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THE BULL OF POPE CLEMENT XII
THE BULL OF POPE BENEDICT XIV
The Church of Rome concerns Freemasons only so far as its policies may interfere with the Craft and therefore certain particulars of the institution may here be set forth of its history and attitude. Let us first consider the source claimed for it. A group of the followers of Jesus Christ, about 65 A.D., received the name of Christians, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts ii, 26).
This use of the word increased as we note in the comment of Agrippa (Acts xxv, 28), "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Christianity, expressive of the Christian's belief, spread throughout the Roman Empire by the teaching of the traveling apostles, and about half the inhabitants of that and of several surrounding countries professed this belief by the close of the third century. There came a division between the Eastern and Western Churches in the eighth century and the latter body centering at Rome had other separations, particularly from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries when the forces of Protestantism gathered independently and established churches of their own.
The Christian Church called by the Greek word Catholic or Universal was in Western Europe separated mainly into Roman and Protestant, hence the division known as the Roman Catholic Church because governed from Rome. Into the causes and results of these divisions we need not enter, except to point out that the Roman Catholic Church has from time to time since then adopted certain policies, one of which is particularly unfriendly to Freemasonry. One of the earliest attaeks—if not the first of them—directed at the Masonic Institution by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Chureh is the Bull or edict of Pope Clement XII issued in 1738 when he was eighty-six years old.
Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley in a paper entitled the Old Charges and the Papal Bulls which appeared in Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge (pages 4745, volume xxiv, 1911), has translated for us the Bull of Pope Clement XII which began a series of published ediets directed at the Masonic Fraternity. Brother Crawley says of his translation that "elegance has been rigidly subordinated to fidelity, and from which may be gathered some idea of the be vildering intricacy of the eeelesiastical verbiage." This note is taken from page 60 of the above paper. There is a footnote to page 108 of Brothel Crawley's paper as follows:
"The English version of the Bull In Eminenti, more flowing and less literal than that of our text, was published in Scott's Pocket Companion, 1754, and subsequent editions." Such a publication has nothing in common with the ecclesiastical promulgation enjoined by the Canon Law. This version, with accompanying documents, was transferred by Reverend George Oliver, D. D., to his Golden Remains of the Early Masonic Writers (volume iii, page &9). In the later editions of the Pocket Companion, notably in those used in Edinburg and Glasgow, Scotland, in 1761 and 1765 respectively, the Act of the Associate Synod, of the Presbyterian Church, concerning the Mason Oath is printed in full, as though inviting comparison with the Bull. Of this Act, first printed in the Scott's Magazine, August, 1757, Doctor Oliver, permits himself to write bluntly that, "The practice of this holy Association appears so agreeable to those of the Roman Catholic Church that they afford a shrewd suspicion, that the principles from which 'praetiee' result, are of the same nature, and have the same dangerous tendency with those professed by the Roman See" (see page 139).
THE BULL OF POPE CLEMENT XII
Condemnation of the Society, Lodges and Conventicles of LIBERI MURATORI, or Freemasons, under pain of excommunication to be incurred ipso facto, and absolution from it being reserved for the Supreme Pontiff, except at point of death.
Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God all the faithful in Christ, greeting and apostolic bediction.
Placed by the disposition of the divine clemeney on the eminent watch-tower of the Postulate, though with merits undeserving of it, according to the duty of pastoral oversight committed to us, we have with conentant and zealous anxiety so far as is conceded to us from above, given our attention to those measures by means of which entrance may be closed against errors and vices, and the integrity of orthodox religion may be best preserved, the dangers of disturbances may be repelled, in the present very difficult times, from the whole Catholic world.
It has become known to us, even in truth by publie rumour, that great and extensive progress is being made by, and the strength daily increasing of, some Societies, Meetings, Gatherings, Conventicles or Lodges commonly known as of Liberi Muratori, or Freemasons or some other nomenclature according to difference of languages in which men of any whatsoever religion and sect, content with a certain affectation of natural virtue are associated mutually in a close and exclusive bond in accordance with laws and statutes framed for themselves, and are bound as well by a stringent oath sworn upon the Sacred Volume, as by the imposition of heavy penalties to conceal under inviolable Silence, what thev secretly do in their meetings.
