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

Historical Sketch

Freemasonry, child of the Protestant pseudo-Reformation, took its rise in England after the middle of the seventeenth century. It borrows its name, and some of its symbolism, as well as certain elements of its organization from one of the great medieval craft guilds. The history of its origin is obscure, and the details possess little interest, except for Freemasons themselves. The main outlines, however, are somewhat as follows:

Beginnings of Freemasonry.

The builders' guilds, owing to the importance and peculiar difficulty of their craft, were among the most powerful of the medieval craft guilds, and enjoyed several special privileges and exemptions. The members of the building craft possessed also many trade secrets; for, as a knowledge of the principles of mathematics and mechanics was then rare, at least in Western Europe, the art of architecture could be acquired only empirically. The secrets of the art were jealously guarded and handed down by tradition from generation to generation. After the Protestant revolt in England the Masons' guilds there, like the other craft guilds, lost completely their Catholic and religious character, and became purely industrial and trading associations. About the middle of the seventeenth century the London Masons' guild, now a Protestant body, whose members, apparently owing to the privileges or exemptions they enjoyed, were designated Freemasons, admitted into their society some members of a sect called Rosicrucians. As these had no connection with the building craft, their admission show that the Free-Masons' guild was no longer merely a professional or industrial association.

The Rosicrucians.

Little is known with certainty of the character and object of these Rosicrucians, who seem to have introduced quite a new element into the Free-Masons' guild. They apparently were a secret society, partly of Jewish origin, and professing some type of esoteric philosophy akin to Pantheism and Materialism, which they had inherited from some of the sectaries of early and medieval times, such as the Albigenses. The real or ostensible purpose of the Rosicrucian sectaries was to discover the secret of transforming the baser metals into gold, to search out some occult means of prolonging life, and to carry on the practice of other occult and uncanny arts. What other influences were at work during this period among the Masonic lodges it is outside our immediate scope to discuss. It is certain that the Jews, who were partially rehabilitated in England under the Puritan regime, were closely associated with some of the Masonic lodges, so, too, were the promoters of the anti-Christian rationalistic movement which was coming to the surface in England about the same time.

Soon after the amalgamation of the Rosicrucians with the London Free-Masons' guild, we find the latter acting as a kind of political and religious association. Its branches or lodges played an important role during the troublous period of the later seventeenth century. Thus, William III of Orange was initiated into the society about 1694, and presided over several meetings at Hampton Court. During the military and political struggle between the Stuarts and the House of Orange, the Masonic lodges on both sides were often the rallying points of the different parties; and those of the Stuart side became a common medium of communication between the exiled house and their British partisans.

Speculative Freemasonry.

When the power of the House of Hanover was finally established in England, the political opposition between the lodges of the different sides gradually ceased; and early in the eighteenth century (Masonic historians usually fix the date at 1717, when the first Grand Master of the English Lodges was appointed) the Freemason organization dropped completely its professional character, and formally assumed the role of a philosophic and religious (or anti-religious) association, with a definitely propagandist purpose. This was the real foundation of speculative Freemasonry as distinct from the old operative and professional Masonry from which it borrows its name. Philip, Duke of Wharton, a man notorious for impiety and profligacy in an impious and profligate age (he had been for some time president of the London Hell Fire Club), whom his contemporary Pope describes as "from no one vice exempt," was elected Grand Master in 1722. It was under Wharton's auspices (about 1723) that James Anderson, a Scotch Presbyterian minister, assisted by John T. Besaguliers, a Huguenot refugee, who also became a minister, drew up the constitutions and ritual which remain to this day the ground-work of the Masonic organization all over the world.

Masonic Constitutions.

Anderson's constitutions retain a portion of the framework of the constitutions of the old operative Free-Mason guilds, such as the different grades of membership (namely. Apprentices, Associates or Companions, and Masters), while adapting them to the exigencies of the new society. But the soul and spirit of the old Catholic constitutions were so fundamentally altered that in their new form they ceased to be Christian or even Theistic. God and Christ, to whom the old Catholic Masons promised service and loyalty, were replaced by the vagne and intangible being who is called "The Grand Architect of the Universe." For the old Catholic charge made to the working-mason, "Be true to God and Holy Church and use no error or heresy," Anderson substituted a rule which implies naturalism and religious indifference. According to this rule the Freemasons were obliged only to follow the religion in which all men agree, leaving the particular opinion to themselves, that is to be good men and true, or men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished . . .being as Masons only of the Catholic religion above mentioned.

