Friday, July 29, 2016

Regretable Catholic Nonsense

I've long been interested in the reasons behind the Catholic Churches disagreement with Freemasonry.  I was told, that a Pope had issued a Papal Bull many years ago forbidding Catholics from joining Freemasonry. The Pope believed that since Freemasonry  was open to any man who believed in one God, and that a man should have direct access to the Supreme Being regardless of the his theological philosophies, it was wrong for a Catholic to join. The Catholic Church insists that all men must obey the Pope as the direct theological authority in all things. This explanation was.

I read an article published on the internet by the National Catholic Bioethic center at the University of Mary in the year 2002. Most of the article  seemed written years ago, and possibly combined from several manuscripts. It begins with an accounting of Masonic history, but quickly became an uninformed opinion of Freemasonry. The article is lengthy and sometimes hard to understand. For example: It begins with the 'supposed' origin of the name "freemason" in 1375, and returns to the year 1155 to explain that "the word freemason described an operative mason of superior skills". It  also suggested developed that there were two types; a free-stone mason who worked with softer stone that could be carved, and the less skilled rough stone masons. I suspect the actual year that the word "freemasonry" was first used was 1155


Regardless, in 1898 the New English Dictionary of the Philological Society  interpreted "freemasons"  as "skilled artisans, emanating according to medieval practice from the restrictions and control of the local guilds (unions) in order that they might travel and render services wherever any great building (cathedral, etc.) was in the process of construction". This is the interpretation adopted by the 1st. Grand Lodge of England in 1717.  Before then the Catholic Church believed that "the nature of Freemasonry as a secret society makes it difficult to accept it's reputed documents and authorities".  Freemasonry was not and is not a "secret society". Perhaps it never was. However, Masonic history is indeed complicated by fables, dreams, and speculation as well as facts. It was and is a society of men with private practices.  

A recognized Masonic scholar,  Albert Mackey, has said that "Freemasonry's history has never been written in a spirit of critical truth. . . . the missing chains of evidence  have been frequently supplied by gratuitous invention and statements of vast importance have been carelessly sustained by the testimony of documents whose authenticity has not been proved".

Masonry in modern times (after 1723 when four London Lodges reorganized the 2nd. English Grand Lodge), developed a systematic method of teaching ethics and morality by means of using symbols to assist a man's to retain it's lessons. Interestingly, the book "Anderson's Constitutions" in 1723, contained the unchangeable laws that have no legal authority, but are generally inserted in "The Book of Constitutions" of each Grand Lodge. Note that it contains: 


1. God and Religion."A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art (Masonry),  he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. Masonry being found in allegations, even of diverse religions, are charged to adhere to that religion in which all men agree, that is, to be good men and true, men of honesty, by whatever names, religions or persuasions they may be distinguished. . . . . Thus is the centre of their union and the happy means of conciliating true friendship among persons who otherwise must have remained at a perpetual distance.


Catholics characterize this "God and Religion" text to the corresponding injunction in the old lodges of "operative Masonry". They are summed up in the words of the "operative" (pre 1717) Masons; The first charge is that you be true to God and the Holy Catholic Church, and use no error or heresy".

The contrast is clear.  Under the older Book of Constitutions a Mason was obliged to be true to God and Church, but according to the newer (1723) Anderson's Book of Constitutions,  "a Masons obligation was reduced to the observation of the "moral law",  and practically summed up in the rules of honour and honesty as to which all men agree"The Catholic Church has refused accept this change as it "removes the accidental division of mankind due to particular opinions or religious duties, national, and social prejudices". 

Further, "it places "Humanity" as the essential principle of Freemasonry.The Christian character  of the society was exchanged for the non-sectarian regulations which were to include the votaries of all sects, without respect for their differences, provided they met the conditions of morality, mature age and an approved ballot in the Lodge". This entire argument is rendered non-sense as Freemasonry is not a religion or theology, and it has exchanged nothing. 

According to this erroneous article, "the Catholic Church believes the attempt to impose "Humanity" on the Roman Catholic Church in place of "Christian Religion" is absolutely wrong. The article carries this idea forward with the statement that "Freemasonry, therefore, is opposed not only to Catholicism and Christianity, but also to the whole system of supernatural truth". 

I give up. They are going to believe what ever they want to believe.


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