Is A Reconciliation Between The Catholic Church And Freemasonry Possible?

 I was prompted to contemplate a thawing in Catholic-Masonic relations upon reading this Associated Press article today titled Pope insists conscience, not rules, must lead faithful

Here we read:

Pope Francis said Friday that Catholics should look to their own consciences more than Vatican rules to negotiate the complexities of sex, marriage and family life, demanding the church shift its emphasis from doctrine to mercy in confronting some of the thorniest issues facing the faithful.”

He said the church must no longer sit in judgment and “throw stones” at those who fail to live up to the Gospel’s ideals of marriage and family life.”

“On thorny issues such as contraception, Francis stressed that a couple’s individual conscience — not dogmatic rules imposed on them across the board — must guide their decisions and the church’s pastoral practice.”

“We have been called to form consciences, not replace to them,” he said.

“He insisted the church’s aim is to reintegrate and welcome all its members. He called for a new language to help Catholic families cope with today’s problems. And he said pastors must take into account mitigating factors — fear, ignorance, habits and duress — in counseling Catholics who simply aren’t perfect.”

“It can no longer simply be said that all those in any irregular situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace,” he wrote. Even those in an “objective situation of sin” can be in a state of grace, and can even be more pleasing to God by trying to improve, he said.

Could it be that the many changes that Pope Francis has made to the Catholic Church pave the way for a reconsideration of its opposition to Freemasonry?

Ever since 1738 the Catholic Church has prohibited membership in Freemasonry. For a complete overview of the historical rulings by the Church see The Catholic Church and Freemasonry

Posted by Greg Stewart on Freemason Information.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Looking at a Pope who has not been in office for a great length of time, you can see some far reaching reforms and adjustments that have already been made. Would it be a fantasy to surmise that somewhere down the line this Pope might relax the ban against the Craft?

The Atlantic in an article titled Will Pope Francis Break the Church? offers these observations on the pontiff.

The Church is not yet in the grip of a revolution. The limits, theological and practical, on papal power are still present, and the man who was Jorge Bergoglio has not done anything that explicitly puts them to the test. But his moves and choices (and the media coverage thereof) have generated a revolutionary atmosphere around Catholicism. For the moment, at least, there is a sense that a new springtime has arrived for the Church’s progressives. And among some conservative Catholics, there is a feeling of uncertainty absent since the often-chaotic aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, in the 1960s and ’70s.”

“That unease has coexisted with a tendency to deny that anything has really changed since the former cardinal and archbishop of Buenos Aires became pope. From the first unscripted shocker—his “Who am I to judge?” in response to a reporter’s question about gay priests—many conservative Catholics have argued that the press is seeing what it wants to see in the new pontiff.”

“Francis is clearly a less systematic thinker than either of his predecessors, and especially than the academic-minded Benedict. Whereas the previous pope defended popular piety against liberal critiques, Francis embodies a certain style of populist Catholicism—one that’s suspicious of overly academic faith in any form. He seems to have an affinity for the kind of Catholic culture in which Mass attendance might be spotty but the local saint’s processions are packed—a style of faith that’s fervent and supernaturalist but not particularly doctrinal. He also remains a Jesuit-formed leader, and Jesuits have traditionally combined missionary zeal with a certain conscious flexibility about doctrinal details that might impede their proselytizing work.”

pope, papal logo, catholic church

Emblem of the Papacy

“But there are times when Francis himself seems to desire something more than just a change in emphasis. Even as he has officially reaffirmed Church teachings on sex and marriage, he has shown a persistent impatience—populist, Jesuit, or both—with the obstacles these teachings present to bringing some lapsed Catholics back to the Church. His frustration has emerged most clearly on the issue of divorce and remarriage: he has repeatedly shown what seems to be tacit support for the idea, long endorsed by Walter Kasper and other liberal cardinals, to allow Catholics in a second marriage to receive Communion even if their first marriage is still considered valid—that is, even if they are living in what the Church considers an adulterous relationship.”

“The problem for Francis is that Kasper’s argument is not particularly persuasive. Describing Communion for the remarried as merely a pastoral change ignores its inevitable doctrinal implications. If people who are living as adulterers can receive Communion, if the Church can recognize their state of life as nonideal but somehow tolerable, then either the Church’s sacramental theology or its definition of sin has been effectively rewritten. And the ramifications of such a change are potentially sweeping. If ongoing adultery is forgivable, then why not other forms of loving, long-standing sexual commitment?”

“This, then, is the place where Francis’s quest for balance could, through his own initiative, ultimately fall apart, bringing the very culture war he’s downplayed back to center stage. And it’s the place where his pontificate could become genuinely revolutionary. His other moves are changing the Church, but in gradual and reversible ways, leaving lines of conflict blurry and tensions bridgeable. But altering a teaching on sex and marriage that the Church has spent centuries insisting it simply cannot alter—a teaching on a question addressed directly (as, say, homosexuality is not) by Jesus himself—is a very different thing. It would suggest to the world, and to many Catholics, that Catholicism was formally capitulating to the sexual revolution. It would grant the Church’s progressives reasonable grounds for demanding room for further experiments. And it would make it impossible for many conservatives, lay and clerical, to avoid some kind of public opposition to the pope.

Could this mean that Catholic Freemasons might be granted the right to receive communion and hold positions of lay leadership in the Church? Certainly Freemasonry does not seem to be on Pope Francis’ top ten list of changes yet to come. But if the mood, the emphasis away from doctrinal purity, persists then perhaps some sort of reconciliation can take place between the Church and Freemasonry. And if that comes to past we will be in a new day of peace and harmony.

Baphomet – Symbols and Symbolism

In this installment of Symbols & Symbolism, we look at a reading from Albert G. Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, on the infamously nefarious figure of Baphomet – the alleged false idol of the Knights Templar and one of the key instruments of their undoing by Pope Clement.

More installments of Symbols & Symbolism are available here and on YouTube.

Pope Clement V
Pope Clement

The imaginary idol, or, rather, symbol which the Knights Templars were accused of employing in their mystic rights. The forty-second of the charges preferred against them by Pope Clement is in these words:

Item quod ipsi per singulas provincias habeant idola: videlicet capita quorum aliqua habebant tres facies, et alia unum: et aliqua cranium humanum habebant.

Also, that in all of the provinces they have idols,namely, heads, of which some had three faces, some one, and some had a human skull.

