Masonic Family Values

A recent Vatican pronouncement on the worldwide influence of Freemasonry reminds us why Tom Monaghan repudiated his own vision of a Catholic town in Florida.

Christopher Ferrara
REMNANT COLUMNIST, New Jersey Buried in a document of the Pontifical Council for Culture, dated March 13, 2004, is this surprising observation concerning the state of religious belief in the world: “[A] certain cultural hostility is being spread against religions, especially Christianity and Catholicism in particular, notably through the means of social communication, and is promoted by Masonic sources active in different organisations.”[i]

Just like that a Vatican pronouncement reminds us that the Church is still at war with Freemasonry. And we thought they had forgotten. This discovery can only be an embarrassment to those Catholic sophisticates who turn up their noses at what they view as an aberrantly traditionalist “preoccupation” with the role of Masonry in world affairs. Here we have a very recent document from the distinctively non-traditionalist Pontifical Council for Culture matter-of-factly remarking the existence of a worldwide campaign against the Church by “Masonic sources active in different organizations.”  That sounds awfully like the sort of Masonic conspiracy the sophisticates belittle in their supposedly more nuanced understanding of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment history.

The Church versus the Masonic Sect

In their yen for historical nuances, however, the sophisticates always miss the big historical picture: Since the early 18th century the course of Western history has been determined largely by the outcome of a great conflict between the universal Church and the worldwide Masonic sect. As Pope Leo XIII observed in his monumental encyclical on the subject: “[T]he sect of Freemasons grew with a rapidity beyond conception in the course of a century and a half, until it came to be able, by means of fraud or of audacity, to gain such entrance into every rank of the State as to seem to be almost its ruling power. This swift and formidable advance has brought upon the Church, upon the power of princes, upon the public well-being, precisely that grievous harm which Our predecessors had long before foreseen.”[ii]

The Vatican’s own recognition, only two years ago, that the Masonic sect continues to exercise worldwide influence against the Church reminds us why not only Leo XIII but a long line of Popes were no less “preoccupied” with Freemasonry than present-day traditionalists: from Gregory XII, writing within only a few years of the creation of the first grand lodge in London in 1717, to Pope Pius XII, who declared in 1958 that the “. . . the roots of modern apostasy lay in scientific atheism, dialectical materialism, rationalism, illuminism, laicism, and Freemasonry—which is the mother of them all.”[iii]

As Fr. Stanley Jaki noted in his introduction to Barruel’s famous Memoirs on Freemasonry’s role in the French Revolution, it was a Freemason who admitted in a letter to a French Jesuit priest, Père Berteloot, that “one outsider alone has understood Freemasonry, namely, Leo XIII. His condemnation of Freemasonry is, of course, logical, necessary and justified from the Catholic viewpoint. The Sovereign Pontiff went to the very root of Freemasonry. He found it harmful, wants it extirpated, and he has good reasons for it.”[iv]

It was Pope Leo who elucidated the fundamentally religious opposition between the Church and “the sect of the Freemasons.”  The goal of the Masonic sect, Leo wrote, was nothing less than “the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions.” The very root of Freemasonry was its design to supersede Christianity as the universal religion, with religious particularities, most especially Catholicism, put aside at the Lodge door. This would require the reduction of the Catholic Church to the status of one sect among many, with only the Freemasonic religion being capable of providing a unity that transcends the sects “in the bonds of friendship and charity… without regard to kindred, sect, tongue or nation.”[v]

Masonry claims for itself divine origins as the cult of the descendants of the builders of Solomon’s Temple. In his definitive work on American Masonry from 1730-1840, Steven C. Bullock notes that Masonry’s “Constitutions and rituals firmly placed Jewish biblical tradition at the heart of all Masonry…”[vi] (Those who say Freemasonry has nothing to do with Judaism know nothing of the history of the Craft.)  Yet the religion promoted by the Freemasonic sect eschews divine revelation, whose content was cast into doubt by the Protestant rebellion and the rationalism of the “Enlightenment.” As the renowned historian Gordon S. Wood observed in his Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the American Revolution: “It would  difficult to exaggerate the importance of Freemasonry for the American Revolution…. Freemasonry was a surrogate religion for an Enlightenment suspicious of traditional Christianity.”[vii]

The Freemasonic sect preaches a form of natural religion that aims to inculcate the civic virtues of brotherhood and tolerance deemed essential for life in the new order to be erected upon the ruins of Christendom. As Fr. Jaki has put it: “Christian religion, steeped in the supernatural, can for genuine Freemasons be but a stepping stone to their religion, which consists in a resolute step away from the supernatural to the level of mere nature.” In a word, Masonry is the religion of pluralism.

