Skip to comments.THE ANTI-CATHOLIC NATURE OF FREEMASONRY
Posted on 09/10/2006 9:16:53 PM PDT by boromeo
COMMENT: New-Church Catholics who have fully embraced the ecumenical, Romasonic Catholic creed will be shocked to learn that the "naturalism" or "universalism" preached by Masonry was condemned for centuries by the real Roman Catholic Church. Since the Grand Lodge started claiming Popes as enrolled members, the condemnations have all but ceased. For Freepers wondering what the big deal is about Fez bedecked men driving in go-carts, you're driving in the wrong direction...
FORWARD TO THINGS CATHOLICS ARE ASKED ABOUT, by MARTIN J. SCOTT : Outside the Catholic Church there is at present very great interest in things Catholic. Sincere people of other denominations are dissatisfied with the vagueness and uncertainty of their creeds and the worldly character of their churches. Sensational preaching may make a preacher popular, but does not satisfy the yearning of the religious soul for the things of the spirit. Hence, many earnest people, thoroughly dissatisfied with religion as they find it, but who nevertheless realize the needs of the spiritual life, are turning to the Catholic Church with its certainty of creed and its sacramental solace and support.
THINGS CATHOLICS ARE ASKED ABOUT: CHAPTER XXXVII FREEMASONRY
It is well known that the Catholic Church is opposed to Freemasonry.
Indeed it is excommunication for a Catholic to be a Freemason. Freemasons know this. Parkinson, an illustrious Mason says: "The two systems of Romanism and Freemasonry are not only incompatible, but they are radically opposed to each other" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1884, II, I7). This is so well understood that we are not surprised to know that Masons as a body do not want Catholics in their ranks. "We won't make a man a Freemason until we know that he isn't a Catholic" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1890, II, 347).
Freemasonry is a very widespread organization, and it may well be that in certain localities and among certain groups these sentiments toward Catholicism and Catholics do not prevail. However, all that I shall say with regard to Freemasonry characterizes the order as it shows itself in its constitutions and as it has manifested itself in its activities.
I have met Freemasons who have assured me that there was nothing in their organization which was in any way opposed to the Catholic Church. These were sincere men, and doubtless spoke from personal knowledge. Some of these men were high up in the order and respected it greatly. These men were converts to the Catholic faith. They left Freemasonry because they understood that they could not be Catholics and Freemasons.
In considering Freemasonry, we must keep in mind the distinction between the order and the individual. One may be opposed to the Republican or Democratic party and yet esteem the individual members of the party. In considering Freemasonry we have in mind the order as an order, its essential and practical attitude toward the Catholic Church. In the first place it is necessary to say that very few of the rank and file of Freemasonry are acquainted with the real purpose of the order. This may sound strange, considering that Freemasons are for the most part men of superior intelligence. It seems so strange that I feel I must give authority for the statement. "Brethren high in rank and office, are often unacquainted with the elementary principles of the science of Freemasonry" (Oliver, Theocratic Philosophy, 355). "Masons may be fifty years masters of the Chair and yet not learn the secret of the Brotherhood" (Oliver, Hist. Landmarks, I, 11, 21). There is no higher authority on Freemasonry than Oliver, himself a Freemason.
