Brexit as a Spiritual Question (2): The Continental/Catholic Dimension

This article was first published in New View magazine, Issue 91 April-June 2019

My previous article for New View: “Brexit as a Spiritual Question: Why the EU is the Wrong Direction for Europe and the Modern Age”, was intended as the first of a series of three articles looking at the origins of the EU. It considered those origins in terms of one of the two elitist streams mentioned that have been active in guiding the EU project into existence and maintaining and developing it since the 1950s, namely, the Anglo-American stream. This second article will focus on the other stream, the continental, largely Catholic stream, while the third and final article will present some of my own thoughts and observations on the Brexit crisis and on the way forward for Britain and Europe in the context of the contemporary world situation.

A key to understanding the emergence of the EU, from an anthroposophical perspective, can be found in ancient Rome and in its relation to Egypt and the Near East.  A profound symbol and symptom of this historical and cultural shift can be seen in the words of Pontius Pilate -  “Ecce Homo” (Behold the man!) when he presented Jesus Christ to the crowd after Jesus had been scourged, and he then stood there between, on the one hand, Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, a representative, one could say, of the entire world of Asiatic theocracy stretching back for millennia into the past, and on the other hand, Pontius Pilate himself, the representative of the military and political power of the new age – Rome and its then ruler, the Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD),  who was himself regarded as a god. In this very scene, which culminated in the demand from Caiaphas, the priests and the crowd to “Crucify him!” and then the decision of Pilate, no doubt with his Emperor’s will in mind, to execute that demand, which led to the Crucifixion itself on Golgotha (the Place of the Skull), we can sense a supreme world-historical moment: the central axial point of a colossal historical lemniscate. The age of Asia’s predominance in Eurasia ends, and the age of Europe begins.

Just as Cleopatra of Egypt married Julius Caesar and after her, something of the old world of Egypt and the Near East increasingly entered into Rome, and the austere Roman Republican virtues  changed over time into a decadent, chaotic Empire. When we look at the Roman Empire therefore, we can see two elements within it: the Roman Republican spirit, which carried the new and proper development of the Greco-Roman epoch: the development out of the old tribal and class-based society, and into personal life by individuals capable of thinking for themselves, and  the personality per se in law and in the arts, and secondly, on the other hand, there was also the older Asiatic cultural and religious spirit that increasingly became associated with the Empire and which was rooted in the pre-Greco-Roman period (i.e. pre-8th cent. BC) . Eventually, the tension between these two cultural strands grew so great that the Empire was divided by the Emperors into two halves, East and West. The centrifugal, personalising tendencies in the western Roman Empire finally led to its collapse in 476 AD and it was overrun by barbarian tribes, while the centripetal, more collectivist tendencies in the eastern Roman Empire, identified with Constantinople (Byzantium), ensured its survival but in an increasingly decadent and corrupt manner. Rotting slowly from within, it managed to survive and continued for a thousand years before finally submitting to the Muslim Ottoman Turks in 1453.

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The Roman spirit

In the West, the heritage of the Roman Empire was assumed by the Roman Catholic Church and in that Church we see the same two elements, the centripetal, collectivist pre-Roman and the centrifugal, more personal, more intellectual Greco-Roman element still today. We see the magnificent intellectual and organisational achievements of the Church over the past 1700 years, which are the result of the proper developmental path of the Greco-Roman epoch, when human beings learned to think for themselves as individual persons rather than having others think for them, whether those others were gods, gurus, social leaders, heads of family or finally, church leaders. This tension between personal thinking and collective feeling we can see clearly in the disputes between Christians, Christian leaders and the hierarchy of the Church until the Reformation in the 16th century. Individual saints, scholars and mystics seeking to think and experience for themselves had frequent difficulties with bishops and Popes who sought to impose uniform doctrines and dogma from on high in the name of the unity of the ekklesia. Here was the clash between the individual seeking to think for himself and, on the other hand, the leaders of the ancient collective who insist on thinking for him, insist on uniformity and unity of thought, feeling and behaviour, a collective harmony which is seen as an earthly reflection of an imagined spiritual unity and hierarchy. This latter impulse was that of the pre-Greco-Roman times, when emphasis was laid in communal life on harmony of social feeling. At a time when human beings were trying to develop their feeling life which could easily become wild and chaotic, the spiritual leaders, who were the few really able to think for themselves, sought to bring harmony into their communities’ feelings. Accordingly, in those times in ancient Asia, individual tendencies in thought and feeling were regarded as selfishness, a great sin.  We can see in the competent administrative structure of the Roman Catholic Church the heritage of the Roman administration and army. But this administrative bureaucratic heritage includes the habit of obedience to superiors, and this resulted in the insistence on authority, a hangover from the old theocratic habits of the previous age. Authority, now buttressed by the new intellectual and logical achievements of the Roman and mediaeval epoch, became a central tenet of the Roman Catholic Church and from this authority came religious dogma and the demand for obedience to that dogma.

