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):
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?
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:
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
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:
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.
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:
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".