Skip to comments.Catholicism vs. Freemasonry - Irreconcilable Forever
Posted on 05/08/2010 10:27:29 PM PDT by GonzoII
Rev. Robert I. Bradley, S.J.
What is the truth regarding the present official attitude of the Catholic Church toward Freemasonry? To begin this inquiry into that which is now in effect, we should go back to what was stated in the Church's canon law before there was any doubt about where the Church stood on Masonry. The former code of Canon Law contained a canon, which definitely capped all the previous papal condemnations of it. Canon 2335 reads as follows:
Persons joining associations of the Masonic sect or any others of the same kind which plot against the Church and legitimate civil authorities contract ipso facto excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See.
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, however, when the revision of the Code was underway, the prevailing spirit of "ecumenical dialogue" prompted questions among various bishops as to whether or not Canon 2335 was still in force. Responding to these questions, a letter from Cardinal Francis Seper, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the presidents of all the episcopal conferences, dated July 18, 1974, stated that: (1) the Holy See has repeatedly sought information from the bishops about contemporary Masonic activities directed against the Church; (2) there will be no new law on this matter, pending the revision of the Code now underway; (3) all penal canons must be interpreted strictly and (4) the express prohibition against Masonic membership by clerics, religious and members of secular institutes is hereby reiterated.
This rather awkwardly structured letter came to be interpreted in many quarters as allowing membership by laymen in any particular Masonic (or similar) lodge which, in the judgment of the local bishop, was not actively plotting against the Church or legitimate civil authorities.
This state of affairs, in which undoubtedly a fair number of Catholics in good faith became Masons, lasted for some years. Then, on February 17, 1981, Cardinal Seper issued a formal declaration: (1) his original letter did not in any way change the force of the existing Canon 2335; (2) the stated canonical penalties are in no way abrogated and (3) he was but recalling the general principles of interpretation to be applied by the local bishop for resolving cases of individual persons, which is not to say that any episcopal conference now has the competence to publicly pass judgment of a general character on the nature of Masonic associations, in such a way as to derogate from the previously stated norms.
Because this second statement seemed to be as awkwardly put together as the first, the confusion persisted. Finally, in 1983 came the new Code with its Canon 1374:
A person who joins an association that 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.
Cardinal Ratzinger's Declaration
Following the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law, in 1983, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a new declaration: (1) the new Canon 1374 has the same essential import as the old Canon 2335, and the fact that the "Masonic sect" is no longer explicitly named is irrelevant; (2) the Church's negative judgment on Masonry remains unchanged, because the Masonic principles are irreconcilable with the Church's teaching ("earum principia semper iconciliabilia habita sunt cum Ecclesiae doctrina"); (3) Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion and (4) no local ecclesiastical authority has competence to derogate from these judgments of the Sacred Congregation.
Beginning in 1738 with Clement XII's encyclical In Eminenti and running through ten successive pontificates, the Church's case against Freemasonry finds its culminating statement in 1884 in Leo XIII's encyclical Humanum Genus. Masonic deceitfulness regarding its real objectives in societyand its consequent policy of secrecy regarding the authorities of Church and State, and including even the rank-and-file of its own membershiphas always been noted by the popes, and most tellingly by Leo XIII. And in the century since then and in our own country this conspiratorial policy has been amply documented.
However useful this knowledge of Masonic strategy is for our understanding of the authentic nature of the movement, it is quite secondary. It is wholly subordinate to that which defines the movement itself: the content in function of which conspiracy is but "method," the end determining and justifying the means. That contentthat endis what we must now examine, if we are to find the fundamental and explicit reason for the Church's condemnation of Freemasonry.
This fundamental reason can be briefly stated. The following summary passage from Leo XIII's Humanum Genus suffices.
. . . that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into viewnamely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere "Naturalism."
Now, the fundamental doctrine of the Naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide. Laying this down, they care little for duties to God, or pervert them by erroneous and vague opinions. For they deny that anything has been taught by God; they allow no dogma of religion or truth, which cannot be understood by the human intelligence, nor any teacher who ought to be believed by reason of his authority. And since it is the special and exclusive duty of the Catholic Church fully to set forth in words truths divinely received, to teach, besides other divine helps to salvation, the authority of its office, and to defend the same with perfect purity, it is against the Church that the rage and attack of the enemies are principally directed.