In other words the Catholicity and religion of the old Masons' guilds is supplanted by a new Catholicity which is some kind of vague Deism or naturalism, and embraces in one universal religion the cult of pagan, Mohammedan, Buddhist, etc. This portion of the new constitution, which is fundamental in modern Freemasonry, manifestly betrays the influence of the English school of Deists and Freethinkers to whom we have already referred. They were disciples of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, whose treatise on Truth had appeared in 1624. Among the principal leaders of the Deists were J. Hobbes, J. Locke, J. Toland, A. Collins, and M. Tyndall. All these were practically contemporaneous with Anderson.

Again, the old charge of the Catholic guild to its members, regarding the duty of loyalty to one's country, is radically altered in Anderson's constitutions. The old charge was "You shall be good liege men of the King without treason or falsehood; and you shall come to know no treason but you shall mend if you may, or else warn the King or his council thereof." For this Anderson substitutes a rule according to which the Mason's duty to the Craft practically supersedes his obligations towards his country', so that sedition to the State does not affect the good standing of a Mason any more than heresy. "If a Brother," writes Anderson, "should be a Rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanced in his rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man; and if convicted of no other crime . . . they [the Brethren] cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his relations to it remain indefeasible."

Anderson gives as his reason for relieving the members of the Craft from their civil and patriotic duties, as understood in the old Christian code of Masons' guilds, that Freemasonry is cosmopolitan, and transcends all national distinctions. "We are resolved against all Politicks; we, being only as Masons of the Catholick religion . . . we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages."

The Two Basic Principles of Freemasonry.

These two fundamental characteristics of Freemasonry, namely, indifference in matters of religion, which means absence of all real religion, and a tendency towards cosmopolitanism and internationalism, which would supplant the Christian duty of patriotism and loyalty to the State by some kind of ineffective international humanitarianism, remain to this day outstanding features of the Masonic spirit.

A copy of the constitutions of the Italian lodges, which was printed for exclusive circulation among the higher functionaries of the Craft, fell into the hands of the editor of Unita Catholica in 1868, and was published by him in the issues of July 21 and 22 of that year. Its authenticity has never been called in question. The following extract embodies the principles of Italian Masonry of that time. They are identical with those of Anderson's constitutions, which are to this day the recognized foundation of English and Irish Freemasonry:—

Art. 4.—Masonry recognizes its God in the principle of the natural and moral order under the symbol of the Great Architect of the Universe. . . .

Art 5.—It prescribes no profession of religious faith, and excludes only the beliefs which require intolerance of the beliefs of others.

Art. 6.—It proposes to itself as its first object to unite all free men in one vast family, which may and ought to take the place of all Churches . . . thereby to constitute the true and only Church of Humanity.

How fundamentally opposed to the spirit of Christianity both these Masonic principles are is illustrated by the words of Leo XIII: "Wherefore to love both countries, that of earth below and that of heaven above, . . . is the essential duty of Christians, and the fountain-head, so to speak, from which all duties spring."

Freemasonry in Ireland.

Speculative Masonry thus organized spread rapidly in England and Scotland, and within a few years after its foundation was introduced among the English colony in Ireland. The first Grand Master of the Irish Freemasons was Richard Parsons, first Earl of Rosse, who was reputed to be one of the leading spirits in the Dublin Hell Fire Club, and was the intimate friend of the profligate Duke of Wharton. The sect took strong root among the ascendancy party in Ireland. Indeed, down to the present day Freemasonry and Orangeism (an off-shoot of Masonry, and controlled by it) founded in 1705, dominate the inner councils of the Protestant and anti-Irish party in Ireland.zs

This fact explains in part the inveterate anti-Catholic sprit which this party has so consistently exhibited during the past two hundred years, and the obstinacy with which its adherents have as a body remained apart in modern times from the Irish Catholic nation and refused the true faith.

From Gould's history one gathers that the Irish section of Freemasonry was of a more advanced and esoteric type than the English parent body. About 1751 the Irish Freemasons founded in London an independent lodge with its own special ritual and constitutions. Its members became known as the "Ancients." An Irishman called Laurence Dermott became Deputy Grand Master. The more advanced and esoteric character of this lodge may be inferred, or surmised, from Dermott's words quoted by Gould:

"A modern Mason [a member of the ordinary London Grand Lodge] may safely communicate all his secrets to an Ancient Mason [a member of the London Irish Lodge]; but an Ancient Mason cannot with safety communicate all his secrets to a Modern Mason without further ceremony. For . . . Ancient Masonry comprises everything valuable among the Moderns, as well as other things."

