Before Introvigne became a "sociologist": from the seminary to the war against "pornocratic sex priests"


by Miguel Martinez

We have already seen how controversial the issue of Introvigne's credentials is. Just five years before he burst onto the world scene as a sociologist and as the greatest expert on "New Religious Movements", here is his curriculum as it appears on the dust jacket of his book, Pornografia e rivoluzione sessuale (Editrice Libreria S. Lorenzo, Chiavenna, Sondrio, 1983): 

"Massimo Introvigne was born in Rome on July 14, 1955. 

Formerly a student of the Jesuit Fathers, he obtained his bachelor's degree in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with a composition on the moral philosophy of Wittgenstein. He then graduated in law at the University of Turin, with a thesis on the contemporary juridical philosophy in the United States. Part of this work, after editing and reviewing, will appear in the annals of the Law Institute of Turin. At the same University, Introvigne currently does teaching and research in the field of philosophy of law. 

He works in the legal profession as a consultant on industrial property, and belongs to several professional associations. In this role, he writes for several specialised Italian and foreign reviews (especially in the United States), and has attended law conferences in Italy and abroad, where he has read papers on industrial property, licences and unfair competition.  

Ever since the first years of high school, he has been a militant of Alleanza Cattolica, a civic and cultural body which hass the purpose of educating men and spreading ideas according to the social principles of the Church and the political and social magisterium of the Popes. He writes regularly for Cristianità, the official organ of Alleanza Cattolica, especially on philosophical and moral issues; in the same magazine, he has also carried out studies on the Catholic culture of Piedmont and on 19th century saints in Turin.  

As a speaker, he has spoken in various Italian citizens during the meetings of 'friends of Cristianità', organised by the magazine and by Alleanza Cattolica, as well as in seminars and lectures organised Alleanza Cattolica, alone or together with other groups or associations"

Considering his later ideas on anti-cult legislation, it is interesting to note that on page 20 of this booklet, Introvigne says that "Pornography - even when it calls itself artistic - can and must be forbidden on the basis of an ethical judgement, which is at the same time in harmony with the canons of aesthetics as they comply with reason". What should a "consociato" (presumably meaning, an AC member) do about it? 

Stimulate magistrates with briefs and denunciations, of course, while controlling and judging those politicians who in a thousand ways favour pornography" (p. 21)

Introvigne's ideas - and AC's - come directly from the writings of the Brazilian extremist Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, a fact which he now tends to hide in his works. Much more will be said about this unusual personality later on, but here it may be interesting to note how Introvigne, in those early days, was far more explicit. In the same booklet on pornography (p. 23), Introvigne said: 

"Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, in the 3rd Italian edition of his book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, spoke of a 'IV Revolution', following the Ist protestant and absolutist Revolution, the II (liberal and of the Enlightenment), and the III and Communist Revolution" 

This "Fourth Revolution" is supposedly based on drugs, pornography and - in those remote days - on cults. 

Massimo Introvigne's debt to Corrêa de Oliveira appears from dozens of early documents. To describe the ideas of the Venerable Francesco Faà di Bruno, who died in 1888, decades before Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira was born, Introvigne finds nothing better than to quote Plinio, in a way which looks as if he were quoting the 19th century priest; only a footnote makes it clear that the quotations are from Plinio and not from Faà di Bruno: 

Perhaps, however, Francesco Faà di Bruno's secret lies in his clear understanding of the terms of the 'problem of the present hour'. He clearly understood that the anti-Christian Revolution is 'universal, is one, is total, is dominating', that it 'extends, by the very nature of things, to all the faculties of the soul, to every field of culture" 
(Massimo Introvigne in Cristianità, April 1979)

Introvigne's text contains an interesting reference between quotes to the 'problem of the present hour': this is a reference to an anti-Masonic, anti-Jewish booklet by Father Henri Delassus, a member of Umberto Benigni's Sodalitium Pianum. One of the most interesting chapters of Le problème de l'heure présente: antagonisme de deux civilisations (1904, 2 voll.), is the 26th, which speaks of "the Jews. It is through them that the Alta Vendita lodge acts throughout the Masonic world. - Their presence everywhere, their social organization, makes this an easy task. - Their money. - The Jews use the Freemasons as long as they obey them. - Masons placed in high positions with Emperors and Kings". Even more interesting is the fact that the Italian edition of Delassus' book was published by Cristianità in 1977 and is still advertised on the magazine. The full text can be downloaded in Internet on a Web site close to AC. 