Catholicism and Freemasonry are therefore essentially opposed. If either were to terminate its opposition to the other, it would by that very fact become something essentially different from what it previously was; it would in effect cease to exist as itself. For Catholicism is essentially a revealed religion; it is essentially supernatural, both in its destiny and in its resources. Beyond all natural fulfillment, it tends toward an eternity of ineffable union with God in Himself; and beyond all natural resources, it begins that union here and now in the sacramental life of the Church.
Masonry, on the other hand, is essentially a religion of "reason." With an insistence and a consistency matching Catholicism's self-definition, Masonry promises perfection in the natural order as its only destinyas indeed the highest destiny there is. And it provides for this perfectibility with its resources: the accumulated sum of purely human values, subsumed under the logo of "reason."
Literally a logo, the Masonic compass and square are the symbol of a Rationalism that claims to be identified with all that is "natural." The consequent syncretism, blending all the strands of human experiencefrom the cabalistic mysteries of an immemorial Orient to the technological manipulations of a post-modern Westis the basis for Masonry's claim to be not just a religion but the religion: the "natural" Religion of Man. That is why its claim to date from the beginning of historyits calendar numbers the "Years of Light" (from the first day of Creation) or the "Years of the World"is no mere jest on its part. And that is why its opposition to the Catholic Church antedates the Catholic Church's opposition to it. For it cannot abide the Church's claim to be the One True Church, and the consequent refusal by the Church to be relegated to the status of a "sect" which Masonry would have it be.
Since the Church's claim to be the One True Church is ultimately founded and validated on the reality of the One True God, the opposing Masonic claim must ultimately derive from a perception of God that diametrically opposes the Church's faith. And so it does. Although Pope Leo does not explicitly speak of this essential opposition between Catholicism and Masonry in terms of the First Commandment of God"I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me"surely the most radical and simplest way of situating this opposition is to say just this. The Masonic "God" is an idol. What the Masons really worship is Manor the Spirit who has deceived man from the beginning: the masked Spirit of Evil. This is the one primal reason why the Catholic Church has condemned, and will always condemn, Freemasonry. It is clearly sufficient to stand by itself as the only reasonand in a most fundamental sense, as Leo XIII seems to imply, that is the only reason in fact.
Gravely Evil Misuse Of Oaths
We can, however, give a second reason for the Church's opposition to Masonry. Not strictly independent of the first reason, based as that reason is on the First Commandment, we can yet distinguish a second reasonbased on the Second Commandment. Some ten years earlier than Humanum Genus, there appeared (even in English translation) a brief, but penetrating work, A Study of Freemasonry by the great bishop of Orleans, Felix Dupanloup. All the more impressive because of his "liberal" credentials, Dupanloup duly notes the facts, and the gravity, of the Masonic conspiracy. But what he stresses, besides the same primary point subsequently stressed by Leo XIII, viz., the Masonic violation of the First Commandment, is its violation of the Second Commandment by its gravely evil misuse of oaths. The famous (or, rather, infamous) oaths that run through the entire ritual of Masonic initiation are more than mere promises based on personal honor. They formally invoke the Deity, and have for their object a man's total commitment to a cause under the direst sanctions. The Catholic Church sees in such oaths an inescapable grave evil. Either the oaths mean what they say or they do not. If they mean what they say, then God is being called to invert by his witness loyalties (viz., to Church and to State) already sanctioned by Him. If the oaths are merely fictitious, then God is being called to witness to a joke.
It is not the secrecy of what goes on "behind the lodge door" that elicits and justifies the Church's condemnation of Masonry. It is rather the formal violation of the Second Commandment, which these proceedings inescapably entail. The vaunted Masonic secrets, moreover, are scarcely that secret any longer. There is in fact a frequent Masonic plea to the effect that there are no secrets in Masonrythat all is open to a truly open mind. On this point we may take the Mason at his word: he is speaking more truly than he knows!