Among Gould's references to Irish Freemasonry, the following occurs: "The roll of Irish Lodges probably reached its highest figure about 1797, when scarcely a village in the Kingdom was without its Masonic Assembly. . . . Afterwards, however, a period of dormancy set in."

Chetwode Crawley, from whom Gould borrows his information on Irish Freemasonry, gives as a reason for the large number of Freemasons at that time the fact that the Catholics found in the Masonic Lodges a refuge from the social disabilities caused by the penal laws. The principal reason of the "dormancy" (which in Masonic idiom means loss of members, and general cessation from activity) after 1800 was the fact that about the beginning of the nineteenth century the ecclesiastical authorities became more active in impressing upon the people the Church's condemnation of Freemasonry, and the unlawfulness of joining the sect.

Freemasonry and the British Party in Ireland.

Gould adds an item of information showing the dose connection of Freemasonry with the British garrison in Ireland. He says that the Irish Grand Lodge had affiliated to it a much larger number of Ambulatory or Military Lodges than any other Grand Lodge. The strength of Freemasonry in the British army in Ireland is probably the principal explanation of the Curragh quasi-mutiny of 1913, and the success which crowned it. That the Ulster rebellion and the Belfast pograms were also engineered largely through Masonic intrigue is commonly believed, not without good foundation.

Several other significant facts point to the conclusion that the British party in Ireland relied very much on Freemasonry for their hold on the country. Thus, the oath prescribed by law to be taken by the R.I.C. and the Dublin Metropolitan Police excluded them from membership of all political organizations or secret societies, "unless the Societies of Freemasons." In the two Home Rule Acts for Ireland, those of 1914 and of 1920, the Irish Parliaments were definitely precluded from any power to "abrogate or prejudicially affect any privilege or exemption of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Ireland, or any lodge or society recognized by the Grand Lodge."

Spread of Freemasonry.

During the first half of the eighteenth century Masonic lodges were founded from England and from Ireland in France (1721), and in the English Colonies, as well as in Spain, Holland, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, and Poland. Later on, lodges were formed in New England (North America), India, China, Africa, Central and South America, etc.

In France, especially, where the ground was prepared by the Gallican and Jansenistic movements of the preceding generation, Freemasonry spread very rapidly, and gained immense influence. It served to strengthen the spirit of impiety and unbelief already prevailing among the upper classes, and to enhance the demoralization which affected all classes. Above all, Masonic principles and teaching introduced the spirit of revolt against both ecclesiastical and civil authority. The Masonic lodges became the meeting-places in which every type of impiety, immorality, and revolt found a safe refuge, and where all the anti-religious and antisocial elements of French society met on common ground. This spirit of revolt soon bore fruit all over Europe and America in the anti-religious persecutions, the expulsion of the Society of Jesus from various countries, the complicated intrigues which culminated in the suppression of the same Society (forced on the Holy See through Masonic influence), and later on in the French Revolution (1789).

The Illuminists.

About the middle of the eighteenth century, the irreligious and disruptive tendency which has always characterized Freemasonry received a new impetus from the secret societies of the German Illuminists and the French Martinists which got merged in Freemasonry. The principles and ideals which led to the formation of these societies, whose tendencies were profoundly irreligious and anarchical, had come into Northern Germany from England and France early in the century, and had spread south into the Catholic portions of the country. In 1776 Adam Weishaupt, a professor of the University of Ingolstadt, became the leading spirit of the movement. Weishaupt's plan (which is still the method followed in the Masonic lodges) was to enlist disciples into a secret organization, and to fashion them little by little to his ideals by means of a series of successive initiations into the inner circles and secrets of the organization.

In the early stages of the training, that is in the outer circles of the system, some kind of religion and even of Christianity was ostentatiously professed, at least in words; but as the member became more and more inoculated with the new principles and ideas he was gradually admitted into the real inner secrets, which included the denial of God and the abolition of all civil authority. The members had to bind themselves by dreadful oaths to devote themselves to the purposes of the organization, and to preserve inviolable secrecy.