So within itself, the Roman Catholic Church included the heritage of the Roman Empire in its intellectual and administrative habits, which stemmed from the Greco-Roman time but it also included, in the absolute supremacy of the ‘pharaonic’ Papacy, the spiritual and temporal ruler, and in the Church’s ritual and social aspects, for example in its Mass and sacraments, elements of the Mystery teachings of the pre-Greco-Roman epoch.1 Influences from the past to the future seem to be passed on in history in two basic ways, either linearly, from one generation to another, or through impulses carried by reincarnating individuals: we can imagine a solid vertical straight line representing sociohistorical time from generation to generation that is intersected at points by a dotted, curved line that moves to the right and left crossing the straight line. This wave-like line represents the impulses of reincarnating individuals, souls who, for example, reappear in the 19th, 20th or 21st centuries bearing strong impulses from previous lives in ancient Rome, Egypt or earlier epochs. When we consider the second of the two elitist streams that have the contributed to the European Union project, namely, the continental/Catholic stream, the stream that relates directly to the inspiration of “Rome”, we can recognise those who clearly have in their souls something that harks back to the Roman impulse, whether it be to the time of the Roman Empire, of the Holy Roman Empire (800-1806) founded by Charlemagne, or of the Roman Catholic Church itself throughout the ages. Or else they may relate to something within the Roman imperial or Catholic impulse  – as distinct from the Roman republican and pre-Christian ethos of Rome’s first eight centuries – something that is even older than Rome, something that comes from an earlier epoch, from the ancient East.

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Joseph de Maistre
An individual who, arguably, stands at the beginning – along the long straight line of historical influence – not only of authoritarian, counter-revolutionary and extreme right-wing thought in general but also of one of the main such streams  – it could be called the elitist continental/Catholic stream – that led to the EU is Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821)(see pic. above). In a lecture of 1 May 1921 (Collected Works GA 204) Rudolf Steiner gives a brilliant depiction of what lived in him that is profound and penetrating. A native of Savoy, France, by birth, he was a Freemason in his youth, but then as a diplomat, in 1802 he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, by which time, having experienced something of what the French Revolution had brought about, and which he abhorred, he had become a fanatical supporter of the Vatican. Reacting vehemently against the impulses of the French Revolution, de Maistre looked back to what he saw as the origins of the revolutionary disease and claimed to find them in the Protestant Reformation and its rebellion against the authority of the Pope and the Church.