The case for the Catholic Church's condemnation of Freemasonry is open and clear. By its very nature as formulated in its philosophical statements and as lived in its historical experience, Masonry violates the First and Second Commandments of God. It worships not the One True God of revelationFather, Son and Holy Spiritbut a false god, symbolically transcendent but really immanent: the "god" called "Reason." And it invokes without adequate cause the Name of the One True God. After such a case as this, to cite the secrecies of initiation and the further secrecies of machination called "conspiracy" is not only anti-climactic, it is beside the point.
To conclude: we Catholics should now see the Masons more clearly for what they essentially are. They are the heirs (unwitting or otherwise is irrelevant) of a religion, which purports to be the one religion of the one "God"and therefore the enemy, intrinsically and implacably so, of Catholicism. Freemasonry in its modern mode is "modernity" in the deepest (i.e., the philosophical and religious) sense of that term. It is, in a word, "Counterfeit Catholicism." For its "God" is the "Counterfeit God": the one who would be as God, the one who is the prince of this world, the one who is the Father of Lies.
Printed with ecclesiastical permission.
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Freemasonry is not a religious organization. We restrict no man for religious beliefs. We require a belief in God. We open and close our meetings with a prayer to God (however you perceive Him) I think the Church has a whole lot more in which to concern herself. The main reason that the Church has discouraged Freemasonry is that it encourages men to think for themselves. Our tenants are duty to God, to a neighbor and to yourself. I guess the Church thinks that is not a good idea. The Church has better things in which to concern herself.
The following are FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that I commonly receive regarding Freemasonry. My answers, while providing some general information about Masonry, only scratch the surface of why Freemasonry is incompatible with the Christian faith. By way of background, I was a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner, as well as a Blue lodge officer and Proficiency cardholder. A Proficiency card is a rare Masonic credential conferred upon those Masons who are considered experts in Masonic ritual.
I spent several years in Freemasonry before rediscovering the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church. By God's grace, I have written a book on the religious and moral teachings of Freemasonry and why these teachings are incompatible with Christianity. The book also discusses my personal struggles with Masonry and how I left the Lodge. My hope is that this book will serve as the most comprehensive resource in explaining why the teachings of the Lodge are irreconcilable with the Christian faith.
There are many misunderstandings among the general public about the organization called Freemasonry (also known as "Masonry" or "the Lodge"). While much of the public thinks that Freemasonry is just a fraternity, Masonry has been judged by every Christian church that has studied it to be a religion that is incompatible with Christianity.
Freemasonry has a very formal religious system which includes a belief in God as the Grand Architect of the Universe, the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. Masonry also believes that man can achieve salvation by his good works, independent of God's gift of grace. Notwithstanding its belief in God, resurrection of the body, and salvation by works, Masonry does not require its members to believe in Jesus Christ or His Church.
Freemasonry is also controversial because it keeps its religious and moral teachings secret behind the Lodge doors. To that end, Masonry requires its members to swear to God an oath that they will never reveal the teachings of the Lodge lest they be worthy of a gruesome death (for example, being worthy of having ones throat cut across, heart plucked out, and body severed in two). While Masonry conditions its members to believe that Freemasonry is just a fraternity, it slowly draws its Christian members away from Jesus Christ by offering them a different plan of salvation through Masonic virtue and good works. By God's grace, more and more men are leaving the Lodge each year and revealing the incompatibilities between Freemasonry and the Christian faith.
While Masons claim that Freemasonry is just a fraternity, Masonry universally defines itself as "a regular system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols." Thus, its own definition reveals that it is more than a fraternity. Freemasonry defines itself as such because it teaches a system of morality through allegory and symbolism that, when faithfully practiced, leads all Masons to the celestial lodge above, irrespective of their individual religious beliefs. Freemasonry is far more than a social club.
From a Christian perspective, any organization that claims to be a system of morality (especially one whose moral teachings are secret and are said to lead Masons to eternal life) must be evaluated in light of Scripture and the teachings of the Church. If the moral teachings of an organization are not rooted in God's Revelation in Jesus Christ, they present incompatibilities with the Christian faith. As applied to Masonry, these incompatibilities include a denial of Gods gift of grace in the process of justification and salvation which come to us exclusively through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The origins of Freemasonry are debated, even among Masons. Most Masons, however, agree that the birth of modern Freemasonry occurred in 1717 in England during the dawn of the Enlightenment period. During this period, there was an intellectual movement that spread throughout Europe called Rationalism, whereby human reason was exalted above God's Revelation. This resulted in a religious subjectivism in which man could now decide what was true and what wasn't true on matters of faith and morals. The Christian truths of the fall, original sin, and the necessity of redemption were abandoned. Ecclesiastical authority was also forsaken. God became a deistic "Grand Architect of the Universe" that was sought and worshiped in all religions. These elements have been preserved in modern Freemasonry.
