By Mary Polking, Columnist
Over spring break I took a bus down to a college town in South Carolina to visit my boyfriend – a two-and-a-half hour trip over badly paved South Carolinian highways, past knockoff Waffle House and nondenominational Christian churches, in a half-full Greyhound with no air conditioning. For those of you who haven’t traveled on a Greyhound bus before, it’s really an experience like no other. What’s the mysterious fluid in the seat next to you? Did anyone else see your driver run that red light just now? Who started the fight that made the bus 2 hours late to your stop, who ended it, and how many cops were required to break it up? You may never learn the answers to these questions, and that’s probably for the better. But as long as you keep to yourself and mind your own business, it’s not an unpleasant time.
Knowing I’d get bored staring out the window at the knockoff Waffle Houses and speculating about the mysterious fluid in the seat next to me for two and a half hours (pretty sure it was Arizona tea, judging from the empty bottle in the cupholder), I’d packed some reading for my trip: a book my mother had been talking about, although she hadn’t read, called AA-1025. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you haven’t. It’s a small, fairly old (early-to-mid 20th century) book, around 100 pages, with a strong claim: the Church has been infiltrated by Communist spies intent on tearing Catholicism apart from the inside.
The book was released by a French nurse and religious sister by the name of Marie Carré. According to the claims made in her introduction, a man critically injured in a car accident was brought to the hospital where she worked, and she cared for him until his death, trying her best to get to know him although he could not speak or communicate. When he died she discovered among his possessions a briefcase containing a hundred-page-or-so memoir of the man’s life, and this memoir is published as AA-1025: the story of the unnamed man who serves as the 1025th Anti-Apostle (hence the name) to infiltrate the Church as part of a Communist scheme to dismantle Her from the inside.
Let me tell you, this man is a trip. After a happy childhood in Poland with loving, caring parents, he finds out at age fourteen that he’s adopted and is so overcome with angst that he leaves Poland for Russia to become a Communist. In Russia, he hangs out with his friend’s cool uncle, who is also a Communist, and after six years of angst gets a job taking down the Catholic Church by becoming a priest so that he can pervert Catholic culture from the altar.
So our guy returns to his native Poland and tells dear old Mom and Pop – who are pretty stoked to learn that he’s still alive – that he intends to be a priest. When the local parish priest, described as a wise and well-loved man, senses that something is off and tells the man that his soul isn’t worthy of priesthood, AA-1025 kills him with the kung fu skills he apparently has (that he hasn’t mentioned until now), makes the death look like a heart attack, and goes on with his mission. He goes to seminary in Rome, where he’s super popular and first in all his classes. He confesses to every priest in the seminary that he’s secretly a Communist spy knowing they can’t snitch on him because they’re under the Seal of Confession (which, like every other facet of Catholicism, he thinks is stupid). In his downtime, he begins writing his own plans for the future of the Church – plans involving instating female priests, becoming more friendly to Protestants, and removing Catholic traditions like candles on the altar until the Mass becomes nothing more than a sort of family dinner. What’s funny is that a lot of the details of his plans are easily recognizable by us – things like Mass translations in the vernacular – as actions taken after Vatican II. In fact, the man talks about Communist influence in Vatican II, and plans for a Vatican III that destroys even more traditions.
In time dear old AA-1025 falls in love with a beautiful Catholic woman whom he tries and fails to convert to Communism, gets ordained and thereby loses his lady love forever, finds that she has joined a convent, which upsets him, and launches a movement to loosen up the rules of convents in the hopes of maybe one day seeing her again, and our story comes to an unhappy close with a brief afterward from Marie Carré herself. All in all, it touches all the bases of a great secret agent story: intelligent and capable hero, plan to take down a major worldwide organization, tragic backstory, tantalizing romance, and kung fu.
But that’s the thing. A story that great can’t possibly be true, can it?