But since it is the nature of wickedness to betray itself and to cry aloud so as to reveal itself, hence the aforesaid Societies or Conventieles have excited so strong suspicion in the minds of the faithful that to enroll oneself in these Lodges is quite the same, in the judgment of prudent and virtuous men as to incur the brand of depravity and perverseness, for if they were not acting ill, they would not by any means have such a hatred of the light. And this repute has spread to such a degree that in very many countries the societies just mentioned have been proscribed, and with foresight banished long since as though hostile to the safety of kingdoms.
We, accordingly, turning over in our mind the very serious injuries which are in the highest degree inflicted by such Societies, or Conventicles not merely on the tranquillity of the temporal state, but also on the spiritual welfare of souls, and perceiving that they are inconsistent alike with civil and canonical sanctions, being taught by the divine word that it is our duty, by day and night, like a faithful servant, and a prudent ruler of his master's household, to watch that no persons of this kind like thieves break into the house, and like foxes strive to ravage the vineyard, that is to say, thereby pervert the hearts of the simple and privily shoot at the innocentin order to close the wide road which might be opened thereby for perpetrating iniquity with impunity and former just and reasonable causes known to ourselves have determined and decreed that these same Societies Meetings, Gatherings, Lodges or Conventieles, of Libels Muratori, or Freemasons, or by whatever other name called, herein acting on the advice of some Venerable Brethren of ours, Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and also of our own motion, and from our certain knowledge, and mature deliberation, and on the plenitude of Apostolic Power, should be condemned and prohibited as by this present Constitution we do condemn and prohibit them.
Wherefore we direct the faithful in Christ, all and singly, of whatever status, grade, dignity and preeminence, whether laics or clerics as well secular as regular, even those worthy of specific and individual mention and expression, strictly and in virtue of holy obedience, that no one, under any pretext or farfetched colour dare or presume to enter the above mentioned Societies of Liberz Muratori, Freemasons, or otherwise named, or to propagate, foster, and receive them whether in their houses or elsewhere, and to conceal them, or be present at them. or to afford them the opportunity or facilities for being convened anywhere, or otherwise to render them advice. help or favour, openly or in secret, directly or indirectly, of themselves or through the agency of others in whatever way; and likewise to schort, induce, incite or persuade others to be enrolled and reckoned amongst, or take part in Societies of this kind, or to aid and foster them in any way whatsoever but in every particular to abstain utterly as they are in duty bound from the same Societies, Meetings, Assemblies, Gatherings, Lodges or Conventieles, on pain of excommunication to be incurred by all who in the above ways offend—to be incurred ipso facto without any declaration, and that from this excommunication no one, except on the point of death, can obtain benefit of absolution except through us, or the Roman Pontiff for the time being.
Further, it is our will and charge that as well Bishops and higher Prelates, and other local Ordinaries as the deputed Inquisitors of Heretical Depravity everywhere take action and make inquisition against transgressors, of whatever status, grade, condition, order, dignity or eminence they be, and infliet upon them condign punishment, as though strongly suspected of heresy, and exercise constraint upon them. To the above mentioned and any-individual of them, we grant and impart free power of proceeding against the said transgressors, of making inquisition, of constraining by eondign punishment, and of invoking thereupon if need be, even the aid of the secular arm for that purpose.
It is our will also that exactly the same credit be given to copies of these presents, subscribed by the hand of some public notary, and fortified with the seal of some person placed in ecelesiastical dignity, as would be given to the original documents if exhibited or displayed. Let it be lawful therefore for no man to infringe this proclamation notifying our declaration, condemnation charge, prohibition and interdiction, or to act counter to it with reckless daring. But if any one presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome in the Basilica of St. Mary the Greater in the year of our Lord, 1738, on the 28th April, in the 8th year of our Pontificate.
Signature and Seal follow.
(Registered in the Secretariat of Briefs, &c., on the above date and published on the doors of St. Peter's and other usual places.)