Ironically, although almost every Protestant church has condemned Freemasonry, the movement of Rationalism actually brought about the Protestant Reformation. Luther and other Protestant reformers" substituted private judgment for the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, and this has led to thousands of divisions within Christianity. But while Protestants have removed the teaching authority of the Church from their religion, Masons have removed Christ Himself.
Freemasonry is governed by certain fundamental and unalterable precepts that the organization calls "Landmarks." Landmarks have been handed down from one Masonic generation to the next through secret rituals and oral tradition. While there is no consensus on all the Landmarks, most Masons agree that the Landmarks include a belief in God as the Grand Architect of the Universe, the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body.
The Landmarks also include the conferral of the death and resurrection rite of the third degree (also called the Hiramic legend), the teaching of moral and religious truths through symbolism, the requirement for secrecy, the necessity for candidates to have full use of their mental faculties and limbs (no physically or mentally handicapped men can become Masons) and the requirement of swearing covenant oaths with self-curses as a condition for membership.
Freemasonry also reverences all religious writings and places these writings on par with Gods written Word found in the Bible. Thus, Masonry places all religious writings on its altar (Book of Mormon, the Vedas, Zend Avesta, the Sohar, the Kabalah, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads or any other religious writing). This is because, unlike Christianity, Freemasonry does not believe that the Bible is the revealed written Word of God. Instead, Freemasonry views all religions as equally plausible attempts to explain the truth about God which, in the end, cannot be known.
Freemasonry is organized by lodges (also called Blue lodges) which come under the authority of a Grand Lodge and its Most Worshipful Grand Master. There are 51 Grand Lodges in the United States (one for each state and the district of Columbia). Each Grand Lodge is the governing authority for Freemasonry in a given jurisdiction, and all Blue lodges in that jurisdiction report to the respective Grand Lodge. There is, however, no single Grand Lodge or governing authority over the world's Freemasonry. The principle officer of the Blue lodge is called the Worshipful Master. The Blue lodges, under the authority of its Grand Lodge, make men Masons through the conferral of ceremonial rituals called "degrees."
There are three degrees in Freemasonry that are conferred by the Blue lodge - the Entered Apprentice (1st) degree, the Fellowcraft (2nd) degree, and the Master Mason (3rd) degree. A candidate is initiated an Entered Apprentice, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
Masonic ritual is the principle authority that speaks for Freemasonry. While there is no exact uniformity in Masonic ritual from state to state, the rituals are essentially the same. Masons thus boast of the universality of Freemasonry. Moreover, although Masonic ritual is not identical from state to state, every Grand Lodge in the United States recognizes each other as practicing valid Freemasonry. This means that Masons from one state can visit a lodge in another state and are generally allowed to participate in the ritual work.
When a Christian criticizes the teachings of Freemasonry using the rituals, the Mason often evasively responds by saying "No one speaks for Freemasonry." Such a response is not genuine, and is really just an effort to avoid addressing the rituals. Any honest Mason would admit that his Grand Lodge's ritual is the authority that speaks for Masonry in his jurisdiction, and it is from these rituals that we learn of Masonry's teachings about God, resurrection, and eternal life, without any requirement to believe in Jesus Christ.
The other important authority that explains the meaning of Masonry is the Masonic Bible. This Bible, which is typically the King James Version of the Old and New Testament, includes an extensive addendum of Masonic definitions and terminology. This book is generally given to Masons after they receive their third degree, and can be ordered from most Grand Lodges throughout the country. Other secondary authorities include writings by the friends of Masonry, such as Henry Wilson Coil, Albert Mackey, and Albert Pike, all of whom declare that Freemasonry is a religion and that this religion is not Christianity.
While there are many numerically higher degrees, the third degree (or Master Mason degree) is considered the highest degree in Freemasonry. This is because the Master Mason degree, in an extensive allegorical drama in which the candidate participates, teaches Masonry's sublime belief in the resurrection of the body. This drama is also called the Hiramic legend or the legend of the third degree.
