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"An affidavit recently obtained by INA Today attributes the Catholic Church's present state of collapse to a calculated attack beginning decades ago, with initial successes appearing in the 1960s.

7/29/2003 2:49:00 AM by Toby Westerman - www.inatoday.com

Clerical abuse against children, charges of Mafia-style cover-ups, and the destruction of Catholic moral teaching are tearing at the Catholic Church, and turning the 2,000 year-old faith into fodder for lowbrow comedy.

An affidavit recently obtained by INA Today attributes the Catholic Church's present state of collapse to a calculated attack beginning decades ago, with initial successes appearing in the 1960s.

The affidavit affirms that Communist Party organizer and high Party official, Bella Dodd, made public statements during the decade of the 1960s declaring that the Catholic priesthood was infiltrated by numerous Communist agents, whose mission was "to destroy the Catholic Church from within."

Dodd later returned to the Catholic Church and published a book about her experiences, entitled School of Darkness (out of print at present).

"In the late 1920's and 1930's, directives were sent from Moscow to all Communist Party organizations. In order to destroy the Catholic Church from within, party members were to be planted in seminaries and within diocesan organizations," Dodd stated according to the affidavit.

"I, myself, put some 1,200 men in Catholic seminaries," Dodd publicly declared.

Dodd did not include these remarks concerning her activities directed against the Catholic Church in her book, which was first published in 1954, leading some to question whether the remarks were actually made.

In an exclusive interview with INA Today, Catholic philosopher Dr. Alice von Hildebrand confirmed that Dodd had made the remarks, and provided the affidavit from Paul and Johnine Leininger, who witnessed Dodd making the public statements.

When contacted by INA Today, Mrs. Johnine Leininger stated that there were others who could also verify that Dodd made the statements regarding infiltration into Catholic seminaries.

Dr. von Hildebrand told INA Today that Dodd had earlier refrained from detailing Communist efforts to undermine the Catholic priesthood at the request of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the individual responsible for bringing Dodd back into the Church.

Dodd's infiltrators would have reached their highest positions of power and influence in the early to mid-60's, the period which saw the initial eruption of doctrinal and moral collapse within the Catholic Church during and immediately following the Second Vatican Council.

The process of Communist infiltration into Catholic seminaries, which Dodd described in her public talks, would have been part of a larger plan called "Outstretched Hand."

Communist Party archives in Moscow confirm the existence of operation "Outstretched Hand," and define its goals, according to Herbert Romerstein, author of the seminal work on Soviet espionage in the United States before, during, and after WWII, "The Venona Secrets."

At least one Soviet agent directly involved in "Outstretched Hand" is identifiable.

One document in Moscow's Soviet archives reveals that the Communist Party had infiltrated several influential Catholic organizations, including the Holy Name Society, the largest parish-oriented Catholic men's group, which is devoted to increasing reverence for the name of God and to good works in the Church and in society in general. A Holy Name Society chapter exists in almost every Catholic parish in the U.S.

The same document acknowledged the existence of a certain "Party comrade," who was "well known" in "conservative Irish Catholic circles" and who held offices "in various Catholic organizations..."

The "Party comrade" operated in a key parish which provided "leadership" and shaped "the policies of most of the reactionary and anti-Communist campaigns that are now developing in the Catholic world," according to the Soviet file.

Romerstein also recounts in The Venona Secrets that the staff of the Catholic anti-Communist publication entitled Wisdom, produced by a priest of the Paulist order, was infiltrated, and unknowingly employed two Communist agents in influential positions.

The Party boasted that one of their agents was "widely known to be a conservative in Irish circles," and was a staff correspondent for Wisdom. Romerstein identified the Party member and Soviet agent as Jeremiah F. O'Carroll, who, in 1930, was the president of the Irish Emergency Relief organization.

Although O'Carroll was identified as a spy in 1938, he remained listed as a staff correspondent for Wisdom at least until March 1939.

The second Soviet agent who worked for Wisdom remains unknown to this day.

The most recent - and notorious - incident of hostile infiltration into the U.S. Catholic Church is that of veteran FBI agent and convicted spy, Robert Hanssen. While placing his nation in mortal danger through his espionage activities, Hanssen also was believed to be a fervent Catholic.

Hanssen led a double life of betrayal, while serving as a spy for both the Soviet and "reformed" regimes in Moscow.

Although the precise extent of Communist infiltration of which Dodd spoke remains unknown, the effects are recognizable. Today, traditional Catholic beliefs, practices, and morality are not merely questioned, but are denounced and scorned by many of those who should protect and profess Church doctrine.

Mrs. Leininger, who confirmed Dodd's statements, told INA Today that she knows of several priests who faithfully taught the Catholic religion until they became bishops or were promoted to other influential posts, and then immediately exhibited hostility to that same faith which they had previously professed.

Leininger described these priests as "sleepers," a term designating individuals or groups who carry out their espionage function only at a selected time. Before becoming active, the "sleeper" will refrain from any espionage or subversive functions.

Dodd's infiltrators -- those who lost or never actually held the Catholic faith - would have been the mentors of the present generation of Catholic priests and bishops, in effect conducting their own "School of Darkness."

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