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

What is Freemasonry?

For nearly two centuries the world has been confronted with a new and terrible phenomenon of which there is no complete parallel in any other period of history. Some style it Liberalism; others the anti-Christian movement; and others again prefer the more striking and dramatic name of The Revolution.

The Modern Revolution.

Different from all former political, social or religious innovations which were local, or confined to certain sections of the community, the modern Revolution is universal. In spite of differences of race, of climate, of economic position, it is everywhere essentially the same—restless, disruptive, materialistic, anti-patriotic and irreligious. It permeates all classes with ideas and principles which, while incompatible with real prosperity or peace, inspire its dupes with an unfounded hope of securing all they desire by means of destruction.

Its Anti-Christian Character.

A persistent war is waged directly or indirectly against the virtues and principles which lie at the very basis of society—religion, and obedience and piety. The traditional institutions which have grown up in European society with the development of the Christian organization are set aside; and new principles are put forward unknown to preceding generations, and more or less antagonistic to the natural and divine law. The separation of Church and State; the State control of education; perverted ideas of liberty and equality—all these and many such false or ambiguous principles are adopted as fundamental, sometimes even in the constitution of so-called Christian States.

Religion (above all the Catholic Church) is singled out for attack. The principle of the subordination of civil society to a divine law seems to be one of the central objects of the assault. This truth in fact has become obscured even in the minds of Catholics; and the unnatural custom, hitherto practically unknown even among the pagan nations, of organising society without reference to a Supreme Being has been adopted even in countries that are predominantly Catholic,

Its Anti-Social Principles.

The natural organization of the family is also undermined. Governments often refuse to see in it the indivisible and fundamental unit in the social organism. It is deprived of its religious consecration which even the pagan nations of previous ages usually retained; and the principle (also a modem innovation) of allowing the individual to dispose freely of the hereditary family homestead or estate has undermined its stability by removing its economic foundation.

The right of private property, which from time immemorial has been at the basis of European society, is now attacked; and new combinations and arrangements are conceived for employing and feeding the masses of humanity. Again, the natural organization of labour (founded upon reciprocal duties _ and rights as between master and man) which is traditional everywhere and in all periods of recorded history has been upset. The man is proclaimed the equal in all respects with the master: while the latter is exempted in tlie exercise of his property rights from all natural duties and responsibilities towards the man. The result is the unnatural and destructive class war now raging or being stirred up in most countries of the civilised world.

Its Unity amid Varying Manifestations.

Ever since the early decades of the 18th century, when the principles of this destructive movement were first proclaimed aloud, the Revolution has not ceased in its onward progress. Its activities and manifestations vary with the varying character and circumstances of the different states and nations. In the countries of the Catholic culture, including Russia, where the old Christian principles had remained deeply embedded in the social organism, the progress of the Revolution is usually marked by violent political upheavals, such as have occurred or are in progress in France, Portugal, Italy, the Spanish Colonies and Russia. Among the Protestant nations, already partially dechristianised, the process of disintegration, which meets little effective resistance, is more silent and less dramatic, although its effects are more thorough and complete. But everywhere and always, the dominating principles and the main tendency are the same—the elimination of the supernatural from human society and the destruction of everything that Christianity has produced.

Many writers, especially those who are non-Catholic, in striving to account for the movement, assign all kinds of various causes, such as the abuses connected with the old regime, the industrial revolution, the great scientific discoveries, the spread of literary knowledge as a result of the invention of printing, etc.

No doubt many or all of these causes may have contributed to promote some of the developments associated with the Revolution. But there is in it a central unchanging phenomenon which no such cause can explain—its clearly defined anti-Christian character.

Freemasonry Its Soul.

