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(LifeSiteNews) — The following is an article about an incident that took place in 1993 in Brazil. Two men—a priest and a seminarian who is today a priest—give testimony under oath that, while they talked about one specific cardinal—Cardinal Eugène Tisserant—and the evil role he arguably played at the Second Vatican Council, saying some of his comments were “satanic,” there arose “white-colored smoke” from a point on the carpet that then went up to their faces. The two men could not find a natural cause for this incident and thus decided to write a careful testimony about it.

As one Vatican expert commented to LifeSiteNews: “So these two men were talking essentially about the fact that the ‘smoke of Satan had entered the Temple of God’ (in the famous words of Pope Paul VI), when smoke came up from the floor.” He saw it as a symbolic incident.

On June 29, 1972, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul and seven years after the conclusion of the Council, Pope Paul VI stated: “There is the feeling that ‘through some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.’”

Let us first ask who were these two men who witnessed this stunning, above-mentioned incident with the smoke? While we may not reveal the name of the respected priest who wrote the report because he wishes to remain anonymous, we can mention the second witness: Dr. Ingo Dollinger, a priest who was at the time the rector of the Institutum Sapientiae in Anápolis, Brazil. He himself, moreover, had helped to found this theological-philosophical institute aimed at forming future Catholic priests.

Dr. Dollinger is known to many Catholics because he confirmed to me in 2016 an earlier story about what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had told him before 2000. Cardinal Ratzinger had told him that the Third Secret of Fatima was about a warning not to open a Council (a “bad Council”) and not to alter the holy liturgy (a “bad liturgy”). When the Vatican then published its specific version of the Third Secret in June of 2000, but it did not mention either of these things, Dr. Dollinger right away visited Ratzinger after his Mass at St. Peter’s and asked him about it. The German cardinal only quickly admitted that they did not publish everything.

Dr. Dollinger died in 2017. Bishop Athanasius Schneider—one of Dr. Dollinger’s former students at the Institutum Sapientiae—traveled to Germany in order to celebrate the Requiem Mass for his beloved teacher. Dr. Dollinger was a spiritual son of St. Padre Pio, who heard Dr. Dollinger’s confessions dozens of times. Padre Pio had also told Dr. Dollinger that he would have to suffer much at the end of his life, which turned out to be true.

Most importantly, it was Dr. Dollinger who in 1983, after the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law that explicitly omitted condemning Freemasonry, went to Cardinal Ratzinger (then the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and convinced him to make the well-known 1983 decree Declaratio de associationibus massonicis, which was officially published and promulgated on November 26, 1983, and which says that Freemasonry and the Catholic Church are incompatible. Dollinger himself had previously participated in the official discussions about Freemasonry at the German Bishops’ Conference conducted with the United Grand Lodges of Germany, which took place from 1974 to 1980, and thus was an expert in the matter.

In 2016, after the publication of Dr. Dollinger’s story about the Third Secret, Pope Benedict XVI publicly denied it and claimed never to have spoken with Dr. Dollinger about Fatima. But many Catholics think that there might be more to Dr. Dollinger’s side of the story than Benedict’s version, since there is an abundance of evidence and sources showing that prominent churchmen have revealed elements of the Third Secret—most prominently that the apostasy predicted will start at the top—none of which are to be found, however, in the official 2000 version of the Third Secret. In addition, the key actors involved in the publication of the Third Secret – Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Cardinal Angelo Sodano – have both been accused by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as having promoted the homosexual network within the Church. That is to say, these prelates might not be the most trustworthy witnesses.

Finally, LifeSiteNews recently spoke with someone who was in close contact with Dr. Dollinger in 2000, and Dr. Dollinger called that person immediately after he spoke with Cardinal Ratzinger and told him the cardinal’s response.

We shall leave it up to our readers to decide which witness they believe to be more trustworthy here.

The testimony of Dr. Dollinger and the seminarian is itself a credible testimony. It stems directly from the archive of Dr. Dollinger. The second signatory of this document is also known to us and has a good standing in the Catholic Church.

The document reads as follows:




On November 18 (eighteen) 1993 (nineteen hundred ninety-three), about 9:30 h (nine-thirty), in the morning, we—Dr. Dollinger, our rector, and I, XXX—talked in the rectorate of this faculty—Institutum Sapientiae / Anápolis—about themes, discussing a possible rebellion against the Holy Father John XXIII, of blessed memory, concerning his initial instructions on how to execute the work of the Second Vatican Council. When we spoke about a possible “rebellion,” which was led by Cardinal Tisserant with the support of his sectarians, at the moment, in which we discussed his [Tisserant’s] comments which denounced the first instructions of the Pope as “tyrannical instructions” which could not be accepted under any circumstances, and when we described these comments as perverse and even satanic, as I myself called them, followed by Father Rector, there arose from one spot on the carpet, which was lying in the space between the chairs on which we were sitting, a trail of white-colored smoke which went up to the height of our faces, visible in a completely clear manner—which enables me to exclude the possibility of an optical deception—and without leaving a perceptible odor. After we carefully examined that very carpet and the other corners of the room for possible causes of this phenomenon, we did not find anything. What happened on that morning and what has been described here above we, Fr. Dollinger and I, witness under oath.

Anápolis, March 5, 1994

(signed) Ingo Dollinger and XXX

Original testimony to the apparition.

In order to explain the background of these comments made by two faithful Catholic men, let us consider what Cardinal Tisserant had done during the Second Vatican Council that could justify such a harsh condemnation of his role, especially since there are some other prelates at that Council, for example Cardinal Josef Frings, Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens, and Cardinal Achille Liénart, who are generally better known as the driving and progressivist forces among the Council Fathers.

One could point to two key aspects of the history of the Council where Cardinal Tisserant had played an important and clearly negative role.

First, at the beginning of the Council, on October 13, 1962, Tisserant played his part in the famous well-planned insurrection of the modernist faction of the Council Fathers under the guidance of Cardinals Achille Liénart, Josef Frings, Franz König, and Julius Döpfner, who were all part of the German-French group of effective revolutionaries.

On October 13, when the Council Fathers assembled for the first working session, it had been planned that they would vote for certain members of the commissions. The list had been put together by the Roman Curia who had been tasked with the preparation, over the course of three years, of those preparatory documents (schemata) that should be further discussed and then voted upon by the Council Fathers. It was therefore natural that the same members of the preparatory commissions would be presented to the Council Fathers as the potential new members of the Council Commissions, so as to have well informed members to continue the work of the prepared documents. As it turned out, however, not only did the Council Fathers under the well-planned leadership of Liénart dismiss this first list of possible candidates, but they also later dismissed the entire set of prepared documents in order to introduce novel ideas and actionable concepts.

To return to the October 13 event, Cardinal Tisserant was the presider over this first session, since he was the dean of the council presidents. When he started to present the schedule of the day, Cardinal Liénart raised his voice and asked permission to speak. This was against the rules of the day, as they did not foresee a discussion among the Council Fathers. Even though Tisserant declined this request, the French cardinal grabbed the microphone and proceeded to read aloud, in Latin, a prepared document, in which he requested a delay of the voting process so that the Council Fathers could first get to know better the candidates for the commissions and so that the episcopal conferences could come up with their own recommendations. Cardinal Frings stood up to second Liénart, adding that he also spoke in the name of Cardinals Döpfner and König. Professor de Mattei describes this incident in his own 2012 book on the Council, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story, and calls it “the break with council procedures.”[1] He points out that Tisserant, after the intervention of the two cardinals, closed the session and moved it to October 16, thus giving in to their request. As an additional detail, Dr. Rolf Weibel, a Swiss theologian and scholar of the Council, writes that Tisserant did so after consulting with the fellow Council Presidents who sat with him at the table.[2] Weibel also recounts how Pope John XXIII subsequently told Liénart: “You did well to say aloud what you were thinking because for this reason I have called the bishops to the Council.”[3]

As described in more detail in our article about Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his role during the Council, delaying the vote of the commission members to October 16 gave the progressivist camp enough time to organize their own list of preferred members. De Mattei quotes here the modernist Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens: “This was indeed a brilliant and dramatic turn of events, an audacious infringement of existing regulations! … To a large extent, the future of the council was decided at that moment. John XXIII was very pleased.”[4]

Professor de Mattei insists that the intervention of Liénart and Frings on October 13 was not a spontaneous event. Another Italian historian and expert of the Council, Andrea Riccardi, points to a certain collaboration between Liénart and Tisserant, as well. The following quote from Riccardi is also important in light of the document signed by Dr. Dollinger:

Cardinal Lienart was certainly not the only one of the fathers who was looking for an immediate change in the election procedure. According to some, after the Mass, Tisserant, dean of the cardinals and conciliar president that day, suggested to [the general secretary of the Council, Archbishop Pericle] Felici, that the voting be postponed and that the episcopal conferences draw up their own lists. Cardinal [A. G.] Cicognani, Secretary of State, when consulted on the subject, declared himself in favor of an immediate vote, and Felici sided with Cicognani. When Tisserant communicated Felici’s position to Lienart, the annoyed Bishop of Lille decided to speak, followed by Frings, who had close ties with the elderly French cardinal.[5]

So here, Tisserant’s active involvement in the rebellious incident is shown. Even though Riccardi insists that this event was “no plot,” but, rather, merely a “concrete initiative,” he reveals that there was yet another French cardinal involved. The historian states:

His [Liénart’s] decision to intervene was strengthened by the opinion of Cardinal Lefebvre [not to be confused with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre], who asked him to speak in order at least to ward off any immediate elections and who provided him with a Latin translation of a petition, which Liénart would not have been able to improvise in that language.[6]

Yet another scholar of the Second Vatican Council will help us further to understand Cardinal Tisserant’s role during the opening session of the Council. Romano Amerio, in his 1996 book Iota Unum, quotes the French academician, Jean Guitton—a lay participant at the Council and a friend of the later Pope Paul VI. Amerio writes:

When showing Guitton a painting made from a photograph, which depicted Tisserant himself and six other cardinals, the Dean of the Sacred College [Tisserant] said: “This picture is historic, or rather, symbolic. It shows the meeting we had before the opening of the council, when we decided to block the first session by refusing to accept the tyrannical rules laid down by John XXIII.”[7]

It is striking that Tisserant uses here the expression “tyrannical rules,” which is similar to the expression used by Dr. Dollinger and his interlocutor in 1993—“tyrannical instructions”—thus making it possible that these two men were aware of the Guitton quote. As other quotes in this article show, it seems that Pope John XXIII encouraged the rebellious initiatives and behavior, against his own instructions, or at least against the instructions as prepared by his curial members.

A churchman who wishes to remain anonymous commented on this essay of mine with the following words: “As the sources now show more and more, Pope John XXIII was ultimately not as naive as he is usually portrayed, but quite clever. He played along with satisfaction with the game of Cardinal Tisserant and Liénart and Co., that is, with the revolution on October 13, 1962.”

After we have established here that Cardinal Tisserant played a shady and unforthright role at the beginning of the Council, and before we proceed to discuss the second crucial event of the Council at which Tisserant played a major role, let us point out only in passing that Tisserant also was involved in the piercing moment on October 30, 1962, in which the head of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani, was humiliated in a symbolic way in front of the entire council assembly. Cardinal Alfrink on that day simply turned off Ottaviani’s microphone after he had exceeded the established speaking time, even though Ottaviani was the second most influential man in the Vatican after the pope himself. Let us review what Fr. Wiltgen has to say about the incident where he mentions Tisserant’s role in this painful incident:

On October 30, the day after his seventy-second birthday, Cardinal Ottaviani addressed the Council to protest against the drastic changes which were being suggested in the Mass. “Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation.” Speaking without a text, because of his partial blindness, he exceeded the ten-minute time limit which all had been requested to observe. Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Council Presidents, showed his watch to Cardinal Alfrink, who was presiding that morning. When Cardinal Ottaviani reached fifteen minutes, Cardinal Alfrink rang the warning bell. But the speaker was so engrossed in his topic that he did not notice the bell, or purposely ignored it. At a signal from Cardinal Alfrink, a technician switched off the microphone. After confirming the fact by tapping the instrument, Cardinal Ottaviani stumbled back to his seat in humiliation. The most powerful cardinal in the Roman Curia had been silenced, and the Council Fathers clapped with glee.[8]

Let us now pass over to the second major role that Tisserant played with regard to the Council, and which was his active role in assuring the Communists that the Council would not speak in a condemnatory way about Communism. Professor de Mattei gives a detailed account of how Tisserant, on behalf of Pope John XXIII, secretly met, away from Rome, in August of 1962 with the Russian Orthodox Archbishop of Yaroslavl, Nikodim, in Metz, France. At that secret meeting, the two men agreed that the patriarchate of Moscow would welcome an invitation from the pope to participate at the Second Vatican Council, while at the same time the pope promised that the Council would not issue any adversely critical statements against Communism. De Mattei also points out that Nikodim was a KGB agent.[9]

Moreover, Dr. Robert Hickson shows in an essay that this secret agreement has raised many questions. Were the Council Fathers ever informed about this secret agreement, and was this Council thus truly inspired by the Holy Ghost if one of the most pressing pastoral questions of the time—after all, innumerable Catholics were imprisoned in Communist countries—were to be effectively excluded even before the start of the Pastoral Council?

As Romano Amerio puts it, “the agreement had a powerful, albeit silent, effect on the course of the council when requests for a renewal of the condemnation of communism were rejected in order to observe this agreement to say nothing about it.”[10] And being an expert of the council documents, the author continues by saying that:

the council refrained from condemning communism, and in its Acta the very word, which had been so frequent in papal documents up to that moment, does not occur. The great gathering made specific statements about totalitarianism, capitalism, and colonialism, but hid its opinion on communism inside its generic judgment on totalitarian ideologies.[11]

Importantly, de Mattei reports, Cardinal Tisserant not only played a major role at this controversial—and consequential—secret meeting in Metz, but he also tried to influence the Council and its discussions on Communism away from any criticism of this dictatorial system. For example, at the Council he himself voted against a document condemning Communism.[12] The Italian historian then describes a conversation between Tisserant and Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, in which Tisserant recounted the outcome of the secret meeting in Metz in 1962: “Moscow demanded that no one speak against communism in the council, and Rome agreed,” were Tisserant’s words, adding that it was “possible to speak against materialism and atheism without mentioning communism; in this way the council, which deals only with religion, could accomplish its mission perfectly.”[13]Further revealing his own support of such disloyalty toward those Catholics suffering under Communism, Tisserant then even made a demeaning remark about the heroic victim of Communism, Cardinal Mindszenty, calling him a “pauvre imbecile” (a poor imbecile).

These few examples of how Cardinal Tisserant acted before and during the Council—clearly promoting the agenda of the progressivist wing within the Catholic Church—seem to justify the comments made by Dr. Dollinger and his interlocutor in 1993, even if one might disagree that Tisserant himself played a leading subversive role. The extraordinary phenomenon of the smoke coming up from the carpet can at least be taken as a symbolic confirmation that, indeed, Pope Paul VI was somehow right when he publicly said that “the smoke of Satan has entered the Temple of God.”


[1] Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2012), 177–179.

[2] There are slight variations of this incident, but always with Tisserant’s involvement. Fr. Ralph Wiltgen writes in his book The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: The Unknown Council: “After hurried consultation with Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, who as first of the Council Presidents was conducting the meeting, Archbishop Felici announced that the Council Presidency had acceded to the request of the two cardinals. The meeting was adjourned until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16” (New York City: Hawthorn Books, 1967, 16–17).

[3] Rolf Weibel, “Die bleibende Aktualität des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (III),”, undated,

[4] De Mattei, The Second Vatican Council, 179.

[5] Andrea Riccardi, “The Tumultuous Opening Days of the Council,” in History of Vatican II, vol II, ed. Giuseppe Alberigoand Joseph A. Komonchak (Leuven: Peeters, 1997), 30–31.

[6] Ibid, 31.

[7] Romano Amerio, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century (Kansas City: Sarto House, 1996), 87. The English quote of Guitton has been provided by Amerio who first quoted it in French. We used the English translation for the sake of our readers. Amerio also provides the source of the quote by Guitton: J. Guitton, Paul VI secret (Paris: Desclée De Brouwer, 1979), 123.

[8] Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, 28–29. It is always striking to me how the Council Fathers, with their applause, at different times could show such malice. Dr. Robert Hickson once described in an essay another painful applause in the Council Hall.

[9] De Mattei, The Second Vatican Council, 149.

[10] Amerio, Iota Unum, 76.

[11] Ibid.

[12] De Mattei, The Second Vatican Council, 153.

[13] Ibid., 154.


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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli,, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana,, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.