The first few chapters I read with relative credulity. They reminded me of another memoir about Communism and the Church, The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia, which I read and loved in middle school because it’s a genuinely amazing story. However, by the time AA-1025 broke out his incredible martial arts skills, I was having doubts. This guy takes every opportunity to toot his own horn – he makes sure to emphasize that he’s much smarter than literally everyone he encounters, including his Communist superiors – but killing a priest with his bare hands with no evidence whatsoever? That’s a lot to swallow. In the next few chapters I started noticing recurring themes. Communist agents, supposedly the man’s comrades, are described in consistently negative lights. AA-1025 has no respect whatsoever for most of his coworkers, casting them as stupid or traitorous most of the time – to be fair, they’re Communist spies after all, and our guy does want to emphasize how much smarter and cooler he is than everyone else, but it’s still a bit odd that in a memoir about his work for the Communists, he’d describe them as such buffoons and snakes. On the other hand, Catholics are portrayed in an extremely positive light. AA-1025 makes sure to emphasize that he hates priests, but he also goes into detail on their charisma, their good reputations, their wise responses, their willingness to die for their beliefs. His love interest, a devout Catholic, is described as the most beautiful woman in the world, and at times he details her responses to his opinions more than he details his own opinions. Which is … odd, considering how much he hates Catholics and their beliefs. All in all, despite the fact that this man writes himself as the protagonist of this story, he makes clear in his writing that he’s working for the bad guys and against the good guys. Not to mention, if his influence in Vatican II was half as impactful as he claims, surely there’d be some kind of record of him somewhere, with maybe a mention of his mysterious disappearance, but there’s no such record to be found.
This begs the question: what, precisely, is AA-1025?
Is it a lie written by traditional Catholics to scare others into returning to pre-Vatican-II traditions? If so, it’s intensely upsetting. Whatever one believes about Vatican II, making up a Communist conspiracy to further your beliefs is kind of a drastic action to take, not to mention a deceitful one. Either way, it’s a warning. When we do away with Church traditions, we do away with the Church itself. The bad guys know this, so we need to be aware of it too.
This, however, brings me to dwell on what AA-1025 isn’t. Warning though it might be, it isn’t a very good one. Too straightforward to be a parable, too convoluted to be a sermon, possibly fabricated, incredibly pretentious, and taking the worn-out route of blaming Communism for everything that’s gone wrong.
Whether AA-1025 is true or fabricated is not my judgement to give. Personally, I find it hard to believe, but I’m also an adult woman who considers five Oreos and a bag of microwave popcorn a balanced meal, so you may want to look elsewhere for truly solid and sensible judgments. If you have the time, read it. Look it up online and see what people say about it. Believe it, if you think it’s true, and if you get the chance send me your opinion on our guy’s incredible kung fu skills.
You obviously aren’t very aware of what’s going on in the Catholic Church, and what has been going on for decades. Read Prof. Taylor Marshall’s book: “INFILTRATION” and the plot to destroy the church. It might open your eyes.
Reality is much worse.
1) Statistics of Soviet Union crimes:
2) The Soviet story:
3) KGB-Active measures:
Before poo-pooing AA-1025 as fiction, read Ted Flynn’s non-fiction book,”Hope of the Wicked: The Master Plan to Rule the World. If you find it difficult to read all 445 pages, then just read Chapter 1. It is 21 pages long and entitled ‘The Chronological History of the New World Order.” I’ve read both.
It’s completely and utterly believable, because it perfectly corresponds with what Bella Dodd testified. She became a whistleblower after Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen converted her from Communism to Catholicism. She testified before the McCarthy committee HUAC that she helped to flood American seminaries with secret Communists and homosexuals during the 1930’s and 1940’s – the original of the current homosexual pedophile scandal that’s been going on for decades. Dodd said that she personally installed over 1,000 corrupt seminarians, and by the time she testified in the 1950’s, at least a dozen of them were high-ranking cardinals, with ones like Chicago’s notorious homosexual and alleged satanic rapist Cardinal Bernadine believed to be one of them. You can read about it in her book, School of Darkness. And these plots are nothing new. The Freemason’s plan to infiltrate and destroy the Church, called the Alta Vendita, had fallen into the Pope Pius IX’s hands in the mid-19th Century. All of the above is fact, not conspiracy.
The other reason that this book is almost certainly a true account is that there is no way that a French nurse in the 1960’s could so accurately predict everything that’s been happening in the Church to this day. How in 1972 could she or anybody imagine that a decade later, elements in the Vatican would be celebrating Martin Luther as a religious hero at the 500th anniversary of his birth? Or that the current pope would be honoring him, putting a statue of him in the Vatican gardens and issuing a commemorative stamp? It’s complete insanity that she couldn’t have dreamed and nobody would have believed in 1972, and yet, she was right. She got it somewhere.
The other concern that you have with this is that the infiltrator makes himself out to be some brilliant super-spy kungfu expert , who despises his comrades but actually sorta likes the Catholics, just not the leadership. This is not surprising at all. His gradiosity reads like any typical psychopath, if you’re familiar with that type.
And again, the Communist party of that time period WAS a huge refuge for disaffected young men and a dangerous enemy of the Church. Another one of those, just like the infiltrator in AA-1025, was a man named Bruno Cornacchiola, who was raised Catholic, came to despise Catholicism, joined the Communist party, and then vowed to assassinate Pope Pius XII in 1947 (except, he was then miraculously converted by the Blessed Virgin Mary).