"The aspects of the problem," writes Claudio Janet, "are completely changed when we remember, that for the past century and half, a powerful association whose principles are identical with those of the Revolution has spread over the world, enshrouding itself in mystery, exercising its activities in every part of the body politic, at one time through the press, the platform and the schools, at another by sedition, plots and conspiracies, but never varying in its efforts towards the one objective. . . . The progress of the Revolution has been from the beginning in direct ratio with the spread and progress of Freemasonry. . . .

"Although holding in its vast embrace many other associations apparently of a different character from its own. Freemasonry always propagates the same principles: its tendencies and character never vary. The unity, the universality, and the unchanging anti-Christian character of Freemasonry give the key to the unity and universality and the steady progress of the Revolution."

In other words. Freemasonry is the soul, the unifying element, the energizing force of Liberalism, and of the whole modem anti-Christian movement. This thesis, which has been again and again confirmed by the voice of the supreme Pontiffs, we shall now strive to develop and explain.

Nature of Freemasonry.

Leo XIII, speaking of the incessant war waged against virtue and truth by the kingdom of Satan upon earth, goes on to say that the leaders of that war are none other than "the strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons." Later on the same Pontiff describes the purposes of Freemasonry to be "the utter overthrow of that whole religious order of the world which Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things according to their own ideas, based on the principles and laws of pure Naturalism."

Let us see how far this definition of the purposes of Freemasonry accords with the descriptions of the Craft given by the most widely recognized Masonic authorities.

Masonic Definitions of Freemasonry.

According to the English and American Masonic rituals Masonry may be defined as "A peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Again, The Universal Manual of Freemasonry describes Freemasonry as "the activities of closely united men, who, employing symbolic forms borrowed principally from the builder's art and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit even now on a small scale."

Still, another recognized Masonic authority declares that Freemasonry may be best described as "a science which is engaged in the search after divine truth."

From these authoritative definitions we gather that Masonry is a closely organized body of men professing a special type of morality and belief, who, like the Catholic Church, are working with the definite purpose of propagating their morals and doctrines amongst the whole human race. We gather also that their moral and philosophic system is peculiar (viz., different from the Christian system, on which the traditional European civilization is founded), and that it is veiled from the ordinary gaze.

Masonic Moral and Social System.

In the Christian concept of society, morals as well as social rights and duties are founded upon man's relation to God and the example and teaching of Our Divine Lord. The whole Christian organization of society has been erected upon this basis. In the Masonic idea human virtue and morality are quite independent of the Deity, and of the law of Christ whose Divinity is ignored or denied. Hence, Freemasonry is essentially opposed to Christianity and destructive of the Christian organization of society. It is Naturalism, which may be described as a scientifically elaborated system of paganism.

Freemasonry the Counter-Church.

Now since the Catholic Church alone represents Christianity in its perfection, Catholicism is the natural enemy and indeed tbe only effective opponent of Freemasonry. Again, seeing that the Catholic priesthood is the central and consolidating element of the Christian social organism, the Masonic watchword "Le Clericalisme, voila l'ennemi" (Clericalism is the enemy) is easily understood. This is the central idea which must be grasped if one is to understand the real character and workings of Freemasonry in all its varied phases and aspects. It is the modern "CounterChurch," the solvent and destroyer of everything which Christianity has erected or produced.

Freemasonry has in fact its creed (more or less identified with the vague ideas gathering around the ambiguous shibboleths of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity), its faithful, its orders of various types, and its hierarchy of administration and government. All its different ranks and orders are founded on a common basis: for the members of all are received into the body by the same initiation, which is a quasi-baptism and profession of faith; and all tend more or less definitely to the common end. Like the Catholic Church, too, Freemasonry propagates its principles and permeates society with its spirit in a multitude of different ways. It makes its influence felt in the legislature, the press, the economic organization of the State and the social customs of the people: and gradually and almost imperceptibly (except when it is confronted with a strongly organized Christian community or a deeply-rooted Catholic social tradition for the destruction of which open violence is found necessary) it moulds the social organism after its own ideals, which are the direct antithesis of the ideals of Christianity.

