Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
Protestantism and Freemasonry
"Masonry's claim to make men good, while inculcating indifference to the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, is already implicitly the divinization of man, for it makes many natural resources superior to the Life which comes from Him to us. The inner esoteric significance of its symbolism, by which the minds of its adepts are moulded, is the unabashed proclamation of man's divinity, tendering inevitably towards the deification of the generative powers of the human race; this is the hidden meaning of the two interlaced triangles which figure so prominently on Masonic buildings as the crowning insult offered by Satan to the Blessed Trinity." Father Fahey.
Protestantism was the bridge between Machiavelli and the rise of Freemasonry, both of which play their parts in the diverse manifestations of the modern state. While there are profound differences between the American founding and the French Revolution (which exercised its own influence on the United States culturally and intellectually and politically in due course), both are expressions of the belief that denominational religion is injurious to the welfare of the State, a belief that leads inexorably to the triumph of the monster State.
Father Fahey discusses Masonry in The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:
"The rejection by Luther of the visible Catholic Church opened the door, not only to the abuses of absolute rulers, supreme in Church and State, but soon led to an indifference to all ecclesiastical organizations. As faith in the supernatural life of grace and the supernatural order grew dim and waned, the way was made smooth for the acceptance of Freemasonry. The widespread loss of faith in the existence of the supernatural life and the growing ignorance of the meaning of the Redemption permitted the apostles of Illuminism and Masonry to propagate the idea that the true religion of Jesus Christ had never been understood or been corrupted by His disciples, especially by the Church of Rome, the fact being that only a few sages in secret societies down the centuries had kept alive the true teaching of Jesus Christ. According to this 'authentic' teaching our Saviour had established a new religion, but had simply restored the religion of the state of nature, the religion of the goodness of human nature when left to itself, freed from the bonds and shackles of society. Jesus Christ died a martyr for liberty, put to death by the rulers and priests. Masons and revolutionary secret societies alone are working for the true salvation of the world. By them shall original sin be done away with and the Garden of Eden restored. But the present organization of society must disappear, by the elimination of the tyranny of priests, the despotism of princes and the slavery resulting from national distinctions, from family life and from private property."
There are commentators who dismiss references to Freemasonry, even though popes have written extensively about the fact that the Devil is their "god." Thomas Jefferson, although not a formal member of the Masonic lodge, was possessed of the Masonic spirit of naturalism that took its diabolical inspiration from the so-called "Enlightenment." His references to "God" in the Declaration of Independence are all Masonic, all naturalistic. There is no reference to the God-Man, quite unlike the Magna Carta. He noted in one of his last letters that it was his fondest wish to rid this country of the "plague of monkish superstition." The Texas Declaration of Independence, written by the Freemasons who founded the Republic of Texas in 1836, stated that Texas was to be a preserve from the "evils of the priesthood." Freemasons controlled almost all of the state legislatures in the nineteenth century, and their influence is not be discounted today.
Indeed, state legislatures in the nineteenth century passed laws specifically aimed at Catholics. Public schools used the King James version of the Bible to inculcate a religiously indifferentist sense of Christianity that had to be used as the basis of "civic virtue." The New York State Legislature was one of many that passed "Blaine Laws" in the nineteenth century that were attempts to make it difficult for the Catholic Church to run her schools. The North Dakota State Legislature, a veritable bastion of Masons, was one of the first at the end of the nineteenth century to attempt to liberalize existing divorce laws (as undermining the family is a key goal of Masonry as a means of replacing the family with the secular State). It was that same legislature in the 1940s that passed an anti-garb law that forbade Catholic priests and nuns from wearing their clerical attire and/or habits outside of their rectories or convents or church grounds (that law was based on the anti-garb laws passed by the Masonic revolutionaries in Mexico). The Oregon State Legislature attempted to compel all students to attend only public schools in the 1920s, an effort that was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in Pierce v. Society of Sisters. Thus, those who contend that it was the Federal usurpation of states' rights that originated with President Abraham Lincoln that undermined the good order of the Constitution have to ignore the fact that state legislatures were acting quite positivistically in the nineteenth century. This is but the natural result of the fact that both the state constitutions and the Federal Constitution do not recognize any authority above them. They are both defenseless from the assaults of those intent of using their language to justify any and every exercise of State power imaginable.
Furthermore, it should also be noted that there have been wonderfully documented books to demonstrate the influence of Freemasonry on the American judiciary. Paul Fisher's Behind the Lodge Door is chief among them. It is no accident that the Warren Court (1953-1969) ruled as it did in one case after another as it was composed of a number of Freemasons appointed by Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (including Hugo Black and William O. Douglas). Earl Warren, himself a Freemason, was appointed by President Dwight David Eisenhower, who admitted later that that appointment was his chief mistake. Oh, yes, Freemasonry has exerted quite an influence in this country, both in theory and in actual practice.
