This is the first of a series of articles exposing the evils of Freemasonry—in which membership is forbidden for Catholics—and its war against the Catholic Church and Christianity in general.
From time to time the National Center of the Militia Immaculata receives letters from members and others asking various questions about Freemasonry. People especially want to know why St. Maximilian Kolbe singled out for opposition this ostensibly fraternal organization above other anti-Christian movements such as Socialism and its various branches: Fascism, Nazism and Communism.
We intend to answer many of these questions in this work, using the sources listed in the footnotes.
A. Why Freemasonry is the “Hidden Enemy”
In the United States, Freemasonry has a benign reputation among most people, including many Catholics. Hence we refer to it as the “Hidden Enemy”—hidden because Freemasonry is a secret society; enemy because both by word and deed it has proved itself again and again implacably hostile to all Christianity, and in particular to the Catholic Church. It has shown itself a corrupting influence on all mankind.
1. Freemasonry’s secret, unceasing struggle against religion
In his encyclical letter on Freemasonry, Humanum Genus (1884), Pope Leo XIII equated it with the kingdom of Satan, using St. Augustine’s image of the two cities, the City of man and the City of God, and the everlasting struggle between the two.
At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and
multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardor and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seem to be combining together and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Savior (1).
2. Freemasonry’s teachings, aims and actions
After reviewing what he and his predecessors had done over the previous 150 years to combat this evil, Pope Leo XIII explored the teachings, aims and actions of this movement, pointing out that even if the several bodies which make up Freemasonry no longer remain completely concealed, they are still found to retain the nature and the habits of secret societies. There are many things like mysteries which it is the fixed rule to hide with extreme care, not only from strangers, but from very many members also; such as their secret and final designs … (2).
Candidates are generally commanded to promise—nay, with a special oath, to swear—that they will never, to any person, at any time or in any way, make known the members, the passes or the subjects discussed. Thus, with a fraudulent external appearance and with a style of simulation which is always the same, the Freemasons, like the Manichees of old, strive, as far as possible, to conceal themselves and to admit no witnesses but their own members (3).
They also promise total obedience to their leaders and a willingness to undergo severe penalties, including death, should they disobey (4). Despite concerted efforts to lie and conceal their aims, that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into view—namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere “Naturalism” (5).
3. How Naturalism molds all Masonic beliefs and endeavors
Naturalism makes human nature and human reason supreme in all things and denies that anything has been revealed by God or that there is any teaching authority established by God. The Freemasons’ constant endeavor is that the office and authority of the Church may become of no account in the civil State; and for this same reason they declare to the people and contend that Church and State ought to be altogether disunited. By this means they reject from the laws and from the commonwealth the wholesome influence of the Catholic religion; and they consequently imagine that States ought to be constituted without any regard for the laws and precepts of the Church (6).
They also seek to hinder the work of the Church in every way possible and to destroy the papacy itself. Freemasonry not only attacks the Catholic religion but undermines all religion:
Again, as all who offer themselves are received, whatever may be their form of religion, they thereby teach the great error of this age—that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike. This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion (7).
This is aimed especially at Catholicism, the only true religion. It leads to a weakening in the belief in the very existence of God. Consequently, one after another, other truths fall, so that the teaching of morality to youth, which Freemasons say they favor, is devoid of all religious foundation and belief. Even the consequences of original sin are denied, thus placing an exaggerated confidence in natural virtue.
4. How Freemasonry corrupts all human society
This in turn leads to a general decline in the moral standards of society that some Freemasons seek to exploit:
For since generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and proposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless license of vice, as, when this has been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring (8).
Laws are favored concerning marriage and education which would secularize these two aspects of life entirely and put them completely into the hands of the State. Political doctrines are advocated which hold that no one has the right to command another; that it is an act of violence to require men to obey any authority other than that which is obtained from themselves (9).
5. The links between Freemasonry, ancient pagan religions, Socialism and Communism
Pope Leo XIII goes on to say that the Freemasons desire to reinstate the manners and customs of ancient pagan religions. Furthermore, he states that Freemasons favor the designs of socialists and communists to overthrow established governments everywhere. Moreover, they seek to deceive both rulers and their peoples by pretending friendship on the one hand, and by flattery on the other, all the while urging the people to assail both the Church and the civil power (10).