Gautherot, commenting on the well-known passage which occurs in two different letters of Pius IX, where the Pope, signalises Freemasonry as "the Synagogue of Satan, which is arraying its "army in opposition to the Church of Christ," describes Freemasonry as a synthesis of all the heresies, and, as it were, the meeting together of all the uprisings of man against God," and a kind of "mobilisation of all the powers of Evil against those of Good."

And the Religion of Liberalism.

The following extracts from a very able and remarkable address delivered by the Belgian Liberal and Masonic leader, Goblet d'Aviella, at a select Masonic gathering in Brussels (1877}, will serve to illustrate more fully the essential opposition of Freemasonry to Christianity:

"Experience proves that this programme [viz., of negation and destruction] is not sufficient if we are to battle with devotedness and enthusiasm . . . against a Church which is doubly powerful owing alike to its r61e in the past and its lofty aspiration for the future, which excels in the skill, the numbers and the discipline of its adherents, which addresses itself to every age and sex and rank in life, which binds its members to itself by so many and such powerful bonds in every sphere of human activity.

"To meet such an adversary with weapons equal to his own, the Liberals have to complete their programme by a consistent system of positive teaching, envisaging men in every relation and aspect of human nature, and enabling them to solve the great problems of modem society. Such a system will supplement the political associations by giving them a rallying-point on a moral, philosophical, religious and social plane. . . . The Masonic lodges are the only places in which one can study and formulate with fulness and scientific objectivity the whole series of problems which affect men's rights, duties, mutual relations, and final destiny.

"Freemasonry being at the same time traditional and progressive, local and cosmopolitan . . . transcends time and space. It rests on traditions whose origin is lost in the twilight of history: it possesses a symbolism whose mystic beauty does not exclude an actual beauty of its own. 1 1 has in fine an imposing ceremonial to lend sanction to all the solemn facts and realities of life.

"It is by means of this fulness of organization that Freemasonry is in a position to rival its great enemy, the Church of Rome. It is thus that it becomes the natural—I will even add the necessary—complement of Liberalism.

"Impress therefore on your neophytes that Freemasonry is not, as some superficial observers suppose, a child's play, a convivial society . . . much less a purely benevolent institution, or even a replica of our political associations. . . . Tell them that Freemasonry is above and beyond all a school of perfection and scientific formation and propaganda, a sort of laboratory where the great ideas of modem social life are combined and fashioned into a consistent whole with a view to their propagation in the worid outside in a tangible and practical shape. Tell them in one word that we are the philosophers of Liberalism. Tell them all this, but with the reserve which Masonic secrecy requires."

Freemasonry a Religion or a Substitute for Religion.

From its own description of itself. Masonry is to be regarded as a religion—that is if one can conceive religion without God. It has to do with "divine truth," and has its special system of morals and worship and its own peculiar liturgy, ritual and symbolism. It aims, like the Catholic Church, at training the mind and moulding the character of its members in accordance with its own peculiar ideals, and strives to propagate its tenets and morals among all mankind. The works of Ragon, Pike, Mackey, and other Masonic authors are largely occupied in unfolding the Masonic doctrines concerning the ruling powers of the universe, and describing the rites and observances by which man is to render due homage to them.

Brother A. G. Mackey writes—and all Masonic authors corroborate his words—"Masonry is undoubtedly a religious institution. . . . its religion being of the universal kind, in which all men agree." Hence, Masonry as a religion is the very antithesis of dogmatic Christianity, which is Catholicism. It is at best some kind of common denominator which belongs equally to all religions (except the true one) and none—a religion in which Protestants, pagans, idolators, Mohammedans, Hindus, Parsees, Buddhists, Theosophists, Mormons, etc., may all meet on common religious ground. Catholics, however, are excluded, for the true religion cannot vary or contradict itself.

Hence, both Catholic and Masonic authorities agree that the two systems are mutually exclusive.

