Vatican Reiterates Ban on Catholic Membership in Masonic Organizations
Who's Afraid of Richie's dad?
John Rao, Ph.D.
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York|
(Posted April 2, 2007 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) “Ah, the evil Freemasons”, an anonymous blogger commented in response to the news that Michael Matt was scheduled to speak about the dangers of their movement to a Roman Forum conference in New York City last November; “seventy-five year old men in funny hats; terrifying. They are no doubt planning world domination during pinochle night at the YMCA. What a joke.” (See the response to our friend Josephus’ announcement of the meeting, Catholics on the Global Auction Block, on the website of the Cornell Society for a Good Time).
Why bring this matter up now, months after that conference has been swallowed up by the big, bad modern memory hole which devours most of the events of our moment-obsessed era? For two reasons, both significant, one of them is reassuring to believers, the other disquieting in the extreme.
The first “comforting” reason for a revisiting of the November meeting is a statement dating from the beginning of this month, coming from Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Bishop Girotti’s pronouncement reminds us that Rome’s understanding of Freemasonry is not so dismissive as that of the Blithe Blogger. He reiterates in it the last Vatican commentary on the subject, found in a document issued by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1983. Here one reads that “the Church’s negative judgment regarding Freemasonic organizations…remains unchanged because their principles were always considered irreconcilable with the teaching of the Church”, and that, “in consequence, entry into them remains forbidden”, and under pain of grave sin. (Zenit Press, March 5, 2007)
Every so often Rome re-emerges from her dogmatic slumbers and actually does “locute”, teaching those among us tempted to despair of the collapsing defenses of eternal Truth that the causa of the Father of Lies really is finita. When this happens there is joy among the faithful, in Heaven as well as on the earth.
It is important to note that authoritative Church rejection of Freemasonry and membership in Freemasonic lodges, today as in the eighteenth century, has nothing to do with doctrinal objection to the obstinate late night card playing of old codgers in plumed bonnets in Protestant social centers boasting the finest local swimming pools. Neither did Michael Matt’s talk last November dwell pruriently on the state of awareness or personal conspiratorial aptitude of individual Freemasons, half dead or youthful. The essential element in the Church’s persistent condemnation of the Freemasonic phenomenon is the anti-Catholic naturalism that it has always represented. This one finds in its lodges both in Deist form—where God creates the world and then obligingly retires to a harmless dotage in the Bahamas—as well as in a militant Atheist envelope—where the influence of the Divinity over secular intellectual, political and social life is dispensed with by Big Banging Him entirely out of existence. And it was this concern with basic principle which occupied Mr. Matt, who lamented a twenty-first century environment so shaped by naturalist concepts that it has transformed most Catholics into foot soldiers for everything that Freemasons traditionally supported without even knowing it.
Now I do want to give the Blithe Blogger his proper due. Perhaps he wished to dismiss the whole topic of Freemasonry and Freemasons because he was truly alienated by the argument that they are responsible for the systematic implementation of every single evil development in western (now global) society since the early 1700’s. I must confess that if this were the sole grounds for his flippant comments, I would at least understand his initial eye-rolling. I do not believe such assertions of total Freemasonic accountability either. My reading of history convinces me that there have been just too many factors playing intersecting roles in creating our unhappy era to see in it the product of the successful unfolding of merely one supremely well-constructed anti-Catholic plan.
Does that mean that I notice no logic in the growth of modern society? On the contrary, it seems to me that modernity has had a highly logical development, due both to the character and consistency of its underlying naturalist principle as well as the influence of superhuman, diabolical intelligence in drawing out that principle’s potential for evil. But I do not think that this logical progress is all owed to the conscious work of human beings themselves. That would entail too rationalist an understanding of history; an attribution of too much influence to intelligently-motivated human action, and not enough to the stupidities and passions which frequently would seem to render even the most sublime doctrines and brilliantly evil ideological constructs utterly futile—if, that is to say, there were not a God and a devil to turn them to their advantage.