The fact that the real purpose and aim of the order is so little known to the generality of Masons explains why it is that Masons themselves, in all sincerity, will declare that the purpose of the order is mainly fraternal and philanthropic. However, we shall see for ourselves, by the clearest evidence, what the real purpose of the order is. The Catholic Church is the greatest encourager on earth of fraternalism and philanthropy. She is also the best informed organization in the world. Unless, in fact, Freemasonry was opposed to what she fundamentally stands for, she never would be opposed to it as she is. In point of fact Catholic Freemasonry existed for centuries as a benevolent and fraternal organization before the birth of the present non-Catholic Masonry. Catholic Freemasonry took its origin from the guilds of the middle ages. Stonemasons had their guilds as well as other crafts. Each local group had its own guild. Certain skilled masons used to travel from place to place wherever there was a Gothic cathedral in course of erection. These masons in coming to a new place had to be acknowledged by the local guild before they could practice their craft. For this purpose they carried with them certificates that they were qualified masons and free to work in any place. Hence they were called freemasons, not being restricted to a local guild. These freemasons formed a guild of their own, with a code of signs and passwords. All talk about the antiquity of Freemasonry is myth, pure and simple. Freemasonry, as it exists to-day, began with the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England, June 24, 1717. In the beginning it was just a social organization. By degrees it developed into its present form and purpose. Modern Freemasonry is not a continuation of the Catholic freemason guilds which preceded it. The Catholic guilds were formed by craftsmen who, as said previously, went from one city or country to another, wherever a Gothic cathedral was being erected, in order to help in its construction. On the decline of Gothic architecture Catholic Freemasonry ceased to exist, or rather was absorbed by local guilds. Freemasonry as it now exists is absolutely a non-Catholic foundation of the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was introduced into the United States about the year 1730, and subsequently into France, Germany, Italy, and Europe generally.
Why is the Catholic Church opposed to Freemasonry? The shortest and best answer is because Freemasonry is opposed to the Catholic Church. Even to some Freemasons this statement will come as a shock. But we must remember what was said previously by authoritative men of the order, that the rank and file of Masonry are ignorant of its real significance. Moreover, Masonry in this country and in England has not openly adopted the measures against the Catholic Church which have been employed by Freemasonry in France, Italy, and other Continental countries. In fact, English and American Freemasonry have endeavored to deny connection with the revolutionary and anti-religious Freemasonry of Continental Europe. But only they attempt to do this who are not initiated in the real inner purposes of the order. In proof of this let me say, that when the English public was shocked at the anarchistic and irreligious activities of Continental Freemasonry, and disclaimed fraternity with these societies, it called forth a protest from authoritative Masonic sources. In the Official Bulletin, 1885, VII, 29, we find the following reprimand of English Freemasonry for its denial of union with Continental, by no less a personage than Pike himself, who of all men should know the nature of the fraternity. "When the journal in London which speaks of the Freemasonry of the Grand Lodges of England, deprecatingly protested that the English Freemasonry was innocent of the charges preferred by the Papal Bull, and that it did not sympathize with the loose opinions and extravagant utterances of part of the Continental Freemasonry, it was very justly and very conclusively checkmated by the Romish organs, with the reply, 'It is idle for you to protest, you are Freemasons. You give them countenance, encouragement, and support, and you are jointly responsible with them and cannot shirk that responsibility.'" These are hard and plain words to be applied to the order by one who held highest position in it.
In further confirmation let me quote from the Cyclopedia of Fraternities, p. XV. "Few who are well informed on the subject will deny that the Masonic fraternity is directly or indirectly the parent organization of all modern secret societies, good, bad and indifferent." The activities of Continental Masonry became so revolutionary that they occasioned the following communication from the Registrator of the London Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. "We feel that we in England are better apart from such people. Indeed Freemasonry is in such bad odor on the Continent of Europe, by reason of its being exploited by Socialists and Anarchists that we may have to break off relations with more of the Grand Bodies who have forsaken our landmarks" (New Age, New York, 1909, I, 177).
Although apparently condemning the outrages of Continental Masonry, the real guiding spirits of English-speaking Freemasonry are working hand in hand with their Continental brethren. The Grand Commander of the Mother Supreme Council of the World, A. Pike, in a letter Dec. 28, 1886, to the Italian Grand Commander says: "The Papacy has been for a thousand years the torturer of humanity, the most shameless imposture in its presence to spiritual power of all ages . . . In presence of this spiritual cobra, this deadly, treacherous, murderous enemy, the most formidable power in the world, the unity of Italian Masonry is of absolute and supreme necessity . . . The Freemasonry of the world will rejoice to see accomplished and consummated the unity of the Italian Freemasonry" (Official Bulletin, Sept. 1887, 173).
In further proof that Masonry is unified the world over, let me quote a Past Grand Master, Clifford: "The absolute oneness of the craft is a glorious thought. Neither boundaries of States, nor vast oceans separate the Masonic fraternity. Everywhere it is one. There is no universal church, but there is a universal fraternity, Freemasonry" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1906, II, 132).
