What is going on in Brazil with Masons and Catholics?

Rorate has this, but I want to bring it to the attention of as many people as possible… lest nothing be done about it.

Keep in mind that Catholics cannot be Masons.  Period.  Masonry and Christianity are not compatible.  As a matter of fact, they are antithetical.  The CDF has made it clear that Catholics cannot be Masons.  The 1983 CIC does not specifically mention Masons but says that membership in organizations that “plot against the Church”, is prohibited and can be punished with a censure:

Can. 1374. A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.

That said, how to interpret this?

In the Diocese of Pesqueira (state of Pernambuco, Brazil), on 20 August 2012 Father Geraldo de Magela Silva, celebrated a “Day of the Freemason” Mass.  Photos were  posted on the Facebook page of a Masonic organization.  Rorate has a  few.  Here is one.

I am not 100% certain, but in the following photo it looks as if the priest is giving Communion to a man dressed in Masonic gear.

What is going on in Brazil?   Rorate, in another post, looked at what a Brazilian bishop did some time back. Luiz Demétrio Valentini, Bishop of the Diocese of Jales (Brazil) on 10 April went to a Masonic Lodge in Jales in honor of its 53rd anniversary. He was received with honor.  A photo:

The bishop is, I believe, the one not dressed in Masonic gear, though the Masons are certainly dressed with greater class.

I’m just sayin’.

If you are a Catholic involved in some Masonic group… GET OUT NOW.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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48 Responses to What is going on in Brazil with Masons and Catholics?

  1. Phil_NL says:

    I wish the argument would be made without reference to organisations that would “plot against the Church”. As I understand it, practices vary extremely widely between countries, with in some cases the lodge being more of a fraternity (with all the lunacy of a frat house) than a conspiracy. If one talks about ‘plotting against the church’, one would expect some sort of proof of that, and this may be troublesome. Not to mention be a major boon to the tinfoil-hat crowd.

    Much better would it be if the argument was made on theological grounds. Their concept of a deity is simply incompatible with the Catholic notion of the trinity. Or the first commandment, for that matter. For those reasons alone, catholics cannot be masons, and if I recall correctly, that argument was made on this site before, though I cannot find the exact location immediately.

  2. pjthom81 says:

    I think that this is a discussion that needs to be had. There are not too many Catholics that understand why Masons and Catholicism are incompatible, let alone Catholics that could explain to Protestants or Orthodox why they should not join.

    Vis a vis “plotting against the Church” I do understand how this could seem an invitation to conspiracy theory. My understanding is that the Grand Lodge of the Orient has historically been very hostile to the Church in the past (Ecuador and Third Republic France come to mind) but that the American and British Masons are in schism with them and so the issue with domestic Mason organizations is on incompatible tenants of faith. Is this understanding correct?

  3. jessicahoff says:

    Freemasonry is an outgrowth of that French Enlightenment thinking which helped lead to the Revolution there. It is pantheistic in its orientation and syncretist in thought – it sees ‘one God’ in common, but does not recognise the Trinity. It is incompatible with Christianity and I can’t see how anyone who knows anything about it can’t understand the point of view of the Church here.

    On another point, is it just me, but do those aprons look like Gmail logos?

  4. Rob in Maine says:

    There is a perfectly legitimate and accepted – even blessed! – Fraternal organization within The Church: The Knights of Columbus.!

  5. Phil_NL says: I wish the argument would be made without reference to organisations that would “plot against the Church”.

    What’s to argue? Rome has clarified the canon and said Catholics can’t be Masons, period, even though the canon doesn’t specifically mention Masons. There are enough papal encyclicals and other documents condemning Masonry to leave one in no doubt as to the Church’s stance on Masonry.

  6. Freemasonry is not an acceptable organization for members of of the Orthodox Church as well as the Missouri Synod Lutherans.

  7. Andy Lucy says:

    Speaking as a former Freemason, Freemasonry in the United States does not actively plot against the Church. Most Lodges are too involved in bitter internecine disputes over whether to have fish or ham at the dinner before the monthly Lodge meeting to be bothered with plotting against anyone. And besides… on any given Sunday, at least in my area in Western Kentucky, a glance at the right hands of the men attending Mass will show more than a few who wear Masonic rings.

    pjthom81 is correct in the observation that it is the Grand Orient Lodges in Europe that engage in most of the active plotting against Holy Mother Church… and neither the Grand Lodge of England nor any United States Grand Lodge recognize the Grand Orient as Freemasons. The unifying tenet among Freemasons is a belief in a deity… any deity. Grand Orient Lodges admit atheists. And that just does not fly with the other umbrella organizations.

