Enough Already – We Get It- The Pope Doesn’t Like Masons!

Jon Patrick Sage

January 25, 2017

It seems that Freemasonry is the proverbial dead horse that Catholicism refuses to stop beating up on. Just this day, Father Kenneth Doyle announced that – once again Freemason are in grave sin, and can’t receive communion! Well, um… ok. Thanks for clearing that up Ken.

You see, according to the good Father and an 1884 edict handed down by Leo XIII, Freemasonry and Catholicism are incompatible- saying that “The reality, though, is that Masonry is at heart a naturalistic religion whose basic tenets are incompatible with Catholic faith and practice”. 

Fine- Count Me Out.

Guess what, the Father and Pope are dead on and correct in their assumption! Freemasonry IS all-inclusive, and we do not insist that our Brethren worship any certain way- other than they do profess belief in a higher power. I couldn’t say that I’m any happier to be a member of such a worthwhile and progressive Organization. In my estimation, Freemasonry and all that she stands for is a pretty good side to be on these days. The full article from “Echoes” may be seen following.  Afterwards, please read one of my pieces explaining my position on this whole thing concerning the beauty of Freemasonry’s acceptance of all who kneel at her Altar!

Father Kenneth Doyle
Q. Recently, a friend asked me what the difference was between the Knights of Columbus and the Masons, and I didn’t really know what to tell her. I’ve read about the good works done by each of these organizations, and we were wondering whether a Catholic gentleman can belong to both. (Please respond in your column, because I’m sure that others may have the same question.) (Cumming, Georgia)

A. The Knights of Columbus is an international organization of Catholic men whose chief work involves helping those in need. Their charitable donations total nearly $2 million annually, and they engage in joint projects with such organizations as Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.

Freemasonry is a fraternal society that traces its origin to medieval associations of stonemasons; in the U.S., there are grand lodges in every state, with a total membership of about 1.2 million in the U.S. Masons, too, involve themselves in a variety of charitable works, and no doubt many Americans view Masonry primarily as a social and philanthropic fraternity.

The reality, though, is that Masonry is at heart a naturalistic religion whose basic tenets are incompatible with Catholic faith and practice. (Pope Leo XIII said in 1884 that Masonry had as its fundamental doctrine “that human nature and human reason ought in all things be mistress and guide” and denied “that anything has been taught by God.”)

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 1983 that “the church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remain unchanged” and that “the faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive holy Communion.”

(In 1985, a report by historian William J. Whalen of Purdue University given to the U.S. bishops’ Pastoral Research and Practice Committee said that Masonry “honors Jesus Christ as it honors Socrates, Buddha and Muhammed,” and that Masonry “cannot acknowledge any special spiritual claims by Jesus, since this would violate the basis of Freemasonry,” and that “Catholics in the United States and elsewhere may not be Freemasons.”)

Q. Growing up in our family, God always came first. Our parents taught us to love and respect the Eucharist, especially when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar. (We would genuflect and bow.)

Our parish church now exposes the Eucharist before Sunday Mass. I am shocked to see people (young and old) come into Mass, plop themselves down in the pew and whip out their cellphones. Then they begin to laugh and text — without, it seems, so much as a glance at the altar.

Can’t people forget their phones and their friends for just one hour and reflect on just why they are there and whom they have come to worship? And why doesn’t our priest ever comment about this? (Leeds, New York)

A. I am grateful for your letter because it stands as a valuable reminder of the need for reverence in what is clearly a sacred space. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal highlights the importance of that reverence:

“Even before the celebration itself, it is a praiseworthy practice for silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred celebration in a devout and fitting manner” (No. 45).

The practice of exposing the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance on the altar has a long history and serves well to promote devotion to Jesus present in the Eucharist.

The size and layout of a church may help in determining whether regular exposition before Sunday Mass is a wise practice. Many newer churches have a generous gathering area (lobby) where parishioners can greet one another upon arriving for Mass.

Doors can be closed to separate that area from the worship space — as an indication that all conversation should cease once one enters the church proper, especially if the Eucharist is exposed. In smaller rural churches, however, there is often no gathering area at all and one enters directly into the worship space.

It is a natural instinct, and a good thing, for parishioners to want to welcome one another warmly and catch up on their lives — and it is often a sign of a parish’s vitality that people genuinely enjoy socializing before and after the Sunday Eucharist.

In such a setting, it might be better not to expose the Blessed Sacrament on the altar before Mass; perhaps, instead, an announcement could be made shortly before Mass that the next few minutes will be spent in silent preparation for the sacred celebration.

(And yes, I do think that your congregation needs a reminder from the priest that the use of cellphones is never proper in church — whether to speak or to text.)

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr. Albany, New York 12203.