De Maistre’s traditionalist authoritarianism would have a considerable influence on political philosophy on the continent in the 19th and 20th centuries, but Steiner saw in him something deeper than just an ultramontane Catholic thinker, supporter of ‘throne and altar’ and propagandist against Protestantism, Enlightenment and Freemasonry. De Maistre had a considerable influence on the emergence of the traditionalist idea of Pan-Slavism2 during and after the time he was in Russia, and this is a clue, because Steiner says3 that “he tried to bring about the great fusion between the element living in the Oriental manner of thinking in Russian culture, and the element coming from Rome” and hints, moreover, that  in him was something of “the obsolete, archaic light of Ormuzd” (the ancient Iranian deity, Ahura Mazda) “the Roman principles of initiation that express themselves like a continuing Ormuzd worship…he [de Maistre]  tried to extinguish everything  existing since the 15th century. He longed to return to ancient times. Thus he acquired his particular view of the Christ, a view that possessed something of the ancient Yahweh, indeed of the old pagan gods, for he really went back to the cult of Ormuzd.” There is a deep relationship between Russian and Slavic culture and that of ancient Iran which affects the Slavic languages and Slavic spiritual concepts. It was facilitated by the ancient Scythian peoples who roamed the steppes between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea between the 9th century BC and the 4th century AD. Both the ancient Iranians (Zoroastrians) and the Slavs, especially the eastern Slavs, have a strong consciousness of the struggle between spiritual light and material darkness. De Maistre saw in materialist Anglo-saxon culture, and especially in the philosophy of John Locke (1632-1704) the devil incarnate; he regarded it as the priests of ancient Persia, of Ahura Mazda, regarded the spirit of lies and darkness – Ahriman.4 For this Anglo-saxon culture was for de Maistre the embodiment of the evil principle that had been opposing the Papacy and the Church since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Steiner’s view of de Maistre was very nuanced; he sought to describe him, not judge him. He recognised the brilliance of his writings but saw that the impulse he stood for was archaic in the modern age. “One must be aware,” says Steiner, “that there really exist people who are gaining influence today  and are on the verge now of winning back their influence over European civilisation, who are definitely inspired by that spirituality that de Maistre represented on the highest level.”5 And on 11 April 1924 (GA 270 Vol. 1) Steiner said: “Those who represent the principle of the Roman Church will do what they can in the near future to make the single States of the former German Empire autonomous and out of these autonomous States… to re-establish the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation6 which naturally…will seek to extend its power over the neighbouring lands roundabout.  For – so say those involved – it is necessary for us by this means to root out thoroughly the worst, most dangerous movements that exist today. And – these people add – if the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation were not to be successfully achieved, and it will be successful – so these people say – if it were not achieved, then we shall find other means to root out thoroughly the most contrary, dangerous movements of the present time, and those are the anthroposophical movement and the movement for religious renewal.”7

Synarchy and Saint-Yves d’Alveydre

Those seeking to win back their influence over European civilisation were, for example, aristocrats who had lost out when empires crashed at the end of the First World War, people who felt that after the catastrophe of the First World War Europe could only be saved by returning to the sources of European tradition and hierarchy, and those sources are very deep; they reach back to the medieval Papacy, to the Roman Empire and far beyond. Such authoritarian ideas inspired aristocratic and right-wing circles across the continent in the interwar period, appealing also to men in the clergy, the military and industry. These ‘new’ authoritarian, totalitarian ideas bonded modern technocratic and managerial systems-based thinking with concepts of authority, hierarchy and collective unity, often allied to, or collaborating with, the Roman Catholic Church (in Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, France, Belgium and also Mexico). Those with such ideas regarded the bourgeois, middle-class individualism and parliamentarianism of the 19th century as decadent, divisive and destructive of social order and true culture. To what they held to be the anarchy of democracy that had been bred in Freemasonic England and unleashed by the French and Russian Revolutions, they counterposed a body of ideas that can be called ‘synarchy’.

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Synarchy was a ‘philosophy’ first proclaimed by a man who looked back, even further than de Maistre, to a very ancient Asian theocracy – the French occultist Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre (1842-1909)(left) . He had studied the writings of de Maistre in his youth, as well as those of the Christian theosophist Fabre d’Olivet (1767-1825) and had received a kind of initiation from a Central Asian mystic, Haji Sharif, in 1885. Saint-Yves claimed that Synarchy, which he held to be the polar opposite of the anarchy of the French Revolution, had been the harmonious form of social order practised thousands of years ago in central Asia and which was needed to restore order to the chaotic modern age. It saw a ‘natural hierarchy’ in everything, and society was intended to be organised on this principle at all levels. Saint-Yves introduced the concept of synarchy in his very first book Keys to the East (Clefs de l’Orient) (1877), along with his advocacy of a politically united Europe. In the 1880s and 1890s St.Yves had some success in getting a hearing for his ideas in elite business and political circles in France, but with the new century his influence faded and he died in 1909.  His ideas, however, were recognised by another French occultist, his friend Papus (real name Gérard Encausse, 1865-1916)(above right), as his ‘intellectual master’. A teacher of an irregular form of the occult-philosophical stream known as ‘Martinism’8, Papus was identified by Steiner as a dangerous and unethical occultist9, and he played a not insignificant role in the preparations for the First World War (through his involvement in helping to cement the Franco-Russian Alliance against Germany). After Papus’ death in 1916, his followers split into two groups, one of which (the Martinist and Synarchic Order) eventually developed an occult political movement based on the traditionalist, authoritarian and hierarchical concepts first elaborated by Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, including his advocacy of a United States of Europe. These people sought to infiltrate their ideas into the political elites of France and other European countries and take over the control of government with the idea of first France, then Europe, and then the world. Synarchist ideas permeated the francophone world in the 1930s and 40s. Many highly-placed industrialists, businessmen, intellectuals, military officers and civil servants, especially of the younger generation, inclined to Synarchy.