Christ’s divinely revealed commission to baptize and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things He has commanded, is a heresy in the Masonic system.  For the Mason, the only god to whom all nations must be converted is Liberty. Before Liberty every knee must bend. Christ Himself must bend His knee to Liberty, respecting the autonomy of the newly created Masonic realm of secular politics.

And what is Liberty?  In Propaganda and the American Revolution, historian Philip Davidson provided this amusing description of what the new idol meant to the American colonials:

What did liberty mean? Who can tell? To one it may have meant simply freedom from English restrictions, perhaps nothing more than freedom from the Stamp Act; to another it may have meant complete freedom from England; to still a third it may have meant internal freedom from local oppressors. It may have meant political, economic, religious freedom—free government, free land, free trade, free religion, free liquor, free anything the people want. It meant just as much or as little as ‘Liberty, Fraternity, Equality’ in another revolution… The power of the word was its vagueness. Who would not choose Liberty to Slavery? Some there might have been who would not fight for the merchants, or for the political bosses, some there might even be who would not fight for the preachers, but it was a craven spirit who would not fight for Liberty.[viii]

However imperfectly Liberty was understood by the common man in revolutionary America, in the minds of those who wielded Liberty as a philosophical concept its meaning was crystal clear: freedom from any external authority not subject to the “sovereign will of the people”—which is to say, the overthrow of the Catholic social order of altar and throne, the dreaded memory of which was invoked to stoke the passions of the colonial masses. A typical example of this propaganda is a sermon by one Reverend Holly in defense of resistance to British taxation and other violations of “Liberty.” If the colonists were to submit to British tyranny, Holly warned, it would only be a matter of time before their consciences would be

bound by Popish chains, which, when thoroughly fastened upon us, away must go our Bibles, and in lieu thereof we must have imposed upon us, the superstitions and damnable heresies and idolatries of the church of Rome. Then we must pray to the Virgin Mary, worship images, believe their doctrine of purgatory, and the Pope’s infallibility, and such like. And last of all, the deepest plot of hell and Rome, the holy inquisition, must guard the Catholic faith of the church of Rome, and bind us thereto with all its terrors and cruelty.[ix]

When all is said and done, Liberty has always meant emancipation from the claims of the Catholic Church on men and nations, or what Pierre Manent has called “the Church’s complete subordination to the body politic.”[x] Hence the incessant propaganda of colonial pamphleteers against “Popery” had the same object as the outright genocide of the Catholic hierarchy by the Jacobins of France: the suppression of what Pope Leo called “the power of that divine religion which the Freemasons hate in proportion to their fear of it.” The Masonic mind’s hatred and fear of Christ and His Church was summed up in Voltaire’s famous epithet “ecrasons l'infame!” (“let us crush the infamous one”). The Lodge of Nine Muses inducted Voltaire into the Craft in 1778. In attendance was his American Masonic brother, Benjamin Franklin. Masonic hands across the sea of revolution.

With the Church’s subordination to the body politic came the rise of the absolute monarchs, and then, with the revolutions in America and France, the absolute nation-states wherein, as Pope Leo observed, Masons wielded the levers of power.  The absolute nation-state that arose in America almost immediately after the Revolution, for the sake of which 600,000 Americans would be slaughtered in the Civil War, was largely a Masonic affair. Prof. Davidson notes that “Fifty two of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were Masons, as were many of the lesser politicians.”[xi] Indeed, the Capitol building was ritually consecrated as the Masonic equivalent of St. Peter’s Basilica. Prof. Bullock describes the ceremony thus: “If, as Thomas Jefferson argued, the Capitol represented ‘the first temple dedicated to the sovereignty of the people,’ then the [Masonic] brothers of the 1793 ceremony served as its first high priests. Clothed in ritual vestments, Washington and his brothers consecrated the building by the literal baptism of corn, oil and wine—symbols of nourishment, refreshment and joy, or, as some versions interpreted them, Masonry, science and virtue, and universal benevolence.”[xii]

In place of the true religion as the moral matrix of political society and the true God as the ultimate source of political authority, the Masonic enterprise helped to erect neo-pagan republics—first and foremost America—whose citizens were to be inculcated in the new civic religion of brotherhood and tolerance. The pursuit of religious particularities, most especially Catholicism, was to be confined strictly to the sphere of private activity. The governments of these neo-pagan states, for the first time in the history of the West, would publicly profess no religion whatever. 