The Order exacted from its members a total consecration of themselves, of all their faculties and powers, to the work of the society. They had to place at its service their liberty, their honour, their property, and to forswear their allegiance to their country and their Church. They had, at the same time, to bind themselves to inviolable secrecy, and to a complete and blind obedience to the superiors of the society whom they did not know, and to whom was committed the right of life and death over all the members, as well as the right to oblige the latter to the most unjust and immoral acts.

The Illuminists and the other kindred secret societies were suppressed by the Bavarian Government in 1874; but their principles and methods, which got merged in Freemasonry, have continued even to our own day to infiltrate into European society, and to spread more and more into every part of the known world.

Another very important element in Freemasonry—the one, indeed, which soon became one of the main driving forces behind it was the Jewish influence which to-day practically dominates the whole organization. As the Jewish element in Freemasonry is of special importance it will be treated in a separate chapter.

Masonic Activities for Past Two Centuries.

We cannot within our available space attempt to trace the history and workings of Freemasonry during the past two centuries. Freemasonry supplies the key, and at least a partial explanation of the extraordinary and triumphant progress of the spirit infidelity, irreligion, and revolt against lawful authority which has characterized that period. The constantly recurring revolutions, upheavals, political assassinations, religious persecutions, etc., which loom so large in the modern history of Europe and America have been, for the most part, the work of Freemasonry. The network of secret societies, irreligious, anarchical, communistic, etc., which now almost cover the face of the globe are practically all modeled upon and inspired by Freemasonry, and are in large measure controlled by it.

"It is useless to deny [spoke a great British seventy years ago], because it is impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe—the whole of Italy and France, and a great portion of Germany, to say nothing of other countries—is covered with a network of secret societies just as the surfaces of the earth are now being covered with railroads. And what are their objects? They do not attempt to conceal them. They do not want constitutional Government. They do not want ameliorated institutions . . . They want to change the tenure of the land, and to drive out the present owners of the soil, and to put an end to ecclesiastical establishment. Some of them may go further." [Disraeli, July 14, 1856]

The evil of which Disraeli then spoke has progressed steadily up to our own time, and to-day threatens the very existence of Christian civilization in every country including our own, which is apparently becoming more and more entangled in the meshes of the Judaeo-Masonic net.

We are only too familiar with some of the manifestations of Masonic activity. It is now an established fact, insisted on and emphasized by Masonic writers, that the French Revolution of 1789 was prepared and plotted by the Freemasons, that to them also were due its horrors and fierce anti-Christian bias. Helvetius, Voltaire, and Rousseau, the great apostles of the modem anti-Christian movements, were Freemasons. So were La Fayette, Tallyrand and Mirabeau, as well as Benjamin Franklin, their Anglo-American ally. The Jacobin Club of Paris (1789) was Masonic. The leaders of the Reign of Terror, Robespierre, Danton, Marat, were all Freemasons. Again, the French Revolutions of 1830 and 1848, as well as the contemporary revolutions in so many other European States, were principally the work of Masonry. Louis Philippe, Thiers, Guizot, Lamartine, Louis Blanc, etc., were Freemasons. So, too. was Kossuth, who led the revolutionary movement against Austria (1848}.

The work of Freemasons in assassinating Count Rossi, the Prime Minister of Pius IX, and in bringing about the Italian Revolution, with the accompanying spoliation of the Papal States is well known and recognized. This revolution and spoliation were advocated and supported by the whole weight of Masonic influence in Britain and America, Napoleon III, Mazzini, Cavour, Garibaldi, and the English Lord Palmerston were all Masons. The rising of the Paris Commune in 1871 was brought about by the Freemasons; and the fierce anti-Catholic spirit which the insurgents showed, and which rivalled the Reign of Terror nearly a hundred years before, was, like it, the work of Masonry. The modern anti-Christian persecution in France dating practically from that time, the Mexican revolutions with all the anti-Christian virus which they have exhibited and exhibit to-day, the assassination of Garcia Moreno, the pious President of Ecuador, the Portuguese Revolution of recent times, all have their source and inspiration in Masonic teaching and intrigue; all have been supported directly or indirectly by Anglo-Saxon, no less than by continental Freemasonry. The same is true of the Young Turk Movement in the early years of the present century, and the unspeakable Armenian massacres that accompanied it, which were glossed over or left almost unnoticed by the Mason-controlled Press of these countries. Ferrer, Dreyfus, Carranza, and Calles were or are Freemasons, and have all been supported by the Masonic Press all over the world. The Nihilists of Russia, the Carbonari of Italy, the Orange Societies of Ireland and the British Colonies, the American Ku Klux Klan, and the six hundred or more secret societies of the United States of America, all more or less disruptive and anti-Christian, are all offshoots of Freemasonry, modelled upon and largely controlled by it.

Masonic Crimes and Terrorism.

The anti-Christian and anti-social character of Freemasonry, as well as the solidarity of the Masonic association the world over, are well illustrated by the episode of Dreyfus, a Masonic Jew (the 33rd degree) of the French Grand Orient, and by two more recent events the history of which has been detailed in an American Catholic weekly. These latter are the Barcelona riots of 1909, followed by the execution of Ferrer, and the story of the Mexican civil wars of 1913-15. We give their main outlines.

Francis Ferrer y Guardia was an active member and agent of the French Grand Orient. It was he that organized and led the Barcelona riots of July, 1909. In the course of these riots, which lasted less than two days, the rioters wrecked and burned ninetyseven buildings, of which seventy-six were Catholic churches, chapels, convents, and charitable institutions. In doing so they killed 102 persons, and seriously wounded and maimed 312 others; nuns were violated and massacred. The rioters disinterred the bodies of thirty-eight nuns which they left lying on the streets. The riots, which were quite unprecedented ' in the fierceness and fiendish cruelty displayed, belong to the same category, and were evidently of the same anti-Christian inspiration, as the French Reign of Terror (1789), the Paris Commune (1871), the excesses of the Mexican Masonic Republic, the Russian Bolshevic persecution, and the Belfast political excesses and crimes of recent years.

The riots were quelled by the Spanish soldiers. Ferrer and six other ringleaders were, after an entirely fair and open trial, condemned and executed (October, 1909), for arson, plunder, and the murder of defenceless women and children. The execution of Ferrer, who was the soul of the movement and principally responsible for the crimes committed (the others were mere tools and did not count), aroused a world-wide Press campaign of criticism which was carried on by the French, English, American, and Italian Press (mostly controlled by the Judaeo-Masonic financial ring) against the Spanish Government and the Catholic Church, although the latter had nothing to do either with trial or execution.

The second episode is that of the Mexican civil war of 1913-15 between Huerta, the Catholic and lawfully appointed President, who was, even on the testimony of Mr. O'Shaughnessy, the U.S.A. Charge d' Affaires in Mexico City, the only man capable of fulfilling that office. Huerta was opposed in armed revolt by Carranza, his rival, who was the Freemason candidate. Carranza, as well as his military commander, Villa, were notorious bandits and criminals of the worst type. Their conduct and the excesses they committed during the war and after it, bear unmistakably the genuine Masonic stamp. These excesses included the pillage of Catholic churches and shrines, the destruction of Catholic schools and libraries, the banishment, imprisonment, torture, and murder of Catholic priests and religious, the most abominable and impious outrages against innocent children and virgins consecrated to God, and later on, when the Masonic party got the upper hand, the prohibition of Catholic worship and the secularization of education. Carranza was recognized and supported by the Government of the United States.

Mr. W. Wilson was then President with Brandeis, the Jew, and Colonel House as his chief advisers. It was as a result of the United States interference that Huerta, after a struggle of nearly two years, was defeated. Were it not that the U.S.A. supplied Carranza and Villa with arms while shutting out Huerta from them, the victory of the former would have been impossible. The Knights of Columbus and the American Catholic Press roundly accused their Government of the crimes of Carranza and Villa.

Perhaps the best known and most fully authenticated instance of official but non-political Masonic assassinations is that of William Morgan, a New York journalist, who was slowly done to death on the Niagra, near Lake Ontario amid excruciating and most revolting tortures in 1826. The assassination was carried out by the Knights Kadosh of Batavia (the Knights Kadosh are supposed to be the most perfect and most fully formed of the Masonic Order) by decree of the sovereign tribunal of the American Masonic executive. The principal assassins in the case were two Knights Kadosh, Loton Lawson and Henry Brown.