So, basically, there is absolutely nothing in this story that does not completely fit other corresponding historical events of the time, and there’s just no way that some French nurse could predict all the stuff that was going to happen in the Church after that.
There are huge holes in this narrative as well.
Bella Dodd never provided any names, not even in her last will and testament.
She never mentioned any of the priesthood infiltration during her Senate or HUAC testimony.
No communist agent sent to infiltrate the church ever came forward.
The FBI and CIA would have still gone after the Catholic Church as harvesting communists even if no names were given. They never did.
The CIA took out many proponents of Liberation Theology during the 1970s and 80s. They never went to Rome to take out Bella Dodd’s four communist cardinals.
Ex-communist confessionals like School of Darkness were a dime a dozen during the mid 1950s when McCarthyism was peaking. Many ex-communists would play up the alleged conspiratorial nature of the CPUSA and its activities in order to give the McCarthyites more credibility. Most of the time they wouldn’t say what happened but what the FBI and McCarthyites/McCarranites wanted them to say happened.
When she agreed to testify to the Senate Committee, Dodd became an FBI informant. She spent the rest of her life working with the feds against communists and alleged communists. When she would give talks she was accompanied by FBI agents who were protecting her. So, she drops the ball on a massive communist infiltration plot during her public talks, all while she’s surrounded by feds, and the feds don’t investigate these claims at all?
It’s much easier for communists to take over a labor union than it is for them to take over a rigid institution like the Catholic Church.
All of Dodd’s other agitation activities as a CPUSA member were brought to light with paper trails.
A mass infiltration plot involving over 1000 people would leave a huge paper trail. In this case there isn’t one.
There is no other evidence for anything she has claimed beyond hearsay.
You (like Bella) are breaking the 8th Commandment by bearing false witness. Snitches are some of the worst people on earth, and McCarthyism was extremely brutal.
My belief is that Dodd made up this story in order to impress her newfound Catholic friends (specifically, Fulton Sheen and also Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand) in order to give herself a more intense redemption narrative. She wanted to be seen as a good Catholic and a good American after she was purged from the CPUSA (not to mention she had plenty of bad blood with the Party and its leadership and no doubt wanted to portray them as “evil” as possible).
You say you believe that Bella Dodd made up a story about the infiltration of the Church in order to impress her new friends, Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Drs. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand. I find this logic flawed . You do not say that you doubt the contents of her book School of Darkness. You do not say that you doubted her sincerity and commitment to the Communist Party during those decades. And you don’t say that you doubt the sincerity of Bella Dodd’s return to the Roman Catholic Fatih You don’t give any indication that you find her to be one that lacks dedication, loyalty and conviction. Yet, you somehow make the leap that, once she converted back to Catholicism (knowing and understanding what all that entails) you suddenly believe that she would, then, proceed to invent this huge, extravagant lie, in order to Impress her new friends? – While lying in this way, to these individuals, would constitute a grave and mortal sin. It does call into question your own understanding of faith. Sorry, but while no one on this forum is privy to proof or disproof, we have to turn to logic, and yours is fuindamentally flawed and not objective; but this would be understandable of one who does not possess the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, or of one who has an agenda against it. Also, it seems logical, especially after reading AA 1025, that Bella Dodd would not have been privy to the names or even aliases of any of the 1100 or so imposter seminarians.
You must have missed this:
“Ex-communist confessionals like School of Darkness were a dime a dozen during the mid 1950s when McCarthyism was peaking. Many ex-communists would play up the alleged conspiratorial nature of the CPUSA and its activities in order to give the McCarthyites more credibility. Most of the time they wouldn’t say what happened but what the FBI and McCarthyites/McCarranites wanted them to say happened.”
I have read School of Darkness, and it is full of exaggerations and contradictions. I’m not convinced Dodd was as ideologically committed to the Communist Party as she claims (this can be seen in the part of the book where she’s constantly fighting with the Party hardliners after they came back into power — had she truly been a “fanatical communist” she would have taken their side). She claims she was unaware of how the CPUSA actually functioned or what its real ideology was, despite her being in a higher-up position and fully aware of the Party’s tactics. She claimed William Z. Foster (Party chairman and beloved labor organizer) was a bloodthirsty fanatic who intimidated her, yet she had no issue working alongside him for over a decade in the Party’s labor division.