Von Hammer, a bitter enemy of the Templars, in his book entitled The Mystery of Baphomet Revealed, revived this old accusation, and attached to the Baphomet an impious signification. He derived the name from the Greek words, Baph (βάπτισμα) – baptism, and μhtis (σοφία) – wisdom, and thence supposed that it represented the admission of the initiated into the secret mysteries of the Order. From this gratuitous assumption he deduces his theory, set forth even m the very title of his work, that the Templars were convicted, by their own monuments, of being guilty as Gnostics and Ophites of apostasy, idolatry, and impurity. Of this statement he offers no other historical testimony than the Articles of Accusation, themselves devoid of proof, but through which the Templars were made the victims of the jealousy of the Pope and the avarice of the King of France.

Baphomet as imagines in the Taxil Hoax
Baphomet as imagines in the Taxil Hoax

Others again have thought that they could find in Baphomet a corruption of Mahomet (Mohammed), and hence they have asserted that the Templars had been perverted from their religious faith by the Saracens, with whom they had so much intercourse, sometimes as foes and sometimes as friends. Nicolai, who wrote an Essay on the Accusations brought against the Templars, published at Berlin, in 1782, supposes, but doubtingly, that the figure of the Baphomet, figura Baffometi, which was depicted on a bust representing the Creator, was nothing else but the Pythagorean pentagon, the symbol of health and prosperity, borrowed by the Templars from the Gnostics, who in turn had obtained it from the School of Pythagoras.

King, in his learned work on the Gnostics, thinks that the Baphomet may have been a symbol of the Manicheans, with whose wide spreading heresy in the Middle Ages he does not doubt that a large portion of the inquiring spirits of the Temple had been intoxicated.

Amid these conflicting views, all merely speculative, it will not be uncharitable or unreasonable to suggest that the Baphomet, or skull of the ancient Templars, was, like the relic of their modern Masonic representatives, simply an impressive symbol teaching the lesson of mortality, and that the latter has really been derived from the former.

Freemason RC Priest Relieved Of His Priestly Duties Walks 39 Days For Audience With The Pope

French Roman Catholic priest Father Pascal Vesin had served his parish in Sainte-Anne d’Arly Montjoie in the Alpine resort of Megéve since 2004, almost 10 years. That is until this spring when the Church discovered that he is a Freemason.  Father Vesin is a member of the Grand Orient de France’ That watchdog of the church, The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked for his resignation in March. Three members of the diocese of Annecy then met with him but Father Vesin said he would not leave the Lodge.

Father Pascal Vesin is seen outside his church in Megeve

Father Pascal Vesin is seen outside his church in Megeve

So in May Vesin was removed of all Priestly duties by his Bishop. He appealed for a hearing with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but was turned down. He wrote to the Pope saying that he was “wounded by the injustice’ and requested a reversal of the decision. To no avail.  Not willing to give up Vesin set out on foot leaving the town in the Haute Savoie region of France on July 14th for a hike through the Alps – final destination, The Vatican in Rome, Italy. Before leaving he blogged to his congregation, “This adventure is a step towards openness, dialogue and debate.” Bringing nothing but a knapsack, his journey took 39 days before arriving in St. Peter’s Square where he hoped for an audience with the Pope.

“I hope I am received by Pope Francis or one of his secretaries” a very tired Vesin said when he got there.

“I feel my initiative is in synch with what this new pope is preaching and seems to be starting.”

Conservative Sectarian Christianity’s main criticism of Freemasonry is that it’s a false religion. But Vesin belongs to The Grand Orient of France where there is no test for a belief in Deity. Funny looking religion that doesn’t require a belief in God. But there always seems to be another charge that authorities can levy.

Father Vesin has a Facebook page at

After his 900km walk from Megeve, France to the Vatican, he still awaits an audience with Pope Francis.

Philalethes Society Self Destructing

Philalethes SocietyMasonic Leaks reports a major battle with possible purges within The Philalethes Society.  It appears that The Philalethes Society is self destructing in a rush to put itself in allegiance with only the Conference of Grand Masters chartering a similar course as The Masonic Society.  This leaves only Phoenixmasonry as a major contender in the big three as a truly independent Masonic voice.

On Monday January 31st at 1:00pm, only ten days before Bro. Jack Buta was expected to be elected the Society’s President (he was the only person on the ballot and the organization allows for no floor nominations), the President, Terry L. Tilton, issued the following letter as a referendum to remove Bro. Buta from office.

To: The voting members of the Executive Board

In the past day, our First Vice-president Jack Buta has aired private correspondence between Board members without permission, called for a division of the Society based up untrue or unfactual statements, and openly challendge the intergrity of the your President and our Soceity officers. Under any circumstances this constitutes insubordination and derilection of duty.

Ed Halpaus has moved to ask for the immediate resignation of Jack Buta as First Vice-president and I have seconded this motion.  I am asking all Board voting members to respond with a “yes” or “no” vote to this motion.  If and when we have three votes in the affirmative I will correspond with you privately to determine our next action.

I am deeply saddened and chagrined to have to accept this motion two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting.  It was my most fervent hope to have an orderly and peaceful transition.  Jack has obviously chosen to not allow that to happen.

Fraternally yours,

Terry L. Tilton, FPS, President 2009-2011
The Philalethes Society”

He was removed from office by a 3 to 2 vote of the Executive Board of the Philalethes Society. Those voting for Dismissal were Terry Tilton, Ed Halpaus, and John Cooper III. Certainly if the charges alleged by Tilton were factual then the motion had merit, but were they?

See Masonic Leaks for the rest of a rather long story with many attachments.

The Beehive has received a tip from an anonymous source in the know that the Conference of Grand Masters through unknown financial sources is privately picking up the Philalethes’ Society financial shortfall and this is the reason for all the ballyhoo about keeping the books secret.

The conference of Grand Masters has become increasing alarmed of Masonic Leaks and the up and coming Foundation Of Universal Freemasonry.  Derek Gordon ( Masonic Wiki [now archived]) and Stephen Quest have become thorns in the side of Mainstream Masonry and are being taken seriously enough for their organizations to be mentioned in COGM’s annual report. Perhaps Mainstream Masonry feels a bit stronger now that it most likely has finished what the 2007 Philalethes coup failed to accomplish thanks to Nelson King.

Does Mainstream Freemasonry have a psychological problem? Has it grown like the Catholic Church to be too big, too unwieldy, too bureaucratic and top heavy with hierarchy? Is there an explanation for the continuous jockeying for power and never ending horror stories emanating from the Craft?  Perhaps we should put Mainstream Freemasonry on the couch for a moment.