In order to appreciate fully the implications contained in the universality of the Masonic creed, which is a fundamental principle in Freemasonry, we must remember that the Freemasons put forward their system as supplying a perfect and all-sufficing religion, "making a man complete in morality and intelligence, with a state of religion added to ensure him the protection of the deity, and to guard him from going astray—so that nothing more can be suggested which the soul of man requires." Hence, Masonry is meant to be a complete religious system, whose fundamental principle is a recognition and worship of "The Grand Architect of the Universe." Those who are only in the outer circles of the fraternity may not at first understand who or what that Grand Architect is. Little by little, however, the system and all that underlies it become more apparent; and, as the initiated studies the symbolism and ritual more deeply, he comes to realize the full worth of that moral, intellectual, and religious formation which Masonry imparts, and which "contains all that the soul of man requires."

Real Character of the Masonic Religious Cult.

Owing to the policy of deception which Masonic leaders avowedly adopt, it is difficult to analyse with accuracy and certitude the essence of the underlying religion of Masonry, and we shall not attempt the analysis here. Suffice it to say that the real inner Masonic religion upon which the whole system hinges is founded upon some type of Cabalistic or Jewish Pantheism, and implies, or is, a deification and worship of unregenerate humanity. Its degrading character is indicated sufficiently for our Present purpose by the nature of the symbolism and cult with which esoteric Masonry is associated.

According to the vast majority of the great Masonic authors, the Masonic secret cult is derived from the ancient "mysteries" of India, Egypt, Persia. Greece, and Rome. These mysteries are nothing more or less than those obscene and undescibable forms of worship, in which the generative processes of nature, symbolized by the human organs of reproduction, were the object of licentious homage, that this worship is the real pivot of the Masonic religion, and the centre of Masonic ritual and symbolism, incredible as it may seem, does not admit of reasonable doubt.

For although it is denied by some Anglo-American writers, such as the English Oliver, their denials and their attitude show inconsistency and in face of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, cannot be seriously maintained. Hence, whatever one may hold as to the identity of the Masonic deity, called the Great Architect, namely, whether or not it be Satan himself, this much at least is certain: that the religion of Masonry is closely connected with the most hideous and degraded of the pre-Christian cults, one which is commonly believed to betray the direct and immediate influence of the Evil One.

Character of Masonic Symbolism.

Most of the Masonic symbolism, in its original and proper meaning, refers primarily to the Solar and Phallic worship, associated with the mysteries above referred to. This fact is testified by the great authorities of Anglo-American Freemasonry—Pike, Mackey, Thomas Webb Smith, William Preston, Hutcheson, etc. Ragon, the "Sacred Author," adds his testimony to that of the Anglo-American writers. Ragon expressly says that the Masonic God is the God of the Pyramids, thus identifying the Masonic cult with the religion of the ancient Egyptians; and this epitome of the Masonic creed is fully justified by the interpretation of the Masonic rites and symbols furnished by Ragon himself, and the recognized Anglo-American Masonic authorities.

In order to convey to our reader a succinct but intelligible account of this difficult portion of our subject which, to be frank, we fear to handle (it is no easy task to touch even lightly on what is blasphemous and obscene), we believe we cannot do better than transcribe a passage from the Lyceum, written nearly a quarter of a century ago, in which the distinguished writer already referred to, with a pen more skilled than ours, strives to convey,

"within the limits which respect for his readers imposes . . . what, according to the authorized interpretation . . . of the Craft, is the symbolical purport of the rites admitting to one or other of the Masonic degrees.