In the third degree, the candidate participates in a drama where he plays a biblical character named Hiram Abif, a stonemason who worked on King Solomons Temple. In the lodge drama, Hiram is accosted in the Temple by renegade Masons who are trying to extort from him the secret Masonic word. When Hiram refuses to divulge the secret Masonic word, the Masons kill him (the candidate is symbolically murdered by being hit over the head with a padded setting maul, knocked off his feet, and caught in a large sack by his Masonic brothers). The Masons then bury the body of Hiram Abif (the candidate is instructed to remain lying down and materials are spread over his body).
As the drama unfolds, Hirams body is later discovered by other Masons who work in King Solomons Temple. When he is discovered, King Solomon and the other Masons make a procession to the gravesite and then pray for Hirams salvation. After the prayer, King Solomon raises Hiram (the candidate) up by the Strong Grip of a Master Mason. The candidate is then told that he has been raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular in the Masonic faith of the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul.
After a Mason reaches the third degree, he may advance in his Masonic journey to either the Scottish Rite or the York Rite. The Scottish Rite confers the fourth through thirty-second (and honorary thirty-third) degree. The York Rite also confers advanced degrees and is known as Original or Ancient Craft Masonry. These bodies are not under the authority of the Grand Lodges but have friendly relationships with them. The purpose of these higher degrees is to amplify what the Mason learned in his Blue lodge. These degrees, like those of the Blue lodge, require oath-bound secrecy. When a man becomes either a thirty-second degree or York Rite Mason, he is eligible to join the Shriners.
The Shriners are an organization of 32nd degree or York Rite Masons who are best known for their red fezzes, little motor cars and circus parades. The Shrine is also known for its hospitals and other philanthropic activities. Masons call the Shrine the "playground of Freemasonry." Most of the public is unaware of the fact that all Shriners are Master Masons (but not all Masons are Shriners).
Like the previous Masonic degrees, candidates for the Shrine are initiated with a solemn religious ceremony at the local Mosque (the Islamic gathering place of the Shrine). All candidates, including Christians, must swear an oath to Allah on the Koran declaring that they would be worthy of having their eyeballs pierced to the center with a three-inch blade, their feet flayed, and forced to walk the hot sands of the sterile shores of the Red Sea, where the flaming sun shall strike them with a livid plague, rather than to violate their Shriner Masonic oath.
Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity because it promotes indifferentism. Indifferentism is the heretical belief that all religions are equally legitimate attempts to explain the truth about God which, but for the truth of His existence, are unexplainable. Such a view makes all truths relative and holds that God can be equally pleased with truth and error. Because Christians believe that God has definitively revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and desires that all men come to the knowledge of this truth, indifferentism is incompatible with Christian faith. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).
Freemasonry's teachings and practices also result in syncretism which is the blending of different religious beliefs into a unified whole. This is evidenced most especially by Masonry's religious rituals which gather men of all faiths around a common altar, and place all religious writings along side the Bible on the Masonic altar. This is also demonstrated by the Lodge's prayers and its unique names and symbols for God and heaven. Syncretism is the logical consequence of indifferentism.
The Lodge's practice of requiring its members to swear immoral oaths is also incompatible with Christianity. These oaths require a Christian to swear on the Holy Bible that he will uphold a code of moral conduct that prefers Masons over non-Masons, and to preserve secret passwords and handshakes. Such oaths are gravely immoral because their subject matter is trivial or does not give rise to the necessity of an oath. These oaths are also sworn under symbolic, blood-curdling penalties of physical torture and death called self-curses (e.g., having my throat cut across, and my tongue torn out by its roots). These penalties show a lack of respect for God and amount to blasphemy which is a serious sin.
The Church, through its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has formally declared that Catholics who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. This declaration, which is the most recent teaching of the Church, has affirmed nearly 300 years of papal pronouncements against Freemasonry on the grounds that the teachings of the Lodge are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.
