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What attracted Anders Breivik to Freemasonry?

The Masons in Britain are, apparently, open to anyone who believes in a God and donate huge sums to charity. So what did Breivik see in it?

By on Monday, 1 August 2011

Breivik posing in his Masonic costume (PA photo)

Breivik posing in his Masonic costume (PA photo)

Among the bizarre photographs that the Norwegian mass killer, Anders Breivik, displayed of himself on the internet, posing in different uniforms, was one in which he was wearing the characteristic Masonic apron. It appears that sometime during his twisted career he had become a Freemason. Was this because it made him feel important, he liked the idea of a secret society, or because Masonic views about Muslim immigration accorded with his own racist views?

These questions came into my mind as I was accompanying my very elderly mother to an event on Saturday that she loves (but which I find irresistibly dull): the Oxfordshire County Show. To sneak a book along with me, to read as she watched prize cattle parading past, would have been a social solecism of the highest order in my mother’s eyes. There was momentary relief when I was ordered to go and find her a glass of wine from somewhere. It meant I could do a quick trawl of the stalls. And among the leatherwork, farm equipment and suchlike, I caught sight of a stall advertising the local Masonic lodge.

Slipping in behind the backs of the officials manning it, I grabbed all the literature I could find: free pamphlets with the titles: “All about Freemasons: interested?”, “Freemasons: a partner’s guide”, “Our History” and “Charities”. At least it was printed matter. I duly scanned these offerings surreptitiously while my mother sipped her wine and watched the show jumping.

All I knew about Freemasonry I had gleaned from a book I had read at my convent boarding school – egged on by a school friend who spoke of its fearful rituals and oaths – called Darkness Visible: A Christian Appraisal of Freemasonry, by Walter Hannah, published in 1952. If I remember, these oaths included agreeing to have your tongue torn out and being buried up to your neck in sand at low tide if you gave away Masonic secrets. This might have appealed to a person like Breivik – but what was this stall doing at a quintessential rural English occasion like a country show?

It seems I was quite wrong in my prejudices and assumptions: the pamphlet called “Interested” talked about the clubbiness and conviviality of the Lodge meetings; “Freemasonry is not a secret society”, it declared. OK, there are a few secret signs and passwords used by Masons to identify one another, but these are simply ceremonial. The “Charities” leaflet showed the enormous sums donated by the Freemasons to the victims of hurricanes and tsunamis, local hospices and other worthy causes.

The Partners’ Guide (a very PC phrase) showed pictures of wives and children and again reassured readers that it was not a secret society with secret rituals, but open to men of all religions “who share a concern for human values and moral standards” and who “strive to live by the fundamental principles of integrity, good will and charity.” It also declares that “While every Freemason must hold a personal belief in a God as a Supreme Being, there is no separate theology. Any man who believes in a God, from whatever Faith, will be comfortable with all that Freemasonry is, does and teaches.”

The last pamphlet, “Our History”, puzzled me slightly. I had thought the Masons were sure they could trace back their lineage to King Solomon’s temple and a chap called Hiram Abiff, apparently King Solomon’s chief architect; here I read that “it is generally accepted to be connected with the Stone Masons who built the great medieval cathedrals and castles”. So deeply Catholic origins, then? There seems to have then been a gap until the 18th century when it flourished mightily in Protestant England. Yes, there are funny handshakes but these are only used at Lodge meetings.

It’s amazing how interesting an agricultural show becomes with literature like this on hand. But I still have questions. Why was someone like Breivik attracted to Freemasonry when “it admits all men regardless of race, creed, colour, faith or nationality”? Why are Catholics forbidden to join? What happened to the horrible oaths used in the degree ceremonies and why were they allowed in the first place? What links can there possibly be between the devout Catholic masons and craftsmen of, eg Chartres or Durham cathedral and modern Freemasonry? Oh – and why does the Masonic Hall in Brecon not have any windows on the ground floor?

  • Shalom

    I miss the time I was a young Catholic in Brazil. There it was Father Hélio instructing us both as a Catholic priest and a teacher at our Secondary school. At Mass, we used to sit down side-by-side with people of all sorts: men of the land, followers of Afro-Brazilian spiritual practices brought by the original people stolen from Africa in the 1800′s, Freemasons and even, God forbid their souls, local government politicians. Ah let me not forget the professed communist at heart that would not budge from the chance of getting the Priest’s blessing just in case.

    Father Hélio welcomed all without judging and concentrating on the tenets of Christianism that bound us together as members of a plural and socially unbalanced society, he was a Catholic Priest and a Christian of practice. 

    It was a small town but, as in any Brazilian town and city, we had all flavours of thoughts and practices being loudly broadcasted everywhere. The Seventh-Day Adventists had a big but isolated presence in the area, some of us even switched and converted to them, but conversion to Adventist Protestantism was not enough to sever the ties with Father Hélio, he had a way of mentoring people in the path of God even if they were Protestants and some people would come back thanks to his selflessness and trust in God’s plan. 

