The people of Belfast, Northern Ireland, built Titanic. The ship was largely staffed by citizens of Belfast, a city which is well known as home to "the troubles" between the peoples of Catholic and Protestant faith. To this day the people of Belfast think of Titanic as their ship, built in their shipyards, made of their own hard work. They took great pride in her launching in 1912, and her sinking was a local tragedy that tore their families apart, deeply injuring their own flesh and blood.
The people of Belfast take Titanic's sinking personally.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when the great ship sank, some conspiracy theories arose that centered on Catholics, with a particular emphasis on the Jesuit Order (the Society of Jesus). The Jesuits have historically acted as a virtual intelligence agency of the Catholic Church and the "action branch" of the Vatican.
While reading news reports of the disaster, then, the people of Belfast certainly noticed with interest that a surprisingly large number of clergy were among the people who "just missed" being on board Titanic.
Suspicious minds fastened on the Titanic's Capt. E.J. Smith, when they learned that he was a member of the Jesuit order.
Curious minds also noted with interest that a Catholic seminary student, Fr. Brown, took photos on board the Titanic before getting off the ship at Queenstown, Ireland. Brown later sold his photos of the ship and the last known photos of the victims to the press for what was undoubtedly a nice price.
While sailing from Southampton to Queenstown, Brown had been invited by a rich couple to travel with them all the way to New York, but he refused. Why? Because, when he wired for permission to go, the reply from the seminary director was that he must get off that ship immediately and return.
Many have interpreted this emphatic telegram to mean that Brown's superiors had foreknowledge of the disaster that was about to happen, and they conclude that Capt. Smith, slavishly obedient to his Jesuit superiors, ran the Titanic through an ice field at full speed, with the deliberate intention of causing a disaster and sinking the ship.
Why would he do such a monstrous thing? To hurt the Protestant nationalists of England and the people of Belfast, of course. As far as Belfast was concerned, they took the brunt of losses in human life, and it therefore made sense that they themselves were the actual targets.
Of course, the Protestants of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who built Titanic in the Belfast shipyards, have a strong tendency to believe any conspiracy theories involving Catholics and Jesuits. The two religions don't exactly get along well in Belfast (to put it mildly). There have been many killings, and in 1912 the Irish Catholic fight for Home Rule was at fever pitch.
A fair example of the kind of Protestant conspiracy theories that surround the Jesuits may be found in the books of Nesta Webster, a writer for the Anti-Socialist Union (ASU), whose 1921 book Secret Societies and Subversive Movements underscored the strange relationship between the Jesuit Order and the Illuminati. To Webster's mind, "the Wafd, Sinn Fein, Bolshevism, and Zionism are all the same threat." One might as well throw in the Jesuits and the Illuminati for good measure.
Many British people believe the secret societies named above are creatures of an anti-Christian plot to rule the world. And many English people think they understand very clearly where that plot has been headquartered for, oh, about 2000 years. Is it wrong of them to build their own resistance movement, with their own secret plans for World rule?
From one point of view, Webster is a nationalist and a British Fascist. She certainly supported Benito Mussolini's rise to power. On the other hand, she might also be characterized as a British patriot. She sided with anyone who could help Britain conquer the "dark forces" arrayed against it, and her views were not terribly different from those professed by many British nationalists during the 1920s and 1930s, notably the high-society aristocrats known as the Cliveden Set.
Certainly Nesta Webster was not alone in her suspicion of Jesuits. In England, Jesuits have been on the Church of England's list of "usual suspects" ever since they participated in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, an attempt to kill King James I of England and blow up the Houses of Parliament. As far as many people in England were concerned in 1912, Jesuit and terrorist meant practically the same thing.
J.P. Morgan and J.J. Astor, a passenger on board Titanic, were certainly among the men who thought this way. John Jacob Astor may have been the head of the Astor family in New York, but his cousin, William Waldorf Astor, was the extremely wealthy head of the Astor family in England, and one of the original founders of the Cliveden Set.
The aristocrats surrounding the Astors were fanatical supporters of British Empire and British nationalism. In fact the Astor family helped form three of the secret societies or "round table groups" that still, to this day, promote a plan for New World Order through which the Anglo-Saxon race hopes to rebuild its Empire and, one day, to rule the entire World.
The millionaires who died on board the Titanic practically embodied the executive committee of this movement. They were the very kind of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant nationalists whom the Jesuits supposedly despised most deeply.
The Morgans and the Astors were quite literally at the heart of an "International Protestant Banking Conspiracy." They openly professed a strong belief in the superiority of the Protestant church to the Catholic church, and an equally strong belief in the sacred blood of the British Royal Family and its right to head the Church of England -- an ancient blood right that they considered equal to or superior to that claimed by the "Bishop of Rome."
This brand of arrogant British nationalism does not sit well with many, especially those Irish Catholics who have been oppressed by English overlords for hundreds of years. Is it possible the Irish Catholics who wanted Home Rule really were sending a message to J.P. Morgan, to the Astor family, and to England and America as a whole?
There is also the matter of Col. John Jacob Astor IV and his active participation in the Spanish-American War. Is it possible the Spanish, through their Catholic agents, were settling a score? Was this Spain's way of thanking America for kicking them out of Cuba?
Combine both the Irish and Spanish grudges, and one might begin to see why Catholic Jesuits, leaders of a church long-suffering under British rule, might quietly aid and assistance a plot to destroy the Titanic. This would be a major blow to the strength and command structure of the Church of England, a church that had for almost 500 years made itself a formidable enemy to the Church of Rome.
Would a religious order that once plotted to blow up the House of Parliament really consider such an act unthinkable?
The Jesuit clergy would certainly step away from doing the dirty deed of sinking the ship themselves, perhaps, but anyone who has watched the TV series "The Tudors" or "The Borgias" definitely gets the impression that the Catholic Church has an endless supply of fanatic, dark-haired and sweaty assassins who will do the dirty work for them.
A Jesuit conspiracy theory seems far fetched to those who have never been tortured by the Catholic church, who have never seen their relatives blown to pieces by fanatics belonging to a religious hate group. But to the people of Belfast, Northern Ireland, this particular theory does not sound so far-fetched at all.
It only requires them to believe that one man, Capt. E.J. Smith, a member of the Jesuit Order, deliberately put into his pocket an ice warning and ordered the engines all ahead full. Eye witness testimony at both the American and British inquiries fully support that belief.