Two of the most active Synarchists were the businessman Jean Coutrot and the esotericist  Vivian Postel du Mas and his partner Jeanne Canudo, who was active in setting up youth groups to mobilise for a United States of Europe and who had her own wide network of contacts in the French elite. Coutrot wrote a manifesto called the Synarchist Pact, which had 13 points and 598 propositions and argued for “a revolution from above”. The goal was world Synarchy under an elite-ruled world government, the Major Society of Nations, and under this would be five continental or regional federations, one of which would be ‘Eurafrica’, beginning with a ‘Union Européenne’ (European Union). The Synarchists were no mere bunch of student radicals; they had connections, allies, and sympathisers throughout urban French society spanning both Left and Right, socialists, monarchists and fascists. Postel du Mas and Canudo had links to members of the elite such as Jean Monnet and Coudenhove-Kalergi (see below) who were deeply committed to a united European state. First-hand corroboration of their activities can be found in the autobiography of the publisher Maurice Girodias, who was a member of the Postel du Mas group in the 1930s.10

While some Syncharchists were nationalistic esotericists, most were very Catholic, extremely anti-Communist and they were also modernist technocrats in industrial and business affairs, very much aware of the challenge of American scientific managerialism. As such modernists, conscious of the great industrial projects in the USA and USSR, they were drawn to grand economic plans (le ‘planisme’) and technocratic dirigisme of the kind that was generally fashionable in the period 1920-1970 and which would become so evident in France post-1945 and in the EU project in the second half of the 20th century. Jean Monnet was such a man. From these circles came at least three attempted coups in France between 1928 and 1937 and a number of vicious terrorist groups allied to the Synarchists, the most notorious of which was the monarchist and traditionalist Secret Committee of Revolutionary Action, known as La Cagoule (The Hood, 1935-41) with which the young François Mitterand was associated, though probably not an actual member, before his ‘conversion’ to socialism during the war. Elite Synarchist circles collaborated tightly with the Nazi collaborationist Vichy French regime during the Second World War. Indeed, the Vichy regime was suffused with Synarchists.

Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and Paneuropa

Bankers and technocrats in those days envisaged replacing the rule of nation states by their own global governance through international organisations.11 This is an important point to grasp. From the mid-17th century until the First World War the middle classes in Europe had gradually been taking power from the aristocracies and the clergy that had previously wielded it for a thousand years. In anthroposophical terms this great historical development was the result of the growing individual consciousness in modern mankind since the 15th century. The old aristocratic, clerical and military forces resisted with all their might but by the late 19th century the democratic and individualised forces had advanced to the point where the working classes and peasants too demanded equal rights. At this point elitist groups were forced to come up with newer forms of resistance than suppression by police and military or by gradual accommodation as in the English-speaking countries. They developed ‘new’ concepts of society and statehood (‘Christian Democratic’ parties, Fascism, Synarchy, Technocracy); they developed techniques of mind control of the new urban masses through mass media and propaganda. Acting through the media, they argued that nation state democracy was incapable of dealing with the complex problems of the modern world and that these issues were best dealt with supranational bodies of experts and technocrats meeting undisturbed by the public. It was out of this kind of elitist thinking that bodies such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, the EEC and later the EU all emerged – from the world of the ‘think tanks’ that started to grow just after the First World War.

