18.10.07

Forerunners of the French Revoloution, part 3c

FREEMASONRY

The Rationalists had rejected all belief in the Supernatural Life of Grace merited for us by Our Divine Lord on Calvary and communicated to the world through the Catholic Church. They had built up a new concept of human life and destiny directly opposed to Christian ideals. To put this new plan of life into action it was necessary that the Catholic Church and her power over men should be overthrown. To achieve this purpose a new satanic force appears in the world: the Secret Society known as Freemasonry, the parent and controlling authority of the lesser secret and semi-secret societies of modern times.

Origins of Freemasonry.- Freemasonry as we know it today seems to have had its beginning in a Lodge founded at London in 1717. From here it spread rapidly under English influence over Europe and the New World.

Organization of Freemasonry.- Freemasonry in its organization (as in other matters) apes the organization of the Catholic Church. It is built in a kind of hierarchy of degrees, each degree having its special symbolic ceremony of initiation or reception, the inner meaning of which is fully communicated only in the highest grades (Rose Croix or Rosicrucian, and Knights of Kadosch).

Purpose of Freemasonry.- Freemasonry claims to be nothing more than a society, the members of which are pledged to help one another in the name of the brotherhood of humanity; and many Masons, especially in the English-speaking world, are unaware of the society's real satanic purpose. That purpose is (i) to overthrow Christianity, with the political and social institutions that have Christianity for their basis or support (such as nationality, the family, private property, morality). (ii) Ultimately (as appears from the inner meaning of its symbols) to set up humanity in the place of God. Freemasonry rejects utterly the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mystical Body the Catholic Church. As a consequence, it is ever striving to secure control of financial and State affairs, the Press, the Cinema and other influences, so that by wealth and power it may the more quickly transform society in accordance with its anti-Christian principles. We shall find, consequently, that the Masonic Lodges were the hatching-fields of most of the revolutionary societies that disturbed Europe in the nineteenth (and twentieth)century.

It is not surprising that the Holy See, ever the vigilant guardian of faith and morals, was swift to sense the serious nature of the Masonic menace and to condemn it repeatedly in the strongest terms. (cf. the encyclicals In Eminenti (Clement XII, 1738), Providas (Benedict XIV, 1751), Ecclesiam Jesu Christi (Pius VII, 1821), Qui graviora (Leo XII, 1826), Quanta Cura (Pius IX, 1864), Humanum Genus (Leo XIII, 1884).

Freemasonrys First Triumph: The suppression of the Society of Jesus

In FRANCE the Society of Jesus before the Revolution had many enemies. For (i) As defenders of Catholic truth its members had unveiled the deceit of Jansenism and fought that proud heresy uncompromisingly from the beginning. (ii) As upholders of the purity of private morals they had ruthlessly denounced the license of the French Court. (iii) As exponents of Catholic philosophy and science they were the natural enemies of the free-thinkers.

Consequently, after much scheming, the Society was suppressed by a law of the Parliament of Paris in 1762, the decree being confirmed by Louis XV in 1764. The Society's Colleges, which had done such noble service to France in staving off Protestantism and in advancing Catholic culture, wee confiscated and about 4,000 Fathers of the Society dispersed.

In PORTUGAL the suppression of the Society of Jesus was the work of the Count de Pombal, Secretary of State to Joseph Emmanuel I (1757-1777). Striving to build a greater Portugal, and fettered, as he thought, by the spiritual power of the church over its citizens, Pombal, much like Joseph II in Austria, planned to bring the Church in Portugal altogether under the control of the State. The Fathers of the Society of Jesus, traditional defenders of the Church's rights, stood in the way. A pretext was therefore seized to suppress them: their property was confiscated, the great University of Coimbra taken out of their hands and the Fathers were all banished from Portugal (1759). Eighteen years later (1777) Pombal was himself disgraced and the honour of the Portuguese Religious vindicated.

In SPAIN the suppression of the Society- Spain's own noblest gift to the Church- was as sudden as it was unjust. Charles III, being led to believe by his Minister dAranda that the Society of Jesus questioned the legitimacy of his title to the throne and was preparing a revolution in favour of another claimant, decreed the banishment of every member of the Society from Spain and its colonies. They were forbidden to return under pain of death and their property was confiscated. Finally in 1773 Pope Clement XIV, to preserve peace and to avoid greater evils, consented to suppress the Society of Jesus completely, without, however, passing any judgment regarding the accusations against it.

The suppression, far from bringing the peace for which the Sovereign Pontiff had hoped, was disastrous in its consequence:

It left the enemies of the Church exultant and emboldened to make more insolent demands.
It meant the closing of the Jesuit Colleges which were the mainstay of Catholic education and scholarship the world over.
It dealt what was virtually a deathblow to many flourishing missions built up by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus in Africa, America, India and Asia: thus in many places where the Church had made most promising beginnings the natives fell back into paganism.
Above all, it deprived the Church of a valuable source of that spiritual power which is generated by the corporate life of every religious society- each according to its own distinctive tradition- and left many individual souls without the guidance of the learned and saintly priests who had directed them in the higher ways of holiness.

An Outline History of the Catholic Church by Rev. Reginald F. Walker CSSP

No comments: