American Catholic conservativism has been largely controlled and shaped by neoconservatives who had skillfully molded and restrained the great awakening of Vatican II Catholicism under John Paul II. It was imperative that any form of traditional Catholicism was quarantined in such loony bins as the SSPX or even better the ICKSP or FSSP. The mind, heart, and most especially the pocket books of American Catholics who identified as being “conservative” or “orthodox” must be dedicated to the cause of neo-conservativism in both the Church and in the political sphere. Catholic neocons were successful in controlling the minds, wallets, and voting ballots of American conservatives for nearly thirty years. As the great pope of neoconservativism, John Paul II, passed away and gave the torch to the too traditional Benedict who then passed it to the unhinged Francis, the neo-conservative narrative filter has dissipated. What’s more, with the solid defeat of the Bush regime by Donald Trump and the subsequent dissolution of social conservatism, neoconservativism in the political arena has met its death knell. Thus, we are left to pick up the pieces of a once mighty movement. As part of my research I stumbled upon a very interesting passage in Randy Boyogada’s 2015 biography Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square.
Boyagoda presents a comprehensive and multifaceted view of the late Fr. Neuhaus while, at the same time, keeping the tenor of the book within that of a mild hagiography. However, there is a very curious passage that I uncovered. Boyagoda puckishly mentions that, at one point during his rightward trajectory, Fr. Neuhaus was invited to Bohemian Grove. That’s right, the Bohemian Grove that Alex Jones allegedly infiltrated, filming a mock human sacrifice ritual. The same Bohemian Grove that President Nixon referred to as being the “faggotiest place” he had ever been to. What was Fr. Neuhaus doing at Bohemian Grove in 1984?
After the success of Neuhaus’ book The Naked Public Square and being appointed as director of the Center on Religion and Society, Fr. Neuhaus had made a number of prominent connections. According to Boyagoda,
These connections led to Neuhaus’ being invited, in July 1984 to the annual get-together of the historic and elite Bohemian Grove, a Monte Rio, California-based private club known for its highly restrictive and male-only membership drawn from the highest ranks of American politics, business, and culture.
Neuhaus was there under the auspices of Bohemian member and Rockford president John Howard. While at the Grove, Neuhaus met with Edwin Meese III, who had been a leading campaign operative in Reagan’s 1980 run against Carter and had since become a prominent and influential counselor to the President. Based on the letter Neuhaus sent Meese afterward, it appears that while at Bohemian Grove the two of them explored the idea of ‘a conference on Christian ethics and the political life’ for members of the administration. Which is to say, for a second Reagan administration…
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, one of the most important figures in American neoconservativism, a friend and unofficial advisor of President George W. Bush, was brought to a swanky resort known for its sodomite orgies and devil worship in order to organize Christian support of the Reagan administration. I am not implying that Fr. Neuhaus was an occultist or homosexual. But it is weird that he was brought to Bohemian Grove period, and it is super weird that he was brought there to help organize a new conservative Christian movement. We are left with some puzzling questions.
What are the implications of this strange revelation?
What are the deeper connections between Catholic neo-conservativism and the Bush family?
How much of American Catholic neo-conservativism was simply controlled opposition of the left?
What of George Weigel, Robert George, Michael Novak, and other lesser luminaries of Catholic neo-conservativism? Were they merely useful idiots of some larger scheme? Or were they somehow active agents or assets of a movement that ultimately sought to subvert or control American Catholic thought?