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Jean Monnet was a supreme operator in this elite world, but also very effective within it was Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972)(pic. above). He was one of those working, in the sense Steiner indicated (see above), “to re-establish the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation which…will seek to extend its power over the neighbouring lands”, and the Paneuropa movement that he founded, which still exists, was headed after his death in 1972 by Otto von Habsburg, the son of the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary (1912-2011). Born an Austro-Hungarian aristocrat to a father of very mixed European lineage and a mother of bourgeois Japanese origin, Coudenhove-Kalergi was a Catholic and, in the early 1920s, a Freemason, and in his 1923 book Paneuropa he argued for a European Union and launched his Paneuropean Union movement  to campaign for this. It was widely supported by Masonic lodges across Europe as well as by numerous political and cultural luminaries.12

Coudenhove-Kalergi wanted a United States of Europe that would (1) not include Britain and Russia (2) be based essentially on Roman Catholic spirituality (3) have a new population and a new elite. “The Eurasian-negroid race of the future”, he wrote, “similar in appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with the diversity of personalities.”13  While Coudenhove-Kalergi envisaged that the white native population of Europe would be replaced by a “Eurasian-negroid race”, he was far from anti-semitic; on the contrary, he greatly esteemed Jews, whom he regarded as a new “spiritual nobility”, and wanted them to intermarry with the old European aristocracy to create a new European nobility. Indeed, his first wife, Ida Roland, was Jewish. He was a believer in eugenics, as were many in western elites and intellectual circles on both left and right between the wars and wrote: “Socialism, which started with the abolition of the nobility, with the levelling of mankind, will culminate in the breeding of nobility, in the differentiation of humanity. Here, in social eugenics, is the highest historical mission, which is not yet recognised today: to move from unjust inequality through equality to equitable inequality, on the ruins of all the pseudo-aristocracy, to a real, new nobility.”14 No doubt because of his extreme philo-Jewish views, it is not surprising that he drew support from Jewish circles. In his autobiography (1966, A Life for Europe) he wrote: “At the beginning of 1924, we received a call from Baron Louis de Rothschild; one of his friends, Max Warburg from Hamburg, had read my book and wanted to get to know us. To my great surprise, Warburg spontaneously offered us 60,000 gold marks, to tide the movement over for its first three years…Max Warburg, who was one of the most distinguished and wisest men that I have ever come into contact with, had a principle of financing these movements. He remained sincerely interested in Pan-Europe for his entire life. Max Warburg arranged my 1925 trip to the United States to introduce me to Paul Warburg and financier Bernard Baruch.”

Coudenhove-Kalergi’s campaign was supported from 1930 by a good friend of Bernard Baruch’s, Winston Churchill, and while the campaign ran out of steam because of the Depression, Hitler’s takeover in Germany and the Second World War, Coudenhove-Kalergi spent the war years in the USA, where he made many useful friends in high places that enabled him to continue his campaign after the defeat of Germany. He linked up with Churchill in Switzerland in 1946 to relaunch the drive for a united Europe. In the late 1940s, however, the Paneuropa movement was edged out of the running for a European Union by the machinations of Jean Monnet, who was given the greater backing by Anglo-American elites because Monnet’s focus was creating a European Union through economic means rather than the cultural, political and parliamentary methods favoured by Coudenhove-Kalergi, and by that time Monnet had far more influential friends in Anglo-American circles than Coudenhove-Kalergi. Nevertheless, Coudenhove-Kalergi and his Paneuropa movement continued to play a not insignificant role in connecting the Catholic wing of the united Europe impulse to the Anglo-American one. He was able to provide some of the important symbology of the emerging united Europe: the impulse for the EU flag and the anthem – Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” music from his 9th Symphony – both stemmed from Paneuropa, as did the drive for a European Parliament. And even as late as 1989, it was the Paneuropa movement that sponsored the ‘picnic’ event on 19 August that year on the Austria-Hungary border when the Hungarian government opened the border to Austria for thousands of East Germans. This led directly to the opening of the Iron Curtain (11 September) by the Hungarian government and the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November. The patrons of the picnic were Paneuropa’s leader, Otto von Habsburg, and Imre Pozsgay of the Hungarian government.

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One of Steiner’s closest esoteric pupils, Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz (pic above), a landowner and former army officer, had very insightful, prescient and forthright views about what his fellow Austro-Hungarian aristocrat Count Coudenhove-Kalergi was engaged in; he wrote in his newspaper, The Austrian Messenger, which he edited and published in Vienna in the 1920s: “the concept of what lies behind [Paneuropa] is highly significant for it is using the author [Coudenhove-Kalergi] as a tool to help prepare what the Anglo-Americans want and need. The focus of the whole proposal lies in a Pan-european military organisation with a central defence system directed against the East. It has been correctly foreseen, and almost anyone today can realise that if Europe does not wake up, the East [i.e. Soviet Bolshevism] will flood in. The Russians are indeed no longer much to fear, but the Bolshevism which has proceeded from the materialist, monist thinking of the West has opened the door to the Mongol spirit. The Russians will, for the time being, have a long sleep under the ice sheet of this Bolshevism and will awaken later to a spiritual culture […] Through Coudenhove’s proposed Pan-european militarism, Europe will not be able to help itself  and others, but America needs the Middle European battleground and Middle European soldiers for its struggle against Asia, which, however, will bring as little decisive cultural change as the First World War….Europe needs something other than this proposal in order to renew itself and its culture, therefore this proposal cannot be regarded as European.”15

