Pope Leo XIII’s pontificate did indict the Kabbalah

By Timothy Fitzpatrick
May 3, 2021 Anno Domini

In Michael Hoffman’s latest book, he implicates Pope Leo XIII in a centuries-long conspiracy by the papacy to hermeticize the Church through infusion with the Jewish Kabbalah.

Leo XIII, a favourite of traditional Catholics, is guilty because he did not include the Kabbalah in his exposure of Freemasonry in Papal Encyclical Humanum Genus, according to Hoffman in his 2017 book The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome.

“Both the New Age occultist, the Protestant Fundamentalist, and the ‘conservative’ Catholic believe that the Church of Rome in the Renaissance period under study, was the nemesis of all that Judaism represented, when in truth it was the vessel into which Judaism poured its Talmudic and Kabbalistic sorceries and iniquities,” writes Hoffman. 

After these had been fully absorbed into the corpus of the Church at the highest levels, only then did  the Renaissance and post-Renaissance pontiffs mount their theatre of ostentious ‘persecution’ of Judaics, which was still so much of a charade that when Pope Leo XIII issued his encyclical contra Freemasonry (Humanum Genus, 1884), he scrupulously omitted all mention of the Brotherhood’s most virulent source of inspiration and direction, the rabbinic Kabbalah.”

Hoffman essentially accuses Pope Leo XIII of gatekeeping for the Synagogue of Satan and their gnostic infiltration of the Vatican, which Hoffman pins as beginning sometime in the 15th century, or even before (I will do a full review of Occult Renaissance in the near future).

Speaking further on Humanum Genus, Hoffman writes,

“…the encyclical constitutes a colossal act of misdirection…millions of Catholics have been misdirected away from knowledge of the true root of the masonic order.”

But Hoffman is incorrect that Pope Leo’s pontificate gatekept for the Synagogue’s foundational occult book, the Kabbalah (also, Cabala). Sure, Leo XIII may have omitted the Kabbalah by name from Humanum Genus, but he attacked central themes of Kabbalah via Freemasonry. Furthermore, under Leo XIII, the papal-approved Jesuit periodical La Civilta Cattolica specifically named the Kabbalah six years after Leo XIII issued Humanum Genus.

“Thus, the bonds that unite modern Judaism to Freemasonry are now evident, and ought to put to rest any doubts. The study of the so-called Semitic question, in France, in Germany, in Italy, and elsewhere, once only able to be seen in the light of shadows, inscrutable, has now come out of the shadows. It is now known how the Talmudic Cabala was introduced into the rites, the mysteries, symbols, and allegories of Masonic degrees…everything in Freemasonry is ordained by a Jewish Sanhedrin….” The Jewish Question in Europe: The Causes, The Effects, The Remedies, La Civila Cattolica, Vol. VII, no. XIV, 1890 (English translation)

Quite emphatic. It seems that any of Humanum Genus’ alleged shortcomings were certainly fulfilled in The Jewish Question.

A bust of La Civilta Cattolica editor Matteo Liberatore.

Now, one may argue that the Jesuit periodical, then edited by Matteo Liberatore, was speaking out of line with the Papacy; however, at the time of this periodical it was generally perceived as being a voice of the Papacy. Speaking of La Civilta Cattolica, Pope Pius XI wrote, “…from the journal’s very beginning, the authors set for themselves that sacred and immutable duty of defending the rights of the Apostolic See and the Catholic faith….”, while historian Richard Webster described the journal as reflecting the views of the Pontiff.

Lastly, Leo XIII had requested an outline of his Rerum Novarum (the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour) from Liberatore, so clearly there was at least a professional relationship between the Pope and La Civilta Cattolica’s editor.

What seems more plausible than Hoffman’s thesis of gatekeeping is that Humanum Genus was placed as a stepping stone to the full truth revealed not only in La Civilta Cattolica’s The Jewish Question in Europe but also in Monsignor George F. Dillon’s The War of AntiChrist with the Church and Christian Civilization, delivered in Edinburg October, 1884, six months following Humanum Genus. It was later translated and renamed Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked As the Secret Power Behind Communism. The work, which was dedicated to Pope Leo XIII, devotes considerable time to exposing the Kabbalah (for example, in chapter VIII. Cabalistic Masonry or Masonic Spiritism).

“However, from the very beginning Freemasonry has had a kind of peculiar dark mysticism connected with it. It loves to revel in such mysteries as the secret conclaves that the Jews used to practise in the countries in which they were persecuted, and which were common among those unclean heretics, the Bulgarians, the Gnostics, the Albigenses, and the Waldenses,” writes Dillon.

The Irish Catholic missionary Dillon notes on page 20 in the original edition,

“The Jewish connection with modern Freemasonry is an established fact everywhere manifested in its history. The Jewish formulas employed by Freemasonry, the Jewish traditions which run through its ceremonial, point to a Jewish origin, or to the work of Jewish contrivers . . .”

Was Leo XIII gatekeeping when he had Dillon’s work published in Italian and in Rome at the Pope’s own expense? Hardly not. Pope Leo XIII signed a letter of endorsement for Dillon’s work, granted him the title of Monsignor, and made the him an official member of the Famiglia Pontificia (Pontifical Family).

If that weren’t enough to convince Leo XIII sceptics, consider that this Pope expanded on the Vatican’s book prohibitions (Index Expurgatorius) by going above and beyond Pope Pius IV’s previous prohibition on the Talmud and including with it “Cabalistic and other nefarious books of the Jews….”. Leo XIII’s revised index (Index Leonianus) was issued in 1897.

Hoffman may be correct that some post-Renaissance popes were double agents and/or gatekeepers, but it seems that, if true, Leo XIII was not one of them and was, instead, countering that infiltration of the Papacy, at least regarding Freemasonry, Jewry, and Kabbalah (Hoffman claims Leo XIII also gatekept for the usurers by not sealing up alleged loopholes for usury left by proceeding popes. Click here for my review of Hoffman’s book Usury in Christendom.).

Once again, we see with Michael Hoffman a tendency towards reductionism (see author Jude Duffy’s series on Hoffman) and apparent ongoing attempts to undermine the authority and holiness of the Roman Catholic Church. This is not to dismiss Hoffman’s overall analysis in the book of what he calls Hermetic, neo-platonic infiltration of the Papacy, but we will deal with that in my general review.


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