[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: June 1997

From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
To: rayis@wantree.com.au
Subject: Re: Freemasons/Catholic Church 
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 11:20:12 EDT

} Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 21:42:21 +0800
} From: Ray Lane <rayis@wantree.com.au>
} Reply-To: rayis@wantree.com.au
} To: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
} Subject: Freemasons/Catholic Church
} Hi Gary,
} I read some time ago that Freemasons are the mortal enemy of the
} Catholic Church and are secretly planing the (imminent) demise of the
} Pope and the Church.

Where did you read that? Can you send me a copy? Sounds pretty funny.

} Can this be true ?......and, if not, how can we know that it's not if
} it's a "secret" plot ?

You've gone right past History and Politics and slammed straight into epistemology. Let me try to sort things out:

No, as far as I know, no official group of Freemasons are the mortal enemy of the Catholic Church, nor is any official group of Freemasons planning the Church's demise.

After all, (1) all the lodges I know of are perfectly willing to accept Catholic members, and (2) are almost too disorganized to plot a steak dinner for 60 couples without losing money on it. (3) The only "plot" that I am aware of that could be ascribed at all to Masonry at large (that is, as the official policy of most or all of the various sovereign grand lodges of the 50 US states) is the "plot" to bring in more dues-paying members.

But, your question is broader than that.

First, there's scope and responsibility? Are any Freemasons anywhere in the world plotting the destruction of the Church? I have no idea. But you could ask if any Masons anywhere in the world plotting to rob some bank. I hope not, but I don't know. And if they were, could you consider that a specifically Masonic plot? If it wasn't something they planned in a lodge meeting, but just on their own, say, while on a fishing trip or during lunch one day? Would you say it was a Masonic plot? They just arrested 3 guys from Spain who were selling pot in a nearby town -- does that mean it was a "Spanish conspiracy" to sell marijuana?

Next, there's knowability: Even if there was an official Masonic plot to do in the Rock of Peter and the Crown of Christendom, maybe they wouldn't tell _me_. I'm just a Past Master of a couple of lodges, after all. Maybe only the high Grand Lodge officers are aware of such a plot. But then, if they're the only ones who know about it, who's actually executing the plot?

Next, there's believability: If I were involved in a plot to bring about the fall of the Church of Rome, would I admit it? What weight of evidence could my denial possibly have?

Finally, there's plausibility: Is it likely that an organization that attracts members by professing ideals of "brotherly love, relief, and truth" could then somehow convert these same overwhelmingly stable middle-class and working guys to engage in undermining a major world religion? And have them all keep it secret in the meantime?

} It's an interesting question, but I don't know it's origin.

The origin of most of these rumors was a fraud (named the "Taxil Hoax") perpetrated against the _Church_ a century or two ago. Someone who wanted to embarrass the Church printed up a fake pamphlet, which professed to be a secret Masonic document advocating and laying out plans for the destruction of the Church. Some Church authorities totally fell for it, and issued huge ringing thunderous denunciations of Masonry. Then the hoaxster revealed the fakery, and thus that he had completely suckered and "fished in" the infallible Church. But the fake pamphlet has kept circulating since then, and various authoritarian US denominations (with their own beefs about Masonry) keep falling for it and writing books about Masonic perfidy.

} Thanks for your help.
} Regards
} Ray
Hope that helps.

| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu> | Brotherhood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not
| P.O.Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142 | PM: Ocean Lodge, Winthrop, MA (2nd Mon)
| ofc: 617.253-0184 fax: 253-8665  | & Mt. Scopus Lodge, Malden, MA (4th Wed)
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/| 
|      "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|       whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|       or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

P.S. I know that the structured style of my reply makes it look like I learned to write in a Jesuit high school or prep school. I didn't. Or at least I am apparently asserting to you that I didn't. (Unravel that one!)

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