Although, owing to the power of Masonic influence, none of the murderers were ever even brought to trial, all the principal details of the murder were gradually brought to light and fully authenticated. Morgan had brought on himself the vengeance of the Order by leaving its ranks (being disgusted and alarmed by what he had seen and heard in the lodges), and publishing a book in New York (1826) entitled Freemasonry Exposed and Explained. The work was a revelation of the secrets of the Order; and it reproduced the ritual of the Ancient Scottish Rite, which was the one then generally followed in U.S.A. It may be added that Morgan's work, which created at the time a profound sensation and alarm, was vindicated in July 4, 1828, when three hundred brothers publicly renounced Freemasonry and declared that Morgan's revelations, which had cost him his life, were scrupulously true.

The Affaire des Fiches.

Among the many other causes celebres, connected with the history of Freemasonry in recent times, the French "affaire des fiches" (Episode of the index-slips) is perhaps the best known: It brought to light the fact that the French Masonic lodges had organized an immense network of espionage by means of which the War Office, itself staffed by Freemasons, was enabled to make all promotions in the army dependent on the person's attitude towards Masonic principles and practice. Any officer who was known to cherish religious convictions, whose children were being educated in a Catholic school, or whose wife attended Mass, was made the subject of an index slip, drawn up by the local Masonic lodge and confidentially despatched to the War Office. These slips were collected into a register, nicknamed "Carthage". Any officer whose name figured in "Carthage" had no chance of promotion no matter what his military capacity or other merits might be. A similar type of pressure was in fact applied to civilians in every grade of the public service; and, as is well known, was not and is not confined to France. But the revelation of such a highly organized system in the French army was peculiarly sensational.

Freemasonry and Civil Governments.

As one might expect. Freemasonry has been banned by different civil Governments, or, as the Freemason historian puts it, "Persecutions of Freemasonry" have occurred from time to time. It was suppressed in Holland (1735), in Austria (1743), France and Italy (1737) and in Switzerland (1778). It has been again suppressed in Hungary (1920), and still more recently in Italy and Spain, since recent changes have brought back to these countries a practically Christian regime.

Unhappily for Europe most Governments have fallen more or less under the power of Freemasonry since the end of the eighteenth century; and the Freemasons have succeeded in forcing Liberal constitutions upon them, and thus securing their own immunity, and free scope for their anti-Christian and anti-social activities. Besides, the Masonic perpetrators of anarchical attempts have usually succeeded in escaping justice by taking refuge in London or the United States, where the brethren are particularly numerous and powerful. For, to understand the working of Freemasonry, we must know that while it exhibits its virus—"shows its teeth," so to speak—most patently in Catholic countries or where the Government is more or less under the guidance of Catholic principles, the real source of its strength, its point d'appui, lies elsewhere, namely, in the States in which Masonic principles dominate the Governmental and social organism.

Relative Strength of Freemasonry.

It is difficult to obtain accurate knowledge of the strength of the Masonic organization all over the world. The published statistics of Freemasonry refer only to its outward personality, and the acknowledged number of its active members. They take no account of the numberless secret organizations which Masonry controls, and through which much of its work is accomplished. Well-known examples of such societies are the Orange Society of Ireland, and the secret societies of the United States, where it is said that every third man, in a population of over 120 millions belongs to some secret society. Hence, Father Gruber, S.J., the author of the article on Freemasonry in the Catholic Encyclopedia, truly says that Freemasonry is more powerful in its allied associates than its own personal membership.

It is also well known that in many places, especially in Catholic countries. Freemasons avail themselves of the help of Catholics, sometimes well-meaning, whom they (the Freemasons) assist on the implied condition that these, as far as they can, without overtly disobeying ecclesiastical authority, should play, consciously or unconsciously, into the hands of the Masonic and Liberal parties. Notwithstanding all this, however, it may be assumed that the outward development and increasing numbers of the Masonic organization are, as far as they go, a true index of the growing power of Masonry, and of the increasing perils to Church and ordered civil Government which that implies.

Statistics of Freemasonry.

Since the period of the French Revolution Freemasonry has attained an extraordinary development. The number of members, which in the beginning of the nineteenth century was comparatively small, although including men of great influence and power, had before 1850 attained to great proportions, and the organization had spread into almost every country of the known world. The official Tableau Genreal des Loges, drawn up by Brother M. Rebold in 1850, reveals the fact that there were then about 5,000 Masonic lodges in the world. According to his estimate there existed at the time half a million Freemasons who took an active part in the work of the lodges, and from eight to ten millions, who, though accepted members, took no direct part in Masonic activities. One may easily believe, however, that the latter proportion of accepted members as compared with active members is very much exaggerated.