    At that time, David Koresh stirred by a heavy-handed police intervention had already gained the news as the new Jim Jones but no Priest in Brazil or no other Catholic “intellectual celebrity” chastised the Adventists. Koresh was raised an Adventist and split up but the splitting bit of the story was grossly ignored by the media, nevertheless the religious leaders of other Protestant churches and the Church (big competition in Brazil) did not follow suit with the same stories for proselytism or pure criticism because the event was too shocking for anyone to even consider exploiting it that way.

    Father Hélio’s quibble with Adventists in my area was well-known: he was adamant they took part in the community life, made themselves at home and shared! It worked, slowly, but it worked. Last I heard my mum was attending one of the several elderly clubs and workshops the Adventists were setting up in the community. 

    Francis, I know the historical context of Brazil and Britain are far apart, as a Country in the New World, we haven’t fought as many wars (thank God), our population sizes differ massively and the population has been mixed race since the Country was named Brazil. 

    Nevertheless as a writer, a thinker and an intellectual, you make the terrible mistake of not rising above the social and historical context you betray being a product of. You must make an effort to see things more clearly from higher ground, your face is too close to the mirror to let yourself identify which features of your speech is fact and what is pure unchristian prejudice and defamation fuelled by a historical context that is long past.

    There is no Papal Bull that will ever proclaim itself to supersede Christian love and tolerance towards members of any faith or affiliation, you read the Bible, so I will spare you all those verses we both know. 

    I find interesting how everyone trapped in the historical fallacy of Masonic secrecy as a synonym of evil seems ineffective to make a Google search and see Masonic practices in both text, pictures and video and even more inept to take advantage of this “openness” drive to demand the same from the police, government, banks, corporations and the Church itself. 

    Sincerely, Freemasonry as a body of knowledge and morality doesn’t have any more wrinkles to have stretched open over the internet, they have been poked so much in the past few hundred years and so much rubbish thrown into them that they have become open sores but I have no intention to prove you wrong, either you experience it or not and believe me there are so many Masons that don’t get it either, just check how many people are expelled from Freemasonry each year. What you shouldn’t forget as a Christian is that within these wrinkles there are people, with kids, jobs, problems of their own and feelings.

    I don’t know what goes on in the Board meetings at the company I work, do you know everything that goes on in the Board of Directors, Editorial Board and kitchen of the Catholic Herald? If you do please share with the world for the sake of at least making a point within reality and practice, even if restricted to the minute reality of the company you work.

    By now you must have already guessed that I am both a Catholic and a Freemason. Although I should assume you follow the Christian practice of not judging others, please let me add I am serious enough about my Catholic faith to let and encourage my children to go to mass every Sunday. I also respect the Papal Bulls and obey them by conducting myself as an excommunicated Catholic, although my Priest in the UK doesn’t even suspect of my 2-year long affiliation with Freemasonry. Certain episodes that happened to me suggest I am being wise in being sincere in actions whilst keeping quiet.

    And here is the reason why:

    A year ago, here in the UK, I was verbally assaulted and physically threatened by a British-Irish couple at a party because I shared with someone in a conversation that I was a Freemason. As soon the word Mason resonated, this couple jumped out of their seats and took turns to humiliate me, questioning my parenthood and loyalty to the Catholic “cause”; I was called mentally unstable, a Nazi (the old reductio ad Hitlerum, if you excuse me my pig Latin), I was racially abused (“Brazilian monkey trying to become British aristocrat”) and even told that I should be exterminated along with all Freemasons. All of that happened, not in a pub or on the street. That event my dear estranged sister, happened at my own brother’s house, in front of several other people. I had to leave what practically was my own home because a couple of Catholic friends of his decided that despite the event, the bonds of blood, and the place, I deserved it. I guess your article will renew their enthusiasm for beating other Brazilian monkeys such as me.

    Of course, I am not generalising. Out of all my 10-15 years based in the UK, that was a first. Nevertheless,that gave me an insight on why Freemasons had kept themselves in secret in the past and many still do nowadays. My experience could never be compared to what Freemasons could have been subjected to in a time when Church and State were the same dimension of power, and it also gave me a glimpse of how some Freemasons could have fallen (it is a fall, not an evolution) for anti-Catholicism and as some theories go with the ideal of overthrowing the Papal influence throughout the world. 

    But that was the world of yester-century, a world that brought the worst in both the Church and Freemasonry, but that definitely shaped the external form of Freemasonry but not its core. In other words, the main reason Catholics and Freemasons seem to think of each other in unfavourable terms is a mutual fear and distrust based on political events of a past era where politics, religion and “law” enforcement were tied up together.

    The relationship between Church and Freemasonry at least in this Country nowadays resembles the cold version (without physical fight) of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle: nobody remembers how it started, we just decided to settle with what has been repeated without checking the facts in the context of the day and age we live.

    If you paid attention to what Pope Benedict said when he was in the UK, by invitation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the same British Royal that months after the Papal visit was on tour in Ireland and in a gesture of healing bowed to the Irish Fallen we, Catholics and Masons have bigger problems in our hands, atheism being the main one. And I am not talking about the Richard Dawkins kind of smuggish and academic atheism, I mean the kind of anti-belief that cause riots, erodes society and destroys the souls of men and women: nihilism, a belief in nothing, respect for nothing, consideration for no one but oneself. I don’t think you understand how atheism and nihilism should be more of concern to the Church and Catholics. 

