Freemasonry and the Anti-Christian Movement - Rev. E. Cahill

Masonic Organization

We have already shown that Freemasonry is essentially one universal association, notwithstanding the variety of its usages and cermonial and its many different divisions and jurisdictions. Every individual who is an initiated member, even as an apprentice, has the right of entry in the same degree into a lodge of any jurisdiction, and a right to the assistance of the Order in any part of the world.

The Fundamental Grades

The unity of Freemasonry reposes on the three first or so-called symbolic degrees already referred to, the grades, namely, of Apprentice, Companion (or Fellow Craftsman) and Master. All the higher rites are built upon these three initial degrees; and everything contained in the higher degrees is only a development or clearer explanation of what was implied or symbolised in the first three. This is gradually realised by the candidate as he ascends, if he ever does so, to these higher stages. The Freemasonry of these three fundamental grades is sometimes designated Blue Masonry or the Masonry of the Blue Lodges. These members form as it were the rank and file—the ordinary faithful—of the Masonic Counter Church.

In this country they are included in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodges of the Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland. There are about 6S0 Lodges subject to the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Of these Belfast has 178, Dublin 78, Cork 7, Limerick 4, Waterford 3, Sligo 2, Mountrnellick 2, Cobh 1, etc. Besides the three lower or fundamental degrees, the Free and Accepted Masonry has, according to Ragon, four other higher degrees. The lodges of these degrees, if they actually exist in Ireland, are probably not included in the above lists.

The Higher Grades.

In theory, and according to the original conception of Freemasonry, a Master Mason is supposed to be admitted to the full knowledge of the secrets, and of the aims and purpose of the Order. As the organization spread, however, and Master Masons were numbered by the thousand, this was found impossible consistently with the essential secrecy of the Masonic idea. Hence after a while the hoped for illumination which the candidate is promised from the beginning was confined to the higher grades and, in fact, is given fully only in the highest of all. These higher grades are realised in the various rites in which the Masonic doctrines are more fully developed under the form of allegories. The rite is a special system of formulas, ceremonies and symbolism and of hierarchical organization by which different groups within the Masonic Order are constituted.

Masonic Rites.

The ultimate object of all the rites is the same—the replacing of Christianity and of the Christian social organization by a purely naturalistic social regime founded upon the cult of humanity. The members of each rite work for these ends (consciously or otherwise), according to rules and methods more or less varied. The ceremonial, the symbolism, the number of grades, the special obligations of each grade, the special patrons, etc., vary indefinitely in the different rites. Some aim more at developing the intellectual side, others promote rather the active operations of the movement. Some are more elaborately organized than others. Some again are more deeply impregnated than others with the fullness of the Masonic spirit. Each rite usually forms a separate jurisdiction with an independent government of its own, but closely allied with all the others; or, if not formally allied, bound to the others by the ties of a common origin, a general identity of spirit and aim, and a very close likeness in character and organization. Such an unity may be compared in a certain way with that of the different governments and nations of the Mohammedan world.

Sometimes, one Grand Lodge or Grand Orient may have several different rites under its jurisdiction, while on the other hand instances occur of several independent jurisdictions within the same rite. Lodges of several different rites may function side-by-side in the same country or the same city. Thus in Dublin besides the lodges of the Free and Accepted Masons, there exist at least three other rites, viz., the Royal Arch Masons, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and The Order of the Temple. [Note: Only these four rites are referred to in the Irish Freemasons* Calendar. It need not be necessarily inferred however, that no other rites are actually practised in Ireland, for the Calendar refers only to the outer personality of Freemasonry.]

Unity of Supreme Control.

Usually, the Masonic Order has not, like the Catholic Church, one supreme Chief or power to which all the other jurisdictions arc subject, although leading Freemasons have been striving for more than a century to bring about such an unification. Sometimes, however, it does occur that a single chief or a certain supreme Council has acquired authority over so very many subordinate jurisdictions that the wished for centralisation of power is practically realised, at least for a while. Thus it is asserted by some leading authorities on the subject that Weishaupt in the eighteenth century and Lord Palmerston in the nineteenth had secured jurisdiction over the whole or nearly the whole Order. Fr. Gruber quotes the wellknown English Masonic writer, Bro. Yarker, and others as asserting a similar position for the celebrated American Masonic leader and author, Albert Pike, already referred to.