"The three first degrees of the Order—those of the Apprentice, of Fellow Craft or Companion Mason, and of Master Mason—Common to all the rites of Masonry are known as symbolic degrees. [Note: These three degrees form the basis upon which the whole Masonic system is erected.] The candidate is admitted to them by a senes of fantastic ceremonies, which we need not describe in detail, . . . the full significance of which is not yet revealed to him. He learns nothing but the symbols and the sacred words themselves. He is besides copiously edified by allusions to God and the Bible the deeper meaning of which is withheld till he reaches the higher degrees of the Order. Indeed, it is not till he arrives at the thirty-third degree (in the Ancient Scottish Rite)—that of Sovereign Grand Inspector-General—that the genuine "mysteries” which underlie these outward forms are laid bare to him. When the final stage of the illumination is reached he learns such truths as the following:

The rite of initiation for Apprentice Masons represents in dramatic fashion the origin or birth of the Nature God of the Great All. It imports the non-existence of a supernatural personal God. . . . It signifies that no being is wholly material, that the two principles, matter and form, male and female, are always two in one and one in two, eternally generating. It signifies that God is a bi-sexual being, a hermaphrodite, and that creation is the beginning of the process of generation.

The initiation rite of the Second Degree represents the normal condition of the Nature God, always in labour, always generating. It imports that God is a hermaphrodite, that His name has always signified the God of Generation . . . Jehovah . . . signifies He-She, that is, the two sexes in one. The dual principle, male and female, is represented by the square and the compass; by the compass, symbol of Osiris, the male; and by the square, symbol of the earth, Isis, the female.

"The initiating rite of the Master's Degree introduces us to the story of Hiram, one of the architects of Solomon's Temple, as related in the Targum, But Hiram must be regarded here as an allegorical being, symbolizing the Grand Architect of the Universe. In this rite the process of generation is represented as complete; God and the name of God, which the candidate is supposed to have been seeking, are discovered. The name of the deity thus revealed is Moabon—the name given to the child of Lot and his daughter; that is to say, in further interpretation, this child is man—child of the union of the Sun with his daughter, the earth. This deity is also called Mac-Benac, 'Offspring of Putrefaction,' inasmuch as death and decomposition must precede the beginning of life; the seed must die before the plant lives.

"This [says Ragon] is the important phenomenon, the ineffable mystery, the key of nature which the ancient sages succeeded in discovering, and which they adopted as the basis of their doctrines, and the subject of their legends . . . the Legend of the Ages, Understood according to this interpretation, the revolting atrocities of Saturn, and of the incestuous Phaedra, etc., are nothing else than interesting enigmas, which involve facts well worthy of being handed down to us."

It is not necessary to pursue the explanation further, or to introduce our readers into the still deeper "mysteries of Masonry." We spare them any description of the ritual of the higher degrees, such as the blasphemous profanations of the history of the Last Supper of our Divine Lord, which occur in the ritual of initiation into the eighteenth or RoseCroix degree. What has been said so far will suffice to illustrate the character of the "divine truth" the discovery and propagation of which are represented as the essential scope of Freemasonry; and to indicate the nature of the peculiar system of morality which Masonic allegory veils, and its symbols illustrate. From all this our readers will easily understand how inveterate is the antagonism between Freemasonry and the Catholic Church. They are opposed to each other as uncompromisingly as light is to darkness goodness to evil, or as Satan is to God.

"The Genius of Freemasonry [writes Brother Buck] and the Genius of Rome constitute the most complete antithesis possible to imagine. No such complete denial of every claim set up by clericalism [i.e., Catholicism] can anywhere else be found as confronts it in Freemasonry.

Just so fast as the world is converted to the ethical principles of Freemasonry, just so fast and so far the world repudiates every principle and every claim and practice of Roman clericalism [Catholicism]."

The Masonic Secret

From the authentic definitions of Freemasonry which we have already quoted, as well as from other authoritative Masonic writings, we gather that the descriptions given by Freemasons themselves of the character and aims of the Masonic association are not to be interpreted in the obvious sense of the words used but have allegorical and symbolic significations. "Almost every one of the ancient Masonic symbols," writes Pike, "has four distinct meanings, one, as it were within the other—the moral, the political, the philosophical, and the spiritual meaning."