    If tomorrow we become a nation of atheists, the Church will lose whilst for Freemasonry, since we are not a religion, we will just become another lame gentleman’s club without the belief in God clause in the contract. This scenario should concern you more as a Catholic writer than perpetuating old-age dissent based on a historical context that doesn’t exist anymore. Please, let us not start a war on how to cook a lobster when the cornfield is drying dead.

    If not for any of the reasons I have given you above, if not for the Christian principles that should rule our attitude towards others, at least consider that associating me and others as Freemasons to a murderous psychopath, and Freemasonry as an institution to a far-right and racist cause will just propel us back to the past and alienate us into fear of coming out as Masons openly even more. 

    As to me personally, these kind of articles just make me feel more vulnerable to abuse and aggression, and what about my kids and wife who don’t even understand my experience in Freemasonry, shall they have to be inconvenienced with the thought that they might become social outcasts in the heavily Catholic community we live because I am a Mason and by association psychologically profiled as a potential terrorist because a book reviewer in the Catholic Herald says so?

    Francis you should have learnt from the Norway tragedy, it just takes one motivated idiot fuelled by an imaginary cause to reap death and destruction and I have already had two telling me I should be exterminated for being a Mason.

    But despite all that you can say about Freemasons, I and many other good Masons thank God above, the creator of all things and Jesus Christ that I am the one in the receiving end of your bigotry, sister. 

    That I learnt very early with Padre Hélio, the Priest that made both the poor and the Mason feel like children of the same God in the pews of our local Catholic church.

    Shalom Ed Al-Nedro
    (not real name for reasons of intolerance and prejudice)

  • Shalom

    [CORRECTION]

    Instead of:

    “and even, God forbid their souls, local government politicians.”

    I mean: 

    “and even, God ***forgive*** their souls, local government politicians.”

    Shalom Ed Al-Nedro

  • David

    This man was a human being. Regardless of what organisation he was aligned to he was a person.The question that should be being asked by your paper is why do people do such evil things to other people?We always seem to focus on peripheral things – never the root cause.Society has to focus on instilling it’s citizens with a sense of morality before it’s too late.Everyone and every organisation including churches have to work together to prevent societies falling into an abyss.

  • Shalom

    Seriously, Esha_hotbeauty, don’t you have anything else to do? Isn’t this the copy of an email scam that was circulating in evangelical circles some time ago? You missed the bit in which you say that you were just willing to ask for a small donation to set up a ministry that will bring Masons back to Christ and since they are incredibly rich every converted Mason would multiply the ministry’s income tenfold of which you would be willing to share with any evangelical church donating.
    What defeats your own scam you used the moniker for the dating email scam in the Masons for Jesus scam. Actually, I see what you are trying to do you are actually combining both schemes.

    That’s not very professional scamming is it? Must try harder.
    Ignore Esha folks, it is a scam, next thing she will ask is for money.———————————————————————————–1. “through black magic you can have power, beauty, controllling all in your hands.”Power: My most powerful piece as a Mason is a Level 77 Warrior in World of Warcraft, mate.Beauty: My beauty comes from L’Oreal Brazilia (if your hair is dark like mine just leave it for 10 minutes), forget Just for Men, they just don’t have as much know how and the money spent on research. Control: As to the controlling bit, yes it is very good value for money, for a membership of £200 a year I am able to control two small European Principalities and they also put me in the pyramid scheme for Nigerian oil; when my number is up I will have barrels of oil shipped to either my home or work address via CitiLink. Membership also includes passwords and cheat codes for Metal Gear Solid and for the kids, a free PS3 pre-loaded with LittleBigPlanet, you know to get them used to the controlling part of our practice. NOT.2. “lady gaga showing one eye all the frigging time, madonna having various such videos having one eye on her forehead”You forgot Futurama’s Leela, she is monocular as well. Hmm the plot thickens. Esha, now that you mentioned have you ever noticed how the letter “i” looks so much like ONE EYE on top of a very long nose? Guess what? The “j” looks like ONE EYE on top of curved nose. Gosh woman, Masons are even in the alphabet.3. “GOD CREATED ADAM AND EVE, NOT ADAM AND STEVE. WHY LOVE YOUR OWN WHEN GOD HAS CREATED THE OPPOSITE SEX FOR YOU. the masons make people hate God by putting in their minds that if you’re a lesbian or gay, God has created you in the wrong state.”Erm, I think these two sentences contradict each other. So is it ok to go for the same sex or not? 