Thus Yarker writes: The late A. Pike . . . was undoubtedly a Masonic Pope, who kept in leading strings all the Supreme Councils of the world, including the Supreme Councils of England, Ireland, and Scotland." Again, it is generally believed that for a considerable period, and possibly more than once in the nineteenth century, the Supreme Council of the Italian Carbonari exercised almost universal jurisdiction. Whether such a centralisation of power exists at present is not certain: but there are many indications pointing to the existence of a close alliance or entente cordiale at least among the higher grades which practically correspond to the governing power of the Order all over the world. We shall again touch briefly on this question.

Principal Rites of Freemasonry.

Of the rites of Freemasonry, which vary in number at different times (new rites being founded and others falling into desuetude), the following are perhaps at present the best known:—

1. The Masons of the Royal Arch.—This rite, which is practised mostly in the British Isles and the British Dominions is identified by Dom. Benoit with the Rite of York. The latter has lodges in Mexico and other States of Spanish-America and in several other countries. About 340 Irish Royal Arch Chapters, of which 38 are in Dublin, and 6 in Cork, are enumerated in the Irish Masonic Calendar.

2. $The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.—This Rite, which is one of the most highly elaborated of all sections of Freemasonry, is practised in Great Britain and Ireland as well as in U.S.A. and most of the Continental countries. It has thirty-three degrees or grades—a much greater number than exists in any other rite except that of Mizraim, which has no less than ninety degrees. The Government of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is more centralised than that of the French Rite. The members of its Supreme Council hold office for life and are, according to Benoit, usually appointed by co-option. Of this rite Fr. Gruber writes: "This system, which was propagated throughout the world [viz., from the United States of America], may be considered as the revolutionary type of the French Templar Masonry fighting for the natural rights of man against religious and political despotism symbolised by a Papal tiara and a royal crown. It strives to exercise a preponderant influence on the other Masonic bodies wherever it is established. This influence is insured to it in the Grand Orient systems of the Latin countries. It is felt even in Britain and Canada, where the Supreme Chiefs of Craft Masonry are also as a rule prominent members of the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,"

Besides the Dublin "Grand Chapter of Instruction, with its 30 members, all belonging to the higher grades of this rite, as many as 37 subordinate chapters with lists of their officers are enumerated in the Irish Masonic Calendar for 1929. Of these subordinate chapters, 14 are in Dublin, 10 in Belfast, 2 in each of the following cities: Cork, Derry, limerick, Enniskillen and Boyle, and finally one in Lurgan.

3. The Order of the Temple or High Knights Templars.—This is one of the many rites and degrees (among others are the United Orders of the Temple and Hospital," "The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, etc.) which commemorate the tradition or legend of the Knights Templars having been the real founders of Freemasonry. The Templars before their suppression in 1308 were accused of heresy, systematic blasphemy and certain other abominable and nameless practices such as St. Leo had formerly attributed to the Manichaeans when he wrote: "Lying is their law, Satan is their God, and shameful deeds their sacrifice." How far these accusations were just it is impossible to determine with certainty. The Freemasons hold that the Order continued to subsist especially in Scotland as a secret society after its suppression, and was the medium through which the spirit and practices of the Templars have been inherited by modern Freemasons. What amount of truth this tradition contains is not clear.

The Order of the Temple as a Masonic rite is practised extensively in Ireland. The Masonic Calendar mentions over 60 "preceptorics" (as the lodges or chapters of this rite are MasonicaUy designated) in different towns of Ireland (including thirteen in Dublin) on the roll of the "Grand Priory of Ireland."

4. The French or Modern Rite.—This rite, which during the past half century or more has been perhaps the most active and progressive section of Freemasonry, is the one practised by the lodges of the French Grand Orient. Its constitution is simpler and its mode of action more candid and direct than those of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. It has only seven grades or degrees. Whether it has branches in Ireland is not known. It is certain, at least, that some of the above-mentioned Anglo-Irish Rites have Chapters or Lodges in France.

5. The Rite of Mizraim or the Egyptian Rite.—This rite has been already referred to: Its members are, or originally were, mostly Jews. It owes its original formation to Cagliostro, from whom Weishaupt or his disciples drew much of their inspirations. The rite was widely propagated in France in the early part of the nineteenth century, and had some lodges in Ireland. Its teaching and ceremonials seem to be closely associated with Occultism. At present it is apparently not practised outside France. It seems to have been overshadowed by the rising influence of the Jewish B'nai Berith lodges already referred to.

6. The Rite of Heredom—Practised rather extensively in Scotland, Germany and Hungary.

7. The Scottish Philosophic Rite—Practised by the Masons subject to the Lodge Alpina in Switzerland! This latter Grand Lodge, which is among those formally recognized by the Grand Lodges of the British Isles, is of special importance, as it is not imfrequently utilised as a kind of liaison body by the different rites and lodges of the several jurisdictions all over the world in their negotiations with each other.

Just as the three lower degrees are usually referred to as the Symbolic grades or Blue Masonry, the higher grades are ordinarily known as the Philosophic Grades or the Chapter Grades or Red Masonry. Since the institution of the higher grades it is only in them that the initiated are admitted to any of the real secrets of Freemasonry.

Impious Character of the Higher Degrees.

The ceremonies and liturgy of the initiations, especially of those into the higher degrees, indicate sufficiently the impious character and unholy aims of Freemasonry. Thus in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, which is practised so extensively in Ireland, the 18th degree is that of the Rose Croix of Heredom with its blasphemous ceremonies of initiation to which we have already referred. The 28th degree in the same rite is that of Knight of the Sun; the 30th degree that of Knight Kadosh; and the 32nd that of Sovereign Prince of the Royal Secret.

The Knights Kadosh.

We take the Knight Kadosh as an illustration of the general character of these higher degrees. Of this degree Fr. Gruber writes: "The Kadosh degree, trampling on the Papal tiara and the royal crown, is destined to wreak a just vengeance on the 'high criminals' for the murder of Molay, and as the 'Apostle of truth and the rights of man' to deliver mankind 'from the bondage of Despotism and the thraldom of spiritual Tyranny.' In most rituals of this degree, everything breathes vengeance against religious and political 'Despotism.' . . . These interpretations, it is true, are not officially adopted in Anglo-American Craft rituals; but they appear fully authorised, although not the only ones authorised, by its system and by the first two articles of the 'Old Charges,' which contain the fundamental law of Freemasonry."

The Knight Kadosh is supposed to be a perfect and fully formed Mason. The reader will remember that it was members of this degree that were appointed to carry out the task of torturing and murdering William Morgan at Fort Niagara, U.S.A., in 1826.

A graphic description copied from official sources (with a coloured plate illustration) of the ceremonies of initiation into this degree will be found in Gargano's book already referred to. In the course of the initiation the ominous words "Nekam" (vengeance) and "Makah" (death) are constantly repeated, accompanied by the brandishing of daggers, and threats of destruction against the monsters of despotism (Kings), and of superstition (the Pope). At the foot of a coffin three skulls are ranged, the central one crowned with laurels, and the other two bearing, respectively, a Papal tiara and a royal diadem. Before the central one, which represents the head of the reputed Masonic martyr, Jacques de Molay, the Templars Grand Master, who was executed by warrant of the King of France (1312), the candidate bends the knee. He then successively pierces with his dagger the other two skulls as he cries: "Hatred and Death to Civil Despotism" "Hatred and Death to Religious Despotism." He then swears not only to combat, in the manner symbolized in the ceremonial, religious and civil despotism, but also to punish in the same way traitors to the Craft itself, including those who dare to disobey the orders of the higher chiefs.

These and such ceremonies (we have already referred to other criminal oaths taken by the Knights Kadosh as also to the ceremony of initiation to the 18th degree), associated as they are with the installation into the highest and most esteemed ranks in the Masonic Order, must be assumed to convey a fair idea of the real aims and ideals of Freemasonry. Yet not a few Sovereign Princes of the Rose Croix and Knights of the Sun and Knights Kadosh who have dabbled in these blasphemous ceremonies and bound themselves by these criminal oaths move about amongst us as peaceful and honoured citizens, living under the protection of the laws, nay, even fulfilling the offices of training the youth, of legislating and of administering justice for a devotedly Catholic people against whose religion and most cherished interests and ideals they have vowed unscrupulous and implacable warfare!

System of Government.

A few words as to the government and administration of Freemasonry. The system varies a good deal in different rites, but generally speaking it is somewhat as follow's. The council or officers of the ordinary lodges are chosen by the rank and file from among the Master Masons. The whole body of officers or dignitaries of a lodge are sometimes called an Orient. The lodges of the higher grades, which are called Chapters are governed by bodies called Courts. Over these Orients and Courts, whose existence and personnel are known to all the members of the lodge or chapter, there are several higher committees, allied Tribunals, Consistories, etc.; and over all is the Areopagus. The personnel, and sometimes even the very existence, of these higher committees are usually quite unknown to the ordinary' members of the lodge or chapter; nor are they necessarily chosen from among the Orients or Courts, whose authority over the lodge is often merely nominal. The real authority is in the hands of the members of these higher committees, who to all outward appearance may belong to the ordinary rank and file.

