"​Eugene Tisserant and the Free Masons" by Henry J. Koren​

​An excerpt from Koren’s The Spiritans (1958). Koren was a priest who lived in the Netherlands and later in the United States. In his book Koren explains that Tisserant was the grandson of the Haitian General Louis Bauvais who had sent his children to live in France to avoid the civil war between Pétion and Christophe. Tisserant grew up in France but later went to Haiti as a missionary of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. He tried to negotiate an accord between Haiti and the Vatican but was undermined by rogue priests, like Father Pierre Cessens, and Free Masons who wanted to remain independent from the Pope.

When the French Revolution broke out, most of the Dominican and Capuchin priests working in Haiti were dispersed. The few who had remained left in 1804, when Haiti declared itself independent of France. Only one or two stayed behind to set up a kind of schismatic Church. From 1820 on, the island became a haven for all sorts of clerical characters who had been expelled from their diocese or their orders. They had no contact with Rome and were simply appointed by the President of the simply appointed by the President of the Republic…. The leading classes both white and colored, were imbued with the ideas of Voltaire and Freemasonry.

Father [Eugene] Tisserant arrived [in Haiti as a missionary] just when a [1843] revolution had overthrown the government. After obtaining permission to preach and administer the sacraments, he entered into negotiations with the provisional government in order to arrive at a solution for the religious crisis. When these negotiations seemed to be successful, Rome, in January 1844, appointed him Prefect Apostolic of Haiti.

Meanwhile, the unfortunate island was plagued by a yellow fever epidemic which swept through the population. Both Father Tisserant and his confreres contracted the disease while ministering to the sick. In August 1844, he went to Europe in search of a cure for his shattered health and an answer to his personal difficulties. During his absence, one of the priests in Haiti, Father Cessens, ambitious to become "Head of the Church," began to act more openly against the Prefect Apostolic and succeeded in create a strong opposition.

In February 1845, when Tisserant returned to the island with four Spiritan recruits to aid him in his work, new political disorders had broken out. Again there was a new government, and this one [led by Philippe Guerrier] was unfavorable to him. The ecclesiastical control it demanded as the price for recognizing him was completely inadmissible. When, despite his protests, the President of the Republic began once more personally to appoint priests of his own choice as pastors, Father Tisserant displayed a deplorable lack of diplomatic abilities to deal intelligently with the new situation. At least he might have kept open some line of communication with the Holy See by appointing one of his confreres as Vice-Prefect, but he chose instead to withdraw all his priests and return to France. Eighteen years were to pass before the perennial religious crises of Haiti could be solved.