Relatives of dearly departed Brother William Kenneth Wilson and many within the Freemasonic family in general were greatly dismayed to learn that his gravestone will not be permitted to bear Masonic insignia. The ruling which will prevent the engraving the Square & Compass upon his stone has been handed down by the Church of England’s Consistory Judge Geoffrey Tattersall QC. Tattersall, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle, has placed the ban of the emblem(s) within a cemetery, located at St Oswald’s Church at Dean in Cumbria.
Disagreements have existed between the Freemason’s and the Catholic Church possibly since time immemorial and especially ever since the Papal Bull in 1738 of Pope Clement XII. Even continuing into the modern age, there has remained a bitter divide between Rome and the Masonic Institution. As late as 1983, Cardinal Ratzinger (former Pope Benedict XVI) supported the QUAESITUM EST; Declaration on Masonic Associations- Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which stated that “The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion”.
Through the years, there has existed a much less clear line of distinction and/or acceptance of the Fraternity within the Protestant community. However, many Christians have decried Masonic Ritual as unholy and incompatible with the teachings of Christ. Using the 1987 report by the General Synod of the Church of England, entitled “Freemasonry and Christianity : Are they Compatible” as a basis for his conclusion, Tattersall ruled that a Masonic display was not welcomed or would be permitted within a cemetery under the jurisdiction of that religious body.
Authors note: “I agree with the decision of the Church of England and with any decisions of the Church of Rome! It is indeed their prerogative to determine what might constitute and/or make up those organizations or what is allowed within their confines; just as it remains OUR prerogative to determine what should or should not- within the limits of Our Landmarks- reside within Freemasonry. If a Mason wishes to have a Square & Compass upon his headstone in a private and/or Church owned cemetery; or to receive Holy Communion from the Catholic Church, then he’d best find out the rules and choose up sides beforehand. This dilligence might avoid any disappointing results that could result from dealing with organizations that have not always looked kindly at or have been in agreement with our beloved Craft”. ~W.B. Jon Sage