In illustration of that was meant at the close of the seventh paragraph by . "invoking thereupon, if need be, even the aid of the secular arm" the following police order may be cited. This is a translation given by Brother Crawley of a printed proclamation in the Italian languages posted up in Rome in ordinary course. It was issued by the authorities to whom the internal government and civic administration of the city were entrusted, and runs thus:
Joseph Cardinal Firrao, of the Title of St. Thomas in Parione, and of the sacred Roman College Cardinal Priest:
WHEREAS the Holiness of our Lord Pope Clement XII happily reigning, in his Bull of the 28th April last, beginning In eminenti, condemned, under pain of Excommunication reserved to himself, certain Companies Societies, and Meetings under the title of Free-Masons more proper to be called Conventicles, which under the pretext of Civil Association, admit men of any Sect and Religion, with a strict tie of secrecy confirmed by oath on the sacred bible, as to all that is transacted or done in the said meetings, and Conventicles- And whereas such Societies, Meetings and Conventieles are not only suspected of occult Heresy but even dangerous to public Peace, and the safety of the Ecclesiastical State; since if they did not contain Matters contrary to the orthodox Faith to the state and to the Peace of the Commonwealth, so many and strict ties of Secrecy would not be required, as it is wisely taken notice of in the aforesaid Bull and it being the will of the Holiness of our said Lord, that such Societies, Meetings, and Conventicles, totally cease and be dissolved, and that they who are not constrained by the fears of Censures be curbed at least by temporal Punishment.
THEREFORE it is the express order of his Holiness by this Edict to prohibit all Persons, of any Sex, Stato or Condition soever, whether Ecclesiastical, Secular, or regular, of whatever Rank, or Dignity, though ordinarily or extraordinarily privileged, even such as require special mention to be made of them, comprehending the four Legations of Bologna, Ferrara, Romagna Urbino, and the city and Dukedome of Benevento, and it is hereby for bidden that any do presume to meet, assemble, or associate in any place under the said Societies, or Assemblies of Free-Masons, or under any Title or Cloak whatsoever, or even be present at such Meetings and Assemblies, under Pain of death and Contiscation of their Effects, to be irremissibly incurred without Hope of Grace.
IT is likewise prohibited, as above, to any Person whomsoever to incite or tempt any one to associate with any such Societies, Meetings, or Assemblies, or to advise, aid, or abet to the like Purpose the said Meetings or Assemblies, uder the penalties above mentioned; and they who shall furnish or provide a House, or any other Place for such Meetings or Conventicles to be held, though under pretext of Loan, Hire, or any other Contract soever, fire hereby condemned, over and above the aforesaid Penalties, to have the House, or Houses or other Places where such Meetings or Conventicles shall be held utterly erased and demolished; and it is his Holiness's Will, that to incur the above mentioned Penalty of Demolition, any common conjectures, hints or presumptions, may and shall suffice for a presumption of knowledge in the Landlords of such Houses and Places, without admission of any excuse whatever.
AND because it is the express will of our said Lord, that such Meetings, Societies, and Conventicles do cease as pernicious and suspect of Heresy and Sedition, and be utterly dissolved; His Holiness does hereby strictly order, that any Persons, as above, who shall have notice for the future of the holding of the said Meetings, Assemblies, and Conventicles, or who shall be solicited to associate with the same, or are in any manner accomplices or partakers with them, be obliged under the fine of a thousand crowns in Gold, beside other grievous corporal Punishments, the Galleys not to be excepted, to be inflicted at pleasure, to denounce them to his Eminence, or to the chief Magistrate of the ordinary Tribunal of the Cities and other Places in which the Offence shall have been committed, contrary to this Edict, with Promise and Assurance to such Denouncers or Informers, that they shall be kept inviolably secret and safe and shall further obtain grave and immunity, notwithstanding any Penalty they themselves may or shall have incurred.
AND that no one mav exense hinlself front the ohligation of informing under the borrowed Pretext of personal Secret, or the most sacred Oath, or other stricter tie, by order of His said Holiness, Notice is hereby given to all, that such Obligation of personal Secret, or any sort of oath in criminal Matters, and already condemned under Pain of Excommunication, as above, neither holds nor binds in any manner, being null, void, and of no effect .
IT is our will that the present Proclamation, when affixed in the usual places in Rome, do oblige and bind Rome and its District, and from the term of twenty days after, the whole Ecclesiastical State, comprehending even the Legations and Cities of Bologna Ferrara, and Benevento, in the same manner as if they had been personally notified to each of them, Given in Rome this 14th day of January 1739.
Joseph Cardinal Firrao.
Jerome de Bardi Secretary.
(Rome: from the printing-office of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber, 1739.)