Individual Masons and local fraternities may be sincere in disclaiming association with the dreadful doings of the order in other lands, but it is because they do not know what is going on among those who control the activities of their order. Having demonstrated, from official and public sources, the brotherhood which exists among Freemasons the world over, let us see why the Catholic Church is opposed to the order, and excommunicates those of her subjects who join it. I shall make no charges of my own against Freemasonry, but shall let it speak for itself. Senator Delpech, President of the Grand Orient, in an address Sept. 20, 1902, said: "The triumph of the Galilean (Jesus Christ) has lasted twenty centuries. But now He dies in His turn. The mysterious voice, announcing the death of Pan (to Julian the Apostate), to-day announces the death of the impostor God. Brother Masons, we rejoice to state that we are not without our share in this overthrow of the false prophets. The Romish Church, founded on the Galilean myth, began to decay rapidly from the very day on which the Masonic association was established" (Compte-rendu Gr. Or. de France, 1902, 381). That is plain language and plain opposition to Christianity. Italian Masonry is even more radical than the French, and proclaims that it is supported by the Freemasonry of the world, and especially by the Masonic centers at Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Calcutta and Washington ("Riv." 1842-291; Gruber, "Mazzini" 215).
In our own country official Freemasonry's attitude toward Catholicism is seen in the following declaration: "Popery and priestcraft are so openly allied that they may be called the same. Nothing that can be named is more repugnant to Masonry, nothing to be more carefully guarded against, and this has always been well understood by all skillful masters" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1887, I. 35). In the countries where the Catholic Church has been persecuted it is well known that it was in great part the work of Masons. From the official documents of French Masonry it is manifest that all the anti-clerical measures passed in the French Parliament were decreed beforehand in the Masonic lodges, and executed under the direction of the Grand Orient. Masse, the official orator of the Assembly of 1898, declared that: "It is the supreme duty of Freemasonry to interfere each day more and more in political and profane struggles. Success (in the anticlerical combat) is in large measure due to Freemasonry. If the Bloc has been established, this is owing to Freemasonry and to the discipline learned in the lodges. For a long time Freemasonry has simply been the Republic in disguise. We are each year the funeral bell, announcing the death of a cabinet that has not done its duty, but has betrayed the Republic. We need vigilance and, above all, mutual confidence if we are to accomplish our work, as yet unfinished. This work, you know, the anti-clerical combat, is going on. The Republic must rid itself of the religious congregations, sweeping them off by a vigorous stroke; the system of half measures is everywhere dangerous, the adversary must be crushed with a single blow" (Compte-rendu Grand Orient, 1903; Nourisson, "Les Jacobins" 266-271). If that is not opposition to Christianity nothing is. The President of the 1902 Assembly said with regard to the French elections of that year, "We would have been defeated by our well organized opponents, if Freemasonry had not spread over the whole country" (Compte-rendu, 1902-153). From these declarations it is evident that Freemasonry is an active and irreconcilable opponent of Catholicism.
In some countries, our own, for instance, and England, where public opinion does not countenance irreligion, Freemasonry does not disclose its attitude toward Christianity. But in very truth, the essence of Freemasonry is opposition to revealed religion. If its main assaults are against Catholicism it is because the Catholic Church is the main bulwark of Christianity. Freemasonry employs the symbols and the terminology of religion in order the better to carry out its purpose. As said previously, American and English Masons among the rank and file are unacquainted with the real purpose of the order. They even praise Freemasonry as an upholder of religion, and quote their ritual to prove it. But the religion which Freemasonry upholds is the religion which ignores the revelation of Jesus Christ, and assails the doctrines which His divinely instituted Church proclaims. "The two systems of Romanism and Freemasonry are not only incompatible, but they are radically opposed to each other" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1884, II., 17). Hence Voltaire, who spent his life fighting Christianity, was welcomed into the ranks of Freemasonry by solemn initiation, Feb. 7, 1778, and received the Masonic garb from no less a personage than the famous Helvetius (Handbuch, 3rd ed., II. 517).