She never elaborates on what drew her to communism in the first place, aside from vague desires for “social justice” or the mishaps of her secular, materialist education which she claims never provided her a foundation for truth. This of course would be a laughable idea, given that — if we believe she had been a dedicated communist at some point — she did have a foundation for truth in the communist movement. She didn’t become a communist because of a naive belief in science and materialism but because she wanted to be connected to something bigger than herself, which in effect carried over to when she became Catholic and a snitch for the FBI.
This is why I believe Dodd’s “jump” from the CPUSA to the Catholic Church and anti-communism wasn’t anything close to an ideological break. Read School of Darkness closely and you’ll notice how often she keeps reminding her readers that she, despite being a red, was always a good loyal American. In the 1930s during the Popular Front era, the CPUSA was heavily playing up its Americanism in order to win over the broad masses of Americans (“communism is 20th century Americanism”, etc.). Once that was all over and the Cold War began being a communist was seen as treacherous, so naturally Dodd would have second thoughts about her Party and its ideology.
The truth is, ex-communist snitches had every incentive to lie to the American public about their so-called redemption stories and the inner workings of the CPUSA. Part of it was clout. Part of it was ensuring that they had “seen the light” so their CPUSA connections would no longer hang over them in an era when nearly all of America was caught up in anti-communist hysteria. Part of it was feeding the FBI, SISS, and HUAC the narratives they wanted so they could more easily persecute communists. Part of it was religious zealotry and/or hatred and resentment towards their former comrades (exactly the case with Whittaker Chambers’ memoir Witness). So yes, it is highly plausible Dodd made up this story for all of the above reasons.
And assuming this infiltration happened, where on earth is the paper trail??? What kind of conspiracy involving over a thousand people doesn’t leave any paper, or any other evidence that it happened aside from one person telling a few friends of hers? If you want to know who infiltrated what, look for paper. If none exists you have zero reason to believe it happened.
There were corroborating witnesses, such as Manning Johnson and Elizabeth Bentley. Further, in 1969, Dr. Richard Day, the National Medical Director of Planned Parenthood and an Eastern Establishment figure repeated many of the same statements that Dodd had made.The date of the Day speech was March 20, 1969 and the occasion was a meeting of the Pittsburgh Pediatric Society. In “Family Planning: Infant Mortality, Gene Frequency, Abortion and Other Considerations,” Dr. Day described the workings of a New World System that he said was already in place and functioning.
Among other things, this New World System would replace traditional religion with a new belief system that excluded doctrine and morals, but it would appear to be the real thing, said Day. Of special interest to the Homosexual Collective is the prediction of Dr. Day that “homosexuals would be given permission to act out.” As if on cue, the Stonewall Inn riots, “a flashpoint” in the history of the Homosexual Collective that laid the foundation for the modern Homosexual Movement made national and world headlines in June 1969, just three months and one week after the Day speech.
And now we have this Pope who speaks the exact opposite of what other Popes before him have said about communism and socialism. His position on abortion is just unclear as he supports pro-abortionists like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden by NOT supporting priests and bishops who say they should not be allowed to take communion. Fine, they hop on a taxpayer funded jet and fly to Rome and get communion at a Papal Mass!
Things are getting really scary in the Catholic Church.
There’s no doubt that communism has infiltrated the Church, but to claim that AA 1025 is an account by a real-life communist agent is laughable. What sort of genuine enemy agent would walk around with that account of himself in his possession? So much for intelligence! Not on! As far as the seal of confession is concerned, his “confessions” were not confessions…they were brag sessions, and so not legitimate confessions. No seal would apply.
As far as i’m concerned, the authoress just wrote down all of the things that she perceived to have recently gone wrong in the Church, and wove a story around them.
The book was lent to me decades ago by someone who firmly believed it was the real thing, and there’s probably a lot that i’ve forgotten. After reading it, i didn’t have much respect for TAN Books.
What kind of person would do that? Are you kidding me? Just take a look at the profile of other sociopaths – serial killers, for instance, some of whom are/were brilliant, and full of themselves, and had to have their documentation in form of souvenirs, the need to so predictably return their crime scenes or other reminders of what they did. That aspect of it sounds not only believable, but spot on! Even the most intelligent of men so frequently have their fatal flaws – and they are hubris-based. He didn’t think that he would get in a car accident right then. I’m not making a case that it is definitely completely true – that would be as silly and as transparently agenda-driven as this columnist’s article.
There’s a big difference between a serial killer and a professional Soviet agent. i have to stand by what was stated before. Another commenter said that the wording in the book was very much from a Catholic perspective, and even though i read the book decades ago, that same thought was in my own mind.