If we take a look at what is of paramount importance to those active in the Craft will we come away with a disappointing conclusion? It seems to this author that what is foremost in the mind of the average Freemason today is title and rank and advancing into the hierarchy into a position of power and therefore prominence. Should not the emphasis be on instruction, learning and then living Freemasonry?  In a previous article the Beehive laid out a formula of what Freemasons should be in pursuit of.  It looks like this:

Education>>>Knowledge>>>Wisdom>>>Soul Enrichment

But in order to achieve the benefits of Freemasonry that we know is a way of life and a society that can further our personal development, we need to place our time and effort into learning and studying the Craft and then applying it into our daily lives. If this, then, is the highest calling of Freemasonry what in the world are we doing with a bloated bureaucracy that is more concerned with money and power? Have we grown so large that our leaders are only proficient in administration, not in teaching and disseminating the philosophy of Freemasonry?

In essence what we are asking here is what is more important, the philosophy or the structure? Once again we are right back to the example of the Catholic Church and how it dealt with the pedophile priest problem. In the beginning the Church covered up and hushed up the problem.  It said that the problem was to be kept in house. And it further iterated that no matter what the Church had done, no matter what evil was within its ranks, that the first and foremost duty was to protect the Institution to ensure it lived another day.  Protecting the institution meant keeping the civil authorities out of church business, telling the abused to just shut up, grin and bear it and to keep the mess out of the media, to avoid all publicity so that the general public would not realize what was going on. That might have worked had the Church actually policed itself and solved the problem itself.  Instead it just transferred the abusers from one post to another, attempted to rehabilitate rather than punish and remove the offenders and in many cases just turned a blind eye to the whole situation.

But like a pressure cooker where the heat is never reduced, sooner or later the lid blows off and then it becomes a nationwide scandal. In the end that hurt the Church the most as the full blown scandal cost the Church the respect of the public never mind millions of dollars. Church property had to be sold to pay for huge court verdicts. All because the Church put the institution ahead of human beings.

And in the end the Church had to change its ways. It realized that it must cooperate with civil authorities, that it must institute programs within the Church to screen for abusers, that generally it must seriously alter its approach to the problem.

The Beehive has received much criticism from past stories exposing the wrong doings of Mainstream Freemasonry. Why do you keep writing about Freemasonry’s problems, exposing its faults? Are you trying to destroy Freemasonry, they wail? Masonic problems should be kept in house and dealt with internally. Letting the public know our shortcomings is traitorous.

Sound familiar? It is the same approach that the Catholic Church took initially with its pedophile problem. Bury it, hush it up, keep it in house and let Freemasonry solve its own problems without involving the courts and civil authorities. And once again it might work if Freemasonry was really serious about policing itself and getting rid of those who are ruining the good name of the Craft.  But alas, like the church, it refuses to act.  We cannot even criticize other jurisdictions never mind mess in their affairs to correct their wrong doings. You see the rules count more than people.  And the institution of Freemasonry must, above all mans, be protected.  The abused Masons? You see they need to just grin and bear it for the good of the Craft.

I have a good Canadian friend very active in the Craft. He has risen to eminence in Blue Lodge, York Rite and elsewhere.  I run a lot of thoughts and concerns by him for his view. It is helpful to solicit the opinion of one who is on the outside looking in.  Early on he seemed to be on the side of Grand Lodges and handling problems internally.  But upon further investigation and the proliferation of one horror story after another he changed his view. It seems as if Freemasonry in the States is becoming dysfunctional, he says. Maybe the answer is to do away with the Grand Lodge system altogether, he advises. And that is a very radical solution coming from a very Conservative Mason. But when you think about it, where are most of the horror stories coming from – individual Craft Lodges or Grand Lodges? And couldn’t a Masonic Lodge function very well without being a member of a Grand Lodge? Perhaps, then, we could return the emphasis on the practice of Freemasonry to its philosophy not its politics.

And as to the question of whether publicly exposing Freemasonry’s faults will lead to the decline of Freemasonry, the answer is quite evident. If Freemasonry will solve its own problems internally there is no need for an expose. But since it refuses to do so then the scenario will follow the path of the Catholic Church. The failure to police itself will lead to problems becoming worse and worse and more frequent. One day the lid will blow off and the civil courts will mandate reforms Freemasonry will not do on its own. And then the person to blame is not he who speaks the truth but he who covers it up and turns a blind eye.  Freemasonry has only itself to blame for the mess it is in.

Fred Milliken,Freemason Information,The Beehive

Of What Are We in Pursuit Of?

If you subscribe to the religious doctrine of the fall of man (OK-humankind), which is told across many different religious traditions, then that which was lost was a oneness with God, a perfect relationship with the Grand Architect of the Universe. The next question, logically, is then how do we restore that which has been lost? We will leave that question unanswered for awhile, but come back to it in the end.

From “Freemasonry And The Doctrine Of Reincarnation” on Masonic World we find this:

The great drama of the Greek Mysteries enunciates, as well as veils, two cardinal verities: the Fall, and Redemption from that Fall. Thus from the sad and woeful state into which Persophone falls she is finally rescued and restored to the supernal abodes; but not until the coming of the Savior, represented in the Hermetic parable under the name of Osiris (“the risen from the tomb”)- the Man Regenerate. This Redeemer, himself of divine origin; is in other allegories represented under other names, but the idea is always defined, and the intention obvious. Indeed, Osiris is the Jesus of our Christian doctrine, the supreme Initiate or “Captain of Salvation”; He is the reflection and counterpart in Man of the supreme Lord of the Universe (Greek – Dionysos, Hebrew – Adonai), the ideal type of humanity. He is represented as in all things “instructed” and directed by Hermes; famed as the celestial conductor of souls from the “dark abodes”; the wise and ubiquitous God in whom the student recognizes the Genius of the Understanding, or Divine Reason, the “nous” of Platonic doctrine – and the mystic “Spirit of Christ”. 

One of the aspects of Freemasonry that needs not to be forgotten when we look at this question is its mystical nature and identification with the ancient mysteries, the Egyptian, Greek and Roman mystery schools, with the Kabbalah, alchemy, Gnostic thought et al.

They (students of the mystery schools) were further given instruction concerning the different levels and graduations of the Universe, some of them material and some ethereal, the planes and sub -planes, upon which the great scheme is being carried out; which levels and planes, all progressively linked together, constitute one vast ladder of many rounds, staves, or rungs, a veritable “Ladder of Life”. Candidates thus came to understand that the Universe consists of embodied consciousness, and that these embodied consciousness exist in a practically infinite gradation of varying degrees of perfection – a real “Ladder of Life” or “Stair of Life”, stretching endlessly in either direction, for our imagination can conceive no limits except a hierarchical one; and such hierarchical limitation is but spacial, and not actual, qualitative and formal. They were shown that the “Ladder of Life” is marked at certain intervals by landing places, so to speak, which the Mysteries called “planes of being” (different spheres of consciousness, to express the idea in alternative terms). Candidates in the old systems were given instruction in these matters before being admitted to. Initiation, and the knowledge gained served to explain to them their own nature and constitution, and their place in the World-system. Today, Freemasonry, perpetuating the ancient teaching, exhibits to the Brethren a simple ladder, a symbol which when properly interpreted is calculated to open widely the eyes of their imagination. It is true that the ladder portrayed on the T.B. of the First Degree is given a moral significance in the Instruction lecture, but, as students of Hebrew mysticism are well aware, “Jacob’s Ladder” is also a symbol of the Universe with its succession of step-like planes reaching from the heights to the depths. Indeed, we learn from the V. of the S.L., that the Fathers House has many mansions, many levels and resting places for His creatures in their different conditions and degrees of progress; and it is these levels, these planes and sub-planes, that are denoted by the rungs and staves of the symbolic ladder.(Masonic world).

There is a whole component here that is often overlooked. And the reason it is snubbed is that today’s poorly instructed, social Mason sees no application to his daily life that is plausible.

So that which is lost will not only remain lost but will be doubly deeply buried.

The last three articles on The Beehive about Lodge renewal has triggered some soul searching. Not one of these articles even remotely alluded to the importance of the mystical nature of Freemasonry.

Next we must ask the question of how do we make good men better? Most Masons will tell you that it is simply a matter of adhering to the virtues and morality of Freemasonry. But how do the virtues and ethics of Freemasonry differ from most religions one might choose to practice? What, then, is so special and superior about Freemasonry? How can a society that purports all kinds of lofty development of character reveal that its secret is to follow a morality readily available in any house of worship? What is so Gnostic about that? And where does Freemasonry’s mysticism fit in? Is it just some sort of occult offshoot of troubled and hallucinogenic minds?

Too many Masons today regard the mystical traditions of their Fraternity as heretical and a corruption of the Craft. But if you read somebody like Wilmshurst in The Meaning Of Masonry, you can see how he sees symbolism on top of symbolism on top of symbolism and meaning behind meaning behind meaning.

The problem with today’s Freemason is that he refuses to look beyond his nose, wants everything cut and dried and handed to him on a silver platter, and refuses to apply any contemplation and meditation as to how Freemasonry might help him get back what has been lost.

Another religious concept we need to throw into the mix here is that of reincarnation. In its general application, not associated with any particular religious tradition, we have in this concept reliving life experience over and over again with the purpose of attaining a higher and higher plane, nearer and nearer to the Creator. If reincarnation is heretical to your belief system, if we only live one life, then we can squeeze that higher plane attainment into a shorter span, one lifetime. Perhaps we can say that a man who works at it at 70 years old is on a higher plane than he was at 60, and at 60 higher than when he was 50, and at 50 higher than when he was 40 and so forth.

The general hypothesis of pre-existence (under which the special doctrine of reincarnation falls) does not, it is true, solve the fundamental problems but it pushes back some of the initial difficulties. It furnishes an ampler ground for the development of the individual than the cribbed, cabined, and confined area of one short earth-life, and by providing a stage or series of stages for the acts and scenes of the age-long drama of the man-soul prior to the present existence, permits us to entertain the notion of a law of moral causation conditioning our present relation to circumstances in a way that does not clash with our innate sense of justice. (Masonic World)

If Freemasonry is really unique, if it really has something to offer no one else has, then let’s find out what that is and elevate ourselves from being just another mundane society. Let’s dig deeper, think harder, meditate stronger and search longer.

Ásk and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened unto you.”

A deep thinker in Freemasonry recently told me that what a Mason should endeavor to gather from his fraternity is WISDOM. But that’s not the complete answer. And the reason that more do not come up with the full complete answer is because there is such a prohibition, such a fear of turning Freemasonry into a religion that the mystical experience has to be denied. Thus, today, Masons can only think in terms of individual, earthly improvement. WISDOM is as high as we can go.

So what is the real secret of Freemasonry buried under symbolism on top of symbolism on top of symbolism? The answer is the solution to the question, how do we get back that which was lost, oneness with God.

The answer we are now ready to give is SOUL DEVELOPMENT. By incorporating Freemasonry’s mysterious, mystical ingredient into our awareness and conduct we rise to a higher and higher plane, closer and closer to the “I am that I am.” Whether we do it over many lives or just one is immaterial.

Again from Masonic World:

To enable us to grasp clearly the Ancient Wisdom teaching, it is essential to bear in mind the distinction which is made between the individuality and the personality, between life and form, spirit and body. The Secret Doctrine presupposes that man is a spiritual Being or Ego, with the triple powers of WILL, WISDOM and CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE, and that he enters into relationship with matter in order to shape for himself a succession of bodies which constitute his successive personalities, and by means of which he gains the experiences that are essential for mental, moral and spiritual growth, until gradually his real nature shines out in all its Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Accordingly, the personality is deemed to include the soul (as this is understood in our modern terminology) as well as the body, or, stated alternatively; the personality embraces expression as well as the form. The soul, then, being the reflection of the three-fold nature of the Spirit necessarily has also three attributes (modes of express ion), and these are the familiar thoughts, feelings and actions of the human personal consciousness.

So what should a Lodge be doing and what are the Masonic steps to greater spiritual attainment? It looks like this:


Now go forth and govern yourself accordingly.

pope, papal logo, catholic church

Interesting views on Catholicism and Freemasonry

I stumbled across this post from John Whitehead, a Catholic Historian in Oxford, in his blog Once I Was A Clever Boy who had some interesting thoughts on Catholicism and Freemasonry. In it he said:

Whether Freemasonry is a direct threat in this country [England] or in the English speaking world to Christianity may be doubted by some, but…its essential ideas are not supportive of the Church’s vision and message. Freemasons may not actively plot over their dinners how to do the Church down, but their ideals reinforce post-Enlightenment attitudes and ideas that are not conducive to revealed Catholic Christianity.

His post was based on another by Fr, Ray Blake from St. Mary Magdalen Church in Brighton England. From Fr Ray Blake’s blog – Masonry is a mortal sin…

The basic doctrine of Masonry is that whether we are a Jew, Christian or Muslim, we are all brothers, that these differences are unimportant. Ultimately of course that means that the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Way to Salvation is undermined and unimportant, that being Catholic or CofE or Baptist or Methodist is immaterial, all are as good as one another. Masonry is ultimately about enshrining Enlightenment values which we see in the American and French Constitutions which are so antipathetic to the Catholic Faith: I mean values like “All men are created equal”, which are now so much part of modern thinking.

This piece also asks an important question:

Who in practice is against such concepts as liberty, equality, fraternity?

To answer:

The truth is that we Catholics are, or at least we would want to qualify such sound bites, as in fact society does in practice. All men are not created equal, some have special needs others have unique abilities, some will cost society dearly, some will contribute greatly.

I wonder then, could you extrapolate and say the Church does not see all men on the level towards God, are some closer to deity than others , no matter their statement of faith? Is there a caste system of faith behind the Roman Church of who is in more Grace than the other?

All this talk stemmed from an older piece Good Catholics Should Not be Masons, written in 2009, in the Catholic Online from an article written by Fr Ashley Beck who is assistant priest of Beckenham in south London, which reiterated something most Masons already knew:

The Catholic Church teaches that Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible. The Holy See in 1983 reiterated the traditional position that Catholics who are Freemasons are in a state of grave sin and may not receive the sacraments – the Declaration on Masonic Associations was signed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and makes it clear that local bishops cannot dispense from its provisions.

In this piece, the author gets to the heart of the matter and states:

The overriding problem is that in spite of what Freemasons claim, their way of life is a religion, with all of religion’s hallmarks. You can no more be a Freemason and a Christian than you can be a Muslim and a Christian. Catholics are committed to inter-faith dialogue and mutual respect, but this requires Freemasons to be honest about what they are. For Catholics, thinking about the reasons for the gulf between us can deepen our understanding of the Christian faith.

This rhetoric comes up every few years, and American Masonry quickly disassociates itself with the claim that its “different” than European Masonry and that the Church is OK with membership in both organizations.

Clearly, its not.

I wonder what, if anything, would come from the Vatican on the matter. We do have the 1983 Declaration, but is that valuable now 28 years on? and, I wonder to what degree American Masons pay heed to it, choosing their own free will and Liberty over doctrine? I feel for those brothers, to know that the agent of their faith sees them as in a state of grave sin. To be in a Grave Sin means that the individual still “sin[s] willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, [such that] there is now left no sacrifice for sins.” Essentially, it becomes a premeditated act of offense.

You can find a (long) list of Grave Sins at the website What is a Mortal Sin, of which I counted 48 – from Lust to Despair in Hope. All of which stems from Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Clearly, these various points raise a number of questions and points, to which I would refer the reader to an article, The Catholic Church and Freemasonry, published last year in which Rev Mr. John J. McManus, JD, JCL – a Church Deacon and attorney, spoke at Gate City Lodge and delved into these topics there and in person.  In that presentation, and in the piece, he enumerates 11 positions on why the church and Freemasonry are incompatible which had a significant outcome which lead to the 1983 fundamental conclusion which said:

“Even though Masonic organizations may not in particular cases plot against the faith, it would be still wrong to join them because their basic principles are irreconcilable with those of the Catholic faith.”

Given the tone of the Church, many in the Protestant arena have agreed with the same conclusion.

All of this brings us to some interesting and unanswered questions:

  1. Is a declaration of being a Faith necessary for a dialog between Masons and the Church?
  2. Does it take some proclamation of Faith to necessitate inclusion in an interfaith discussion in a free state?
  3. What greater degree of honesty is the Vatican looking for, or will Masonry forever be incompatible the same way as it see’s Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or any other non Catholic faith?
  4. Does masonry have the stamina or will to drive the conversation, or is it secure in its own practice without need of any recognition?
  5. What is at the center of the Church’s disdain for Masonry such that as it will sit with other faiths and recognize their values but squirms and frets at the inclusion of Freemasonry because it believes in the idea of equality of man? Isn’t that the purpose of interfaith dialogues, recognizing the universality of faiths role to mankind?
  6. Should Masonry align itself with the Church doctrine and strip away its Universal tenets and bring itself more into measure with those of the Catholic Church so as to bring the two organizations together so as to have these dialogs?
  7. Does it even matter to Masonry that its tenets intersect the doctrine of the Church?

Freemasonry In Civil Court: From The Mailbag

Brother AB:

What do you think we can do about this other than to return to teaching Masonry the way it is supposed to be taught,  The more involved we become in public affairs, the more public we become. There are far too many folks that for one reason or another blame Masons for all ills and chills in the world. One of the reasons for that is that through the years we have become more public. We want the public to recognize what we do; many believe it is a way to solicit members without soliciting them directly.  We do not need more members, we need better ones, Men who really understand what Masonry is, Men who see not the color of skin, but look deep inside the man to find his true colors, Men who truly seek the betterment of mankind, Men who do not look for power or self-gain.

Yes, Men like Derek Gordon have been falsely crucified unjustly, however, it was because the rank and file (today mostly made of men who joined simply for social reasons)  have been allow to climb to the top while those of us who knew trouble was brewing failed to do what was necessary to stop the rot from within. In my view, the less broadcasted about it the better.  Now is the time to start tightening up the west gate, now is the time for those who are real Mason should step forth and begin teaching the tenets of Masonry from the beginning.

Tis only when we can rid ourselves of tyrants and power-hungry mongels that we will began to climb out of the hole we have dug for ourselves.

The Beehive:

When one’s ox is not being gored one tends to think of somebody else’s complaint as trivial and the fuss made to be detrimental to an over all good institution with a good reputation.

Now one can put their hands over their ears, hide their eyes or bury their face in the sand but that won’t change what is happening.

If these injustices were isolated incidents than airing them publicly and going to civil court would be the wrong and detrimental course of action.  But they are not.  Masonic abuse is running rampant across America.  The stories are too numerous and too nasty to ignore anymore.  A couple of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church was not worth making waves over.

But rampant pedophilia had to be brought out into the open and dealt with.  And civil courts had to get involved with private religion.

I’ll bet you remember the baseball Black Sox scandal of 1919.  At that time all the owners were in complete control of their ball teams with no oversight – no meddling. But after the scandal all the owners got together and agreed that something had to be done so this did not happen in the future.  That’s when the first Baseball Commissioner was born.