Thus according to the same authoritative witness, Hiram, Christ, Molay are regarded as symbols representing "Humanity", seeing that they were each and all the apostles of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity". The cross is by no means a specifically Christian symbol but, as it is hinted, is closely connected with a certain peculiar cult which we have already touched upon;

INRI does not at all refer to the sacred Passion of Our Divine Lord, but is Masonically read "Igne Natura Renovatur Integra" (all nature is renewed by [Masonic] fire), for the regeneration of nature by the influence of the sun symbolizes the spiritual regeneration of mankind by the sacred fire of Masonry as a purely naturalistic institution. Christ dying on the cross is for Masonry "the greatest among the apostles of Humanity, braving Roman despotism and the fanaticism and bigotry of the priesthood."

From Masonic official documents we also know that the vast majority, even of the Masonic brotherhood, do not understand the full trend or purpose of Masonic teaching and activities. They are instructed only by slow degrees, and are admitted more and more into the secrets of the Craft in proportion as they become morally attuned to the Masonic ideals, and thus capable of understanding the higher degrees of the Order. "Part of the symbols," again writes Pike, "are displayed . . . to the initiated, but he is intentionally led astray by false interpretations." And again, "Masonry conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts, the Sages, and the Elect; and uses false explanations of its symbols to mislead those deserving to be misled."

The character of the inner Masonic religion, as above described, supplies one obvious explanation of the veil of mystery under which Masonry thus hides its real self; of the horrible oaths by which it binds its votaries, especially those of the higher degrees, not to reveal its secrets; and of the essential element of occultism which is so prominent a feature in every aspect of Freemasonry. These efforts towards profound secrecy are in no wise relaxed, even where the power of Freemasonry is predominant, and the Masons have nothing to fear from the interference of the civil authorities.

"Why [writes Pere Deschamps], now especially, when Masonry is everywhere protected and everywhere triumphant, why does it still continue to have its secret lodges, its initiations, its dreadful oaths? Manifestly . . . it is obliged to do so, for it has many things to hide, many secrets which public opinion would revolt from, and upon which it cannot afford to let in the light of day."

In reality, however, as another writer truly says, Freemasonry has only one central secret, which is the pivot of the whole Masonic system, and which cannot be openly proclaimed to its dupes whether within the sect or without.

"Freemasonry is Satan's army on earth; it is in a certain sense Satan himself—the Adversary of God and of the children of God. It is revolt personified, the irreverent impious revolt that blasphemes against God. . . . That is its secret, which is the foundation of all its symbolism in the high grades as well as in the low."

The Masonic Oaths.

An essential characteristic of the Masonic organization is its oaths of secrecy. In view of the fact already stated, that the real meaning and purpose of Masonic teaching and activity are unknown to the vast majority of the Masonic brethren, these oaths are all the more startling and unjustifiable. Thus, in the oath of the very first degree is contained a promise "to hide, conceal, and never reveal any part or parts of the secrets or mysteries of Masonry which are already known to the candidate, or may be in any way learned by him at tiny future time." Later, after initiation, the candidate swears: "To obey all signs and summonses handed, sent, or thrown from a Brother Master Mason, or from the body of a just and lawfully constituted Lodge of Master Masons."

The oaths for the higher degrees include such promises as to uphold that "it belongs to Masonry to teach the great unsectarian truths," "to sustain by all means and under any circumstances Liberty of Speech, Liberty of Thought, and Liberty of Conscience in religious and political matters"; "never to submit to or tolerate any intellectual despotism that may pretend to chain or fetter free thought"; "to obey all the laws and regulations of the Order, and accept all its doctrines and beliefs; to consecrate one's whole life, all one's strength, influence, and intellect, etc., to the end of the Order of the Knights Kadosh; never to harm a Knight Kodash but; even at the risk of one's own life and liberty, to free him from imprisonment or harm, even should one find him a foe on the field"; "to vindicate right and truth, even by might and violence, if necessary, and directly ordered by Masonic superiors"; "to obey without hesitation any order, whatever it may be, of Masonic superiors"; "to apprise a brother Master Mason of all approaching danger"; "to assist a Companion Royal Arch Mason when he sees him engaged in any difficulty, and to espouse his cause, so far as to extricate him from the same, whether he be right or wrong," etc., etc.