B. The Church’s basic, unchanging response to Freemasonry
Pointing out that there can be no compromise with Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII told the world’s bishops:
We pray and beseech you, Venerable Brethren, to join your efforts with Ours, and earnestly to strive for the extirpation of this foul plague. . .We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is (11).
Let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them. Let no one be deceived by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these men or in any way to help them cannot be lawful (12).
2. Positive countermeasures
The Pope then proposed a variety of means to counteract this evil: wide-spread religious instruction with clergy and laity working together; vigorous promotion of the Third Order of St. Francis so as to have a wholesome strengthening effect on society; establishing or reviving solid, religion-based guilds for the protection of workmen and to get men away from evil associations; the promotion of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and its work among the poor; and finally, steadfastness in prayer, invoking the intercession of Our Lady, St. Michael, St. Joseph and the apostles Peter and Paul.
3. Fact: Freemasonry continues unchanged
Today, over a century after Leo XIII issued Humanum Genus, the Church’s fundamental statement on Freemasonry, some in the Church assume that what this great Pope wrote about Freemasonry is either no longer true or is at least now greatly mitigated. Such is not the case! The Freemasons are still a secret society; they still continue to conceal their mysteries and designs, even from their own members. In one of their official fundamental source books, Morals and Dogma, we find the following:
Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it. So God Himself incapacitates many men, by color blindness, to distinguish colors, and leads the masses away from the highest Truth, giving them the power to attain only so much of it as it is profitable to them to know. Every age has a religion suited to its capacity (13).
Secrecy is indispensable in a Mason of whatever degree. It is the first and almost the only lesson taught to the Entered Apprentice (14).
The Blue Degrees (15) are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. … It is well enough for the mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees (16).
In more than one way, deception is practiced on those entering into the First Degree of Masonry, that of the Entered Apprentice. After being assured that nothing in the oath he is about to take will conflict with his religious or personal beliefs, the candidate is led, phrase by phrase, through a terrible blood oath never to reveal the secrets of the Lodge (17).
The true attitude of Freemasonry towards the Catholic Church is not to be learned from self-serving statements of an ecumenical-sounding nature which one finds on occasion in the media, but rather from the ritual and oaths required from those entering the Thirtieth Degree of the Scottish Rite, Knights Kadosh, of which one part is the stabbing and trampling of a mock papal tiara to the shouts of “Down with imposture!” (18).
The Church is accused of having an insatiable thirst for power, of claiming despotism over the soul, of having sold absolutions, of decimating Europe to get rid of heretics, of decimating the Americas to convert Mexicans and Peruvians, and of seeking to subjugate the wills of others and to capture their souls, which is said to be at the bottom of all its proselytizing (19).
Through its doctrines, Freemasonry continues to undermine all religion by claiming that a) religion can hope to attract the masses only by deliberately ladening itself with error (20); b) God deliberately leads most people away from truth (21); c) Christ is not divine (22); d) Satan is not evil (23).
Time and again, as we see in Morals and Dogma, Freemasonry hearkens back to the ancient pagan religions of India, Persia, Egypt and Greece, presenting them as the sources of true wisdom and light. It presents the “later” religions of Judaism and Christianity as setting up obstacles to “recovering” this “true” ancient wisdom—disregarding the fact that Christianity goes back, through the Israelites, to Adam’s relationship with God at the very dawn of creation and that monotheism is the original religion of mankind. Just one result of this view is that the name of Jesus is never invoked in prayer in Masonic rituals—indeed it is forbidden to do so—and when the New Testament is quoted in these rituals, the name of Jesus must always be carefully excised (24).
In our country, over a long period of time, Freemasonry has had a devastating influence in reinterpreting the U.S. Constitution such as to remove systematically or to restrict religion (particularly Christianity) and religious influence in many institutions of our society. For three decades, 1940-1970, the U.S. Supreme Court was dominated by Freemasons, and it was during this period that so many court decisions inimical to religion were written (25).