Freemasonry must learn how to police itself and quite frankly if it does not sooner or later the government will step in and put and end to civil rights violations.  If one wants to see the government leave Freemasonry alone, then the best thing one could do is work to an amiable solution to solving injustices in house. That might require doing something new and thinking outside the box but things have gone too far.

I have proposed a number of suggestions but I do not have the answer. A Masonic Supreme Court of the U.S.A., compulsory arbitration and a national Masonic Bill of Rights were ideas I came up with.

Those who bemoan the good name of Freemasonry being besmirched across the land most come up with some generally agreed upon solution.  For doing nothing, the status quo, is the road to disaster.  And we who are pushing and shoving Masons to do something, instead of criticizing we who are exposing these injustices, could better make a good use of their time by helping to come to a solution rather than trying to hush up the problem a la the Catholic church thereby enabling the purveyors of injustice to continue in their unjust ways.

Brother AB:

I do agree that something needs to be done, but the rot is too deep because of inaction of good men.

Good men can still make a difference. But if Freemasonry is to survive, it must be done by masons.

For many years churches, Christians and other faiths  had religious freedom in the United States, then one day, and you remember Madeline Murry Ohare, said that it offended her child that we prayed in school and the ACLU was born. Now, nativity scenes, Crosses and open prayer is against the law.

But I foresee the Masonry being banned here as it has been in other countries.  Do you really think the bringing these cases to court will change anything at all?

The bigots will only be more careful of their actions..  I believe that your idea of a national Masonic tribunal is a good and should be pursued.

And I am doing something to change the future by instruction new candidates in the old way of morality and charity, teaching brotherly love and truth. It is imperative that we return to being an educational institution if we are to survive. We cannot undo what has been done nor repair the damage, but we can change the future with education and guarding the west gate for future masons.

I believe Frank Hass was wronged and so was Derek Gordon and others.  But you need to read other opinion on the reverse side too.  There are two sides and sometimes more to every story.

What if it does go to court and the bad guys hire really smart attorneys and win the cases. We also have to think of that possibility.

There is much to be learned about public whims and fancies and little of it good.

Think further then the next move on the chess board.   I want masonry to survive, and free of government intervention.

The Beehive:

I laud your dedication and insistence to Masonic education. A knowledgeable Mason is a committed Mason.  But in this zeal to instruct there must be an equal zeal to protect the rights of each individual Mason.  We cannot let our beloved fraternity be taken over by a bunch of thugs.  We cannot have Al Capone in the Grand East and expect to disseminate the virtues of Freemasonry.

I laud your commitment to excellence.  It is much needed in Freemasonry. But I worry that all the good will be co-opted by a bunch of hacks and Chicago Mafia in the Grand Lodges.

I have in the past advocated that any Masons elected to the office of Grand Master must pass a written test of Masonic knowledge in order to assume the office. People think I’m nuts for that.

In the end to keep the government out of Freemasonry and to keep the anti Masons from nipping at our heels, we must learn how to police ourselves.

I additional suggestion I have made is to use The Masonic Service Association of North America as an arbiter in cases of serious Masonic complaint.  The Grand Lodge and the accused would send written response to MSANA and would be available for questioning via telephone.  MSANA would act as a arbitration service that would be binding on all American Grand Lodges.  It’s not a perfect idea but it’s thinking about doing something, more than most are doing.

Lastly – come on – expelling a Junior Past Grand Master for his actions in office.  You have got to be kidding me.  Allowing that to happen is a major PR failure.  We expect young men to join our organization after actions like that?

Going to court will help.  It will make the indifferent stand up and take notice and do something.  Do you really think that the courts should not have become involved in the Catholic church’s pedophile priest problem?

Don’t fight it.  Join in making Freemasonry better by insisting that Freemasonry is no place for petty tyrants and little Hitlers.  And keep up the good work.  We need more men like you!

Brother AB:

I like your suggestion about MSA and what they can do…but remember the rot goes deep. Those we pick to be arbiters must pass a stringent test of true moral character if they are to sit in judgment of the craft.

I still fear going to civil court will kill open meetings in the USA, Masonry will have to go underground to survive.

I have watched for years as our court systems have become a mockery of justice. Maybe one of a 1000 receive an form of true justice.  And unless Frank or Derek have wealthy benefactors, their chance of winning in court is almost nil.  As most of those in power are fairly well off individuals who will stop at nothing to remain in power,  Money will be no object.  Unless our Plaintiffs have an attorney that is very good that works for free.

I am truly sad to say that our justice system plays only to the tune of those who can afford to win regardless of the cost.  True, Some Grand Lodges may fall along the way but that too will hurt the rank and file.

I do agree the time for cleansing is now..but we must do it from the inside,  There are those of us who are willing to stand but not alone.  The numbers must be great to overwhelm the rotten apples, and for sure we would know the standing of real masons verse those who exist in card files only.

Brother CD:


One may well appreciate the frustrations and sense of Masonic betrayal that have caused M.W. Bro. Haas to drag the Grand Lodge of West Virginia into the courts in an attempt to resolve the issues involved.

This is especially so when it appears that fundamental values on which the United States was founded and continues to support are claimed, not without credibility, to have been ignored entirely within Masonry as administered by the current leadership of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia.

Initially, the first thought was that the aggrieved person should simply walk away and, in company with others so aggrieved, establish their own, new, more acceptable Masonic lodge or Grand Lodge. However, walking away is not the answer because, as has been pointed out, there are not enough Masons who want to walk away. Any one or any very few opting for “secession” would find themselves alone and without the numbers or resources to actually establish alternate lodges or Grand Lodges with any viability or firm foundation in either numbers or finances. Thus, walking away is not an option.

However, resort to the courts and legal system may not be the best route to solution or resolution of the very real and very serious concerns associated with this matter. Given time and sufficient outrage it is not unreasonable to expect that the majority of all the West Virginia brethren may eventually replace their current leadership and otherwise take steps themselves to remedy the situation from its currently reported most unsatisfactory state.

There seems to be a sense of urgency and of impatience at work. Not all problems can be solved before the half hour is up and it’s time for the commercial, to propose an analogy. Given the possible implications of rushing into the courts, outlined below, might it not be the better part of wisdom to give all the brethren of West Virginia, as opposed to the smaller number of current Masonic leaders there, some time to address these issues from within?