"For the most part," writes Benoit, "the real chiefs are unknown. In the case of a great number of lodges the official heads have no real authority, the effective direction being in the hands of one member or of a certain number of members unknown to the general body. These keep the lodge in touch with the higher bodies; to which they send their reports as to the state of the lodge, and the spirit of the brethren, and from which they receive their instructions and the items of information, true or false, which has to be disseminated among the members." Eckert's account, to which we shall refer later on, is quite in harmony with this description.

Imperfect Freemasonry.

Besides Freemasonry properly so-called or Perfect Freemasonry there is another type, which is sometimes referred to as Imperfect Masonry. This latter term includes the numerous secret and other societies mostly founded and controlled by Freemasons and modelled more or less upon the Masonic constitutions and system, or at least partially identical with Freemasonry in their aims. These societies are not, strictly speaking, Masonic, as they have not the symbolism nor ritual nor the system of different grades or degrees nor the same degree of secrecy. Most of the members know the objects at which their society aims, whereas most members belonging to Freemasonry proper do not. The object of these imperfect or quasi-Masonic societies is to work for the realization of some special item or aspect of the Masonic plan upon which they concentrate.

"The lodges," writes Janet, "do not form the complete framework of the army of the Revolution. . . . Under them are numberless popular organizations, circles and associations of all kinds, which are nothing else than simplified forms of Freemasonry. . . . These reach the classes which Freemasonry cannot admit into the lodges,"

It is in allusion to these quasi-Masonic organizations that Fr. Gruber asserts that the real strength of Freemasonry lies in the fact that its more numerous and most efficient workers are outside its own body, namely, in the societies and institutions for all classes which it founds and inspires with its own spirit. Gould, whose assertion is confirmed by L. Blanc and other Masonic writers, says that "since 1750 Freemasonry has exerted a remarkable influence on all other oathbound societies." Stevens goes still further and states as practically certain that Freemasonry is directly or indirectly the parent of all modern secret societies, good, bad and indifferent." There are, he says, in the U.S.A. more than 600 secret societies, utilising Masonic symbolism, and operating largely under Masonic influence, so that about every third male adult in the U.S.A. is a member of one or more such secret societies. Familiar examples of these associations are the American Protective Association (A.P.A.), the Knights of Ku Klux Klan, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Loyal Order of Buffaloes, etc., etc.

Another well-known example of these quasi-Masonic associations with which we are familiar in Ireland is the Orange Society, already referred to, whose professed objects are the protection of Protestant interests, and the diffusion of Protestant principles and ideals among the Irish people. The Purple Men, who control the Orange lodges are mostly Freemasons usually of the higher degrees.

Again, Imperfect Freemasonry may be said to include the numerous non-secret societies whose immediate object is the promotion of some special portion or item of the Masonic anti-Christian programme. Among the best known of these societies are the different socialist International Associations of Workers (L'Internationale), the International Association of Free Thinkers, the Hermetic Society, the Malthusian League, the League of Instruction, the Universal Israelite Alliance, the Theosophical Association, the Christian Scientists, some of the Feminist Associations, the Universal Republic Alliance, etc., etc.

It is outside our scope to treat of the specific object and work of these associations, each forming a section of the immense army which has been mobilised for the destruction of Christianity.

White Masonry.

Another type of Imperfect Freemasonry is what is sometimes termed White Masonry. This term is applied to the numerous associations which have sprung up in modern times (and still continue to multiply) ostensibly for the promotion of objects good in themselves or at least not unlawful, but which owing to their constitution or practical tendencies are utilised to promote Masonic ideals (or at least are calculated to promote them) such as secularism, interconfessionalism or indifferentism in religion, false internationalism, etc. These associations help to permeate Christian society with unchristian principles, and so undermine imperceptibly the whole Christian social fabric.

Among the associations of this type one of the best known is the Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), which was condemned by the Holy Office in 1920 on the grounds that "Such organizations, while displaying singular love for youth corrupt their faith, while pretending to purify it, teaching a conception of life above all churches, and outside every religious profession."