    However, it is on theological/philosophical grounds that lay the true reasons why a Catholic can never be a Freemason. Honestly, the members of the Blue Lodges (the local lodges are Blue Lodges and consist of members initiated in the first 3 degrees) don’t think about it very much. They go through the degree rituals and hold their lodge business meetings and plan their pancake breakfasts to raise money for their particular charities. It isn’t until one advances into the degrees beyond Master Mason that one sees glimpses of the naturalistic philosophy underpinning Freemasonry. I advanced as far as it is possible to go in Freemasonry: I was a Knight Templar of the York Rite and a 32° Scottish Rite Freemason. There are some truly bizarre rituals… and after studying the degree rituals it soon becomes obvious that the desired end result is the abolition of religion as a societal structure, replaced with a naturalistic spirituality based more on Kant’s Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives than in Christ.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    @Anita Moore:

    As you can see, I’m not questioning that catholics cannot be masons. The stance is perfectly clear. However, in terms of arguments, ‘because Rome says so’ and ‘they’re plotting against the Church’ will convince very few people these days. The first reason begs the question ‘why’ (and that’s not in the clarification), the second reason suggest there is evidence against all masonic institutions, which only conspiracy-theorists would believe. For example, you’d then get a discussion about french-style vs English/scottisch style masonry. That’s not an argument easily won.

    It’s high time the arguments are used that don’t need references to plots, conspiracies or the French revolution. And there are plenty of those arguments in the theological realm, which hold regardless if anyone believes that the local lodge is dangerous. (note: the people you need to convince usually don’t believe the lodge is dangerous.)

    Which, incidentally, makes the tale of this bishop even more problematic; a bishop should be well-informed of the theological issues.

  9. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Andy Lucy, my dad was both York and Scottish rite too, 4th and 32nd. And a Shriner (Aleppo). What you say is what I believe to be true also. What you say about the fish or ham is also true!

    The progression of degrees, especially in the Scottish rite, parallels the progression of white to red alchemy and also the degrees shown on the major arcana cards in a tarot deck. You start as a Fool (card zero), or a rough ashlar, and progress to The World. It is all an allegory of the faith journey.

  10. Charivari Rob says:

    “There is a perfectly legitimate and accepted – even blessed! – Fraternal organization within The Church: The Knights of Columbus.!’

    One among several such organizations.

  11. wmeyer says:

    “The stance is perfectly clear. However, in terms of arguments, ‘because Rome says so’ and ‘they’re plotting against the Church’ will convince very few people these days.”

    However, it is not a requirement on Rome to persuade us of such things. Any more than they should be required to persuade Americans that contraception is incompatible with Catholicism.

  12. Phil_NL says:

    @wmeyer

    If we don’t bother anymore with persuading people, don’t be surprised if the pews become even emptier still. It may not be a requirement in the strict sense, but it surely helps. If we’re going to do mindless ‘because it is written that way’, the muslims will always do better, they’ve been practising that kind of blind obedience for centuries. If you want faithful Catholics, I’d say we need to keep in mind that ‘Logos’ is also ‘reason’. And that’s no accident (nor was the Regensburg adress).

  13. wmeyer says:

    Phil_NL: I’d say that the CCC presents more than a little persuasion, as it presents doctrine and dogma, with elaborations and references. And frankly, I doubt many American Catholics even own a copy. So how then, can the argument be made, on any point? Willful ignorance is hard to combat.

  14. Phil_NL says:

    But the point is that the arguments that are made often – and also in this discussion – come from the CIC canon quoted by Fr. Z. and the statement linked by Miss Moore. My sole point is that that is in my humble opinion exactly the wrong way to teach the flock, who may not be willfully ignorant, but surely are often ignorant and need persuasion to grow. (not to mention often lead down a very deep rabbit hole of the misdeeds of masonry, which is a real deathtrap for a serious conversation on this issue.)

    I’ll leave it at this for a while lest my use of Fr Z’s combox becomes to abundant, but I think my point is clear now – I doubt I can make it much clearer anyway.

  15. Phil_NL says:

    That should have been “from the CIC canon (…), and not from the CCC”.