  • Shalom

    “Lastly, Freemasonry is a quasi-religious group which is historically very anti-Catholic. “Concerned Catholic, this is Shalom Ed Al-Nedro again please do read my initial post If you haven’t, I am both a Mason and a Catholic and this is not my real name but I would be willing to show the truth of my association and Catholicism to anyone in the Catholic Herald if that would be important .Please do a research on all the Afro-Brazilian fraternities and Sisterhoods of freed slaves that still survive in Brazil and throughout South America. The most famous of them, The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death is still active and was much blessed to come and see them twice. Their relationship with the Church is not perfect but for sure they are not treated as subverters  and potential enemies of the Catholic Faith, whilst still exercising the rites of the African Religion we know in Brazil as Candomble: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Good_Death . You touched the very point I am making here, it is HISTORICALLY associated with anti-Catholicism but we are the ones who make history, my friend. History is not imposed on us, it is not something that falls from the skies and then steam-rolls itself on everyone, history is moulded by men and women with everything happening in hindsight. As Christians what kind of history do we want to mould: one that repeats and throws at each other’s face all the mistakes our ancestors made or one that takes these mistakes and turn them into something constructive and brings men and women to the full realisation of the purpose God envisage for us?Once again, I bring the Israeli-Palestinian struggle into focus to exemplify my point (but please let’s not extend this into details): who would imagine that giving a people a piece of land would end up with the repercussions we have nowadays? We can look back and connect the dots and see why we have the problems in the Middle-East we have nowadays but we can’t go back in time and re-write it. It has happened, the only thing men and women have some control on is the day we have in front of us and how they react to present events: am I going to escalate and perpetuate dissent or shall I forgive and reach out in a spirit of tolerance?And in this day we have in front of us we have a choice of either living in the past and act as people in the past or look into things as they are today:1. There are Catholic Freemasons abounding nowadays, in the olden days we Catholics would be considered spies or infiltrators (cowans in Masonic terminology, here is a secret word that is not even a secret any more and nobody is going to kill me for that) thus all those penalties and secrecy, but nowadays if I went to my Priest and gave him all the books and aprons and medals that can be freely purchased over the internet and in the United Grand Lodge of England’s shop (and by the way, you just walk-in and buy, no questions asked on whether you belong to a lodge or not), what would that do against Freemasonry? In the olden days an apron indicated association and as you know from history there was no freedom of association in those days, you couldn’t just form a study group and go on publishing papers. This is the point I am making throughout this discussion, past history was hard and cruel for both sides, nowadays we (Catholics and Protestants, and Masons as Freemasonry was closely related to Protestantism at its roots) can live their interpretations of the precepts of the Lord without fearing having their house burnt, nor being excluded from a gild and having no means to work, nor being taken as a traitor of the kingdom for being a Catholic in a Protestant country or a Protestant in a Catholic country. Phew, if the olden days Catholics, Protestants and Masons could come back, they would look at all of us and say: “you bastards, are having it easy, eh?”2. There is no point in any counter-offensive against the Church because there is no violent political manipulation of the Church against “groups” seeking political power such as Protestants, Bourgeois, etc., any more. The whole Freemasonry-Protestantism theme of the past was the fear, even perhaps the fact, that Freemasonry was trying to work as some kind of para-politico group against the Catholic Church. Times nowadays are different, effectively what is Freemasonry doing against the Church nowadays (except for some bickering from individual members at articles as this)? Do you really think that there is space nowadays for Masons to influence legislation that will ban Catholicism from any country? Do you really think that Masons are working diligently to have the Church infiltrated so that Protestants and Masons can sell their produce in Catholic countries? Or so that the Church can give their blessing in the selection of government officials? The framework of the world is very different.Trying to overthrow the Church nowadays is the equivalent of trying to invent the transistor in 2011, it is pointless and useless, for both the Church is much more open and micro-processors are much smaller and faster then transistors. What we need nowadays is to reach out, both sides as we all are audience in the world we have nowadays.Man, seriously, the world is not being won by Methodists, Baptists or other 1st wave protestant groups any more. The world is being won by looney crazy 4th wave evangelical groups loosely related to each other by a common speech of intolerance and  prejudice and a real motivation to “save” the world (not the 3rd wave churches such as the Assembly of God and traditional charismatic groups, they are also losing members). These are the crazy “ministries” that are advocating flogging people and mistreating children as demon-possessed when they are unlucky to have  problems such as epilepsy. These are the ones amassing huge amounts of money and spreading their word to people that has fallen out of the net of both Catholic and serious Protestant churches. 3. Following Point 2 above, we (all) live in a Democracy, we have rights, we have fair laws, we have social guarantees, we have freedom to trade and own stuff independently of our religious association (you know that in the olden days even that was prohibited);4. We have the Internet with its loud-mouth making everybody know about things only a few could up to the 1980′s;5. We have more knowledge and the chance to exert wisdom based on facts and studies available, as noted on point 4.I have to say I am enjoying the way this discussion is taking shape, as a Catholic, I would say that the Catholic doctrinal aspects of the rift between Freemasonry and Catholicism are not the problem. Being excommunicated for being a Mason is not a reason for anti-Catholicism either and I would never suggest that the Vatican should change its doctrinal view. When I was being interviewed to join the Masons, my Lodge cared that I didn’t put myself at the other side of my faith by explaining to me about the Papal Bulls and that I should not compromise my faith and Catholic practice if that would encourage me to leave Catholicism. They actually were the ones telling me about the implications and highlighting that my religion and family should take precedence over Freemasonry.The problem is how I as a  Mason and my non-Catholic brethren are supposed to be treated and judged by the Catholic community due to all these centuries-old and outdated views on Freemasonry. This is the bit I would suggest the Vatican and the United Grand Lodge of England, to whom my Lodge is affiliated, tried to work out. It might seem far-fetched but at a political level it worked between Israel and Egypt, most Israelis are Jews, most Egyptians are Muslims but they have been able to co-exist and secure peace and co-operation treaties even after the exit of Mubarak. Of course there are historical memories that take longer to die out but as to Masons and Catholics are concerned the reasons for our mutual discontent are well past their expiry date.Shalom Ed Al-Nedro