The legal basis for intervention of the courts into the internal affairs and proceedings of Masonry in West Virginia is reasonably clear: as an incorporated body, the Grand Lodge of West Virginia is therefore obligated to conform to the same laws as the rest of society, being now in law a public, corporate individual. Essentially, it is required to conform to the larger laws of the state and the nation on the same basis as a bank, a restaurant or a manufacturing business, to take three examples. The court has already seized itself of jurisdiction to require the Grand Lodge of West Virginia to obey and follow its own rules, whatever they may be.

There is an old saying applicable to this situation:  “Be careful what you ask for, as you might get it.” There is also a principle of experience that needs to be noted, sometimes referred to as “ The Law of Unintended Consequences,” the essential sense of which is that in seeking one goal or object a whole host of results not desired or anticipated nonetheless arise.

The concern is that, despite the real and very serious issues and the clear and understandable frustrations, in going to the courts and the public legal system M.W. Bro. Haas and those who support him in this action may be opening Freemasonry to legal orders and larger interference than they, themselves, either desired or expected.

The court has already apparently ruled that race is a relevant issue for the court’s attention and possible Orders, despite the denial of this by the Grand Lodge of West Virginia. Whatever the truth of this, and it may well be true, yet there remain any number of other very valid legal concerns of which this court, or any other state or federal court, might well be seized of jurisdiction, using as a recent and valid precedent the legal proceedings launched by M.W. Bro, Haas, as above.

For example, religious tests for membership. It is not impossible that a court might well forbid any religious test or specific belief statement for membership. In almost every Grand Jurisdiction, in some form or other, a candidate is asked to profess a personal belief in a Supreme Being. If once the courts are empowered or invited to investigate Masonry’s rules and proceedings, we might find a Grand Lodge under court Order forbidding any such a religious test for membership in a public, incorporated organization. Yet, always claiming Masonry is not a religion, or a substitute for a religion, the Craft would not be able to avail itself of religious exemptions, such as those granted to established Churches or denominations.

Although the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Federal Constitution failed to gain ratification of sufficient states before the time permitted expired, in 1982, yet there remains considerable legal ground for courts to intervene in cases of public, incorporated organizations that forbid membership or participation only on grounds of gender

Masonry is a poster child for a sexist organization. When you deny membership to any person without regard to that person’s character, finance, morality, adult status, good reputation or beliefs simply on the ground that person is female, then you are clearly sexist with respect to your membership rules. To plead in mitigation that there are branches of Masonry for women, and that Masonry strongly supports families, marriage and the dignity and humanity of women will not solve the problem: you refuse to admit on the grounds of gender alone. This is what will be the focus of a court in any legal challenge. Again, we will hear the refrain: you must obey the same laws and the same rules as everyone else, as you are no longer strictly a private club.

Our Masonic rules, although often in different particular language, require Masonic punishment, even expulsion from Masonry, depending on specific things members may say. For example, traditionally a public declaration of atheism is often grounds for expulsion. How will this, and other restrictions on what Masons can or cannot say, stand up in the United States in the face of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution if appeals may be made to state and federal courts that this public, incorporated organization, a Grand Lodge of this or that state, is violating the First Amendment rights of its member or members? Indeed, would the promises and vows of our Obligations be seen by a court to be “unconstitutional,” based on the argument that, as a public, incorporated organization, it must obey the same laws and the same rules as everyone else?  And, remember, there would be no basis to claim exemption as a religion, since Masonry has always denied it is any such thing.

These are examples of the earlier reference to “ the Law of Unintended Consequences” and the old saying, “ Be careful what you ask for, as you might get it.” In seeking to invoke the power of the state or national courts, and the wider laws of the nation, in order to enter into Freemasonry to address a particular concern, however frustrating and however serious, very significant precedents are set in motion, possibly constituting a veritable Pandora’s box of unforeseen consequences in the near future.

In addition to those considerations, there is another concern. We all know that Freemasonry is beset by vicious, relentless, active real enemies, persons and interests that desire our entire destruction and complete overthrow or dissolution. In bringing our internal concerns, real and serious as they are, into the full glare of public court proceedings, do we not give to these enemies of Freemasonry powerful and effective ammunition to attack us?

Will they not claim, for example, “ Court finds Masonry racist!” Or, “ Court rules Masons dishonest and unfair to their own members! “  All of a sudden, these statements are given the cloak of respectability not previously available to religious fanatics, whacko conspiracy nuts, or persons whose motives are rooted in profit for themselves or a mere desire for personal notoriety. Slightly re-worded pronouncements from the Bench would provide a highly effective anti-Masonic propaganda vehicle for our real, external enemies, a result that M.W. Bro. Haas certainly would not want and would certainly find deplorable. And, yet, it is a very possible consequence of appealing to the secular, external legal system.

This is all the more discouraging as the Craft has recently benefited enormously from positive publicity, publicity that is nation wide and that could not possibly be purchased, in such mass audience movies as “National Treasure,” and the Dan Brown books. As a result of this court case, and the example and precedents it may set for future court cases, we might lose all of that benefit, not only in West Virginia, but also across the nation.

The process by which Committees of Inquiry or Investigation, calling on an Applicant at his home most usually, reach a determination of suitable or not suitable for membership in Freemasonry might well come under legal scrutiny on the basis of the court taking jurisdiction over all or part of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia.

Rejected applicants, or their sponsors, might well come before the courts demanding transparency in the reasons for rejection, especially by the Committee of Inquiry or Investigation. Without that transparency, they could well argue, the real motive might be religious (We don’t like Muslims in our Lodge) or racist (We don’t like Asians in our Lodge) or homophobic ( He looks gay) or even regional ( We don’t want Yankees from New England in our Mississippi lodge). If members of Committees of Inquiry had to reveal their specific reasons or motives, under oath under penalty of perjury in a public court with the media and the press present, it would seriously constrain any Committee, any time, reporting unfavorable, even when the reasons would be far more respectable than those given above. For example, the real reason might be the applicant was lacking in financial resources to the point where if he did pay dues it would impact his ability to support his wife and children properly. In itself, this is a perfectly respectable reason for reporting “unfavorable” to the lodge, but imagine the consequences if it had to be made public in a court in the presence of the rejected applicant, his sponsors, his family, his employer, and the media.

As we all know, civil proceedings in the courts are expensive. It is said in defending itself the Grand Lodge of West Virginia has already spent a considerable sum of money, although the reported amounts vary widely. One has to assume the financial resources of any Grand Lodge are not bottomless pits of money, and that significant sums spent by members and Grand Lodges in enriching lawyers might well have been devoted to more worthy and more socially valuable objectives in terms of the ideals and objects of Freemasonry.