One of the great ironies of this period is that many laws and practices directed against black Americans were struck down by a Supreme Court, most of whose members belonged to Freemasonry, which explicitly excludes blacks! Separate and unequal is the watchword for Freemasonry. While there is the Prince Hall system of Masonry for blacks, it is not considered authentic (26). Freemasonry’s support for the Ku Klux Klan is almost forgotten today, yet these two racist and anti-Catholic secret societies worked hand-in-glove for years (27).
The role of Freemasonry in secularizing education in Europe and severely restricting the Church on that continent in the past two centuries is well known. This de-Christianizing of European society opened wide the door for Fascism, Nazism and Communism to attain power. Freemasonry aided these movements in seizing power, although these movements in turn suppressed Masonic lodges (28).
Though in this country the Masons will always deny any mission to be involved in plots (29) they will nevertheless clearly express sympathy for others involved in such activities, while directing their criticism mainly at the latter’s unwise tactics. An example of this is the history written in Morals and Dogma about the Knights Templar, their suppression, and subsequent attempts at revenge by their successors during the French Revolution (30).
In 1981 a Masonic plot to take over the government of Italy was exposed, showing once again that little has changed since Pope Leo XIII warned of Freemasonry’s subversive activities aimed at the State (31).
No attempt has been made in this chapter to go into the elaborate symbolism found in Freemasonry; suffice it to say that this symbolism is an intricate part of the secrecy and deceit of the movement. We leave the details to the larger works cited in this book.
4. Fact: The Church’s stance on Freemasonry continues unchanged
What is the Catholic Church’s position on Freemasonry today? In the 1960s and 1970s a certain amount of confusion arose due to a looser interpretation of penalties for Catholics who became members and to a misguided ecumenism, both of which resulted in some Catholics joining Masonic lodges with the approval of some clergy. However, after the new Code of Canon Law was issued (1983), the Holy See clarified the canon on secret societies (canon 1374)—in which Freemasonry is not mentioned by name—by stating clearly that membership in the Masons is forbidden to all Catholics and that membership is a serious sin which automatically denies Holy Communion to any Catholic who joins them. Local Bishops may not make exceptions to this rule, this not being within their competence.
Subsequently, the U.S. Bishops declared Freemasonry irreconcilable with Catholicism—indeed, with any form of Christianity (32).
This article was excerpted from Freemasonry: Mankind’s Hidden Enemy, Tan Books
and Publishers, Inc., 1995.
(1) Humanum Genus, encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on Freemasonry, 1884, no. 2.
(2) Ibid., no. 9.
(5) Ibid., no. 10.
(6) Ibid., no. 13.
(7) Ibid., no. 16.
(8) Ibid., no. 20.
(9) Ibid., no. 22.
(10) Ibid., nos. 24, 27, 28.
(11) Ibid., no. 31.
(13) Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma (Richmond, VA: L.H. Jenkins, Inc. Edition Book
Manufacturers, 1871; March 1947 edition cited herein), p. 104.
(14) Ibid., p. 109.
(15) most Masons never go beyond these—Author.
(16) Ibid., p. 819.
(17) Jim Shaw and Tom McKenney, The Deadly Deception (Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, Inc., 1988), pp. 25-26.
(18) Paul A. Fisher, Behind the Lodge Door (Bowie, MD: Shield Pub. Co., 1988; Rockford, IL: TAN, 1991 & 1994), p. 240.
(19) Morals and Dogma, p. 74.
(20) Ibid., p. 224.
(21) Ibid., p. 105.
(22) Ibid., pp. 308, 524-525.
(23) Ibid., pp. 102, 859.
(24) The Deadly Deception, pp. 72, 76.
(25) Behind the Lodge Door, pp. 1-17.
(26) The Deadly Deception, p. 29.
(27) Behind the Lodge Door, pp. 87-102.
(28) Ibid., pp. 217-230.
(29) Morals and Dogma, p. 153.
(30) Ibid., pp. 1-2, 814-824.
(31) Behind the Lodge Door, pp. 21-22.
(32) Ibid., pp. 201-202.