As Father Fahey noted:
"Masonry is, therefore, a naturalistic society, that is to say, a society which claims to make men good and true, independently of the Supernatural Life which comes to us from the Divinity of Christ through His sacred Humanity. In reality it is only through that Life that we can be really virtuous men and live fully ordered lives. Masonry thus, in fact and in deed, puts itself in the place of the visible Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The attitude of indifference and superiority to national differences and distinctions affected by Masonry is a mere aping of the true supranationalism of the Catholic Church, so eminently respectful of the true concept of national traits and true glories. The pretended supranationalism of Masonry can only lead to the corruption of the true concept of nationalism and to the destruction of all that is enshrined for us in the words 'native land.' It has its logical issue in national enslavement under a world-republic.
"Masonry's claim to make men good, while inculcating indifference to the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, is already implicitly the divinization of man, for it makes many natural resources superior to the Life which comes from Him to us. The inner esoteric significance of its symbolism, by which the minds of its adepts are moulded, is the unabashed proclamation of man's divinity, tendering inevitably towards the deification of the generative powers of the human race; this is the hidden meaning of the two interlaced triangles which figure so prominently on Masonic buildings as the crowning insult offered by Satan to the Blessed Trinity."
There is no path to true virtue other than by means of sanctifying grace. The American ethos, founded as it is in the framework of Protestantism and Freemasonry, emphasizes man's own natural virtues and abilities, a form of semi-Pelagianism. Pope Leo XIII noted this in Testem Benevolentiae, issued on January 22, 1899:
"It is hard to understand how those who are imbued with Christian principles can place the natural ahead of the supernatural virtues, and attribute to them greater power and fecundity. Is nature, then, with grace added to it, weaker than when left to its own strength? And have the eminently holy men whom the Church reveres and pays homage to, shown themselves weak and incompetent in the natural order, because they have excelled in Christian virtue? Even if we admire the sometimes splendid acts of the natural virtues, how rare is the man who really possesses the habit of these natural virtues? Who is there who is not disturbed by passions, sometimes of a violent nature, for the persevering conquest of which man must needs have some divine help? If we scrutinize more closely the particular acts We have above referred to, we shall discover that sometimes they have more the appearance than the reality of virtue. But let us grant that these are real. If we do not wish to run in vain, if we do not wish to lose sight of the eternal blessedness to which God in His goodness has destined us, of what use are the natural virtues unless of the gift and strength of divine grace be added? Aptly does St. Augustine say: 'Great power, and a rapid pace, but out of the course.' For as the nature of man, because of our common misfortune, fell into vice and dishonor, yet by the assistance of grace is lifted up and borne onward with new honor and strength; so also the virtues which are exercised not by the unaided powers of nature, by the help of the same grace, are made productive of a supernatural beatitude and become solid and enduring."
Some Catholic apologists of the American founding, such as the late Father John Courtney Murray, do not even mention the necessity of persevering in states of sanctifying grace as the absolute precondition for order in the soul and hence order in society. Others, such as those who accept the exaltation of the American Constitution by the late Dr. Russell Kirk in The Roots of American Order, simply ignore the matter altogether, believing that a secular, non-denominational republic provides believing Catholics an opportunity to participate actively in the market-place of ideas, none of which are proscribed by the First Amendment. Alas, when men believe that all ideas have equal possibilities of being true, you see, this leads to the triumph of the lowest common denominator, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1885. One of the greatest victories of Freemasonry is for scholars to ignore their existence and their stated aims, providing its adherents with the cover to do in the light what they pledge to do behind the closed doors and barred windows of their lodges.
Two final passages from Father Fahey on Freemasonry will illustrate once more the influence the lodges have had on the modern state:
"By the grace of the Headship of the Mystical Body, our Lord Jesus Christ is both Priest and King of redeemed mankind and, as such, exercises a twofold influence upon us. Firstly, as a Priest, He communicates to us the supernatural life of grace by which we, while ever remaining distinct from God, can enter into the vision and love of the Blessed Trinity. We can thus become one with God, not, of course, in the order of substance or being, but in the order of operation, of the immaterial union of vision and love. The Divine Nature is the principle of the Divine Vision and Love, and by grace we are 'made partakers of the Divine Nature.' This pure Catholic doctrine is infinitely removed from Masonic pantheism. Secondly, as King, our Lord exercises an exterior influence on us by His government of us. As King, He guides and directs us socially and individually, in order to dispose all things for the reception of the Supernatural Life which He, as Priest, confers.