The Churchs declaration on Freemasonry exposes Catholic Masons to a number of penalties under canon law. For example, a Catholic who is aware that the Church authoritatively judges membership in Freemasonry to be gravely sinful must not approach Holy Communion (c. 916). The Church imposes the duty upon all grave sinners not to make a sacrilegious communion. Such a Catholic Mason who is aware of the grave sin must receive absolution in a sacramental confession before being able to receive communion again, unless there is a grave reason and no opportunity to confess (c. 916). This confession, in order to be valid, also requires the Catholic Mason to renounce his Masonic membership.
Further, because membership in Freemasonry is an external or public condition, the Catholic Mason can be refused Holy Communion by the pastors of the Church for obstinately persevering in his Masonic membership (c. 915). Such a Catholic Mason would also be forbidden from receiving the Anointing of the Sick (c. 1007) as well as ecclesiastical funeral rites if public scandal were to result (c. 1184, §1, °3).
Canon 1364 also imposes an automatic excommunication upon apostates, heretics, or schismatics. This canon could also apply to Catholic Masons. If, for example, a Catholic Mason embraced the theological teachings of Freemasonry that the Church has condemned (indifferentism, syncretism), he would be in heresy by virtue of his belief in these teachings. Further, if a Catholic Mason knew the Church opposes membership in Freemasonry, and yet adamantly and persistently refused to submit to the popes authority in precluding his membership in the Lodge, he may also find himself in schism. Catholic Masons could also be subject to canon 1374 which imposes an interdict or just penalty upon those who join associations that plot against the Church.
For the canonical penalties to apply, the Catholic Mason would have to act in a gravely imputable way (that is, the Catholic would have to be aware of the Churchs teaching on Freemasonry and, after being warned about it, choose to disregard it). In my personal experience, a fair number of Catholic Masons do act in a gravely imputable way in regard to their Masonic membership. In these cases, the canonical penalties, including excommunication, apply. The Church's penalties are not meant to alienate the person on whom the penalty is levied. Instead, the penalties are meant to communicate to the person the gravity of his conduct, encourage his repentance and reconciliation with the Church, and bring him back into the one fold of Christ. After all, the mission of the Church is the salvation of souls.
Masons conspicuously avoid using their rituals to defend the Lodge against Christian opposition. This is because the rituals' teachings concerning God, salvation by works alone, resurrection and eternal life in the celestial lodge above are indefensible from a Christian perspective. The Mason's avoidance of using Masonic ritual to defend his craft becomes evident very quickly when one views the many Masonic web sites that have been created by Masons to defend Freemasonry. Moreover, of the many hundreds of books written about Freemasonry, there is not a single book that provides a Christian defense of the Lodge by addressing the errors of indifferentism, syncretism and immoral oaths.
Instead, the Masonic apologist generally uses an ad hominem argument to defend the Lodge. An ad hominem argument is an argument that attacks an opponent's character rather than answering his contentions. Because most of the information about Freemasonry comes from men who have left the lodge, Masons avoid addressing the rituals and instead focus entirely on attacking the former Mason's credibility and character.
As Christians, we do not judge individual Masons or attack their character. In fact, most Masons are good and virtuous men. Instead, we judge the teachings of Masonic ritual in light of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. We hope that Christian Masons will open up to us by using their Masonic rituals to explain and defend the teachings of the Lodge in the light of Christian faith.
[By John Salza a former 32nd-degree Freemason]
The main reason that the Church rejects Freemasonry is that it says outright that all religions are equally good, and has no room for the Christ who said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father except through Me"
Actually you’re wrong. It ALLOWS men of other religions to partake in the FRATERNITY. Do you banish members of your town council who aren’t Catholic? How about the PTA? Do you allow your kids to hang out with non-Catholic friends? Attend public school?
We accept and respect each other’s belief and work together to help each other and the community around us despite these differences in faith. Actually sounds pretty Christian to me:)
Rise!! Undead thread!
Why would a fraternity who is so respectful of folk’s faith accept members whose faith teaches (rightly or wrongly) that they shouldn’t join? I think Masonry would do itself a favour in the relations department if it refused membership to those whose faith doesn’t want its members joining.
Like not allowing someone who’s religion doesn’t allow them to eat pork should be refused a membership to BJ’s or CostCo because they sell pork?