  • Shalom

    What happened to the spaces, the text above is a mess to read. Doubling spaces:

    “Lastly, Freemasonry is a quasi-religious group which is historically very anti-Catholic. ”
    Concerned Catholic, this is Shalom Ed Al-Nedro again please do read my initial post If you haven’t, I am both a Mason and a Catholic and this is not my real name but I would be willing to show the truth of my association and Catholicism to anyone in the Catholic Herald if that would be important .Please do a research on all the Afro-Brazilian fraternities and Sisterhoods of freed slaves that still survive in Brazil and throughout South America. The most famous of them, The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death is still active and was much blessed to come and see them twice. Their relationship with the Church is not perfect but for sure they are not treated as subverters  and potential enemies of the Catholic Faith, whilst still exercising the rites of the African Religion we know in Brazil as Candomble: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Good_Death . You touched the very point I am making here, it is HISTORICALLY associated with anti-Catholicism but we are the ones who make history, my friend. History is not imposed on us, it is not something that falls from the skies and then steam-rolls itself on everyone, history is moulded by men and women with everything happening in hindsight. As Christians what kind of history do we want to mould: one that repeats and throws at each other’s face all the mistakes our ancestors made or one that takes these mistakes and turn them into something constructive and brings men and women to the full realisation of the purpose God envisage for us?Once again, I bring the Israeli-Palestinian struggle into focus to exemplify my point (but please let’s not extend this into details): who would imagine that giving a people a piece of land would end up with the repercussions we have nowadays? We can look back and connect the dots and see why we have the problems in the Middle-East we have nowadays but we can’t go back in time and re-write it. It has happened, the only thing men and women have some control on is the day we have in front of us and how they react to present events: am I going to escalate and perpetuate dissent or shall I forgive and reach out in a spirit of tolerance?And in this day we have in front of us we have a choice of either living in the past and act as people in the past or look into things as they are today:1. There are Catholic Freemasons abounding nowadays, in the olden days we Catholics would be considered spies or infiltrators (cowans in Masonic terminology, here is a secret word that is not even a secret any more and nobody is going to kill me for that) thus all those penalties and secrecy, but nowadays if I went to my Priest and gave him all the books and aprons and medals that can be freely purchased over the internet and in the United Grand Lodge of England’s shop (and by the way, you just walk-in and buy, no questions asked on whether you belong to a lodge or not), what would that do against Freemasonry? In the olden days an apron indicated association and as you know from history there was no freedom of association in those days, you couldn’t just form a study group and go on publishing papers. This is the point I am making throughout this discussion, past history was hard and cruel for both sides, nowadays we (Catholics and Protestants, and Masons as Freemasonry was closely related to Protestantism at its roots) can live their interpretations of the precepts of the Lord without fearing having their house burnt, nor being excluded from a gild and having no means to work, nor being taken as a traitor of the kingdom for being a Catholic in a Protestant country or a Protestant in a Catholic country. Phew, if the olden days Catholics, Protestants and Masons could come back, they would look at all of us and say: “you bastards, are having it easy, eh?”2. There is no point in any counter-offensive against the Church because there is no violent political manipulation of the Church against “groups” seeking political power such as Protestants, Bourgeois, etc., any more. The whole Freemasonry-Protestantism theme of the past was the fear, even perhaps the fact, that Freemasonry was trying to work as some kind of para-politico group against the Catholic Church. Times nowadays are different, effectively what is Freemasonry doing against the Church nowadays (except for some bickering from individual members at articles as this)? Do you really think that there is space nowadays for Masons to influence legislation that will ban Catholicism from any country? Do you really think that Masons are working diligently to have the Church infiltrated so that Protestants and Masons can sell their produce in Catholic countries? Or so that the Church can give their blessing in the selection of government officials? The framework of the world is very different.Trying to overthrow the Church nowadays is the equivalent of trying to invent the transistor in 2011, it is pointless and useless, for both the Church is much more open and micro-processors are much smaller and faster then transistors. What we need nowadays is to reach out, both sides as we all are audience in the world we have nowadays.Man, seriously, the world is not being won by Methodists, Baptists or other 1st wave protestant groups any more. The world is being won by looney crazy 4th wave evangelical groups loosely related to each other by a common speech of intolerance and  prejudice and a real motivation to “save” the world (not the 3rd wave churches such as the Assembly of God and traditional charismatic groups, they are also losing members). These are the crazy “ministries” that are advocating flogging people and mistreating children as demon-possessed when they are unlucky to have  problems such as epilepsy. These are the ones amassing huge amounts of money and spreading their word to people that has fallen out of the net of both Catholic and serious Protestant churches. 3. Following Point 2 above, we (all) live in a Democracy, we have rights, we have fair laws, we have social guarantees, we have freedom to trade and own stuff independently of our religious association (you know that in the olden days even that was prohibited);4. We have the Internet with its loud-mouth making everybody know about things only a few could up to the 1980′s;5. We have more knowledge and the chance to exert wisdom based on facts and studies available, as noted on point 4.I have to say I am enjoying the way this discussion is taking shape, as a Catholic, I would say that the Catholic doctrinal aspects of the rift between Freemasonry and Catholicism are not the problem. Being excommunicated for being a Mason is not a reason for anti-Catholicism either and I would never suggest that the Vatican should change its doctrinal view. When I was being interviewed to join the Masons, my Lodge cared that I didn’t put myself at the other side of my faith by explaining to me about the Papal Bulls and that I should not compromise my faith and Catholic practice if that would encourage me to leave Catholicism. They actually were the ones telling me about the implications and highlighting that my religion and family should take precedence over Freemasonry.The problem is how I as a  Mason and my non-Catholic brethren are supposed to be treated and judged by the Catholic community due to all these centuries-old and outdated views on Freemasonry. This is the bit I would suggest the Vatican and the United Grand Lodge of England, to whom my Lodge is affiliated, tried to work out. It might seem far-fetched but at a political level it worked between Israel and Egypt, most Israelis are Jews, most Egyptians are Muslims but they have been able to co-exist and secure peace and co-operation treaties even after the exit of Mubarak. Of course there are historical memories that take longer to die out but as to Masons and Catholics are concerned the reasons for our mutual discontent are well past their expiry date.Shalom Ed Al-Nedro

