Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
I seem to know so much about Masonry that I have been challenged over and over again with the charge that I am an ex-Mason of the Royal Arch Degree. However I have never been a Mason. But just as I can speak about New York even though I have never visited that city, so I have authentic information about the origin and aims of Masonry.
She does not. If a man wishes to join a club and is presented with a book of rules, has he the right to say, "Here, you can't bully me like this. How dare you talk to me of obligations!" The officials would rightly reply, "Nonsense. You wish to be a member of this club, and these are our rules. We are not bullying you. You want to be a member of this club, and we cannot accept you unless you promise to conform to the regulations." So the Catholic Church has the right to legislate for those who choose to remain or to become Catholics. She simply says to Catholics, "If you join the Masons, you deprive yourself of the benefits of the Catholic faith." Where is the bullying in that? It is but an exercise of lawful authority. Christ said to His Church, "Whatever you bind on earth is bound also in heaven." St. Paul says "Obey your prelates and be subject to them, for they watch as having to render an account of your souls." Heb. XIII, 17. The Church has a grave responsibility, and men can disobey only by the renunciation of their Christian privileges.
I do not. The Masonic system and the Catholic system are not reconcilable, and no Catholic may join the Lodge without thereby renouncing his Church. But there is no reason why Catholics and Masons, making allowance for each other's persuasions, should not be personally friendly in this country, observing always true charity towards individuals.
I have no hatred of Catholics who have become Masons. I am very sorry for the Catholic who does so, and would move heaven and earth to reach him before he died, were such a Catholic to send for me on his death-bed, as indeed has happened.
Pope Clement XII issued the first formal prohibition in 1738. As modern Freemasonry began in 1717, this was just twenty-one years after its origin.
Masonry did not exist in ancient times. But if, since the decree of Pope Clement, a renegade Priest did join Masonry, he at once ceased to be a practical member of the Catholic Church by the mere fact of doing so.
No. Those writers who have said that he was, have quoted only spurious documents, and have given such contradictory details that Pope Pius IX. must have been initiated on half a dozen different occasions and in as many places. Dudley Wright, in his book, "Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry," says that Pope Pius IX. was initiated as a Mason on August 15, 1839, at Palermo. Yet on the date given, Pius had been a Bishop for more than twelve years. The document upon which he relied has been proved a forgery over and over again.
Howrever tolerant individual Masons may be towards the Catholic Church, and with all due charity towards individual Masons, the Church forbids her own subjects to join the Masonic Lodge for many and good reasons. Masonry is a secret society of a character opposed to right moral principles; its oath is too sweeping and unjust; in the name of Masonic fraternity, much injustice has occurred in ordinary life, Masonry counting more than merit and capability; on the Continent of Europe Masonry aims at the destruction of the Catholic Church, and the Church could not but forbid Catholics to join her avowed enemy; nor could the Church distinguish between Masons of one country and of another—Masons claim worldwide solidarity, and all must fall under the ban; and, in any case, Masonry claims to be a religion derived from mythological sources, and as such is on a par with all other false religions as far as the Catholic Church is concerned.
Not merely as a secret society, but as one involving a particular kind of secrecy. A member takes a solemn oath to keep secret any matters heard within the Lodge with no previous idea of their nature and with no certainty of the extent to which he is committing himself. Many a man who has taken that oath has refused, because of it, to follow his conscience. Masonic friends of mine have admitted this to me. Secrecy is permissible only where legitimate buisness is concerned, and no man is morally free to bind himself blindly by an oath, when be is not even sure that injustice to others will not be involved. Albert Pike, an American Mason, tells us in his book, "The Inner Sanctuary," that it is the duty of a Royal Arch Mason to espouse the cause of a companion Royal Arch Mason, whether he be right or wrong. It is immoral to take any oath which is likely to involve such conduct.
Our codes are totally different. I am bound only to safeguard the manifestations of conscience made to me by people in Confession, and to preserve such other natural and committed secrets as involve no injustice to others.
The Catholic Church does not condemn any society merely because it is secret in its own transactions of business. Every society may have its lawful secrets. A family is a society, and no family is obliged to call in strangers and exhibit all its affairs to the public gaze. But the Church does condemn those societies whose form of secrecy can be dangerous to religion, or to the state, or which can lead to the violation of conscience. Many Catholic societies which have their own legitimate secret business are permitted by the Church. But before giving her sanction, she makes sure that such secret business is limited to lawful matters, and that the constitutions of such societies are based upon Christian principles, containing nothing in any way opposed to the law of God.