In our current new ‘Cold War’ tensions between the USA and Russia and China, with the EU under Macron and Merkel making ever more centralist plans and becoming, via NATO and its own European military organisation, ever more closely integrated with American strategies against Russia and China, Polzer-Hoditz’s words seem very prescient indeed. What he argued Europe needs is not a new Holy Roman Empire allied to the USA, but a European association of autonomous states based on the realities of social threefolding i.e. cultural freedom for individuals, political autonomy for peoples, and economic  cooperation and brotherhood among all Europeans and indeed all human beings, since we live in a global economy. Instead, those following the line of Coudenhove-Kalergi – and the Belgian Herman van Rompuy (first president of the European Council 2009-2014, Donald Tusk’s predecessor) is one of them16 – seek a single Europe with a single set of educational standards and of cultural values led by Rome, a single military directed against the East and tightly linked to that of the USA, and a single market and protectionist economy. In short, they seek a unitary super-nation state, consisting of an artificial demos (a European Parliament without any real power) and an artificial super-nation, demographically reordered through migration, eugenically selected along Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Eurasian-Egyptian lines and governed by his ‘new’ Euro-Jewish aristocracy. It is intended to be a more efficient version of the Holy Roman Empire, which was opposed both to ‘populist’ Protestants and ‘heretical’ Orthodox and eventually to be governed by a single president, spiritually ‘assisted’ by the Pope, just as in the Middle Ages, when the Holy Roman Empire had two ‘heads’ – Emperor and Pope.

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Le Cercle

With such ends in mind, three groups in Catholic circles in Europe were fiercely and understandably opposed to Communism: the Church, Catholic business circles and Catholics in the military and intelligence services. All three groups had many connections to the old European aristocracy, and all of them therefore had a great interest in promoting European unity both to continue the old Roman Catholic impulse in Europe, with its traditional connections to conservative circles, and to keep Communism at bay, which would threaten all of them.17 Therefore, out of such generally right-wing Catholic and technocratic circles in France, Europe’s largest country, there emerged in 1952/53, soon after the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community by Jean Monnet in 1950/51 (the first major step in the European Union project) the group of elitists known as Le Cercle, or Le Cercle Pinay, headed by the lawyer and intelligence agent Jean Violet and Antoine Pinay (1891-1994)(pic. above) the Prime Minister of France in 1952, Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany and Franz-Josef Strauss, the leading Bavarian politician – all fervent Catholics. Violet was a member of the Synarchist-aligned La Cagoule in the 1930s. Otto von Habsburg was also a major figure in Le Cercle from the beginning. Le Cercle became the Catholic counterpart of the transatlantic Anglo-American-dominated Bilderberg Group (founded 1954) and has always had a considerable number of Opus Dei18 members in its meetings. These two groups, Le Cercle and Bilderberg, have “overseen” what became the EU project from the early 1950s onwards until today. The two men who bridged the two groups in the 1950s were the French businessman Jean Monnet (1888-1979) and the Polish political agent, Józef Retinger (1888-1960)(pic. below) who brought the Bilderberg group together under the leadership of his friend, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, in 1952-54 (see pic below of Retinger and Prince Bernhard at Bilderberg in 1954). Monnet came from a French Freemasonic and pro-transatlantic business background, while Retinger’s career was launched by the very well-connected Polish aristocrat Count Władysław Zamoyski, a friend of the General of the Jesuit Order, Count Ledowchowski, to whom he introduced Retinger in 1916.19