These promises are made with solemn oaths under such penalties as the following:—

"To have his throat cut across from ear to ear, his tongue torn out by the roots, and his body buried in the rough sands of the sea, a cable's length from the shore at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours;
having his body severed in two in the centre, and divided to the North and the South, his bowels burned to ashes in the midst, and scattered to the four winds of heaven;
or again
of having his skull smote off, and his brain exposed to the scorching rays of the meridian sun, etc., etc."

Freemasonry and Satanism.

In all that we have so far said, the religion and morals of Freemasonry are only partially revealed—in as far, namely, as direct and conclusive proof may be drawn from their own official publications to which cowans (Masonic term for non-Masons) may have access. Limits of space and other reasons preclude us from discussing the deeper and more intimate nature of the Masonic secret: how far, namely, the Masonic cult is to be identified with the formal worship of Satan, the arch-enemy of mankind, and how far Satan physically co-operates in Masonic activity. That this is the case is hinted at in some of the Papal condemnations.

"If one takes into consideration [writes the Editor of the Acta Sancta Sedis the immense development which these secret societies have attained; the length of time they are persevering in their vigour; their furious aggressiveness; the tenacity with which their members cling to the association and to the false principles it professes; the persevering mutual co-operation of so many different types of men in the promotion of evil; one can hardly deny that the Supreme Architect of these associations (seeing that the cause must be proportioned to the effect) can be none other than he who in the sacred writings is styled the Prince of the World; and that Satan himself, even by his physical co-operation, directs and inspires at least the leaders of these bodies, physically co-operating with them."

Concerning the question here raised, this may be said with certainty: Freemasons formally and expressly associate their sect and religion with the Phallic worship and the ancient pagan mysteries, and with the Bacchic rites practised in ancient Egypt and Greece and thence introduced into Rome, where the cult was made criminal and banned, even by the pagan Roman government. A similar cult was practised, at least to some extent, even in the ages of Christianity by not a few of the more degraded of the heretical sects that have sprung up from time to time. Amongst these were the early Gnostics, the Manichaeans, the Albigenses, and several other sectaries of the fourteenth and later centuries (including certain sections of the Knights Templars).

All these sectaries, although differing widely in many details of their doctrine and practices, show a certain family likeness; and all are claimed by the modem Freemasons as their exemplars, their predecessors, and their forebears. Like the modem Freemasons, they had their secret signs, their initiations, their cryptic symbols, their uncanny ceremonials, and their horrible oaths. All, like the Freemasons, sought darkness, secrecy, falsehood, and evasion, and shunned the light of day.

It is certain that all these sectaries, notwithstanding their many-sided divergencies, had in common some doctrinal elements and mystical cult which Freemasonry inherits, and which, whatever it be in itself, is not only opposed to Christianity, but is bitterly and agressively antagonistic to everything supernatural, and shows an avowed and undying hostility to the true God.

An interesting side-light on this part of our subject is had from the opinions and discussions of Catholic theologians who treat the question of magic and diabolical interference in human affairs. It is the ordinary view that one of the demon's apparent objects in offering assistance to men is to gain worship for himself, and to wreak his spite on God by mimicry of the sacred rites of the Church, and by outrages on the Holy Eucharist.

