AA-1025 and the Catholic Church “Makeover”

Those of us old enough to recall Cold War rumors prior to Vatican II may remember stories about Soviet agents sent en masse to infiltrate seminaries and to bring down the Church by stealth from within. Some of these rumors originated with Bishop Fulton Sheen. One of his converts from Communism indicated that she had had a part in recruiting these special agents.

In 1972, the French author, Marie Carré (1905-1984), published a novel – a purported memoir of a soviet agent, entitled  AA-1025: The Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle. The protagonist, a French nurse who had converted (like Marie Carré herself) from Protestantism to Catholicism, comes across an injured man, unable to speak, whom she decides to call “Michael,” and finds a hundred-page diary in his possessions.

It recounts his being a Soviet spy and Catholic seminarian, working undercover to subvert the Church until the beginning of Vatican II. The diary also reveals that he is the latest addition to the 1,024 agents already commissioned in this strange espionage. The injured man dies, and the nurse, warns her reader, “Do not try to find out who I am, you will never do so.”

She declares that this man’s story has to be made public, and a plot of subversion unfolds, complete with romantic interludes involving a faithful Catholic woman who surprisingly catches the interest of “Michael.” In the introduction and towards the middle of the novel, Carré adds her own comments, underlining the shocking nefariousness of agent 1025.

The master-plan of “Michael,” who has the irritating habit of commenting on how great and brilliant he is in comparison to other humans, and even to fellow Communists, includes the following key elements: 

  • Change “Catholic” to “universal.” All religions are the same: “You must drive into the head of men, and particularly into the head of Churchmen, to search for, at any price, a universal religion into which all churches would be melded together.”
  • Make use of “charity” to instill remorse into Catholics, apologizing for lack of consideration for Protestants and other religions. Let the apologies begin!
  • Ultimately, change “charity” itself, which has supernatural connotations, to “love” and urge churchmen to instill love of lower classes and social justice.
  • Return to Protestant simplicity. The agenda: “To show that the luxury and art found in Catholic and Orthodox Churches are intensely disliked by Protestants, Jews, and Moslems. To suggest that this useless show must be suppressed for a greater welfare. To excite an iconoclastic zeal. Youngsters must destroy all this hodgepodge: statues, pictures, reliquaries, priestly ornaments, organs, candles and votive lamps, stained glass, and cathedrals, etc., etc. …” 


  • As corollaries of this movement, a whole gamut of further changes must follow: Get rid of cassocks and any external garb indicating religious dedication; suppress Latin, kneeling at liturgies, the Rosary and Marian devotions, Gregorian chant and traditional sacred music; and especially, downplay any special reverence for the Host as the “Real Presence.”
  • Supplant the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with “the Lord’s Supper.” Anything redolent of sacrifice has to be downplayed. The whole ceremony should represent only a common meal, as among most Protestants. Altars must disappear, and bare tables, to which all are invited, should take their place.
  • What must take priority over everything else is that each one will follow his own conscience. “This method, invented by Protestants, which consists in obeying one’s conscience, is of great excellence. It does not permit giving orders that will risk displeasing some, and it allows replacing these orders by various suggestions which let freedom act at ease. All that is permitted among Protestants, even if only in one sect, must be authorized among Catholics, that is, the remarriage of divorcees, polygamy, contraception and euthanasia.”
  • Conscience becomes the sole arbiter: “As for the Sacrament called Penance, it would be replaced by a community ceremony, which will only be an examination of conscience directed by a well-trained priest, all of which would be followed by a general absolution, as in some Protestant Churches. The motives for contrition will be only the lack of justice toward others.”
  • The sacrament of Extreme Unction will have to be renamed, to emphasize comfort in sickness. But “we will have to see to it that the notion of eternal life, judgment, Heaven, Purgatory or Hell be replaced by the sole desire to be cured.”
  • Finally, all emphasis should be put on the goodness of God: “Many are well disposed to believe that the goodness of God surpasses every offense. All we have to do is to insist on this goodness. A God whom no one fears quickly becomes a God about whom no one thinks.”

Carré’s novel is, in many respects, just one more contribution to our repertoire of conspiracy theories. However, a conspiracy theory is not necessary to explain many post-Vatican-II developments that are thorns in the side of traditionalists. For example, the substitution of “conscience” for the teaching magisterium can be traced to the hundreds of theologians signing a protest to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on contraception in the New York Times, followed up by thousands of priests and bishops.