This was at a time when Voltaire was employing all his resources to destroy the Church of Christ. Continental Freemasonry is unquestionably anti-Christian. This is so evident that English and American Masons have endeavored to repudiate connection with the French and Italian fraternities. But those who are in the secret of Masonic activities and aims, know, and have declared that the aims of the order are the same the world over, expediency dictating that they be camouflaged in certain places and under certain conditions. As said before, the individual Mason may or may lot know the secret purpose of the order. Most of the members, even those in advanced degrees, look upon the order as simply Fraternal and philanthropic. In our characterization of the order we specify the order only, and its essential aims, not the individuals who compose it, most of whom would never join it if they knew its real nature.
In the United States, in many places, Freemasons and Catholics Fraternize in society, business, and sport. In certain localities Freemasonry has actually joined hands with Catholic organizations for social and other undertakings. In point of fact Freemasonry has officially praised one of the foremost organizations of the Catholic Church in the United States. The following statement concerning the Knights of Columbus speaks for itself: "The ceremonial of the order teaches a high and noble patriotism, instills a love of country, inculcates a reverence for law and order, urges the conscientious and unselfish performance of civic duty, and holds up the Constitution of our country as the richest and most precious possession of a Knight of the Order" (Committee of Masons, Report on the Knights of Columbus).
This tribute to a distinctively Catholic fraternity was doubtless given in good faith, and with good intention, on the part of those who issued the report. This is perfectly compatible with the real opposition of the order, as an order, to the Catholic Church. Let as recall the words of Oliver, a Freemason himself, and one of its highest authorities: "Masons may be fifty years Masters of the Chair and yet not learn the secret of the Brotherhood" (Oliver, Hist. Landmarks, I, 11, 21). Moreover, when English-speaking Masonry was appalled at the anarchistic and anti-religious activities of Continental Masonry, and protested against it, Pike, a Mason in highest office in the United States, declared officially that English-speaking Masonry could not repudiate or disown the European aims and activities of the order, since the aims of Freemasonry were the same the world over.
In time of war the soldiers in the ranks, and often commissioned officers, know little or nothing of the plans and purposes of their superior officers. They have no personal hostility to the soldiers of the enemy army, often fraternizing with them when occasion offers. Notwithstanding this, the two armies are opposed to each other, and the men in the ranks, without knowing the mind of the commanding general, are executing his commands and carrying out his purposes. It is against the enemy, as an organized opposition, and not against individual soldiers, that war is declared and fought. A government would condemn a subject as guilty of treason if he went over to the enemy ranks. This is what the Catholic Church does if one of her subjects joins the Freemasons. She knows, not from hearsay, but from official documents, and from actual hostilities, that Freemasonry, as an institution, is unequivocally and essentially opposed to her. She stands for revealed religion. Freemasonry ignores revelation, and in European countries openly employs all its resources to crush the one Church which upholds in its entirety the religion of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church would be a coward, and a traitor to her trust if she did not oppose Freemasonry, and excommunicate any of her subjects who joined its ranks. In the words of a high Masonic authority quoted previously, "The two systems of Romanism and Freemasonry are not only incompatible, but they are radically opposed to each other" (Parkinson, Freemason's Chronicle, 1884, II, 17).
Recently two facts have made it evident that Masonry in the United States is subtly engaged in warfare on the Catholic Church. It is known that the Oregon School law was directed against parochial schools. This law was instigated by the Scottish Rite Masons of the Southern Jurisdiction, and sponsored by P. S. Malcolm, sovereign grand inspector general in Oregon for the Scottish Rite Masons.
Very recently a society calling itself the "American Prohibition Protestant Patriotic Protective Alliance" which has for its real object warfare on Catholicism, gave out the following statement:
"Regularly, beginning with the fall, when the active work of laying the foundation will start, the plans, policies, purposes and special utterances of the 'American Prohibition Protestant Patriotic Protective Alliance' will find expression through The Fellowship Forum, published in Washington.
This publication, which has grown 'from an idea to a million in four years,' is already the world's greatest Protestant interfraternal newspaper, and probably has more circulation than any dozen to fifteen of the leading journals of as many of the largest Protestant denominations. It prints the news of all the leading Protestant fraternal orders, but is not owned or officially controlled by any of them. Its control is vested in individuals all of whom are thirty-third degree Masons" (New York Times, June 25, 1925)."