  16. SimonDodd says:

    I might have thought that the acts of the current administration would qualify as “contra Ecclesiam machinatur,” and I might have thought that the Democratic Party is an association. So how is membership of the Democratic Party, which is actively engaged in the business of ensuring that said administration is reelected, not “contra Ecclesiam machinatur,” directly or by proxy?

  17. mamajen says:

    This is another one of those things that I think many priests are too chicken to address in their parishes lest they offend someone. There are many Catholics in my area involved with the Masons, and I suspect that they have no idea that it’s wrong. I’ve mentioned it to Catholics older than myself (I’m 31) and they didn’t have a clue. Actually, following Father Z’s writings is the only way I learned about it myself.

  18. mamajen says:

    Another thought…this reminds me of the “Catholics for Obama” crowd. They want to think that social activism, doing feel-good things to help some, outweighs anything evil at the root of the organization. Just another example of the devil’s sneakiness. He must get a kick out of these pictures. It’s really disturbing.

  19. acricketchirps says:

    Fr. Z.: Keep in mind that Catholics cannot be Masons. Period. Masonry and Christianity are not compatible.

    Soo…. not brick by brick, then?

  20. wmeyer says:

    Another, and perhaps more important, teaching for our priests to give might be that there is no menu, that our faith is a package, not selections. And that the starting point for any member of the faithful should be to study the CCC, and to make a habit of turning to it for answers when life presents decisions to be made.

  21. SonofMonica says:

    What’s more, why does the female to the left of the priest appear to be wearing clerical attire?

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  23. ecs says:

    The Knights of Columbus has been known to more than tolerate Masons within their ranks. Atleast that is the way it is here in North Carolina. In a number of ways, the Knights of Columbus is a broken organization in terms of what it was intended to be verses what it has become. As a result, my local counsel decided to dissolve itself and rid our parish of the burdens of that organization.

    Looking for an explanation as to why American Catholics should not be Masons one should read Behind the Lodge Door. Here it is on Amazon.

    HERE.

    American Masonry has proven every bit as destructive to our distinct American society as the European groups were to Europe. Men of Masonic influence made up a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation and during that generation completely changed the very foundation of our society and distorted the Bill of Rights to such a degree that they were no longer a guarantor of liberty but were rather a tool of the Godless elite to dictate and impose a new culture on the masses.

  24. nanetteclaret says:

    About 25 years ago, long before I became Catholic, I went to lunch with some people at a Masonic Hall in a large city. The walls of the dining room were covered with murals of Egyptian gods and goddesses and was really, really creepy and very oppressive. These people were Mason/Eastern Star and, probably not coincidentally, were all rabidly anti-Catholic. Even though they were Presbyterian, they refused to say the Apostles’ Creed because of the word “Catholic” in it. (They even thought I, as an Episcopalian, was “too Catholic.”) After reading John Salza’s books, “Masonry Unmasked” and “Why Catholics Cannot be Masons,” I realized just how anti-Christian the organization is. Since the organization denies that Jesus Christ is the ONLY “Way, Truth, and Light,” it isn’t Christian – by any stretch of the imagination. All the elements of paganism that are included are just Old Testament idolatry in a spiffy new setting. It totally breaks the First Commandment: “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me.” I guess this priest – and Bishop – in Brazil have been blinded by “the smoke of Satan.”

  25. JonPatrick says:

    @SimonDodd the difference between the Democratic Party and the Freemasons is that the Democrats, evil as many of their policies are, do not have belief in a deity that is incompatible with the Christian Trinitarian God as a requirement for their membership. They have had many policy changes over the years and weren’t always so supportive of the culture of death as they are now. I suppose a Catholic could consider being a member of the party to try to change their policy (good luck with that!) – on the other hand voting for a Democrat who is pro-abortion would be a different matter.

  26. Melody says:

    While I am not comfortable with this it makes me question whether the Masons have the potential to reform themselves into something the Church might approve of in the future, especially as they move to a more purely fraternal organization. Indeed, the image of Masons gaining access at all levels of society due to their membership arises due to their grave discrimination against immigrants and Catholics in particular. Seeing priests and masons together like this is almost like seeing a black minister and the KKK having respectful relations. It’s terribly jarring, but inspires a cautious hope in me.
    At one time the Church disallowed membership in labor unions until one such group, “The Knights of Labor” approached the church respectfully and asked for guidance. Should Masons submit themselves to the Church, I would hope a mending of hostilities might come to pass.