Father Kenneth Doyle is a columnist for Catholic News Service”


Bro. Jon Patrick Sage
In North America (and in some other jurisdictions), the generic name or
description for any Masonic Lodge- save for the appendant bodies, is to call it
the “Blue Lodge”. As is the case, this descriptive is used by Masons and non-
Masons alike. When I was a very young boy, the term Blue Lodge was known
to me, through common talk as well as by having a neighbor who was a Mason,
though he is now departed from this world. I also remember distinctly how my
Mother seemed to be terrified by the eerily glowing “blue” Square & Compass
on the forefront of the building that is Jackson Lodge #146, F & AM. She most
likely thought, and probably still thinks, that some sort of wrong-doing occurred
within those walls. Indeed, I had always known it as the Blue Lodge, but
why? Even as a boy I knew that there must be something to it. However, as all
things Masonic were secretive, even more so back then than they are now, it
wasn’t something that was spoken of, and especially in the days before the
internet search, one couldn’t do a 5 minute query to find out any and all that
might pertain to the question. And so, the term remained etched in my mind,
and remained there- resurfacing just before I Petitioned for membership several
years ago.
At the time leading up to, and even for possibly a year or more after my
Initiation into the Lodge, the term Blue Lodge was bounced around by the
Brethren nearly constantly, almost as a term of endearment, and again, my
interest couldn’t help but pique at the suggestion of some mystery that must lay
within. As far as I could tell, the main colors of the Lodge room were blue, and
that seemed to answer a good many parts of my inquisition. Indeed, even the
ceiling of the Lodge was colored blue

After much introspection, and probably about halfway through the studying for my Master
Mason degree, I reverted back to one of the lectures of the Entered Apprentice,
describing the covering of the Lodge as a “clouded canopy, or star-decked
heaven, where all good Masons hope at last to arrive”[1]. It then followed withblue lodge ceiling
time, through learning the lecture of the Middle Chamber, and the lectures of the third degree, compared a good deal of that symbolism and language to the Lodge room. I found that without mistake, the Lodge room represents not only the Earth that we toil in, but also the heavens that await us in the next life. Accordingly, we are citizens of both planes, simultaneously, and must strive in such a way as to pave the way for the next by our actions in the present. To make a very long story short- it is imperative that we utilize our morality, taught in our lectures and Ritual, to promote and structure our spirituality. Certainly, our spirituality, while in the Lodge room and without, rests upon an edifice based in morality.
I quickly found that a good exercise, which left an indelible impression of this
notion, was to imagine that there wasn’t a ceiling at all in the Lodge room.
Instead, I began to imagine a silent and brilliant sky above- the true covering of
a Lodge. Indeed, the covering of the world, and of life in general. This also
relates to another part of the same lecture, describing our duty to “regard the
whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor; who, as
created by one Almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid,
support, and protect each other”[2]. This admonition is in complete agreement
with the covering of the Lodge, as that covering is all encompassing and without
division. It is an eternal covering.
Such then must be the nature of Lodge in all of its capacities; namely, the Lodge
must be, and is cited, as being universal. This universality though, at times, can
be miss-construed. I do not think that any intent was ever meant for the
universality to include a guaranteed membership, or even an easy membership
and/or progression through degrees. It is said in the third degree that we would
be beset by many dangers- and through the duration of that degree, might not
necessarily be successful in our endeavor. Indeed, such is the case in Lodge and
in life- both are weighty matters, with many considerations. Universality is but a
guide to ensure that all are viewed equally as human beings, and are deserving
of our care and assistance. In fact, I think it best, when discussing universality,
to at first endeavor to take Masonry completely out of the picture.
Consider this scenario, Masonry not-withstanding.

The one-ness of the human race, a universal attitude towards our existence and towards our
unending role as creations of the Almighty- IF there is but one Almightywhatever
you choose to call him or her, must be universal inasmuch that all of
our species are included in that scheme. If we can agree on that, that all are
equal in the sight of the Grand Architect, then- and ONLY then, can Masonry
progress past that simple premise, engaging those in her ranks to actively act on
that principle. However, the first premise- trust and belief in one Supreme
Being- must, as was the case in our first admittance into the Lodge room,
supersede and preclude any mention or notion of Masonry.
Now, if this can be accomplished, then the Mason who notices that the covering
of his Lodge is a universal blanket of acceptance, of compassion and of love
from the Almighty, has an easy task to carry that belief outside of the Lodge
room into his everyday world and Masonic walk. Thus, the Blue Lodge, is
essentially- when taken to this level of understanding, the Lodge of the one true
Supreme Being (again, denomination/definition in the theological sense is UNimportant
and wholly irrelevant to the discussion of “who” or “what” is that Supreme Being), and is termed in many climes as a Masonic Temple.