In all the points I have enumerated against Masonry. They do not constitute a secret society of the type condemned by the Church. They are prepared to submit all their affairs to ecclesiastical authority. Every member knows that he will never be asked to violate his conscience or injure other people's rights in virtue of his membership. Their society does not claim to be a new and universal religion, nor do any of its members profess their wish to destroy the Catholic Church.
Even did Masonry believe that, it would be detrimental to the Catholic Church. For if God reveals a definite religion, it is blasphemy to say that any other religion is as eood as the one He has revealed.
In some countries they do; in others they do not. However the spirit of Masonry the world over is anti-Christian and anti-Catholic, for it excludes all definite Christianity and yet claims to be a religion. "He*that is not with me, is against me," said Christ.
Senator Delpech, President of the Grand Orient in France, said on September 20th, 1902, "The triumph of the Galilean has lasted many centuries, but now He dies in His turn. He passes away to join the dust of the ages with the other divinities of India, Greece, and Rome, who saw so many deceived creatures prostrate before their altars. Brother Masons, we rejoice that we are not without our share in this overthrow of false prophets. The Romish Church began to decay from the day the Masonic association was established/' The Swiss Lodge declared, "We have one irreconcilable enemy—the Pope and clericalism." Masonic documents seized by the Government of Italy declared that the ultimate idea of Masonry there was to destroy Catholicism and even the Christian idea altogether. Again in 1913 the Grand Orient of France said, "The aim of the Grand Orient is to crush Roman Catholicism in France first, and then elsewhere." Masonic journals in England replied to these quotations by saying that English Masonry did not sympathize with such extravagant utterances, and that it had no opinions, political or religious. But the American Pike replied, "It is idle to protest. We are Masons, and we recognize the French brotherhood as Freemasons in virtue of solidarity. Ours is a universal fraternity." The list of Grand Lodges published in 1907 shows that the United Grand Lodge of England recognizes practically all the Grand Lodges of the world. As the Ancient Scottish Rite for the installment of a Grand Master says, "There is a sacred bond uniting all the brethren of our Craft. However scattered over the earth, they all compose one body." Masonry as such is opposed to the Catholic Church. I know that there are many fine, broad, and tolerant men, who rather admire the Catholic Church, if anything. But the fact remains that no Catholic may become a Mason without renouncing his religion, and no Mason can become a Catholic without severing his connection with the Masonic Lodge.
Masonry claims to go much farther back than Solomon's Temple. "The Freemason," an English Masonic periodical, August issue, 1926, says: "Freemasonry can stand and watch all religions as they pass in review." W. A. Waite, in his book, "Emblematic Masonry," 1925, p. 286, says: "Masons alone are truly ordained and have a succession more than Apostolic." A. Churchward, in the "Treasury of Masonic Thought," under the chapter on the Great Pyramid, says, "Masonry goes back 300,000 years before Christ to the Egyptian mysteries of Horns." There are many other such extravagant claims made by Masons. But whilst Masonry claims to be pagan in origin, and whilst it talks paganism, historically it is not so old. The best German Masonic historians, such as Begeman, laugh at the notion and admit that Masonry as it is to-day began with the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Its organization was completed in 1722 with the new book of the constitutions and the three degrees of apprentice, fellow and master. The mentioning of Solomon's Temple in connection with Masonry is absurd. I might just as well found a society of Shintoists in 1933; include in my ritual the burning of a few joss-sticks; and then tell the world that really my society dated back to Confucius, adding as proof the allegation that he must have burned joss-sticks at any rate.
There were older societies of stone-workers before that date, but having no connection with Masonry, and making no absurd pretentions to a fantastic heredity. The old guilds had ceased to exist, and the spirit of the new Masonry was a contradiction of that which prevailed in the earlier and non-connected Catholic guilds. Masonry was not even a revival of an older system. It was a completely new and quite independent organization.
Not all do. I remember reading in a French Masonic Review these words, "Masonry teaches that there is only one religion—the worship of humanity. God is an erroneous concept of humanity." However, many Masons believe in a Supreme Architect, just as the pagan Aristotle did.