In the interests of transparency, this author desires to state he is a Freemason, and a Past Master of his lodge; that he is not a citizen of the United States; that he is not a member of any United States lodge or Grand Lodge, and that he is a member of his own lodge and Grand Lodge in good standing. He does not desire his name or that of his Grand Lodge to be published in order to avoid a tidal wave of e-mails, phone calls or unsolicited materials either to himself or to his Grand Lodge.

The Beehive:

What this is about is basic Constitutional guarantees, guarantees which all citizens, corporations, banks and Wall Street must adhere to and when they don’t they are prosecuted.

It’s not OK for anybody, any organization or any entities mentioned here to practice racism, to discriminate because of color of skin.  It’s not OK for all of the above to restrict free speech over and above Constitutional and legal restrictions. It is not OK for all of the above to slander, libel and otherwise abuse individuals. It is not OK for for all of the above to fail to render due process.

AND IT IS NOT OK FOR FREEMASONRY TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY OF THOSE VIOLATIONS EITHER.  There is no attempt to write new regulations or takeover Freemasonry here. There is no indication that the courts, the government, want to rule Freemasonry. What they want to do here is make Freemasonry abide by the same set of rules everybody else has to observe.

And Freemasonry, now that it is a public corporation, must abide by the by-laws which it publishes.  That is usually a condition of incorporation.

You may be right, that Pandora’s box has been opened.  But Freemasonry has no one to blame but itself.  It brought itself out of being a totally private organization into the public sphere.  But the problem is it continued to act as if it was still a totally private organization when it wasn’t.  It did what it pleased, in violation of Civil Rights legislation and in violation of its own rules.  The Frank Haas case was a good example where expulsion was carried out without a Masonic trial on charges that were false.  And The Grand Master even lured Frank Haas into his home Lodge on false pretenses so he could surprise expel him on the spot in front of his father and friends.  What arrogance!

And in the face of that here is what you have to say:

“I am concerned that this litigacious brother, in seeking justice for real or supposed poor treatment, may create a situation ultimately very harmful to Freemasonry itself. I think he would have been far wiser to simply resign- walk away – and organize his own new Lodge or movement. I still think voting with your feet is preferable to seeking relief from government, which may “invade Freemasonry” rather like a public bull in a private china shop”.

This is the old traditional view within Freemasonry that you keep everything in house, that you don’t sully the name of Freemasonry with your own personal problems. I must say a similar view is held by many Police Departments.  Even if they know a fellow officer is “dirty” they will never tell on him to protect the virtue of the entire organization.  This is also the position that the Catholic Church took in regards to Pedophile Priests.  Hush, hush, sweep it under the rug for to allow such horror to become public would destroy the good name of the Church and lose it membership. And in so doing the Institution is allowed to survive and go on, but the lives of the harmed individuals are devastated and demoralized and never made right.

Well the Catholic Church has changed in this regard and so can Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a monopoly.  By and large, unless you are willing to do what I have done, if you don’t like what it is doing your only recourse is to quietly leave. Because Mainstream Grand Lodges are the only true verified, recognized game in town.  If a civil organization, a business, a corporation had a monopoly and was caught performing questionable practices you would be all over them, screaming for their throat.  But because it is Freemasonry you want to let it get away with it.  You want to give them a free pass.

The reason Masons are taking Grand Lodges to court is that they have no other recourse. Freemasonry refuses to police itself. Freemasonry regards itself exempt from any oversight- and please don’t tell me that Grand Lodge is made up of individual Masons with votes who can stop and change anything they want.  That is theory but not reality and those that espouse that line are divorced from reality.  The citizens of Cuba could have thrown Castro out a long time ago and those of Iran could get rid of their rulers if they really want to and those of North Korea could have a more beign government if they really wanted it. And if you buy that I have a bridge to nowhere for you to invest in.

The plain fact is that if your are dealt with unjustly by Grand Lodge there is no other way OUT but to take the abusers to civil court.  There is no way to overcome injustice when the deck is stacked against you.  You only have to look in depth at the stories I have written on Derek Gordon and Mike McCabe.  If Freemasonry would submit to compulsory arbitration, if it had a Supreme Court to appeal executive decisions to, if it had a Bill of Rights that protected the rights of the individual Mason – then you could say that it was making some attempt to govern justly.


Brother EF:
I think people just don’t want to deal with it and would rather see him leave the party than try to make the situation right, which makes for an interesting argument itself for what is truth.

In my own head, once I get past the justice and fairness aspect  – at the end of the day, its a business, a business that “they” want to run the way they want to – to provide a particular user experience and a particular theme, despite who or what it offends.  And, like any good patron, guests don’t want to rock the boat because the user experience appeals to those experiencing it, the ideas, the teachings, the practice.  Those who are the regular attendees are the ones who shape the policy and craft the experience. So, that must mean that those in attendance like the way it operates. With that in mind, I think Fred, to often we aggrandize Masonry to be like government, that it is as noble and purposeful, but the reality is that it just isn’t that grand or purposeful.  At the end of the day, its just a charitable dues collecting business that facilitates a retirement home with the dues of its members, give some to other sponsored charity, but doing little in the broader community.  It does little in the way of charitable community work (feeding the poor, fixing injustice, founding museums, opening universities, etc).  Some lodges do some individual work, give scholarships, do food or blood drives, but at the end of the day you seldom hear about massive in social development form Freemasonry.  In fact, I think you could argue that the most social development comes out of the Shrine through the hospitals, but sadly is a few steps removed from the blue lodge.  My point to this now long paragraph is that Masonry is not government, it is merely a membership organization that sees itself in a more esteemed light.  Personally, I don’t think we can demand of it what we demand of our government because it is a mainly volunteer body that operates without an organized mandate.  So, as a user, why rock the boat, why ask for it to do more than what I myself am willing to put into it?

On the spectrum of what offends and what doesn’t offend, the plight of Frank does not rank higher than the injustices against him, meaning that his issue is just causality to keeping the status quo as no one has the energy to change the system.

So, is it an organization of principals or just an organization of ideals?  The former we do every day, the latter we merely strive for without really caring if we attain them.  Its really a hard light to look upon it in, is it really a moral philosophy that is a social champion or just a place we pay dues to annually to go and pay lip service to higher ideals.  If the latter, then do we even deserve to be called “just and upright men”?  What social justice is there if we can’t even be fair in our own house?

And your comment is?  Yes you who have just read this.