  27. Joe Magarac says:

    Your friend the nearly-ubiquitous John L Allen Jr (still alas with the Fiswrap) once quoted an aphorism that went something like this: Canon laws are devised by Italians; drafted by Germans; and ignored by everyone but Americans.

    I don’t know if that’s true (and I rather hope it isn’t), but it would explain what you’re seeing in these sad photos.

  28. SimonDodd says:

    Jon, I can certainly agree that that is a distinction between the Democratic Party and the Freemasons, but I wasn’t measuring the Democrats against the Masons—I was measuring them against canon 1374.

  29. SimonDodd says:

    By the by, on a different tangent (related to Brazil rather than to the masons), some (baptist) friends spent several years doing missionary work in Brazil, and were troubled to find that south american Catholicism generally, and Brazilian in particular, had developed an unhealthy connection to pre-Christian superstitition. Can anyone speak to that point?

  30. Matt R says:

    I think it’s very much besides the point that American/British Freemasons consider the Grand Orient Freemasons to be in schism, and that American Masons don’t plot against the Church. I am not a Mason and never will be, but I think it’s safe to say that there are rumblings against Holy Mother Church in American Freemasonry simply because she stands in the way of the evil positions taken by Freemasonry. Also, everybody took Bp Bruskewitz seriously when the excommunications of Freemasons and others (Planned Parenthood, CFC, etc) were declared to be in effect back in the 199s, and I have a feeling that some of the Freemasons excommunicated fully understood how canon 1364 applied to Freemasonry in the US.

  31. heway says:

    Growing up and being educated in a large Catholic east coast city, we heard about Masons from the altar. Moving to a small farmng community on the west coast found many Catholic men involved in masonry. Most of their activites involved helping families or new businesses. Never heard a word from the altar.
    Have to agree with Phil. 100 years ago or more, the parish priest was the only one with a college education, so everyone listened and never questioned. Today, many parishioners in university cities have advanced degrees in theology. There must be a better answer than, “because I said so”.

  32. adriano says:

    I hope and pray, that one day the Knights of Columbus will be stablished here in Brazil …

  33. Ralph says:

    Many in my family and my wife’s family are masons. It is a sore point in some of our get togethers.

    Perhaps I am a simpleton, but if Holy Mother Church says I can’t be a mason, that’s good enough for me. I don’t really require a justification.

    Also, FWIW, I live in a heavily LDS (Mormon) area of the country. I have many LDS friends. The LDS church looks favorably on free masonry. Many of the “temple rites” are based on free mason practices. For me, that may be as good of illustration of why the church is correct to keep us away from masonic practice as can be found.

  34. bookworm says:

    “Most Lodges are too involved in bitter internecine disputes over whether to have fish or ham at the dinner before the monthly Lodge meeting to be bothered with plotting against anyone.”

    Reminds me of the scene in “Peggy Sue Got Married,” in which the title character (Kathleen Turner), who has traveled back in time to her senior year of high school, agrees to go to one of her grandfather’s lodge meetings where they will conduct some kind of secret ritual to send her back to her own time.

    Grandma: I wondered about those lodge meetings. He won’t tell me, but I have my suspicions.
    Peggy Sue: Grandpa? What does Grandma think you do at those lodge meetings?
    Grandpa: Stag movies. And poker.

  35. FrJLP says:

    @Andy Lucy: I am a former Mason from a family with a long history in Freemasonry in Western New York. I think your assessments are spot-on and well-reasoned. And I agree that the “plots against the Church” argument is honestly lost upon American Freemasons…and even when they are pointed to the French Revolution or Fascist Italy, they are quick to counterpoint that that’s the Grand Lodge of the Orient. I think far more impacting is helping Masons to see that the constitutive elements and teachings of Freemasons are contrary to the Christian faith. I usually start by having the Mason recount the foundational Masonic myth about Hiram Abiff and ask them whom that sounds like (Jesus Christ), and we move from there. Thanks again, Andy, for your insights!

    The question remains: What the heck was that priest (and bishop) thinking?!?!?!?!?!?

  36. Johnno says:

    Ah more of that ‘ecumenism’? Priests are disciplined by their bishops for defendingmarriage and heterosexuality, and yet here we are with bishops freely consorting witht eh enemy.