Notwithstanding this open declaration, there are some frivolous Catholics who see no harm in Freemasonry, and criticize the Church for condemning her subjects for joining it. As well say there is no harm in a soldier joining the enemy ranks in time of war. Freemasonry is at war with Catholicism. If these same persons assumed such an attitude toward the enemy of their country they would be set down as traitors. Our government knows who and what her enemies are. So does the Catholic Church know her opponents. In Italy and France she beholds spiritual devastation from Freemasonry more destructive and deplorable than the material damage wrought by the World War in these countries. And official Masonry proclaims unity of aim of Freemasonry throughout the world. In some countries it has subordinated the public welfare to its own aims. It has been active in bringing about legislation not only hostile to religion but to the State also. In Italy, Freemasonry was gradually supplanting the government. As proof I quote the following from her greatest statesman and staunchest patriot. "It is an outrage that the highest functionaries of state should frequent the lodges, inform the lodges, take orders from the lodges. It is inadmissible; it must end" (Mussolini, in Italian Parliament). If the Catholic Church were not opposed to Freemasonry, the most surprised organization in the world would be Freemasonry itself.
Imagine what a disloyal organization the Catholic Church would be if she were not opposed to a society whose spokesmen thus characterized her founder: "The triumph of the Galilean (Jesus Christ) has lasted twenty centuries. But now He dies in His turn. The Roman Church, founded on the Galilean myth, began to decay rapidly from the very day on which the Masonic association was established" (Compte-rendu Gr. Or. de France, 1902, 381).
Is it surprising, in view of this declaration, that American Masonry has officially stated, "We won't make a man a Freemason until we know that he isn't a Catholic" (Freemason's Chronicle, 1890, II, 347). A Catholic should consider himself bereft of self-respect to join an organization essentially opposed to his religion, and which, furthermore, proclaims that it does not want him unless he is a renegade to his faith. Let us, as Catholics' trust our Church as much as citizens trust their government. Let us be at least as loyal to our Church as we are to our country. No self-respecting citizen would turn his back on his country and go over to the ranks of his country's professed enemy. Freemasonry, let it be repeated, is the professed enemy of Catholicism. No Catholic with any sense of loyalty or a spark of faith will join the ranks of Freemasonry. Freemasonry offers many social and business inducements to its members. That explains how it recruits an army of followers whom it uses in its own way, often unknown to the many, to carry out its purpose, just as a skilled military board uses an immense army to do its will. No Catholic at heart can even think of giving support to the Church's sworn enemy. The most authentic documents proclaim Masonry to be the uncompromising foe of Catholicism. The Catholic who becomes a Mason has ceased to be a Catholic. Benedict Arnold received many emoluments and high distinction for going over to the enemy. But Benedict Arnold was despised even by those who used him.
Masonry has the trappings of religion, but of a religion which is its own, not Christ's. In order to gain the support of Christian men against Christianity, it employs symbols and a ritual which impress the observer. It needs a great army in order to carry out its purpose. It is closely united throughout the world in its aims. It has shown its hand where it could do so, with the result that it is in open war on religion in most Continental countries, and also in some South American countries.
It seeks to destroy revealed religion, and to establish in its stead a religion of naturalism. Hence its aim is to destroy Catholicism, the one religion in the world which effectually maintains the religion of Jesus Christ. The rank and file of Masonry are for the most part, and especially in this country, ignorant of the real purpose of the organization. The Catholic Church is opposed to Freemasonry as an organization sworn to her destruction. Toward Freemasons, personally, the Church has the kindest regard. Christ, who condemned sin, loved the sinner and gave His life for his salvation. The Church condemns Freemasonry, but would make every sacrifice for the spiritual welfare of the individual Mason. If the Catholic Church were not opposed to Masonry she would be false to Christ. The Catholic who joins Freemasonry is as much a traitor to Christ as was Benedict Arnold to his country. This is plain speech, but true, and no one knows it better than the guiding spirits of Masonry. The religion of Masonry is naturalism. The religion of Christ is supernaturalism. They are as incompatible as darkness and light. Christ is the Light of the world. This Light will shine to the end of the world. Many have tried to extinguish it, but today it is brighter than ever. Masonry will pass away, as so many of its predecessors have done. But Christ's Church will endure to the end. He who is God has said it.