The changes in the Mass and Sacraments can be traced to emphasis by scripture scholars on restoring the “Lord’s Supper” and other usages as described in the New Testament writings, before altars, churches, statues, etc. existed; the vernacular Mass was a response to complaints about lack of participation in the Latin Mass; and of course, the civil rights movement of the sixties, and collective guilt for eras of segregation, has led to the perception that social justice must be emphasized above all.

The Soviets engineered incredible evils in the twentieth century, but these ecclesiastical developments seem to have emerged within the Church, without their assistance.

        GIVE to support TCT 

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz, Emeritus Professor at Marquette University, is the author of twenty-five books on German philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, and religion, and over a hundred articles in scholarly journals, print magazines, online magazines, and op-eds. He was a recipient of an NEH fellowship for 1977-8, and Fulbright fellowships in Germany for 1980-1 and 1987-8. His website is at Marquette University.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    I believe the greatest change over the past 50 years has been the lack of emphasis on the interior life.
    Abbé Henri Brémond used to recommend only two books to the many would-be converts who came to him seeking instruction – the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Introduction à la vie devote of St François de Sales. He often quoted Pascal’s “Voilà ce que c’est que la foi parfaite, Dieu sensible au cœur » [This, then, is perfect faith: God felt in the heart.]

    “In the course of the normal development of man,” says Bremond, “there occur moments in which the discursive reason gives place to a higher activity, imperfectly understood and indeed at first disquieting.” Perhaps, that is why we have grown afraid of it.

  • Jacob

    Another brilliant article on TCT that won’t be seen by one one hundredth of the readers who live off less healthy news sources like the Atlantic, NYT, etc.

    But I suppose it makes sense that it’s not easy to civilize one’s self in an age of barbarians.

  • Manfred

    “…thorns in the side of traditionalists.” Thank you for your oblique reference to Bella Dodd and her testimony of decades ago. Traditional Catholicism is either True (i.e., of Divine origin) or it is false. The Catholism which followed the Council is either True or it is false. You lay out very clearly, Howard, the Post-Vat. II Church complete with its thinking and physical attributes. However, you left out two realities allowed by the new Catholicism which will never be allowed by the traditionalists: The fifty-five million Americans murdered in their mothers’ wombs with the encouragement of the U.S. Government often comprised of Catholic politicians, and the placing of an erect penis by one man in the rectum or mouth of another man constitutes a lawful marriage. My apologies for my bluntness but it is past time for us to put the toys away.

  • Amy

    Manfred, bluntness appreciated; too bad our politicians and journalists do not share your gift.

  • Warren Memlib

    If theologians protested Humanae Vitae, if liturgical changes can be traced to scripture scholars, and if priests participated in the civil rights movement, why can’t they be part of the other 1024?

  • DS

    Another column completely devoid of hope. This is the mindset I would have imagined the Apostles being in after the crucifixion but before Jesus appeared to them after rising from the dead.

    We celebrated the mystery and reality of Pentecost just last Sunday, and now just days later revert to the habit of wallowing in conspiracy theories that sometimes border on paranoia. And we wonder why non-believers aren’t drawn to the Church?

  • Sue

    “..these ecclesiastical developments seem to have emerged within the Church, without their assistance.” The author provides no support for this claim.

  • Howard Kainz

    @Manfred: Regarding abortion and sodomy, I have argued in previous columns that these are inevitable corollaries of the separation of sexuality and procreation in contraception.
    @DS: I dismissed this conspiracy theory as paranoia. Did you read to the end?
    @Sue: I gave examples in the final paragraphs of how these developments emerged without assistance of Soviet agents, etc.

  • Jack,CT

    Very thoughtful and well written,thanks for a great read!

  • Manfred

    @Howard: Thank you for your reply to me, but your answer again leaves out too much evidence. If you read among progressive Catholic publications you will notice the term “new” Magisterium. That is my beginning point above.
    Which Magisterium is the one we should obey? The new Magisterium has allowed contraception for over forty years as the dissenters to Humanae Vitae were so large in number they created a “dual magisterium” which condones contraception and allows sodomites to “marry”. The failures of the Church to correct this confusion and instead to allow these heretical/heterodox ideas to flourish are the reasons why our lives as both Catholics and Americans will be polluted by these vices now rampant in our culture. The blame rests fully on the recent popes and the hierarchy. The Church just cannot rid itself of the strong stench of homosexuality among Its ordained members and this failure will destroy all the Church touches.

