, and study Freemasonic documents (dating from the nineteenth century, and usually penned by fallen-away priests like Paul Roca), we can see that, to a large extent, their agenda has been carried out: the exodus of priests and nuns after Vatican II, dissenting theologians not censured, feminism, the pressure put on Rome to abolish priestly celibacy, immorality in the clergy, blasphemous liturgies (see the article by David Hart in First Things, April 2001, “The Future of the Papacy”), the radical changes that have been introduced into the sacred liturgy (see Cardinal Ratzinger’s book Milestones, pp. 126 and 148, Ignatius Press), and a misleading ecumenism. Only a blind person could deny that many of the Enemy’s plans have been perfectly carried out.

One should not forget that the world was shocked at what Hitler did. People like my husband, however, actually read what he had said in Mein Kampf. The plan was there. The world simply chose not to believe it.

But grave as the situation is, no committed Catholic can forget that Christ has promised that He will remain with His Church to the very end of the world. We should meditate on the scene related in the Gospel when the apostles’ boat was battered by a fierce storm. Christ was sleeping! His terrified followers woke Him up: He said one word, and there was a great calm. “O ye of little faith!” ...

TLM: So you see the only scenario for a solution to the present crisis as the renewal of a striving for sanctity?

AVH: We should not forget that we are fighting not only against flesh and blood, but against “powers and principalities.” This should elicit sufficient dread in us to make us strive more than ever for holiness, and to pray fervently that the Holy Bride of Christ, who is right now at Calvary, comes out of this fearful crisis more radiant than ever."


  1. come on now really?? If he was a saint he will be found so -- no need to worry.

  2. To even consider this man for Sainthood is a scandal againsts the Church, that will sow resentment and division. He helped to completely decimate Catholic Tradition and to add insult to injury he is now being considered for Sainthood! Where is prudence?? The Church has truly gone mad. Some things are better left alone.

  3. No, he shouldn't be beatified either. I've never met anyone who has been compelled to ask his intercession. The near total collapse of the Faith can be traced back to Paul VI's imprudence.

  4. A very interesting Facebook group has been started and called:
    A Call for Caution against the beatification of Paul VI at: and there is also
    one for JP II at:

  5. WOW , splendid article .

    Do you think the average Catholic in the pews at the local parish know this about Pope Paul VI ...I would say , most likely not!

  6. The average "Catholic" in the pew can barely tell you the 10 Commandments. This is not sarcasm...I have experienced it firsthand. My own family is a case in point. Whoever thought that the post conciliar Church would de-catholicize my family...but it has, to my great sorrow. I do not attend the Novus Ordo sacrilege Mass for ANY reason, including weddings, funerals, etc. I pray daily that Our Lady will begin to crush the head of Satan in the church!

  7. I can hear your frustration, Kerri. Many parents are heartbroken over their children's loss of faith. I love the Tridentine Mass and attend a retreat every year with a priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter. But our parish has a reverent Novus Ordo and it is a form of the Roman rite approved by the Church. You can't be more Catholic than the Pope and Magisterium. The protestants tried that already and it doesn't work.

  8. Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bacci tried to dissuade Paul VI from promulgating the "new" mass. The "Ottaviani Intervention", as it is called, says, among other things, that "the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in it's details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent." To say, "you can't be more Catholic than the Pope and the Magisterium" is a red herring and an excellent example of the indiscreet "obedience" of Vat II "conservative" Catholics which has led to the confusion and breakdown of the Faith. Google "Ottaviani Intervention".

  9. I'm aware of the Ottoviani Intervention, but my response is "Where Peter is, there is the Church." If your point is that the N.O. is illegitimate or heretical, I simply can't agree. Perhaps those who say it is less efficacious are right, but wouldn't that depend on the disposition of the person attending? After all, a beaker can only be filled to its capacity.

    Fr. John Hardon, one of my heroes, said the N.O. Padre Pio incorporated some of its elements in his Mass before he died.