The Bull of Pope Clement XII was in due course followed by that of Pope Benedict XIV, the latter reaffirming the condemnation of the Freemasons proclaimed to the members of the Roman Catholic Church by his predecessor. Pope Benedict's Bull, known by its first few words in Latin, Providias Romanorum Pontificum, as is the usual custom in referring to the Papal Bulls, published in his seventy sixth year, 1751, is as follows in Brother Crawley's translation:
THE BULL OF POPE BENEDICT XIV
THE CONSTITUTION of BENEDICT XIV,
Most Holy in Christ, by Divine Providence of the Father and Lord of our Lord, Pope. Wherein Some Societies or Conventicles of LIBERI MURATORI or FREEMASONS, or however else named, are a second time condemned and prohibited, with invocation of the arm and aid of secular Princes and Powers.
BENEDICT, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God; For The Permanent Record of the Matter. The prudent laws and sanctuary of our predecessors, Roman Pontiffs, not only those the vigor of which we fear may either by lapse of time or neglect of man be weakened or destroyed, but those also which have fresh force and full strength, we think, just and weighty cause so requiring it, need strengthening and confirming by the fresh fortification of our authority. It is true that our predecessor of happy memory Pope Clement XII, by his Apostolic letter, dated 28th April, A.D. 1738, inscribed to all the faithful in Christ, Commencing with the words "In Eminenti," condemned in perpetuity and prohibited certain Societies, Meetings gatherings, Collections, Conventicles, or Aggregations, of commonly called Liberi Muratori, or however otherwise named, then widely diffused in certain quarters, and growing in strength daily, instructing the faithful it Christ, all and singly, under pain of excommunication, ipso facto, and to be incurred, without notice, from which no one could be absolved by any other than the Roman Pontiff for the time being, except at the point of death, that none should dare or presume to enter Societies of this kind, or to propagate, foster, admit, or conceal them, or be enrolled in them, or take part in their proceedings, and more to the same effect as is contained more fully and extensively in the same letter, the tenor of which is as follows:
" Clement, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God to all the faithful in Christ, Greeting, and Apostolic Benediction. In the eminent watch tower of the Apostolate, &e." as above. Since, how-ever, as we have heard, there have been some who have not hesitated to assert and openly vaunt that the aforesaid penalty of excommunication imposed by our predecessor, as before declared, is no longer effective, because the preceding Constitution has not been confirmed by. us, as if forsooth, the express confirmation of a pontifical successor is required for the subsistence of Apostolie Constituttons published by a predecessor:
And since also it has been suggested to us by some pious and God-fearing men that with the object of doing away with all subterfuge of quibblers, and of declaring the agreement of our mind with the mind and will of the same predecessor, it would be highly expedient to add the fresh support to our confirmation to the Constitution of the same predecessor.
We, although up to the present, whilst we have graciously conceded absolution from incurred excommunication to many faithful in Christ who were truly penitent and contrite at having violated the terms of the same Constitution, and who sincerely promised that they would wholly withdraw from the condemned Societies or Assemblies and never afterwards return to them. both before, and especially in the Jubilee year which has elapsed, or whilst we have communicated power to Penitentiaries deputed by us enabling them in our name and authority to impart the same absolution to penitents of the same class who applied to them; whilst also with anxious zeal and vigilance we did not omit to urge that proceedings should be taken according to the measure of their offense against violators of the same Constitution, by competent judges and tribunals—a service in fact often rendered—although, I say, lve have given plainly evident and unquestioned proofs from which our sentiments, and our firm and deliberate will as regards the force and subsistence of the censure imposed as previously mentioned by the said Clement our predecessor ought to have been quite plainly inferred. and if a contrary opinion of us were circulated five might regard it with indifference and contempt and leave our judgment to Almighty God, using the words which as is well known were recited formerly during sacred actions: "
Grant Lord, we pray Thee, that we may not regard the abuse of reprobate liars, but trampling underfoot the same wickedness, we implore Thee, suffer us not to be terrified by their abuse, nor entangled by their treacherous flatteries." So it stands in the ancient Missal, which is ascribed to the Saint Celasius our predecessor, and was published by the Venerable Servant of God, Joseph Maria Cardinal Thomas, in the Mass entitled "Against them who speak against us."