In condemning the Freemasonic sect, Pope Leo remarked the supreme irony that the ancient pagans themselves would never even have contemplated such an arrangement: “To have in public matters no care for religion, and in the arrangement and administration of civil affairs to have no more regard for God than if He did not exist, is a rashness unknown to the very pagans; for in their heart and soul the notion of a divinity and the need of public religion were so firmly fixed that they would have thought it easier to have a city without foundation than a city without God.”[xiii]

Cities without God are precisely a Masonic conception, as Leo rightly discerned.   But they are not cities without a god. Their god is Liberty. It is Liberty that the Freemasonic sect has successfully enshrined as the summum bonum of Western political life.

We Are All Freemasons Now

The Catholic sophisticates will tut-tut that the age of active Masonic conspiracies is long since past. Putting aside the Vatican’s own recent recognition that this is not so, it hardly matters whether the claim has merit. Members of the Brotherhood still have their hands on the levers of power at every level of government. But, far more important, practically speaking we are all Masons now, having been forcibly converted to the fundamental Masonic dogma by the power of the State.

Even Roman Catholic traditionalists generally practice a high degree of external conformity to the dogma for fear of persecution or merely appearing foolish, while less militant Catholics positively praise the pluralism that renders impossible the moral and spiritual rejuvenation of the West.  And, as even a liberalized Vatican apparatus has noticed, the Freemasonic sect is always there, promoting its anti-Gospel throughout the world lest there be any backsliding by the converted.

A perfect example of the practical conversion of even seemingly staunch Catholics to the Masonic religion is Thomas Monaghan’s hasty retreat from his purported plan to build a Catholic town in Florida. It has been rumored that in the projected town of Ave Maria the sale of contraceptives, pornography and obscene cable TV content would be banned by local ordinance. The mere prospect of a Catholic town in America excited a storm of alarmed media coverage, including all the major networks and Newsweek magazine.

But it was all a terrible misunderstanding, said Monaghan and his men. As the Naples News reported (March 3, 2006), “Ave Maria officials have decided it’s time to set the record straight. There’s not going to be a special cable provider that doesn’t carry X-rated channels. The town isn’t going to be a Catholic utopia, where only practicing Catholics are welcome. And no one is dictating what can or, in the case of Ave Maria, can’t be sold within the boundaries of the town.”

Nick Healy, the President of Ave Maria University, which is to be the center of the new town, was even more emphatic in his rejection of the very idea of an American town that is Catholic: “This is not going to be a Catholic town. We want the town to be open to everyone. What people do in their own home is none of our business. There has been no attempt to regulate or restrict that.” A more definitive profession of faith in pluralist dogma could hardly be demanded.  But Howard Simon of the ACLU in Florida is not so sure that Monaghan’s contrition is perfect.  Simon remains ready to file suit the moment it becomes apparent that the town of Ave Maria is actually Catholic in any respect.

In their joint statement, however, Monaghan and Paul Marinelli, president of Barron Collier, assured the ACLU and various other outraged defenders of Liberty that “the town will be open to all, regardless of age, religion or race. ... The controversy over contraceptives and the portrayal of Ave Maria as a Catholic town should not and cannot overshadow the value and importance of this event.”  So, it was only an unfortunate portrayal of Ave Maria as a Catholic town that had caused the ACLU and the mass media to sound the alarm that someone, somewhere, might actually be kicking against the goad.

Moreover, said the statement, “It is critical to note”—critical, mind you—“that no restrictions will be enforced on contraceptives or any other inventory. In fact, we are using the same lease for Ave Maria as the Barron Collier Cos. use elsewhere in Collier County, which prohibit certain uses that are inconsistent with traditional family values. Neither will there be restrictions enforced on programming on cable television.” In the same vein, Blake Gable, the project manager for Barron Collier, said that “What we’re trying to do is build an open, inclusive community... But it is a community based on family values.”

So, the town of Ave Maria, while it most definitely will not be Catholic (except in name), will nonetheless be based on “family values.” But what sort of “family values” would allow the sale of contraceptives and the diffusion of pornography and X-rated cable TV in a community of families? Why, Masonic family values, of course: tolerance, inclusiveness, and brotherhood among those of all creeds and moral persuasions, including the purveyors of contraception and pornography—even in a town named after the Virgin Mary. And isn’t that the American Way?

In America, you see, we have “religious liberty, which was obtained for us at the point of a gun by our mostly Masonic “Founding Fathers.” But let it not be thought for even a moment that “religious liberty” means the right of Catholics to form for themselves a small community in the middle of a swamp that might actually embody a few of the moral precepts of their religion in town ordinances. There can be no such liberty in Masonic social order, no such return to “Popery,” as Monaghan was only too happy to concede. Barron Collier would merely “be asking companies to honor the wishes and beliefs of the town’s founder.” Before the thundering of pluralist inquisitors, Monaghan’s vision of a Catholic town was instantly reduced to a timid request that respect be shown for his “wishes” concerning the use of $250,000,000 of his own money. And if respect is not shown? Well, like a good pluralist Monaghan will spend the money anyway. Consider it a major Catholic contribution to the collection basket on the altar of Liberty.