  • Shalom

    I am really sorry, I am not trying to spam, but if the text doesn’t have spaces it will be hard to be read by people with poor sight (this is the area I work):

    “Lastly, Freemasonry is a quasi-religious group which is
    historically very anti-Catholic. ”

    Concerned Catholic, this is Shalom Ed Al-Nedro again please do read
    my initial post If you haven’t, I am both a Mason and a Catholic and
    this is not my real name but I would be willing to show the truth of
    my association and Catholicism to anyone in the Catholic
    Herald if that would be important .

    Please
    do a research on all the Afro-Brazilian fraternities and Sisterhoods of freed
    slaves that still survive in Brazil and throughout South America. The
    most famous of them, The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death is still
    active and was much blessed to come and see them twice. Their relationship with
    the Church is not perfect but for sure they are not treated as subverters 
    and potential enemies of the Catholic Faith, whilst still exercising the rites
    of the African Religion we know in Brazil as
    Candomble: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Good_Death

    You touched the very point I am making here, it is HISTORICALLY
    associated with anti-Catholicism but we are the ones who make history, my
    friend. History is not imposed on us, it is not something that falls from the
    skies and then steam-rolls itself on everyone, history is moulded by men and
    women with everything happening in hindsight. As Christians what kind of
    history do we want to mould: one that repeats and throws at each
    other’s face all the mistakes our ancestors made or one that takes these
    mistakes and turn them into something constructive and brings men and women to
    the full realisation of the purpose God envisage for us?

    Once
    again, I bring the Israeli-Palestinian struggle into focus to exemplify my
    point (but please let’s not extend this into details): who would imagine that
    giving a people a piece of land would end up with
    the repercussions we have nowadays? We can look back and connect the
    dots and see why we have the problems in the Middle-East we have nowadays but
    we can’t go back in time and re-write it. It has happened, the only thing men
    and women have some control on is the day we have in front of us and
    how they react to present events: am I going to escalate and perpetuate dissent
    or shall I forgive and reach out in a spirit of tolerance?

    And in
    this day we have in front of us we have a choice of either living in
    the past and act as people in the past or look into things as they are today:

    1.
    There are Catholic Freemasons abounding nowadays, in the olden days we Catholics would be considered spies or infiltrators (cowans in
    Masonic terminology, here is a secret word that is not even a secret any
    more and nobody is going to kill me for that) thus all those penalties and
    secrecy, but nowadays if I went to my Priest and gave him all the books and
    aprons and medals that can be freely purchased over the internet and in the
    United Grand Lodge of England’s shop (and by the way, you just
    walk-in and buy, no questions asked on whether you belong to a lodge or not),
    what would that do against Freemasonry? 

     

    In the olden days an apron indicated association and as you know from
    history there was no freedom of association in those days, you couldn’t just
    form a study group and go on publishing papers. This is the point I
    am making throughout this discussion, past history was hard and cruel
    for both sides, nowadays we (Catholics and Protestants, and Masons as
    Freemasonry was closely related to Protestantism at its roots) can live
    their interpretations of the precepts of the Lord without fearing having their
    house burnt, nor being excluded from a gild and having no means to work, nor
    being taken as a traitor of the kingdom for being a Catholic in a
    Protestant country or a Protestant in a Catholic country. 