  • DS

    Howard, Thanks for the reply. I indeed read to the end. There was a lukewarm “a conspiracy theory is not needed…” but my broader comment about the mindset still stands:

    Where is hope? Where is the fire and zeal of Pentecost amid the litany of woes?

  • Howard Kainz

    @Manfred: I don’t follow that “new” Magisterium, and I think most people, even outside the Church, know the Church’s position. But the problem is on the ground level — it takes courage for a pastor to preach against contraception or sodomy. In my area, I have never heard this “counter-cultural” message from the pulpit. But I occasionally read messages on this website indicating that other areas are more orthodox.

  • Maggie-Louise

    ” but these ecclesiastical developments seem to have emerged within the Church,”

    Out of what? Sui generis? spontaneous generation? something from nothing? out of the air? This remark bears a striking resemblance to the ever popular “mistakes were made.”

    Even if these ideas were popular in the general population, some one had to have introduced them to the Church? Someone, some person, or some persons had to have introduced them, cultivated them, developed them, adapted them to Catholic culture using Catholic language, and spread them around in Catholic circles.

    The one question I remember from my only philosophy class many years ago is “how do you know what you know?” It’s a good question to keep in mind.

  • Howard Kainz

    @Maggie-Louise: I suggested some answers to your question in the last three paragraphs.

  • Sue

    > There is excellent evidence the Rockefeller/eugenicists were behind those theologians. They didn’t just line up by themselves. Soviets? maybe, maybe not but there had to have been something motivating those theologians to go rogue.

    > There is ample evidence of Communist churning along these lines. Also, the “civil rights” bill also brought women’s liberation into being, mother of the contraceptive pill, grandmother of abortion, and great-grandmother of IVF.

    All of these harms to the families are on Marx’s checklist. But nothing to see here, just spontaneous combustion, as Maggie Louise puts forward.

    Google Yuri Bezmenov for a bonechilling video. “A WARNING from ex-KGB communist defector Yuri Bezmenov from *29 YEARS AGO*, detailing the 4 stages of a Marxist-Leninist revolution and taking over a nation. Watch this at your own risk, as your bones will literally begin to freeze as you start to realize he is describing EXACTLY what is happening today almost to the letter.”

    There is an excellent debate on the NWO, google it: ” Inter-American Institute’s President, Olavo de Carvalho, and leader of the International Eurasian Movement, Alexandr Dugin, started a written debate on the topic “The USA and the New World Order.” Dugin is a Russian (Putin) advisor; Putin is (at least former if not current) KGB.

    Whether we call it Communism, Globalism, Plutocracy, it’s a plan that’s been kept operating for a century, and that qualifies it for the title “conspiracy”. If that makes me a nut, so be it (for Christ). I’m in good company condemning the errors of Russia.

  • Bill and Annie Hocter

    In regard to previous comments. We had an excellent homily by Father Cummings at ST Mary’s in Fredericksburg today that touched on the sanctity of marriage between man and woman and noting that this includes handing one’s fertility to God. The Church moves slowly but it is happening. Keep the faith.

  • John McCarthy

    Howard, I thank you for your thoughtful and, I believe, constructive essay, but I, like others, urge you (and above all, urge myself) to try to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the theological virtue of hope.

  • Address Generic

    Typical denial of traditional TRUTH, and more conciliar bull, from another Jesuit-supporting liberal overpaid edumacator who wouldn’t recognize real Catholicism and TRUTH if it bit him on his hypocritical fat a$$. Note the last four letters of conciliar spell LIAR.

  • Address Generic

    Typical denial of traditional TRUTH, and more conciliar bull, from another Jesuit-supporting liberal overpaid edumacator who wouldn’t recognize real Catholicism and TRUTH if it bit him on his hypocritical fat a$$. Note the last four letters of conciliar spell LIAR.

  • Address Generic

    Typical denial of traditional TRUTH, and more conciliar bull, from another Jesuit-supporting liberal overpaid edumacator who wouldn’t recognize real Catholicism and TRUTH if it bit him on his hypocritical fat a$$. Note the last four letters of conciliar spell LIAR.