    If you don’t believe there are organizations of all stripes and colors plotting the ruin and disassembly of the Catholic Church, then you are naieve. And yes, you should not avoid this in topics of conversation with people because it’s a fact just as much as it is a fact that right now there are radical Mulsims killing Christians. It is true that chiefly the reason Catholcis cannot be Freemasons is because it conflicts with the faith. But conflicts with the faith are precisely why they are naturally counter to the faith and the Church in the first place and that which is not with Christ is against Him and Freemasonry in principle plots against the Church. So no matter how many useful idiot Catholics there are serving Freemasonry, their naievity doesn’t excuse them.

  37. Gretchen says:

    I wonder if the very ignorance of the lower-degreed Masons (those who have no clue about the ultimate purposes of Masonry) doesn’t work in favor of spreading this organization. The good works they do masks much that is sinister.

    My mom’s side of the family has both Masons and Mormons and they are virulently anti-Catholic. Lots of anecdotal stuff that I won’t bore anyone with.

  38. LionelAndrades says:

    When they interpret Vatican Council II according to Cushingism and not Fr Leonard Feeney then they believe there is salvation outside the Church. So they are ‘open’ to Lutherans…Masons.

    SSPX CAN ACCEPT VATICAN COUNCIL II WITH EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS ACCORDING TO FR.LEONARD FEENEY AND NOT RICHARD CUSHING
    Vatican Council II says outside the Church there is no salvation and is in agreement with the Syllabus of Errors, Mystici Corporis,Quanto Conficiamus etc.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/08/sspx-can-accept-vatican-council-ii-in.html#links

  39. LisaP. says:

    And here I just picked up, “Foucault’s Pendulum”, I feel so timely.

    I have a sister in law that was enraged when her Protestant pastor preached to them about how they shouldn’t be Masons. I don’t get the impression he convinced anyone, because as the previous writers have pointed out, the congregation saw the Masons as a fraternal charitable organization that was about BBQs and fundraising, so to make a stink about it made the pastor seem like a wingnut to them.

    But when I moved to my current community, I ran into a service tech who got talking to me, he won’t go into our local library because it was built by Masons and has Masonic symbols all over it. He was unabashed about saying he believed there were evil influences involved.

    It seems to me that it’s true that if you go with lines about plots or even just arguments about idolatry most folks these days will consider you the problem, not the Masons — that’s fringe talk. But if you go with simple, reasonable stuff like “their philosophy/theology contradicts the Trinity” you’ll get a yawn. If they take it as just theological diversity, then they’ll compare it to institutions like AA. If you point out that it is promotion of a non-Trinitarian God, therefore of a God that is not God, then you’re back on the fringe again and eyes glaze over. No winning. I guess just mention it, and move on, like with so many other things.

  40. majuscule says:

    My uncle’s middle name was Mason and he was a Mason. The family was Methodist. At his (very small) graveside service, conducted by a female minister, I discovered that he was being buried in the Masonic section of the cemetery.

    He was a very quiet man, so I have no idea what being a Mason meant to him.

    I wonder how he felt when his daughter married a Catholic and converted?

  41. Cathy says:

    A good mother knows that a little child will grasp at whatever looks appealing. She knows what looks good may harm them and she puts these things out of reach. Men wearing funny hats, dressing as clowns and driving funny cute little cars to raise funds for charities is appealing and a great appeal on the surface, I admit, I always enjoyed seeing them in the parades. My mother knows, however, what lies beneath this attractive surface, stripping the man’s identity in order to swear an oath to a “new” identity and to order his life in accordance with it. Every other identification dear to the man, is made subject to his “new” identity, including his faith in Christ and even his marriage vows. My good mother looks at her little child and says, “no, no!”, that is a disorder to order your life as such. I am a little child, I find many things appealing that are not good for me. I need my mother, and I need to listen to her. That is why Christ gave her to me.

  42. pjthom81 says:

    I think that the reason I like this discussion is because I think something can be learned. The problem is this: If the Masons included many of the founding fathers of the Country, and the US is generally more good than not where is the error of the Masons?

    To me, and after reading comments like Andy Lucy’s, it’s that they tend to be secularizing in terms of reducing religion to mere internal piety rather than as a driving force in life. It is the advancement of the argument that a religious based civilization is a narrow and bigoted one, while I would say that focusing on the merely natural is to be blind to half our natures and is in itself narrow and bigoted.

    In any event, the Masons definitely helped create the world around us, and I don’t think we can create a better one until we find a good answer to the secularizing impulse and argument.