THINGS CATHOLICS ARE ASKED ABOUT, by MARTIN J. SCOTT, S.J.
Imprimi Potest: Laurence J. Kelly, S.J. Prapositus Prov. Marylandia Neo-Eboracensis
Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D. Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: + Patrick Cardinal Hayes Archbishop New York
New York, March 17, 1927
Dedicated To James A. Flaherty, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus, Whose Life and Character are an Incentive to Loyalty to God and Country, this Volume is Dedicated with the Esteem of the Author
Copyright © 1927 P.J. Kenedy & Sons
"Since the Grand Lodge started claiming Popes as enrolled members..."
The only place I have seen accusations of Masonic Popes is from websites or publications run by catholic schismatics. Do you have any authoritative source for this?
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I know a number of Freemasons. To a man, they are good people. The same can't be said for some of those I sit with in my local Catholic Church.
The Freemasons tried to claim Blessed Pius IX as their own (he obviously wasn't one).
Freemasons, individually, may be good people. Their philosophy, however, is poison. Several popes have condemned Freemasonry.
In my father's day, Freemasonry and Catholicism were mortal enemies. These days, the Masons and Knights work side by side on mutual projects.
Has the world truly gone mad or is this a giant step in the right direction?
Aren't both the KOC and the Freemasons basically just drinking groups for older men?
They may have stood for something at one time, but from what I've heard, both are in great decline and are now largely irrelevant.
While ALL Shriners are Masons, not all Masons are Shriners!
Just WHAT is with you people's obsession with Shriner parade cars, anyway? And they are NOT "go-carts"!
uglybiker, please ping the gang. I'll be back, to join in the fray.
Declaration on Masonic Associations
|Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
|It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church's decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous code.
This sacred congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore, the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and, therefore, membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the declaration of this sacred congregation issued Feb. 17,1981. 
In an audience granted to the undersigned cardinal prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this sacred congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Nov. 26, 1983
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Prefect
Father Jerome Hamer, O. P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium
1. Cf. AAS 73 (1981) pp. 240-241.
You should really try to find out what the Catholic Church actually teaches before you criticize it.
(Dons flame retardant suit).
I can understand your desire to warn Catholics against joining the Masons, but this article seems to imply that all Freemasons are the equivalent of Communists and Fascists.
Thank you for helping prove my point. Are you a Catholic?
You must have been insulted by what you read, because I sure didn't get the impression at all that this admonition against the organization implied that the individual members were evil people. The writer seemed to bend over backwards to say that they weren't, that they had no idea as to what the "purpose" for the organization is. Wow, it's pretty crazy when these secret socities keep THE secret from it's members....
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Nothing drives this home like Morals and Dogma, the Masonic 'bible' written by Albert Pike, the Big Cheese of the Scottish Rite in the late 1800's. Pike was also the Chief Judicial Officer of the KKK.
Ralph Epperson wrote an outstanding review of Morals and Dogma in 1989 (Publius Press, 3110 S. Philamena Pl, Tucson AZ 85730). On page 26 he points out that "lying to the Mason initiate has been in keeping with the history of the Masons since even before their traditional founding date, reportedly in 1717."
Pike wrote in Morals and Dogma, "The Templars, like all other Secret Orders and Associations, had two doctrines, one concealed and reserved fro teh Masters, the other public."
Epperson identifies numerous passages where Pike instructs Masons to mislead initiates. Regarding the Masonic initiate and the Masonic meanings, Pike writes, "It is not intended that he (the initiate) shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them."
If you really want to understand Masonry's true motives, don't take the Catholic Church's word for it - get a copy of Morals and Dogma (Ebay or Amazon) and read it yourself. It's pretty tough sledding though, and I found Epperson's review very helpful.