God himself would scarcely recognize tne portrait as authentic. God is not merely the author of all things, He is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in whose Name we have been baptized. The mere admission of a Great Architect suggests no intimate relations with Him, no knowledge of His intimate and personal life, no recognition of Jesus Christ His Son, no acceptance of God's revelation, and no obedience to His commands. I admit that some individual Masons subscribe to Christian teachings to some extent, but they do not do so as Masons.
If so, how can you deny that Masonry is a non-Catholic form of religion? And even granting that your ritual is a worship of God, it is a worship opposed to the way in which He Himself wants you to worship Him. And what of the Masonic claim that the very rites are derived from ancient pagan mysteries?
J. S. M. Ward, founder and secretary of the Masonic Study Society, writes in his book, "Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods," p. 330, that the Hindoo conception of the diety is the "same as that taught in our Lodges, with the same attributes, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva." Wilmshurst, Grand Registrar of West Yorkshire, wrote at the request of his fellow Masons a book called "The Masonic Initiation." On p. 105 he writes: "To the Jewish brother Masonry points to the Father of the faithful; to the Hindoo brother it points to Krishna; to the Moslem, it points to Mahomet." The Royal Arch Ritual gives the letters J.B.O. as denominating the Great Architect; the Hebrew Jehovah; the Syrian Baal; and the Egyptian Osiris.
It is not. Bro. T. J. Lawrence, in his book, "Freemasonry," 1925, p. 58, says: "Masonry does not even require a profession of Christianity. It freely admits Jews, Mohammedans, and others who reject Christian doctrine." Dr. Fort Newton, in "Brothers and Builders," says that, like everything else in Masonry, the Bible is a symbol of God's perpetual revelation, which God is still making through the Old Testament, the Koran, the Vedas, etc." That is_the end of the Bible in the Christian sense. In the same book he writes that Masonry is not a religion, but the religion, and that Masons pursue the universal religion. That is the end of Christianty as the universal religion. It is because of its un-Christian character that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in 1927, made abstention from the Lodge a condition of its own membership. In the same year the Wesleyan Conference in England declared that the Christian message "is wholly incompatible with the claims of Freemasons." Even General Booth, shortly before he died, addressed a letter to every Officer of the Salvation Army saying: "No language of mine could be too strong in condemning any Officer's affiliation with any society which shuts Him outside its Temples; and which in its religious ceremonies gives neither Him nor His name any place. The place where Jesus Christ is not allowed is no place for any Salvation Army Officer."
Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry will tell you that "all the ceremonies of our Order begin and terminate with prayer, for Masonry is a religious institution."
We do not condemn any good they are able to accomplish. Meantime the Catholic Church has charitable works on a much vaster scale. And she condemns the Masonic system, without casting reflection upon the sincerity of individual Masons or the good works of the Craft
You may know of many. Those who have done so have preferred the benefits of Masonry to the principles of their religion, selling their birthright, as did Esau, for a bowl of temporal porridge. They have cut themselves off from their Church, and deprived themselves of the right to the Sacraments. Law is law. If they want to be Catholics, they must submit to the laws of the Catholic Church. No one will compel them to do so, but if they will not, you cannot blame the Church for her refusal to regard them as practical members.
Who knows? Those who have completely lost their faith may be so. But there are many who have not lost the faith, and who but seem to be content. They are most miserable because they cannot practice their faith as long as they are Masons; and although they have not the courage of their convictions yet, they hope to renounce Masonry before they die, and to be reconciled with their Church. I, as a Catholic Priest, know this; for they have told me what they would not tell any fellow Mason on the subject—whilst they still intend to remain with the Lodge. A Catholic Mason is not a very happy man.
Yes, provided he is sincerely convinced that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, and that he be prepared to sever his connection with the Lodge. He cannot become a Catholic whilst still remaining a member of any Masonic Lodge.
That is merely a foolish superstition. If a man drops Masonry, altogether renounces it, and has nothing more to do with it, he ceases to be a Mason however much his fellow-Masons declare that he still belongs to them. Masonry does not grip a man body and soul for all eternity, with or without his will.
No, although that society does not fall under so strict a condemnation as Masonry. There are Catholic benefit societies which give all the temporal advantages to be secured in the Odd Fellows, or in other similar non-Catholic benefit societies. The Church naturally prefers her members to join Catholic societies. The majority of the Odd Fellows are non-Catholics, and no matter how good they may be, it is certain that their Lodge offers less suitable companionship for Catholics than a Catholic society. The Masonic Lodge is, therefore, absolutely forbidden; all other non-Catholic Friendly Societies are strongly discouraged.