  43. LisaP. says:

    pjthom,

    This is good:

    “In any event, the Masons definitely helped create the world around us, and I don’t think we can create a better one until we find a good answer to the secularizing impulse and argument.”

  44. Michael_Thoma says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_Freemasonry

    Did Masons actually create the world around us, or is it mainly smoke and mirrors? It seems to me, like the Mormons, the Masons claim anyone famous or well-heeled as their own – whether they were in this life or not. Was every single US President actually a Mason, or did they get ‘awarded’ – whether they accepted or not – to increase prestige to the organization?

  45. Andy Lucy says:

    Not entirely sure what you’re driving at, Michael_Thoma, but I’ll try to answer as best I can. While there are many theories regarding the origin of modern Freemasonry (including the theory which intimately ties the suppressed order of The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, popularly known as the Knights Templar, to the origins of Speculative Masonry; this theory I particularly enjoy delving into, having been started down that path by the books “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln and “Born In Blood” by Robinson… it allows my inner medieval historian to run rampant lol), the most that can be historically verified by documentary evidence is that the Grand Lodge of England met in London on June 24th, 1717 at the Apple Tree Tavern. This was recorded as a reinstitution of their heretofore suspended meetings, however there is no extant documentation of how long the group had been meeting prior to the first recorded meeting, as no written records were kept (apparently, the shared the ancient Druids’ distaste for written records). Personally, as an historian, dating the inception of Freemasonry to 1717 ignores the inferred evidence that the organization existed prior to that date. Likewise, the Masonic story about Freemasonry being founded during the construction of King Solomon’s Temple is similarly specious.

    As to “…anyone famous or well-heeled…” being a Freemason… well, there is not a small amount of truth to claims of that nature. Unlike Mormons, Freemasonry does not bestow membership on anyone who does not first approach and ask for membership in person. The initiation of a man who has not formally petitioned for admission is specifically forbidden in the by-laws of all Grand Lodges… one of the only “advertising” that Freemasons do is to wear buttons and pins with the legend “2 B 1 ASK 1.” So, no, Masonic Lodges do not go back and add people, like Presidents, to the membership lists as the LDS are wont to do through their “vicarious baptism of the dead.” Also, bear in mind, until the 1960s (and the widespread use of television and other electronic media) Freemasonry was a very popular organization, and many of the “movers and shakers” in the community were members of the local Blue Lodge (the Lodge meeting being one of the few things to actually go do in many areas of the country). Most of these men joined in their early 20s (and some as early as 18 if they were a “Lewis,” similar to a “Legacy” in a college fraternity- General Douglas MacArthur was a “Lewis”), as was the norm in those days (unlike today, when the average petitioner is in his late 30s to early 40s), and remained active in their home Lodges their entire lives.

    As best as I can recall there have been 15 POTUS who have been Freemasons. Washington, Jefferson Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Johnson, Garfield, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Ford were all Freemasons. That comes to just about 35% of Presidents having been Freemasons (Jefferson’s affiliation is a bit tenuous, but firm enough to list him as a Freemason, IMHO). Actually, when one reflects upon the preeminent position that Freemasonry held among the power brokers in this country in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it surprises me that the list wasn’t longer.

    As to the question, “Did Masons actually create the world around us, or is it mainly smoke and mirrors?”… I am not sure what you mean. There is little question that Freemasonic ideals played a large role in the run-up to the American War of Independence, or in the establishment of our system of government following the cessation of hostilities. I mean, there were 20 Freemasons (some openly Masons, others assumed but not confirmed, but the evidence is strong) who signed the Declaration of Independence out of 56 signers in total, which is 35%… and most of the primary authors were members. So, there’s not much question as to whether Freemasonry played a huge role in the development of our American system of government.

    What I find curious, is that while Freemasonic ideals played a role in the development of our style of government, the Founding Fathers committed what amounted to Masonic mutiny by their open rebellion against their monarch King George III (a Freemason) and the VAST majority of senior commanders of the British Army and the Royal Navy were also Masons. One of the tenets of Freemasonry is allegiance to the leadership of the Lodge (in the person of the Worshipful Master and the Senior and Junior Wardens), and by openly rebelling against their legally constituted rulers, they rebelled against Freemasonry, as well. A rift opened between the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland and the Provincial Grand Lodges of each of the 13 colonies. The British Grand Lodges pulled the charters of the Provincial Lodges… and the former colonials promptly established their own Grand Lodges. Relations remained a bit testy until after the War of 1812, when with American independence reaffirmed by force of arms, the respective Grand Lodges resolved to let bygones be bygones and re-established Freemasonic ties with their former brothers across the sea.