However, lest anything unwittingly omitted by us might seem to have weight, with the object of doing away with false calumny and stopping its mouth, after first hearing the counsel of some Venerable brothers of the Holy Roman Church we have decided on confirming by the present document the same constitution as our predecessor, as above, inserted word for word, in the specific form which is held amplest, and most effective, accordingly from certain knowledge, and the plenitude of our apostolic authority, by the tenor of these same presents, in every thing and throughout, just as if it had been first published on our own motion, and authority, and name, we confirm, corroborate and renew it, and will it to have perpetual force and efficacy, and so decree.
Furthermore, among the gravest causes of the before mentioned prohibition and condemnation enunciated in the previously inserted constitution, one is that men of every religion and sect are associated together in the societies and conventicles of this kind, from which circumstance it is obvious how great injury may be inflicted on the purity of the Catholic Religion, a second is the close and impenetrable bond of secrecy whereby the proceedings in such conventicles are concealed, to which may deservedly be applied the sentiment expressed by Caecilius Natalis in Minucius Felix, in a very different cause, "Things honorable always delight in publicity, crimes are secret." A third is the oath whereby they bind themselves to keep a secret of the kind inviolably as though it were lawful for anyone under colour of any promise or oath, to protect himself from being bound to confess, when questioned by legitimate authority, all that is demanded for the purpose of ascertaining whether anything is done in conventicles of this sort contrary to the existence of religion and the state, and to the laws.
A fourth is that societies of this kind are known to be opposed to civil no less than canonical sanction, for it is well known that by Civil Law all colleges and societies are prohibited if formed irrespective of public authority, as may be seen in 47th Book of the Pandects, Tit. 22, "On unlawful Colleges and Corporations," and in the well known letter of Caius Plinius Secundus, Book x, 97, in which he says that by his edict, in accordance with instructions from the Emperor, the formation of Hetaeriae was forbidden, i.e., the forming and holding of Societies and Meetings without authority of the Prince. A fifth is that already w in many quarters the said societies and aggregations have been proscribed and banished by the laws of secular princes Lastly, because these societies were of ill repute among wise and virtuous men, and in their judgment all who joined them incurred the brand of depravity and perversion.
In his conclusion, the same predecessor, in the aboveinserted constitution, calls on the Bishops, the higher Prelates, and the other local Ordinaries not to omit for its execution, if need be, to evoke the aid of the secular arm .
Which injunctions, all and singly, are not only approved and confirmed by us and commended and enjoined on the same Superior Ecclesiastics respectively, but we ourselves also in accordance witch our duty of apostolic solicitude, by our present letters invoke the ald of all secular powers, and their assistance in carrying into effect the measures above mentioned, and we most urgently demand it; since the Sovereign Princes and Powers have been chosen by God to be defenders of the Faith and protectors of the Church- and since it is their duty by all reasonable means to show the obedience due to the Apostolic Constitutions, and the fullest observance of them, whereof they have been reminded by the Fathers of the Council of Trent, Session xxv, Cap. 20, and long before by the excellent declaration of the Emperor Charlemagne in Tit. 1, e. 2, of his Capitularies, where, after demanding from all his subjects observance of Ecclesiastical Sanctions he adds: "
For we can in no way recognize how men can be faithful to us who have shewn themselves not obedient to their own priests and unfaithful to God . " Wherefore, enjoining on all officers and agents of government absolutely to enforce exhibition of due obedience to the Laws of the Church he announced the severest penalty against those who neglected to show it, adding amongst other things: "but whoever amongst them (God forbid there should be any such!) shall be negligent and disobedient to these Laws, let them know that they neither continue to hold office in our Empire, even though they should be our own children, nor have place in the Palace, nor keep company or any commission with us and ours' but rather shall they undergo punishment in isolation and wretchedness "
Further, we will that the same credit be given to copies taken of these presents, subscribed by the hand of some Publie Notary and guaranteed by the Seal of a person set in Ecclesiastical dignity, exactly as would be given to the original letter if it lvere produced and exhibited . To no man at all then, be it lawful to infringe or with rash daring to contravene this document of our confirmation, renewal, approval, charge, appeal, requisition decree and will; But if anyone presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of Saints Peter and Paul, the Apostles.
Dated Rome, St Mary's the Greater, A.D., 1751. 15th May. 11th year of our Pontificate.
D. Card, Passioneus.
Certificate of Curia. J. C. Boschi. Place (X) of Seal.