It appears to me that even many of the most enthusiastic architects of modernity have frequently acted very illogically and at cross-purposes with one another. Moreover, their dangerous goals have sometimes been much better implemented by Catholics ignorant or indifferent to the central messages of their Faith, including some who sincerely but mistakenly thought they were actually vigorously fighting naturalism. That fact was driven home to me on a simple level the day that a militant believer ordered his little children to spend the whole evening watching abominably anti-Christian television programs so as to have the leisure to convince me that modern evils emerged from organized Freemasonic circles alone. I do not have time in this brief article to give more serious examples of the many dichotomies of human thought, planning and action which played their part in the development of modern naturalist society, but I would direct anyone interested in exploring this realm of earthly confusion to my book, Removing the Blindfold (available from The Remnant Bookstore 800-839-4139), or to some of the articles on eighteenth through twentieth century topics to be found on my website (www.jcrao.freeshell.org).
Nevertheless, nothing in the above disclaimer changes the fact that the naturalism of Freemasonry is always and everywhere as irreconcilable with the Faith as the then Cardinal Ratzinger and Bishop Girotti have noted. Neither does it lessen its role as an active conspiratorial force in history, one that has made numerous practical contributions to the creation of our anti-Catholic global Fatherland. My own work has made me very conscious of the important role played by Freemasonic lodges in shaping the mentality of a number of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the early stages of the French Revolution, the Risorgimento and the life of the liberal Kingdom of Italy, practically all of nineteenth and early twentieth century Latin America and the politics of many other times and places in addition.
Far from being merely an esoteric topic for discussion in limited, paranoid, Catholic circles, treatment of Freemasonry’s character and consequences is part and parcel of the work of innumerable secular scholars. Anyone interested in such mainstream work need only look at John-Marie Mayeur and Madeleine Rebéroux’s The Third Republic From Its Origins to the Great War: 1871-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1984). For that matter, one need only read the Italian press of the 1980’s and 1990’s, where the antics of Freemasons in every sphere of political, social and even religious life were topics of daily discussion, and were instrumental in bringing down the country’s so-called First Republic.
Treating this clear influence as a “joke” illustrates the Blithe Blogger’s thoughtless repetition of one of the entries in the painfully parochial American Dictionary of Received Ideas. Quite frankly, someone wishing to write Freemasonic impact out of the historical record might just as readily laugh off as old wives’ tales the notion of any significance of the Manichees and Franciscans or Jesuits and Jansenists; perhaps even the existence of the “Historical Jesus” as well.
Freemasonry has exercised its influence in a three-fold fashion. To begin with, its concern for taking measured steps towards desacralizing man and society and its organizational refinement gave to its naturalism an aura of polite respectability permitting it an entry into the elite elements of the eighteenth century world which would have been denied to more straightforward, prophetic wild men.
Secondly, however, having opened the door to the insane naturalist attempt to shape life without reference to the creator and redeemer God, the Freemasons allowed the chance for their more logical and radical intellectual offspring to expand upon the damage which had been begun. This is brilliantly outlined by the great Russian authors Turgenev and Dostoyevsky in Fathers and Sons and The Possessed. The adulation of nature, which the Freemasonic “Fathers” of the movement depicted as liberation from a Christian obscurantism preventing construction of an ever more progressive society based on beneficent, rational laws, was used by their “Sons” for other purposes. For them, the focus on nature and acting naturally was grounds for justifying either an outrageously willful hedonism or the total destruction of other men and societies condemned as being too enslaved to “artificial” beliefs and customs to continue to be treated in any human way. Hence, these Sons were willing to take the violent terrorist steps that their more moderate Fathers shunned as unthinkable, even though the latter had first fashioned the naturalism employed to dismantle the walls of Christendom.
Radical Sons have repeatedly overreached themselves in their willful totalitarianism, fallen from power, and thus allowed their naturalist Fathers a third opportunity for spreading the message and influence of the assault upon Christendom. This has regularly involved the assimilation by the more conservative naturalists of the infinitely more logical program of their radical progeny and then the employment of their pragmatic organizational skills and “respectable” calls for moderate, gradualist steps to Progress to transform political and social institutions in its image more efficiently than the wild men ever could have done on their own. This was the evil genius of that common-sensical nineteenth century Liberalism dear to the heart of Freemasonry and all those influenced by its spirit. This was the smooth engine through which supposedly sensible people pushed naturalism to its ultimately mindless, parochial, power-and-passion mad logical conclusion,
But what of my second, frightening reason for calling up the memory of the November conference? The fact that critiquing Freemasonry is now being viewed as yet another proof of Anti-Semitic, Nazi and Holocaust sympathies. Protection of one’s right to retain membership in the human race seems more and more to require abandonment of any serious thinking regarding naturalism and those who promoted it. Why are we being asked to pay this price, and what becomes of us in the long run if we are ready to cough it up?