     

    Phew, if the olden days Catholics, Protestants and Masons could come
    back, they would look at all of us and say: “you bastards, are having it
    easy, eh?”

     

    2.
    There is no point in any counter-offensive against the Church because
    there is no violent political manipulation of the Church against
    “groups” seeking political power such as
    Protestants, Bourgeois, etc., any more. The whole Freemasonry-Protestantism
    theme of the past was the fear, even perhaps the fact, that Freemasonry was
    trying to work as some kind of para-politico group against the
    Catholic Church. Times nowadays are different, effectively what is
    Freemasonry doing against the Church nowadays (except for some
    bickering from individual members at articles as this)? Do you really think
    that there is space nowadays for Masons to influence legislation that will ban
    Catholicism from any country? Do you really think that Masons are working
    diligently to have the Church infiltrated so that Protestants and Masons can
    sell their produce in Catholic countries? Or so that the Church can give their
    blessing in the selection of government officials? The framework of the world
    is very different.

    Trying
    to overthrow the Church nowadays is the equivalent of trying to
    invent the transistor in 2011, it is pointless and useless, for both
    the Church is much more open and micro-processors are much smaller
    and faster then transistors. What we need nowadays is to reach out,
    both sides as we all are audience in the world we have nowadays.

    Man,
    seriously, the world is not being won by Methodists, Baptists or other 1st wave
    protestant groups any more. The world is being won by looney crazy 4th
    wave evangelical groups loosely
    related to each other by a common speech of intolerance and  prejudice and
    a real motivation to “save” the world (not the 3rd wave churches such
    as the Assembly of God and traditional charismatic groups, they are also
    losing members). These are the crazy “ministries” that are advocating
    flogging people and mistreating children as demon-possessed when they are
    unlucky to have  problems such as epilepsy. These are the
    ones amassing huge amounts of money and spreading their
    word to people that has fallen out of the net of both Catholic and serious
    Protestant churches. 

    3.
    Following Point 2 above, we (all) live in a Democracy, we have rights, we have
    fair laws, we have social guarantees, we have freedom to trade and own stuff
    independently of our religious association (you know that in the olden days
    even that was prohibited);

    4.
    We have the Internet with its loud-mouth making everybody
    know about things only a few could up to the 1980′s;

    5.
    We have more knowledge and the chance to exert wisdom based on facts and studies
    available, as noted on point 4.

    I
    have to say I am enjoying the way this discussion is taking shape, as a
    Catholic, I would say that the Catholic doctrinal aspects of the rift between
    Freemasonry and Catholicism are not the problem. Being excommunicated for being
    a Mason is not a reason for anti-Catholicism either and I would never suggest
    that the Vatican should change its doctrinal view. When I
    was being interviewed to join the Masons, my Lodge cared that I didn’t put
    myself at the other side of my faith by explaining to me about the Papal Bulls
    and that I should not compromise my faith and Catholic practice if that would
    encourage me to leave Catholicism. They actually were the ones telling me about
    the implications and highlighting that my religion and family should take
    precedence over Freemasonry.

    The
    problem is how I as a  Mason and my non-Catholic brethren are
    supposed to be treated and judged by the Catholic community due to all these
    centuries-old and outdated views on Freemasonry. This is the bit I
    would suggest the Vatican and the United Grand Lodge of England, to whom my
    Lodge is affiliated, tried to work out. It might seem far-fetched but at a
    political level it worked between Israel and Egypt, most Israelis are Jews,
    most Egyptians are Muslims but they have been able to co-exist and
    secure peace and co-operation treaties even after the exit of Mubarak. 

    Of
    course there are historical memories that take longer to die out but as to
    Masons and Catholics are concerned the reasons for our
    mutual discontent are well past their expiry date.

    Shalom
    Ed Al-Nedro

  • Shalom

    Please delete this post, and my repetition, I discovered that when one “replies” the spaces between paragraphs disappear on posting, these spaces are important for they make the text easier to read for people with poor sight.

    Catholic Herald could you ask your developers to look into preserving paragraph breaks in replies and comments to posts? This is not the fault of the Catholic Herald folks but the software itself.

  • Shalom

    Please delete this post, and my repetition, I discovered that when one “replies” the spaces between paragraphs disappear on posting, these spaces are important for they make the text easier to read for people with poor sight.

    Catholic Herald could you ask your developers to look into preserving paragraph breaks in replies and comments to posts? This is not the fault of the Catholic Herald folks but the software itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=627140972 Mike Herman

    Declaring my interest I am a Freemason and have been for nearly 30 years.  You ask “Why was Breivik attracted to FM?”  Who knows?  The man is mad and may have been attracted for any number of reasons.  There are mad and bad people who manage to get into every organisation and group, whether it is journalists, politicians, police, bankers, lawyers, doctors, estate agents.  I have even heard rumours that some Catholic priests have been found guilty of sexual abuse of minors.

    I don’t know if there is any evidence that the horrific physical penalties at one time included the obligations taken  by Freemasons but we have moved on and now the penalties are referred to as “the former penalty at one time included in the obligation”.  My memory may be faulty but I think I recall that the obligation was worded that “I would rather xxxxx than disclose the secrets….”  