J. B. Eugenius.
Registered in the Secretariat of the Briefs, Anno Domini, 1751, 14th Indiction, May 18th, and in the 11th year of the Pontificate of the Most holy in Christ our Father and Lord Benedict XIV, by Divine Providence, Pope. Accordingly, the above mentioned Constitution was affixed and published on the doors of the Lateran Basilica, and of the Chief of the Apostles, etc. etc.; and in other customary and usual places, by me Franciscus Bartolotti, Apost. Pursuivant.
Antoriius Besani, Grand Pursuivant.
Several other edicts have been authorized by the Roman Catholic Church against Freemasonry. One of these, Hamatum Genus, by Pope Leo XIII, April 20, 1884, was vigorously answered by Brother Albert Pike on August 1 of the same year and further discussed by Grand Commander Pike in his Allocution of October, 1884, to the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. These documents are given in full, with an edict of Pope Pius VII against the Freemasons, in Brother M. R. Grant's True Principles of Freemasonry, 1916, a third edition in 1918, Meridian, Mississippi, and accompanied by much other data of importance to the Craft.
There is a related question of much interest that has frequently occupied the minds of both Roman Catholics and Freemasons. Were any of the Popes ever given the Masonic Degrees before or after becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church? On the one hand are the arguments of the Fortnightly Review (volume xiii, pages 402-5) and the editor, Arthur Preuss, has reproduced this essay substantially in his book, A Study in American Freemasonry (pages 267-7Z), and arrayed against this showing are the statements in the New Age, January, 1905 (pages 81-2), the Montana Mason, January, 1922 (pages 21-3), the latter also quoting from the Bollettino Oglciale del Grande Oriente, Nazionale Egiziano, this Official Masonic Bulletin of the National Grand Orient of Egypt being published at Alexandria in Italian, March, 1876.
The notorious Leo Taxil (Gabriel Jogand-Pagés) published his pamphlet Pie IX Franc-maçon ? at Paris, 1892, and Wolfstieg lists a dozen magazine articles on the subject. The writer in the New Age quotes Lenning's Freemason's Lexicon, to the effect that after Pope Benedict XIV confirmed the Bull of Pope Clement XII, his predecessor, against the Freemasons, one of his courtiers, a zealous Freemason, induced him to be privately initiated into the Order. In this article Pope Pius IX is also mentioned as a Freemason. John G. Shea, Life of Pope Pius IX (pages 291-2), asserts that the claim was first made in Germany and credited with an American location, the Pope having resided on that side of the Atlantic in his younger days. Arthur Preuss not only records this statement but on page 272, A Study in American Freemasonry, fifth edition, quotes Pachtler, Der Götze der Humanität, Freiburg, 1875 (pages 721-2), that in a solemn allocution, on April 20, 1849, Pius IX denounced the rumor connecting him with Freemasonry as "the blackest of all calumnies ever uttered against his person."
However, a copy of the Bollettino, already mentioned, fell into the hands of Brother R. J. Lemert, editor, Montana Mason, and in the January issue, 1922, he translated a copy of a certificate issued by the Lodge Eterna Catena at Palermo, Italy, when in 1839 the Masonic initiation had been given to the future Pope while he was yet a parish priest. This document was accepted by Brother Dudley Wright who reprints it in his treatise, Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry, 1922, and reproduces (page 174) from the Voice of Masonry, 1874, the following:
At the semi-annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of Seasons Scottish Rite Orient of Palermo, Italy, on 27th March last, Pope Pius IX was excommunicated from the Order. The decree of expulsion was published in the official Masonic paper at Cologne, Germany, and is preceded by the Minute of the Lodge in which he was initiated, and is as follows:
" A man named Mastai Ferretti, who received the baptism of Freemasonry, and solemnly pledged his love and fellowship, and who afterwards was crooned Pope and King, under the title of Pio Nono, has now cursed his former Brethren and excommunicated all members of the Ordor of Freemasons. Therefore, said Mastai Ferretti is herewith, by decree of the Grand Lodge of the Orient, Palermo, expelled from the Order for perjury."