It is also an interesting phenomenon that a certain well-defined consistency seems to run through almost all the teaching which professes to come from spirits in spiritualistic seances and such like. The demon strives to throw ridicule upon the dogma of Hell, and returns constantly to the suggestion that one religion is as good as another, provided that it is not the Catholic religion. How closely all this is connected with the spirit and teaching of Freemasonry it is not necessary to elaborate. The spirit of evil, although crafty and eminently protean, cannot alter his essential character, so that his different activities will always betray a certain fundamental similarity.

It is beyond doubt [writes Father Belliot] that there exists in the world to-day an organized religion, which is a veritable religion of evil; and that that religion is Freemasonry. Its God is identical with the deity worshipped by the Ophites [the extreme section of the Manichaeans] of old, in the shape of a serpent, and which, [as some authorities assert, the heretical section of] the Templars adored under the name of Baphomet. In brief, it is Satan himself, with or without disguise. In fact, it has actually occurred on several occasions that Freemasons have openly celebrated the praises of the satanie god: In 1882, at Turin, where Carducci's Hymn to Satan was chanted in the crowded theatre; at Palermo, where Ripsardi, another panegyrist of Satan, was received in triumph in a public school; at Geneva, where the standard of Satan was set up and honoured during a public celebration (September 20, 1884), at Rome, where Professor Maranelli delivered in the course of the same year a public eulogium of Satan; at Brussels, where the Society of Free Thought gave a public conference on the Rehabilitation of Satan.

Again, it is undeniable that demon-worship is suggested by several of the Masonic rites and ceremonies; and that an atmosphere pervades them all, which, to put the matter mildly, is uncanny and repulsive to the Christian mind.

If this interpretation of Freemasonry be adopted a full light is thrown on all its history, activities and achievements; and it would seem that no other explanation can furnish an adequate key to its seeming contradictions, its lying spirit, its many-sided and apparently mutually-destructive tendencies.

Freemasonry and Anti-Christ.

It is outside our scope to discuss the difficult and complicated question touched upon by Pius X and which, since his day, has received further light, as to whether, or how far Freemasonry is to be identified with Anti-Christ. "So extreme," writes that holy Pontiff in his first Encyclical, "is the general perversion that there is room to fear that we are experiencing the foretaste and beginnings of the evils which are to come at the end of time, and that the Son of Perdition, of whom the Apostle speaks, has already arrived upon earth." It is nearly a quarter of a century since these words were addressed to the Church; and few will deny that to-day the reason for fearing what the Holy Father suggests are much graver than ever before.

Without committing ourselves to any opinion on so uncertain a subject, we will close this portion of our sketch by a striking passage, in which Rev. T. A. Burbage, writing in the Catholic Bulletin some twelve years ago, summarizes an interesting discussion of the subject:

"It [Freemasonry] bears, unmistakably, the brand of Anti-Christ. To an extraordinary extent it fulfils the substance of that tradition which has been handed down from generation to generation. "It is opposed to every existing worship true and false." It is opposed to Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism to the religions of Buddha and Confucius, and to every other perversion of religious thought that has hitherto existed. It insists on building temples and raising altars of its own. It has its own special ritual and ceremonies, its priesthood, and its secret worship. It has set up its new-fangled paganism as a substitute for the religion of the true God. It wallows in blasphemy and in crimes of bloodshed and injustice.

"It has despoiled and profaned churches. It has robbed and cast out the ministers of God. It has torn the children from the fold of Christ. It has delivered individuals to torture and death, and plunged nations into sanguinary wars. It has done these tings, and many things more with a hypocritical pretense to virtue and love of humanity that could scarcely be surpassed by the father of lies, from which it springs.

No such embodiment of evil has ever existed in this world, or is ever likely to exist. Heresies have existed that have imperilled human souls and damaged the cause of God. Men have bound themselves together for the promotion of unjust and evil ends. But we search in vain for anything that strikes so deliberately and persistently at everything that the uncontaminated human soul holds sacred. Unless Anti-Christ be Satan incarnate, as some indeed have held, then Freemasonry is Anti-Christ."