"Society had been organized in the thirteenth century and even down to the sixteenth, under the banner of Christ the King. Thus, in spite of deficiencies and imperfections, man's divinization, through the Life that comes from the sacred Humanity of Jesus, was socially favoured. Modern society, under the influence of Satan, was to be organized on the opposite principle, namely, that human nature is of itself divine, that man is God, and, therefore, subject to nobody. Accordingly, when the favourable moment had arrived, the Masonic divnization of human nature found its expression in the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. The French Revolution ushered in the struggle for the complete organization of the world around the new divinity-Humanity. In God's plan, the whole organization of a country is meant to aid the development of a country is meant to aid the development of the true personality of the citizens through the Mystical Body of Christ. Accordingly, the achievement of true liberty for a country means the removal of obstacles to the organized social acceptance of the Divine Plan. Every revolution since 1789 tends, on the contrary, to the rejection of that plan, and therefore to the enthronement of man in the place of God. The freedom at which the spirit of the revolution aims is that absolute independence which refuses submission to any and every order. It is the spirit breathed by the temptation of the serpent: 'For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened; and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.' Man decided then that he would himself lay down the order of good and evil in the place of God; then and now it is the same attitude."
Indeed. The Protestant Revolt in England did occur. Freemasonry did arise (in England in 1717, followed ten years later in France by one Francois Arouet, also known as Voltaire). The United States of America was founded in the aftermath of the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry. As Protestants do not admit of any authority higher than the believer himself for the interpretation of Scripture, the Bible itself is thus rendered subject to deconstructionism, which became a favorite sport of Protestant "scripture scholars" in the latter part of the nineteenth century. If the Bible itself can be subjected to individual interpretation that renders its words devoid of any objective content, then it stands to reason that all written words, including those contained in the constitutions of civil governments, can be emptied of their plain meaning and replaced with the predilections of relativists and positivists and social engineers. A constitution that does acknowledge the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church is thus laid bare to be picked apart by successive generations of deconstructionists, defenseless to maintain its integrity over the course of time.
Furthermore, the Protestant Revolt influenced the American founding (as well as all modern states in the West) by its rejection of the necessity of sanctifying grace for the pursuit of virtue, no less for growth in personal holiness, the fundamental precondition for social order. A belief that man can pursue "civic virtue" without referencing the authority of the true Church nor acknowledging the necessity of sanctifying grace is false and degenerates naturally over the course of time. Pope Leo XIII put it this way in Immortale Dei:
"If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fulness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, be opposed to virtue and truth, may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor of the protection of law. A well-spent life is the only passport to Heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from the business of life, from the power of making laws, from the training of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preservers in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action."
Pope Leo XIII is either right or he is wrong. The principle of non-contradiction teaches that two mutually contradictory statements cannot be true simultaneously. An exclusion of the true Church from the public life of the State is a "grave and fatal error." Some contend that it is "unscholarly" to argue from the authority of a papal encyclical letter. It is unclear, however, to this writer how it is unscholarly to explicate the eternal, universal truths summarized in various papal encyclical letters, which contain principles that bind all men in all circumstances for all eternity. The social encyclical letters of the Church are not written just for Catholic States. They are written to remind all Catholics that the only antidote to the poisons of the modern State are to be found in working for the restoration of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. They contain the authoritative interpretation and application of principles found in the writings of the fathers and the doctors of the Church, including the Angelic Doctor. Just as the Church rejects private interpretation of Scripture, so, too, does she reject interpretations of the fathers and the doctors that do not take into account their consistent interpretation by the Successors of Saint Peter.
Men can argue about how to apply the principles summarized in the great encyclical letters on the State. Men are not free, however, to argue about the principles. Indeed, they are duty bound to accept them and to proclaim them without any degree of hesitation or doubt. This is not "misplaced zeal" for orthodoxy. This is the fulfillment of a Catholic's obligations to try to Catholicize every corner of the world. Consider the words of Pope Leo XIII in Sapientiae Christianae. Starting by quoting Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pope Leo states:
"As Saint Thomas maintains, 'Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when form all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God., and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions; and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians; and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians, are moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph. Have confidence, I have overcome the world. Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the guardian and the champion of the church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace."
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
NEXT: Libertarianism or Anarchy?
- Part One: The Pagan, Liberal and Socialist State
- Part Two: The Christian Concept of the State
- Part Three: A Catholic Understanding of the History of the State and Its Corruption
- Part Four: A Catholic Understanding of How 'Evangelical Liberty' Forged its way in
Catholicism and the State