The Rotary International organization may be given as another example of White Masonry. Although its professed object is "to encourage and foster high ethical standards in business and the professions," and to make the ideal of service the basis of all enterprise, the Code of Morals which it puts forward is purely naturalistic: and in some countries at least Rotary has exhibited a strong anti-Christian bias. Hence the Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo and the Spanish hierarchy have forbidden to their people all participation in it. Again, the Holy See in a decision issued February 4th, 1929, by the Sacred Congregation of the Consistory, has declared that it is undesirable (non expedire) for Bishops or other ecclesiastical superiors to allow the priests subject to them to become members of Rotary or to take part in its meetings. The Osservatore Romano in an authorised article enumerates three main reasons for the decision of the Congregation, viz.: The Masonic origin of Rotary, its proved hostility to the Church and its moral code, "which in almost every particular resembles that of Freemasonry." To the same category belong the association of the Friends of Israel, to which we have alluded in an earlier chapter, and many other so-called "non-sectarian" associations which it is impossible to discuss within our present limits.

As an illustration of the practical working of this portion of the Masonic organization C. Janet quotes from the French monthly—Le Correspondant, March 28, 1845—a description by a Catholic Belgian Minister of State (Mr. d'Horrer) of the organization of the Radical Party in Switzerland, which led later to the War of the Sonderbund (1847) and the enforcing of a Liberal, unchristian constitution upon the Catholic States:—

"During the long period of conspiracy on the one hand and blindness on the other, all Switzerland became organized in associations whose objects and outward activities varied indefinitely. Not all of these seemed at first to be in any way tinged with the revolutionary spirit; but as the Masonic lodges and committees had secured that their own principal men and most effective speakers should be members of these associations . . . all the latter fell sooner or later . . . under the yoke of Masonic vassalage.

"These societies included The Helvetic Association, the Geological and Archaeological societies, those of Natural History, of Music, of Agriculture, etc. . . . All these societies eventually fell under the influence of the Free-Marksmen, which soon covered all Switzerland."

Bird's-eye View of the Whole Masonic Organization.

From all that has been said so far, we may with a contemporary French Catholic writer classify the members of the different Masonic and quasi-Masonic organizations into three general categories. In the first place there is the rank and file. The members of this class, which constitute the vast majority, include very many good and well-meaning people, who are dupes and victims, understanding little or nothing of the real character and aims of the unholy league or leagues to which they have given their adhesion, and which utilise them for their own wicked purposes.

Next come the large body of officials of different ranks and degrees, organized into a kind of hierarchy and forming the connecting link between the rank and file and the higher hidden powers which direct and more or less co-ordinate the activities of the whole body. The members of this second class know far more than the preceding, of the aims and character of Freemasonry and its relations with the subsidiary associations. Hence it is more difficult to believe in their good faith. Nevertheless, the unexpected conversions from among them, which now and then occur, suggest that some, even of this category, are sincere and mean well.

Lastly, come the elite, who are sometimes called "The Hidden Power," belonging to the high degrees of the different Masonic rites. These are comparatively few in number—men usually without, country or creed, without scruple and often without fear, full of ambition for world-power, and animated by a fierce aggressive hatred against Christianity, for the destruction of which, as well as to satisfy their personal ambition, they utilize the immense resources of their organization. They are supposed to be mostly identified with the great Jewish leaders; but include individuals of all nations and of all sects. These men and their trusted agents are now to be found occupying the points of vantage in almost every country of Europe and America. They control the resources and influence which form the sinews of war; and thus dominate public life and shape economic and social conditions.

"Besides the initiated members of the Masonic organizations, there are to be found everywhere and in every rank of life representatives of that wretched type who are not inaptly styled 'Masons without the Apron.' These, while not belonging to any of the Masonic organizations, have more or less imbibed the Masonic mentality; and promote, oftentimes all unconsciously, the interests of Freemasonry among their fellow-countrymen, and even among their fellow-Catholics. It is men of this type that propagate the legend of the Freemasons' belief in the true God and extol Masonic beneficence, and even go so far as to suggest that the Church may or ought to revise its attitude towards Freemasonry. Of these men some are merely foolish or over-credulous; some have an eye upon self-aggrandisement and position; while some are to be classed as renegades. All are utilized by the sect to ward off or lesson the impact of the blow's which are dealt by the champions of faith and fatherland or to neutralize the effect of the Church's uncompromising condemnation."