According to the Tableau Universel des Loges Maconniques published in the Masonic Annuaire of 1910, there were then 22,447 lodges in the world, with a roll of 1,774,878 active members. The number of accepted, but not active, members is not given. If the proportion between accepted and active members as given by Brother Rebold sixty years previously held good in 1910, the number of accepted but not active members in 1910 might be anything between seventeen and twenty-seven millions.

Finally, in the Kalender fur Freimaurerei of C. van Dalen. published at Leipsic in 1926 by Brother Zechel, a recapitulation of which, taken from the Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes (April 18, 1926), we give below, there were in round numbers 28,000 lodges, with a roll of 3,860,000 active members. Of the latter Canada and the United States of America had 3,091,100; England had 258,000; Scotland 50,000; and Ireland 43,000. If the same proportion of accepted to active members still held good, the former would now reach a figure somewhere between sixty and eighty millions of men, who with their families would include a population almost as great as the total number of Catholics in the world.

According to more recent statistics, which were published in the London Times (October, 1928), the total number of active members of the Order was then 4,400,000, of whom 4,100,000 belonged to the English-speaking countries. Of these latter the United States of America claim 3,271,000, Canada 195,144, England and Wales about 322,000, Scotland 90,000, and Ireland 50,000. "In addition there are at least 1,000,000 'unrecognised' Masons, the most important group being the 'Negro' Masons of the United States of America."

From these statistics it appears (a) that Freemasonry more than doubled its adherents between 1910 and 1928; (6) that more than thirteen-fourteenths of the whole Order belongs to the U.S.A. and the British Empire, "indicating that Freemasonry is essentially an Anglo-Saxon institution"; (c) that U.S.A. is by far the most Masonic country in the world; and that Great Britain comes next; (d) that there are more Freemasons in Ireland (without counting the members of the Orange Society) than in any Continental country except Germany and France, and immensely more in proportion to the population than in any country of Europe or South America.

General Conspectus of the European Lodges, 1926


In all there are, therefore, nearly 7,800 Masonic lodges in Europe with about 576,000 members. From these numbers, however, the totals of the Grand Orient of Italy, suppressed by Mussolini, and of the two Spanish Masonic Grand Lodges, also recently suppressed, must be subtracted, in order to get the correct present-day numbers. For other parts of the world, the figures given in the German report are as follows:—

Africa 91 3,450
North America 17,008 3,091,100
Central America 274 29,270
South America 574 353,930
Australia 1,225 103,600
Various 150 21,00

Strength of Freemasonry in Ireland.

The numbers of Freemasons in Ireland has been growing in recent years. Gould wrote in 1920: "At present there are 530 Irish lodges, of which fifty-nine are in Dublin, sixty-three abroad, and six in military corps. There are almost 28,000 under the Irish constitution." In 1925, however, notwithstanding the retirement of the British army and military officials from the twenty-six counties of the Free State, there were according to the Leipsic Calendar 540 lodges and 43,000 active members in Ireland, thus showing an increase of 15,000 members during the years 1920 to 1925. Finally, according to the above-quoted statistics published in the Times, there has been a further growth of 7,000 during the years 1925-1928, which makes the present number of Freemasons in Ireland ahnost equal absolutely to those of France and ten times as great as France in proportion to the respective populations of both countries.

According to the Irish Masonic Calendar (1929), the number of lodges on the register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1929 was 678. Of these 609 were in Ireland, and 59 in the British army and foreign countries such as South Africa (28), the West Indies, India (9), Gibraltar, etc. Besides these lodges, there were about 440 lodges of the higher rites (called chapters, preceptories, etc.), making a total of about 1,050 lodges in Ireland, of which more than 140 were in Dublin.

The mere statistics, however, of Freemasonry in Ireland do not convey an adequate idea of its effective strength. For the Freemasons control at present much of the economic life of the country and have entrenched themselves in very many of the more important commercial, academic and educational institutions, such as the banks, the railways, the Dublin University, some of the medical institutions, the Royal Dublin Society, etc. Besides, they can utilize the' Orange Society, which is practically a Masonic body, for the more openly aggressive activities of their anti-Catholic and anti-Irish policy.