    I do not see making the N.O. a bogey man on which to blame all of society's problems a sensitive approach to strengthening the faith. In fact, I think those who treat those who attend the N.O. as "Vatican II conservative Catholics" do a lot of damage. We are, after all on the same side. I personally wish the TLM had simply been translated into English. Maybe addition "reforms of the reform" will return some of that glorious language, especially the prayers at the foot of the altar which I love.

  10. "Peter" has issued Summorum Pontificum on 07/07/07 expressing his will that the TLM be made more widely available. Few bishops have complied. The N.O. is a deliberate protestantization of the Mass of all-time, complete with a "table", a "presider", a "meal", altar girls, applause, dance, pro-populum (dis)orientation of the "presider", etc. The "fruit" is no vocations, no teaching sisters, disaffected priests, no mention of sin & hell, no catechesis, no sense of reverence, disbelief in the Real Presence, closed Catholic schools, closed parishes, etc. As Cdl. Ratzinger, "Peter" said that the N.O. is "a banal, on-the-spot production: a fabricated liturgy." If you love the prayers at the foot of the Altar, get your priest to learn and say the True Mass for you. Good luck w/ that. God bless us all.

  11. Interesting that you are quoting from an article on the Bayside website which promotes a bogus seer and a bogus apparition.

    And you're criticizing an approved version of the Latin rite? Physician, heal thyself.

  12. I am sorry to have unwittingly quoted from that website, but the point is that the present Pope did actually utter those words. The same quote can be found on many websites.

  13. When one considers that no Pope had been Canonized from Pope Pius V who died in 1572 until Pope Pius X who died in 1914 and that now, despite a precipitous loss of faith in the 20th century- one could say a Great Apostasy- it is preposterous that virtually every Pope is suddenly being considered as worthy of Sainthood! The post-conciliar Popes have been complicit with the enemies of the Faith. The Bride of Christ has been ill-served by these men and may God have mercy on them and on us. The Pope can do great harm as well as great good, which is why we pray for him. The Pope is not infallible in every word and action! The "living" magisterium cannot overrule the Solemn Magisterium. Dogmas come FIRST!

  14. There is a very important posting on The Remnant to show that the new mass is truly a danger to the faith of Catholics and has been seen to be such by high-placed and important men since its inception. It is called, "The Ottaviani Intervention Suffers Cardinal Amnesia - Again."

  15. So Spirit Daily (a major mouthpiece for the Medjugore Hoax) published a piece on Fr. Hardon concerning statement he made on St. Pio? So what. Both St. Pio and St. Josemaria Escriva both received permission from Paul VI NOT TO SAY N. O. Missae.

  16. As we now know, the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated and every priest had the right to say it. Nobody needed the pope's permission. Sad that the impression was given that it was forbidden. Actually, sad is too little a word. Shameful! But the N.O. is still legitimate.

  17. I once read that, as a bishop, Paul VI had played a part in organising the so-called, 'rat-line', enabling a number of the monsters of the Nazi concentration camps to escape to, initially, at least, Argentina.

    If so, and particularly if at the behest of Pius XII, maybe his apparent sympathy with the Communist regimes was an angry gesture at allowing himself to be used so scandalously. But it's all 'beyond belief', really.

  18. Great stuff. Interesting reading.

  19. Ms. Kreitzer,

    I'm not Society or Sede, but I try to be intellectually honest. In doing so, one of the things that I learned in school was that something can be legal, but it doesn't mean it's lawful or pleasing to God. Hence, the new mass would be deemed legal but illicit.Not to mention that it was never promulgated. For the Catholic Church, these things matter, because they bring clarity to confusing situations. We have been spared for 50 years. God has protected the Latin mass from being abrogated and he has also prevented the teachings of Vatican II to be binding. If nothing new was taught at Vatican II, then there is nothing new to believe. If Vatican II is in continuity with all the other councils, then I will be the first to say I believe. Unfortunately, everyone in the Vatican is on a fast track to obliterate anything before 1962.

    If you want someone who was never excommunicated to shine on the subject, don't be afraid to listen to Fr. Hesse (secretary to cardinal Strickland). He is now late, but he was a clear voice before he passed. |

    John M.