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Whereas Bilderberg has brought together politicians, industrialists, trade unionists, scholars, and media people and other eminent public figures, and is especially concerned to advance European unity within the context of the transatlantic relationship, Le Cercle meetings include more bankers, diplomats and military and intelligence officers and were originally, until the 1990s, more focused than Bilderberg on anti-Communism and relations with the Catholic Church and Catholic military and chivalric orders such as SMOM, (The Sovereign Military Order of Malta).20 Both Bilderberg and Le Cercle meetings are held in secret and never reported on in the mainstream media until after 9/11 when alternative media reporters began online exposés of Bilderberg, which has since become slightly more open about its operations. Le Cercle, however, remains virtually invisible to the public, although in recent years a few investigators have been able to reveal some helpful information about it.21 In 1980 there was a significant exposé of some of its operations by a German intelligence officer Hans Langemann22 and it has since become clear that over the decades Le Cercle has been involved in some very dark operations indeed in Europe, Africa and S. America: coups, drugs and arms dealing, ‘false flag’ terrorism, political subversion and propaganda, assassinations. The list goes on. But always, its goals were clear: to fight Communism and facilitate the unification of Europe in the interests of very conservative and mostly Catholic elites. Its network of contacts links it with the conservative Heritage Foundation in the USA, with Opus Dei, with hard-Right groups in Spain, Portugal and Argentina and, inevitably, the Mafia. Le Cercle then, was and is a hard-Right, mostly pro-Catholic group of Cold War warriors and European unification advocates that, amongst other things, acts as a link for the intelligence services of the West. The group also had strong ties with the Mont Pelerin Society founded in 1947 around the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) and his allies Ludwig von Mises, Frank Knight, Milton Friedman, and the philosopher Karl Popper.  From this fiercely anti-socialist economics group would come the neoliberal ideas of capitalism that dominated the 1980s and 90s under Thatcher and Reagan. From the 1980s, with Britain now a member of the European Economic Community (EEC), the British managed to take over the leadership of Le Cercle through the former intelligence agent Brian Crozier, and the British Tory MP Julian Amery. From the 1990s and the end of the Soviet threat, in spite of the increased British influence within the Le Cercle, the group now became more hostile to British membership of the EU. This shift in allegiances was also reflected in the Rothschild family.

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One part of the Rothschild family, led by the very pro-Zionist Baron Jacob Rothschild (English Rothschilds)(left above), has not been so well-disposed to British membership of the EU, while another part of the family, led by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (right above) (from the French branch of the family), who runs N. M. Rothschild & Sons, the family bank in London, and his American wife, Lynn Forrester de Rothschild, own a large slice of the pro-EU Economist magazine. They are more ‘globalist’-oriented, are very close to the Clintons and are very much in favour of British membership of the EU (see pic below. However, John Redwood M.P. and Lord Norman Lamont have both had long associations with N.M. Rothschild as directors but are very pro-Brexit; Lamont chaired Le Cercle from 1996-2008.23

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Sir Oliver Letwin M.P. (see pic. below right), also a former N. M. Rothschild director, is closer to Evelyn and Lynn de Rothschild and George Soros and is now anti-Brexit, though he was a Eurosceptic 20 years ago. Letwin has played a key role in the recent Brexit crisis in Parliament and in late March this year effected a constitutional ‘revolution’ in the UK Parliament by introducing an amendment that allowed the legislature to seize control of the Brexit process from the executive and another one, with the Blairite Labour M.P. Yvette Cooper (see pic. below left), to enable legislation to remove a ‘No Deal Brexit’, thus making a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ impossible. Another key figure in the current Brexit crisis, the Tory M.P. Dominic Grieve, recipient of the French Legion d’Honneur (see pic. below), chairs the powerful Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament, which oversees the intelligence services MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.24 On that same committee is Michael Ancram (see pic. below), 13th Marquess of Lothian, one of the UK’s premier Catholic noble families, and the non-lineal descendant of Philip Kerr, the 11th Marquess, who played such an important role in the Rhodes-Milner Round Table Group that I have discussed in previous issues of New View. Ancram was head of Le Cercle from 2008-2013.

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The Dutch independent researcher Joel van der Reijden has established that four of the six main financiers and funders of the pro-Brexit groups, from Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party in the 1990s to the financial backers of Brexit today, have deep ties to conservative intelligence circles (CIA, MI6, MI5)25 and thus to Le Cercle. This is not really surprising, as Brexiteers obviously include many nationalists and ‘old school’ patriots. However, both the Remain and Brexit camps include broad spectrums of opinion, and intelligence agencies, after all, tend to be conservative by default; it is their job to preserve and protect the existing system which, in Britain as elsewhere, is controlled by elites. Democracy is, as yet, no more truly genuine in western societies than are equal rights for women.