    Finally, I dont know why the FM Hall at Brecon has no ground floor windows, but the FM halls in London, Manchester, St Albans, Radlett, Southgate, Letchworth all do.  And probably many more!      

  • Shalom

    Ok, Concerned Catholic, so let’s say that everything you are saying is right. What does that mean in practical terms? How does that rule Catholic behaviour towards any person out there that happens to be at a different point of view? What should the behaviour be then? Joan of Arc was excommunicated for centuries before she was canonised and so were some other Saints. I believe this illustrates the good will of the Catholic Church in operating the work of God on earth despite historical interpretations.
    I find unfortunate that due to the history of some European countries we hear people saying that because they were born in [Catholic country] then one should be a Catholic. This is a very dangerous argument as it supports a precedent of ethnicity (material) to something that is exclusively related to the soul. With the passing of time these things descend into cynicism, as an example, the 10-15 minute flash-masses in place in some Catholic countries just to keep a veneer of tradition. My advice is if one just goes to Church because their parents were Catholics or because one’s country is traditionally Catholic then a rethink is in order as this kind of Catholic practice just weakens the real purpose of the Church and religion.
    Another thing guys, if you take your kids to Church please make an effort to not dress them up in football t-shirts please (mostly your teens), whilst the dressing code doesn’t reveal the state of the heart and of the soul, it just makes Church look like a stadium and shows a bit of the state of parenthood and home education. Come on, you guys can afford something nice for your kids, you have to see our Brazilian countrymen dressed with their best linen of decades and perfumes that would kill the flies around them but hey there was an effort there to show some consideration for the environment they are. 

  • Pauluk72

    As far as I am aware, the reason Catholic’s can not become Mason’s is because the Pope excommunicated any that did. However, the mason’s an the other hand dont seem to have a problem. As you said yourself it they admit all men regardless of race, creed, colour, faith or nationality. 

  • Pauluk72

    So the Catholic Church goes beyond nature and Mason’s do not? Is there a difference between nature and God? Some might say that God is unmanifest nature and nature is God made manifest. Secondly, reason is not opposed to Christianity, Jesus was a very reasonable man. He drew a firm line between the laws of God and those of man. The laws of God are easy to follow because they are reasonable. As for the idea that worshipping man is worshipping idols; this seems to overlook the fact that Christ was a man & whilst he is viewed as the Son of God and his representative on earth, Christs humanity is central to Christian belief.

  • Pauluk72

    Thas right, there are non-conformist Catholics who are also Masons!

  • Pauluk72

    The idea that man is divine is not opposed to the scriptures. See Psalms 82:6 and also John 10:34. I am not a mason but I think there beliefs are essentially humanistic and also mystical (the belief that God resides within ourselves).

  • resideswithin

    then why does freemasonry cloy to further its reaches into every religeous group?  It actively seeks out persons of high standing to join their group;  not quite the innocent little organisation you wish to portray.  I know that there are also high level freemasons who seek to practice a ritual RIGHT ON THE FLOORS of esteemed catholic churches!  If you wish to denounce catholicism, then why are some of your members wishing to carry out such activities in such locations?  I can only reason that it is because there is most definitely strength or power contained within the purity of the spirit residing in the church.  The very clean communion of innocent devout people offering up their prayers;  this space needs to  be ‘hijacked’ by such weird orders as freemasons.  If you dont value Catholics then why want to use their space?  You have your own ‘spaces’ to practice your beliefs. 

    All those denying the words of Father Bradley are showing their ignorance.  When solid evidence and reference to documents are presented, ignoramus writers below choose to ignore this evidence thereby showing their inability to actively reason and thereby actively supporting the exact reason for faith in the church to be maintained and furthered.  Because man cannot be trusted to sensibly reason in the absence of true HISTORY of facts.    Do you guys never  get in touch with yourselves?  I feel sorry for you having to have so much vehemence against an order of faith;  shows how much power it truly must hold.  Something beyond the collective;  a spirit within which, when harnassed together in an act of faith (mass etc) I now realise must have effect against evil.  I had always thought it simply communion with God.  I had no idea how real the evil on earth was….it runs in fear and has to try and deny or destroy rather than be comfortable in itself.  This can only be because of FEAR  of the power of Catholic Faith. 

    It is true some of your members have infiltrated the hierarchy of our church;  it is of no consequence since the true power lies within individuals love of god and mankind and always seek to do the right thing – not manmade law to which you excitedly refer (vs canon law) ….it resides within and therefore cannot ever be destroyed. 

    Dogmatic indoctrination does not reside in the true reasoning catholic – it resides in their enemy – the devil’s ignorant recruits!

  • Masoniclodge01

    Hi Francis I’m just a little bit confused on the phrase you use “Freemasonry is not a secret society it’s declared ” how come it uses secret signs and passwords?.

  • Rattrapante

    Freemasonry uses signs and passwords as modes of recognition, they are used to tell people who are not Freemasons from those who are.

  • Masoniclodge01

     Thanks Rattrapante! You’ve cleared my confusion.