Yes, we are all more or less Masons now. Even the most resistant among us are still to a great extent externally complaint conversos of the regime of Liberty. We know that every state is a confessional state, founded on what are ultimately theological principles, and that not just America but all the nations of former Christendom—including France, “eldest daughter of the Church”—are confessional states of the Masonic religion. And we know that these states have deprived the entire Western world of the true liberty of the sons of God. The “Founding Fathers” provoked a bloody revolution over the Stamp Tax and the Townsend Acts. Yet we acquiesce in a regime that represses even the idea of a town where Catholics would be free to order their lives in accordance with the law of the Gospel. If ever a revolution were justified, it would be justified against this regime. But there is little we can do to rouse a sufficient number of Catholics to opposition. No matter how obvious it is, they cannot recognize the truth about our situation.

In his introduction to Barruel’s Memoirs Fr. Jaki urged all Christians to “look toward that Church that even in the decades of an ecumenical euphoria did not lift the ban on Freemasonry and other secretive efforts to dilute the uniqueness of Christ’s message of salvation.” Jaki added that “One merely disarms oneself by pretending that there is no longer on hand a secrecy operating through cunning tactics.” 

But for most of our brethren, especially the sophisticates among them, such wise advice will have no effect. They see no sign of any conspiracy today, but only the inexorable progression of human events, which it is quite useless to resist. They have accepted the ascendancy of Liberty as if it were a Hegelian unfolding of the world Spirit in time. As for Christ and the Church He founded to make disciples of all nations, even our own brethren are quite prepared to agree that Christ and His Church must assume their proper place in the New Order of the Ages.

How It Will All End

Yet the very hopelessness of our plight as captives of the Masonic worldview signals the approach of divine intervention.  In 1611 Our Lady appeared at Quito, Ecuador to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres under the title Our Lady of Good Success, an apparition approved as authentic by successive bishops of the Diocese of Quito. Our Lady appeared some 250 years before Ecuador’s martyr-president, Garcia Moreno, was assassinated by the Masons on account of his successful restoration of Catholic social order in that country. In her message to Mother Mariana, Our Lady said of Moreno: “In the 19th Century there will be a truly Catholic president, a man of character whom God Our Lord will give the palm of martyrdom on the square adjoining this Convent. He will consecrate the Republic to the Sacred Heart of My Most Holy Son, and this consecration will sustain the Catholic Religion in the years that will follow, which will be ill-fated ones for the Church. These years, during which the evil sect of Masonry will take control of the civil government, will see a cruel persecution of all religious communities, and they will also strike out violently against this one of mine.”

The Message of Quito further predicts the 20th century apostasy in the Church and “a total corruption of customs [morals], for Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic sects.” The parallel between Our Lady’s words and Pope Leo’s description of Masonry as a sect cannot be overlooked.

But the Message of Quito, like the Message of Fatima, concludes with the promise of a Marian triumph. When things seem most hopeless, said Our Lady of Good Success, “My hour will arrive… I, in an amazing manner, will overthrow proud Satan, crushing him under my feet, chaining him in the infernal abyss, leaving the Church and the land free of this cruel tyranny.”

Thus has Our Lady herself twice assured us that before God closes the universe like a book (Isaiah 34:4) there must first come a time when Catholics will be free once again to build a Catholic town, and there will be neither a Howard Simon to sue them nor a court to hear the case. It is this second American Revolution—the divine one—that will secure the blessings of true liberty to ourselves, should we live to see it, and to our posterity.

[i] “CONCLUDING DOCUMENT OF THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY: Where is Your God? Responding to the Challenge of Unbelief and Religious Indifference Today,” March 13, 2004, n. 3.2.

[ii] Humanum Genus (1884), n. 7.

[iii] Pius XII, Address to the Seventh Week Pastoral Adaptation Conference in Italy (1958).

[iv]A. Barruel, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (American Council on Economics and Society: Fraser, MI, 1958), p. xxxvi.

[v] De Witt Clinton, “Address Before the American Bible Society” (1823), cited in Steven C. Bullock, Revolutionary Brotherhood (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 165.

[vi] Bullock, op. cit. p. 11.

[vii] Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), p. 223.

[viii] Philip Davidson, Propaganda and the American Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1941), p. 137-138.

[ix] Davidson, op. cit., p.

[x] Pierre Manent, An Intellectual History of Liberalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), p. 8.

[xi] Davidson, op. cit., p. 101.

[xii] Bullock, op. cit., p. 137.

[xiii] Humanum Genus, n. 24.