The Role of the Papacy

The Papacy was brought into the united Europe movement in the late 1940s: at the end of January 1948, Duncan Sandys, Churchill’s son-in-law who became head of the European Movement later that year, had an audience with Pope Pius XII, who “promised ‘to do whatever he could to guarantee for the efforts of the European Movement in various countries the benevolent support of the Catholic Church. He hosted a major congress of European federalists in Rome in September 1948. In 1955 the Council of Europe (an organisation that resulted from the efforts of the Paneuropa Union) chose its new flag, the ‘Marian’ circle of 12 stars on a dark blue background – a Roman Catholic image. This image, which has been ubiquitous across most EU countries since 1985, although it has never been officially adopted by the EU – was chosen by a Council of Europe committee on 8 Dec. 1955 – the date of the church’s celebration of the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was first promulgated on 8 Dec. 1854, and on 8 Dec. 1869 the dogma of Papal infallibility was proclaimed at the first Vatican Council. The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary into heaven was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII exercising his papal infallibility, on 1 Nov. 1950, several months after the presentation on 9 May 1950 of the Schuman Plan which launched the European Coal and Steel Community, the first major step in the EU project. Indeed, the Pope had declared 1950 to be a “Holy Year”(Jubilee). In 1950, “for the first time the leaders of Catholic organisations headed the French, Italian and German governments. The Christian Democratic political parties aroused hopes of a new Christianity. This movement arranged religious gatherings at which political action was planned. Vatican Europe, as it was called, became part of the political scene.”26 The Schuman Plan was not actually devised by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister and ardent Catholic, but by Jean Monnet; Schuman was just the front man for it, as Monnet preferred to work behind the scenes, as did Jozef Retinger. No-one knew this about the Plan’s origins at the time, however, as Monnet and Schuman had kept everything very secret. Schuman was later officially titled “The Father of Europe” and has been known as such in EU circles since then, and 9 May is now celebrated as ‘Europe Day’. But he was not the “Father of Europe”, or rather, of the EU – Monnet was. The paternity of the EU was a deception from the day of its very conception.

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Steiner said on 20 Jan. 1921: “the Catholic Church makes use of everything it has available to it, and is therefore now also using in its grand world political strategy, which sometimes has a genial tendency to it – genial in the sense that mankind is to become more and more bound by Rome’s fetters – it uses something like the nationalising of the Polish clergy; and Poland will become an essential part of the game that the Catholic Church is playing.27 In 1978 the world would witness, but not understand, the sudden death of Pope John Paul I on Michaelmas Day after only 33 days on the papal throne, and his replacement by the first ever Polish Pope, Pope John Paul II, and then in the early 1980s, collaboration between the Vatican and the White House via the Polish Pope, the Polish Catholic trade unionist Lech Walesa and the unusual number of Catholic officials around President Ronald Reagan. This collaboration between Rome and Washington continued the process begun by President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the American scion of a Polish Catholic family, that would bring down the Soviet Union in 1991 and open the way for the political unification of Europe through the Treaty of Maastricht (Dec. 1991 – Feb. 1992). The treaty created the basis of the current European Union.

One of the most dramatic examples of the Roman spirit working on the construction of the EU was the attempt to foist a Constitution for the new EU super-state onto the peoples of Europe in 2004, the single currency of the Euro having been foisted on them four years earlier, as laid down in the Maastricht treaty. On 29 October 2004 in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, a Renaissance palace on the site of the Capitol, in the very heart of ancient Rome, prime ministers and foreign ministers of all the then 25 EU member states trooped up two by two to a table below a massive statue of Pope Innocent X where they signed the Constitution document on behalf of their monarchs or presidents under Innocent’s outstretched gesture of blessing (see photo above). Tony Blair and Jack Straw signed for the UK. They all did so while music by J. S. Bach and by the Irish musician, Enya, a favourite of Pope John Paul II, was playing. After this, they went outside and had their photographs taken alongside a colossal sculpted head and broken arm of the Emperor Constantine, who fused the Christian church to the Roman State in the 4th century.