The charges against him were first prepared in the Lodge at Palermo in 1865, and notification and copy thereof sent to him, with a request to attend the Lodge for the purpose of answering the same. To this he made no reply, and for divers reasons the charges were not pressed until he urged the Bishops of Brazil to act aggressively towards the Freemasons. They were pressed, and after a regular trial, a decree of expulsion was entered and published, the same being signed by Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy, and the Grand Master of the Orient of Italy.
Brother Wright lists in his work many of the persecutions Freemasons have suffered at the hands of Roman Catholics, as on page 71, where it is recorded that on July 2, 1751, Father Joseph Torrubia, a member of the Inquisition, obtained from Ferdinand VI a decree condemning Freemasons to death without the benefit of a trial of any kind. Brother Wright also mentions several prominent Roman Catholics v,rho have been members of the Craft, and so far as seeret societies are concerned, several are shown to be affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.
Of the venomous enmity directed against Freemasonry, based in the first place upon the Papal Bulls or edicts issued authoritatively by the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, we find it most openly expressed in Latin countries. There is in Italy a Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite recognized by both the Supreme Councils of the United States of America. The country is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and the antagonism to Freemasonry is bitterly venomous. Benito Mussolini, the Italian Premier, said in his Parliament, May, 1925, "Masonry is distinctly a survival of the unfit and it has no decent pretext to continue living. My principle is to do all the good we can to our friends and inflict all of the harm on our enemies—in this case the Masons." For further details of this address of enmity see page 18, Sandusky Masonic Bulletin (Ohio), November, 1925.
A dispatch from Rasul Martini, July 25, 1923, to the Christian Science Monitor, shows that the opposition of the Italian Dictator is of long standing: "Speaking before Parliament in support of his Electoral Reform Law, Mussolini once more showed his hostility to Italian Masonry—or, rather, that branch of Italian Masonry whose Grand Master is Dornizio Torrigiani. Directing himself to the Hon. Alessio he said: 'I am very sorry that the Hon. Alessio has brought to this House the miserable dirty hatreds of the Giustiniani Lodges."' The Hon. Alessio denied at once that he had ever been a member of a Masonic Lodge but the Premier offered no regrets for what he had said. see the Freemason of London, August 9, 1924, which tells us of the inquiry into the murder of the Italian leader, Matteotti, and of the effort to throw the blame upon the Freemasons.
More recently, see the Nets York Times, October 8, 1925, concerning the outbreaks in Italy in which several Freemasons, the number placed at eighteen in one dispatch, were killed, scores wounded, stores and houses looted, most of the trouble occurring at Florence. Two columns of printed description of these outrages against Freemasons in Italy are given in the publication of the Scottish Rite News Bureau, October 22, 1925) A New York dispatch in a later issue of same publication (November 12, 1925), says: "Devastation of Masonic Temples in Italy and attacks on the Masons themselves continue, and to date some fifteen Lodge homes have been destroyed. According to latest information reaching this office the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Italy, in Piassa del Gesu, Rome, have been devastated. The account states that over fifty persons invaded the place, completely smashed the furniture and paraphernalia, and burned part of the building."
This is but what is done where Roman Catholicism goes unmuzzled in Latin countries. The last named publication tells us of threatening letters sent to one hundred Shriners by the National League for Religious Defense in Mexico. These Brethren and their wives on a pleasure trip to Mexico City planned an excursion to the Guadaloup, the place noted for Mexico's patron saint, and the Roman Catholics are summoned to assemble and resist this visit which is denounced as a profanation.
A common accusation against the Freemasons in Latin countries is that they are in active persona association with the devil. An interesting chapter in L'Initiation Magonnique, Paris, 1914, is entitled "Satan in Masonic Lodges" and the author gives reported instances quite convincing to him of the actual presence of the devil in person on several occasions during Masonic meetings. There is as little novelty as truth about the worthless claim by Roman Catholics of Satan's leadership. An old French pamphlet of 1825 is the Lettre de Satan aux Franc Maçons suivie d'une response d Satan (Letter from Satan to the Freemasons, followed by a Reply to Satan)
An inquiry into the causes of the hostility displayed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy against the Masonic Institution is the lecture, Catholicism and Freemasonry, by Brother R. J. Lemert, Helena, Montana, who also publishes a companion work on the same subject, A Sign and a Summons. Another work of much value in the same direction is High I«ights of the Mezican Revolution by Brother John L. McLeish of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1917 (sec also Tazil, Leo).
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Last modified: March 22, 2014