I think the answer to that query is an obvious one. Investigation of Freemasonry and its central problem—its support for the insanity of trying to understand man and build society without reference to the creating, redeeming God—is a tool for drawing us out of that diseased, parochial obsession with momentary material passions to which naturalism has ultimately led and which it has enshrined as the guiding principle for all of human life. Such investigation is a means for ending historical, philosophical and theological amnesia. The individual who dedicates himself to this study will discover how the naturalist enterprise has permitted the material pillaging of the world and the dismantling of its cultural heritage under the rubric of promoting a Reason, Freedom and Progress based on scientism, libertinism and the reduction of thought and action to blind obedience to “sincere” feeling. He will begin to understand the true genesis of that Racism which is the real culprit behind the genocidal mentality, as well as the romantic nationalism serving also as the inspiration for a Zionism which defines moral good and evil in relation to what helps or hinders the cause of the state of Israel. And, finally, he will inevitably grasp the truth that accusations of Anti-Semitism are a fraudulent trick used by one of the many self-interested modern elites that have learned to use naturalism to fulfill whatever its willful feelings might be and to censor each and every attempt to uncover its intellectual and material crimes. Once someone has opened his eyes to the ultimate meaning and bizarre impact of naturalism, he will finally see why the strong can condemn the censorship of pornographic language in schools whose use they favor as something bad and approve of the prohibition of Bible study which they detest as liberating and good. And he will recognize how Catholics with a universalist mission can be caricatured as Nazis while Lubavitchers can be welcomed into Congress to freely preach a doctrine of Jewish racial superiority and still be considered victims of Racism.
Catholics in general seem to be ready to pay the price demanded of them by men who would destroy our Faith. If fear has not dictated this course of action to them it must then largely be due to precisely the explanation that Michael Matt gave for such behavior in his address last November: the fact that our co-religionists have swallowed the naturalist argument; that they have succumbed to the parochialism and mental illness brought about by the generalization and radicalization of the Freemasonic naturalist mentality; that they have accepted their subjection to manipulation by all those who know how to use this state of mass mental illness for their own willful self-interested purposes.
If Catholics wish to know where this state of submission is leading them they might want to take a look at the arguments of the French revolutionaries during the trial of King Louis XVI. What Louis actually had or had not done, men like St. Just insisted at that time, was of no significance in determining his innocence or guilt. Simply being a king made him guilty and worthy of death. Such arguments come from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the more radical “Sons” of naturalism, who claimed that he had become the natural virtuous man by stripping himself of all concern for the hypocrisies of the past and living his feelings to the fullest. Those who had not taken his liberating path, and thus refused to become natural and free were not only debased. They were not human. They had no right to exist; they had no grounds for appealing to the pity or toleration of real human persons. Hence the dismissal by his followers of any serious trial of an anti-naturalist and anti-human king by (See Carol Blum, Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue (Cornell University Press, 1986, pp. 169-181).
Those among our accusers who appeal to naturalist ideas share the same mentality. They are unconcerned with what Catholicism really is or is not; what we as Catholics really say and do. They “feel” the truth of their position or know that appeal to such a feeling is sufficient to justify their behavior in the world that Freemasonry contributed mightily to build. We, as Catholics, do not share that “feeling”, and, as a consequence, are guilty and worthy of punishment. In the eyes of a world which is playing out to the bitter end the ideas and consequences of the eighteenth century, Catholicism in and of itself is an irredeemable, terror-prone “hate crime”; an unpardonable obstacle to the fulfillment of the potential of nature and the attainment of a total freedom and progress. It will always remain such a “hate crime”, and we will always be guilty without trial so long as our Faith and we as followers of it are dedicated to a truth that goes beyond the passions of nature and the toleration of falsehood; to moral good rather than indifference to human behavior; and to the public identification of the real Haters of Mankind.