Does joining Costco require a belief in God? If it does, then I would hazard that they would be better off if they didn’t accept those whose religion officially precluded membership to Costco. Including a mandatory faith in God as a requirement and then allowing a member to disobey their faith by joining doesn’t seem conducive to faith.
The fraternity has no business making calls for it’s members faith. That’s the individuals choice. How can you say it’s the same thing? Where’s the logic?
“The fraternity has no business making calls for its members faith.”
The fraternity makes a requirement of faith, does it not? No faith, no membership. Aren’t there some lodges who still preclude the LDS as members? Why were they excluded at all to begin with?
“Thats the individuals choice.”
The fraternity already requires a belief in God, that isn’t the individuals choice. They could easily require that their member’s faith allows memebership in the Masons. Having a requirement of faith then allowing their memebers to disobey the teaching of said faith by joining the Masons would seem to defeat the purpose of the requirement in the first place.
It comes down to choice. You have the CHOICE to join the fraternity that of which requires you to believe in God. It doesn’t choose your faith or it’s requirements for you nor force you to pick which or what to follow. The way you put it, the fraternity should also not allow it’s membership to eat meat on a Friday during lent when they are serving steak at a banquet they hold on said Friday and any of 1000s of other specific rules. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
The topic of Masonry raises several issues:
I note the irony that the Catholic Church excoriates Masonry in very "fundamentalistic" terms . . . terms it usually condemns, especially in rural American Protestants. In fact, the condemnation of "salvation by works" in the lodge sounds very much like Fundamentalist Protestant condemnations of Catholicism. Further, the Catholic Church itself seems absolutely riddled with the rationalism, indifference, and naturalism attributed here to Masonry. Why is Catholicism "fundamentalist" when it comes to Masonry but "Masonic" when it comes to Fundamentalist Protestantism? I don't understand how the Church can condemn Fundamentalist Protestant attitudes as "bigotry" if it shares them; still less do I understand why Catholicism retains this "fundamentalist" attitude on the single issue of Masonry.
Masonry itself is also shot through with contradictions. On the one hand we have a brotherhood birthed in the deism of the "age of reason." On the other we have this same rationalistic brotherhood engaging in mystical rituals and teaching such "irrational" doctrines as immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body. But then, occultism always seems by the side of "rationalism" (witness the Left's simultaneous dedication to both eighteenth century European enlightenment rationalism and the religious myths and superstitions of "indigenous pipples").
Before closing, I must remark on the historical Anti-Masonic movement in America. American Anti-Masonry (the movement that originated in opposition to the French Revolution and eventually ran William Wirt for President in 1832) was a very a-typical kind of anti-Masonry. It was not at all identified with conservative Catholicism but to the contrary had its greatest strength in those very areas of the country and population segments which were most stridently anti-Catholic. American Anti-Masonry was in fact a product of the same "Puritan religious ferment" on which the Confederates and their apologists loved to blame all the evils of Yankee society.
A final irony is that Anti-Masonry, like temperance/prohibitionism, is an example of "ideological drift," having begun on one side of the political spectrum and ended up on the opposite side. Just as the anti-liquor crusade was originally a left wing reform movement (just like women's rights, world peace, and abolitionism) that became a symbol of the "reactionary" rural South, so Anti-Masonry began as the nation's first "red scare" and eventually became a unique form of American anti-clericalism and anti-aristocracy (Masonry being America's quasi-official liturgical religion and ruling class), including "radicals" like Thaddeus Stevens.
This whole thing is a fascinating topic.
Behind the Lodge Door
“The way you put it, the fraternity should also not allow its membership to eat meat on a Friday during lent when they are serving steak at a banquet they hold on said Friday and any of 1000s of other specific rules. Its absolutely ridiculous.”
Hey, we disagree, that’s fine. And we aren’t talking about traditional dietary disciplines. We are talking about an organization who requires faith to be a member, and then allows membership even if that faith SPECIFICALLY forbids its adherents to become members of the group in question. It’s not a question of only allowing folks whose faith is practiced in an orthodox manner, it’s a question of a particular faith officially forbidding its members to belong to a specific group, and that group allowing them as members anyhow. To me, that would seem to defeat the purpose of having a requirement of faith in the first place.
Are LDS still barred from belonging to certain lodges?
It’s like beating your head against a wall. Reread what I wrote last. The same response applies.