Webster’s New Collegiate defines Temple as coming from the Latin of Templum, meaning
a “sanctuary”, one that is dedicated to the “worship of a deity”[3]. In the last
half of the 19th century, the practice of referring to a Masonic Temple as simply
a “Lodge”, has- for a multitude of reasons, become popular. It has been my
experience that if I were to say that I will be at “the Masonic Temple” draws a
good many stares, even among the Brethren.
My opinion on this matter would be that in some manner, the Craft at large felt
that to define their Mother Lodges as Temples was in a way, either real or
imagined, an infringement of sorts against their “real Religion”. As a matter of
fact, and possibly just on account of a normal course of events and my
development and learning, I have refrained from calling Masonry a “Capital R”
Religion. Instead, I have always referred to it as having an absolutely “small r”
religious touch, but one that was bereft of the properties and claims normally
pursued and advanced by the mainstream Religions and Theologies of the
world, all complete with their dogma- salvation, heaven and hell- a notion of
sin… However, if we consider the Psalmist, in an effort to add a sense of
universality and humanity to God, wrote that “as a father pitieth his children, so
the Lord pitieth…”[4], we must also at that point consider the covering of our
Lodge as that of the universal God, of the Almighty, and then- at that point- I
pose the question to you. Is Masonry NOT a pathway to God?

My answer has become – YES– it most certainly is!
A prominent minister and Masonic author in his time and certainly in
posterity, Joseph Fort Newton, quoted Carl Claudy as saying (that is to say that
Masonry is) “I am a way of common men to God”[5]. In this sense, Masonry IS
a pathway to the Almighty. Once the individual Mason arrives at the feet of his
God, it is incumbent upon him to determine how to worship- although if a
mortal and honest man meets his God- he must and he will worship. But, this
directive is not within any of the confines of our Ritual. Instead, the Ritual only
directs a reverence and respect for Deity. Masonry, in this sense, is a Universal
Religion. Just as the sky is universal, and just as the color of that sky is blue; so
then is the Blue Lodge a universal inclusion of men- seekers of a universal,
good and accepting Deity. This Blue Lodge, in the new sense, is much more
than a generic term. Instead, it is painfully specific, and obviously difficult to
avoid once the traveler comes to this conclusion that his God is the source of
light emanating from the East, and is accordingly the object of his travels from
the West. In the same vein of thought, a devoutly religious person, who might
reject any number of faiths in the belief that in so doing their own faith is
strengthened, has good reason to fear Masonry; for the simple fact that
Masonry, as a Universal Religion, is more inclusive than nearly any other
known and practiced Religion in the present day.
We, as Masons, serve and worship the Almighty, in any number of different
methods and ways, all at once, and although different. Within the confines of
the Masonic Temple, that worship is in unison, and as such, forms a beautiful
harmony of love and affection. Such is not the case in any number of other
mainstream Religions, and they are, by their very nature and dogma(s), divisive
and UN-inclusive of other belief systems. It is a regrettable fact that many raisedMATSOL
and indoctrinated by the several Religions of our planet, exist under a cover of darkness as it were. Those souls shield their eyes from our symbols of light- which they cannot understand- these indicate the nature of our God and of our pathway, a universal and well-trod pathway. There is, among the many Religions of the world, a miss-understanding of how Masonry “takes all good men by the hand and leading them to its altars, points to the open Bible thereon and urges upon each that he faithfully direct his steps through life by the light he there shall find and as he there shall find it”[6].
Essentially, each man (we hope) gains light, though he may see it differently
than any other man. Indeed, although every Brother may agree that God does
exist, and though each may worship differently, each agrees to travel in good
faith towards his God, as only he knows that God. The Bible and other Volumes
of Sacred Law may provide some guidance, but the soul of man is the ultimate
barometer of practice and belief. Thus, Masonry is a pathway on which all
common men may find God, and in so doing, find and achieve their purpose- in
this lifetime as well as in the next. And so, as it turns out, The “Blue Lodge” is
an extremely beautiful, complex, and yet wonderfully simple thing- all at once!
So Mote It Be.
[1] Indiana Monitor and Freemasons Guide, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Of
Free And Accepted Masons Of The State Of Indiana, 1949.
[2] Indiana Monitor and Freemasons Guide, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Of
Free And Accepted Masons Of The State Of Indiana, 1949.
[3] Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield
Mass., 1960.
[4] The Holy Bible, King James Version, New York, American Bible Society,
[5] Joseph Fort Newton, The Religion Of Masonry, Washington, D.C., The
Masonic Service Association of the United States, 57, This thought process was
a natural though seemingly difficult progression for Newton, who skirted the
issue of a religious Masonic experience, though perhaps because he was an
ordained minister, felt prohibited from proclaiming it as such. However, in The
Religion Of Masonry, Newton comes as close to any to indicating that Masonry
in and of itself is a worship practice/ritual of the Deity, and indeed a pathway
that welcomes all travelers through this world and into the next.
[6] Indiana Monitor and Freemasons Guide, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Of
Free And Accepted Masons Of The State Of Indiana, 1949.

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