Along with Louis Grignion de Montfort, Delassus is officially held to be the main source of the ideas of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Giovanni Cantoni, leader of Alleanza Cattolica, writes:  

" "The French ecclesiastic [Delassus] connects [Plinio] to the thought of those who immediately reacted against the '89 Revolution, in other words to the very first reactionaries, since Monsignor Delassus is a leading actor in the transition from counter-revolutionary "Patristics" to "Scholastics", in other words to the school of thought and action of the Catholic Counter-Revolution in the 20th Century". 
("Voci per un Dizionario del Pensiero Forte", first published on Secolo d'Italia, organ of the former neo-Fascist party, Alleanza Nazionale, s.v. "Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908-1995)")

For further details about AC and Delassus, read here.

Massimo Introvigne joined AC when he was very young, after a short spell in the Monarchist Youth Front. In his curricula, he says he studied "at the Gregorian University in Rome" (this reference is generally purged from his more recent writings); actually, he did so as a seminarian (Sodalitium, n. 35, Oct.-Nov. 1993), where he wrote regularly for the right-wing weekly Il Borghese under the pseudonym of Lo Svizzero, the "Swiss Guard" defending the Pope against Liberation Theology, then much the fashion.  

Despite this defence of the Pope, the entire movement of AC, including young Introvigne, long flirted with Monsignor Lefèbvre's Fraternity of Saint Pius X; at the Ecône seminary, he was a much appreciated lecturer.  

(click on the picture to get full size) 

A former seminarian graphically described his recollection of young Introvigne, in flowing cassock, discussing priestly fashions with a colleauge. 

A photograph in L'Europeo (June 1977) shows young Introvigne, not in the cloth and before his hairline began to recede but with the same intense expression in his eyes, standing as close as possible to Monsignor Lefèbvre in a great meeting of Catholic traditionalists at the Roman villa of the Pallavicini family, an event which the Vicar General for Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, branded "as an episode to be forgotten", on L'Osservatore Romano. And Introvigne of course promptly did forget the episode. 

When Lefèbvre was excommunicated, AC quickly sized up the situation and opted for supporting the Vatican.  

Introvigne became AC's expert on "moral philosophy", meaning an in-depth study on changing sexual mores and pornography, his pet interest before moving on to Satanism (which, along with vampires, is probably the subject Introvigne has the deepest personal involvement in).  

In those early days, Introvigne's main thrust was forbidding people to exercise their personal freedom to use drugs or read pornographic material. For example, in an article in Cristianità (April 1978), under the title "Un aspetto della guerra sovversiva: la rivoluzione della droga e la 'filosofia chimica"', Introvigne tells the reader that drugs are the next step of the Revolution, "beyond Communism, after Communism". Drugs are part of Mao Tse-Tung's theory that "every man is an objective of the revolutionary war", and fit into "the scheme suggested by prof. Corrêa de Oliveira in his work Rivoluzione e Contro-Rivoluzione". In order to set up "le linee di una resistenza e di una contro-rivoluzione", laws must be made stricter: 

"From a juridical point of view, one can identify the snare hidden in permissive laws, replying to the further sophistry according to which the drug addict is supposed to harm nobody, and that it would therefore be 'unfair' to deny him the 'freedom to take drugs', and one can prove how this statement is not only immoral (since, in an order which respects natural law, no one has the right to make an attempt against a life, whether of others or one's own), but is also radically false from the point of view of facts, since it is not only false to say that the drug abuser 'harms no one'; drug abusers are also highly dangerous from a criminal point of view, committing many different crimes" 

Whatever one may think of these opinions, they reflect in an interesting manner on Introvigne's later career. First of all, the explanation of the social phenomenon of drug addiction is not sociological (no mention is made of the role of the consumer society in spreading addiction) but theological-political (some might speak of a conspiracy theory); the purpose of his study is not academic but "counter-revolutionary", and as such does not even consider possible objections (for example, crimes committed by drug addicts may be committed because drugs are illegal); finally, Introvigne - though advising a "counter-revolutionary social restoration" as the only final solution to the problem - suggests stricter legislation against what libertarians hold to be a "private matter".