    And, to answer any lingering questions, yes, I WAS an officer in Blue Lodge, York Rite and Scottish Rite after my conversion in 1993. The ambiguity of the language in the 1983 CIC, the lack of anything even remotely resembling the wealth of information now available on the ‘net about dubia submitted to the Curia, and the existence of at least 20 men in the parish who were also Freemasons, led both myself and my priest to assume that membership was no longer specifically proscribed. Boy… were we ever wrong. Needless to say, my situation has been rectified and I am no longer a Freemason. However, given my personal philosophy (that developed in the 4th grade) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, while a Freemason, I immersed myself in Masonic history, literature, philosophy and symbolism. It was while reading Albert Pike’s tome, “Morals and Dogma,” that I came across a passage, “…Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!” OK… I know that Lucifer may also apply allegorically to the planet Venus as the “Light Bearer.” I know this. But after reading that passage, it seemed that I then read the rest of Pike’s book with a slightly different viewpoint. I began looking at stylistic nuances not in the manner of Pike’s choice of style qua style, but with an eye to Pike’s manner of couching his Masonic symbolism in veiled demonic content. After I finished that book, I also read Albert Mackey’s “Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.” And while I had read some of Mackey’s works previously, reading the “Encyclopedia” after Pike’s book cast the symbolism of all of the degrees in a different light.

    It was after that that I went to my priest, who after discussing these works with me (after I had given him a précis of both Pike’s and Mackey’s works) advised me that, obviously, we had been wrong in our earlier assessment of the applicability of the 1983 CIC to membership in a Freemasonic organization. After a bit of phone tag and a visit to the chancery, we got everything cleared up. Father soon delivered a very good homily about the evils of Freemasonry… and the next week, I noticed that many of the men who had been wearing Masonic rings were absent… never to return.

    Following those events, almost two decades ago, I have continued my study of Masonic history and symbolism from the point of view of a loyal, orthodox Catholic who sees the teachings of Freemasonry for what they are: well thought out and logically designed attacks on the institutions of Christianity, especially the Catholic Church, as She is the largest and most widespread. Note that these attacks are inherent in the philosophy itself… not invective from individual Freemasons, many of whom have never heard of the writings of Pike or Mackey. As I have stated, the VAST majority of members, even of the “higher” degrees of the York and Scottish Rites, have not delved deeply into the guiding philosophies and dogmas of Freemasonry. While participating in the degree work for the higher degrees, if you are familiar with Pike’s work, you can see it all throughout the Scottish Rite rituals… but if one is ignorant of him and his writings, it does not glaringly present itself, rather it is couched in allegory and hidden by flowery prose and poetry. So, please don’t look down on Freemasons, especially Catholics who are members… they are misguided and possibly may have received some very bad advice along the way. Talking down to them in a condescending tone will only serve to harden their hearts to the Truth. I have had some small successes in convincing Catholics active in the Lodge of the error of their membership. But treating them as though they were silly wayward children who just should have checked the internet to see how stupid they are for joining that club… that approach will not work. Kindness, charity and brotherly love will stand a much better chance of carrying the day and helping bring these misguided men back into the fold.

    Sorry for the extended post. For some reason, I have been very verbose of late. I apologise… just as I apologised to my friends on Facebook following an extended post on the difference between peace officers and law enforcement officers. Again, my deepest apologies for my protracted prosaic prattling.

  46. acardnal says:

    Andy Lucy said, “I have had some small successes in convincing Catholics active in the Lodge of the error of their membership.”

    Please give some specific, concrete examples, arguments and points we can use to facilitate your above statement. Can I recommend books to such as John Salza’s books (a former Masonic officer) and Behind the Lodge Door: Church, State and Freemasonry In America ?

  47. pjthom81 says:

    Thanks for the comments Andy Lucy…

    I’m a history fan myself. The more I hear the more I come to the conclusion that Masonry was/is a deistic mystery cult with historic ties to the House of Hanover (conveniently starting in 1717 while Hanover takes over in 1714.) There seems to be influence from the Rosicrucians as well, which were not friendly to the Catholic religion to say the least while still professing Christianity. This seems particularly true in the Scottish Rite. Considering that the House of Hanover took over specifically to keep the crown of England from going into Catholic hands, the reason for a Rosicurian impulse seems clear.