Documento senza titolo
Church and Freemasonry. The secret thread
by Athos A. Altomonte
First essay on the thoughts in ancient times
The secret thread – A Brotherhood outside the ‘herd' – Atheism and universal principle – From spirit to spirit
The secret thread
The Holy Roman Church bases its principles on roots shared by two other monotheistic religions deriving from Abraham's Tribe: Hebraism, the oldest, and Islam. The ritual and symbolic origins of ancient pagan catechisms contribute to make its primacy even less absolute. Articles of faith, though, belong to the religious field and not to laic research. The only exception is the secret thread that connects Church and Freemasonry. The meanings of symbols and allegories are secret, too.
Apparently joined only by a feeling of reciprocal aversion, Church and Freemasonry (it is interesting that in Italian these two words are both feminine) have in actual fact several points in common, such as the Bible and many symbols and allegories, freely taken from the ancient Hebrew mysticism.
Both promote initiations, the former of a religious character, the latter apparently laic. Apparently, we said, because as we will see later on, the initiation to Master Mason represents the spiritual resurrection of the initiate. Although laic and religious forms are different, the substance is the same when we talk about ceremonies of christening, marriage and funeral, officiated by both. The Church appeals to the God of Israel; ancient Freemasonry refers to a geometrical point and calls it Great Architect of the Universe. This confirms the thread that links Church and Freemasonry through symbols and ideals such as a universal brotherhood made of hearts joined by reciprocal love (chorda Fratres), which works to restore a principle of common wellbeing, as we would expect from a spiritual religion, not dedicated to Man but to the glory of God, however it is called.
In the name of God, though, all the good propositions of plebeian religions are dissolved. To these religions the simple fact that He takes a different name, such as Yahwèh or Allah, is enough for a principle that was ineffable, impenetrable and lacking any material attribute to become cause of separation and conflict. But it is not God that inspires bellicose propositions to the ‘believers', which makes them protagonists of terrible religious comedies; it is not even the diversity of languages. It is indeed an obsessive and foolish devotional feeling (see ‘Dangers of devotion').
Despite the doctrinal gap, the positions of Church and Freemasonry are never too far away from each other. In the former the spiritual aspect becomes a ‘redeeming instrument'; in the latter it becomes ‘Light of the Gnosis'. In other words, one reduces it to a journey of faith, the other to a symbolic journey. The element that puts Church and Freemasonry closer is not what is there, but what is not there yet.
We can say that in the modern Church there is as much spirituality as initiatory light in the Masonic Lodges. It is unknown the use of symbols, which are containers of a particularly dynamic energy-thought as well as static representations. It is unknown the operative use of Rites, reduced to charming and empty representations. It is unknown the use of ‘Sound', ‘Light' and ‘Word' thought and pronounced. They share the fact that they have become healthy carriers of materialism , fed by men who use the spiritual meaning as an instrument of power to affirm their hierarchies.
Masons deny any relation with the religious System. It is fair to believe them, otherwise Freemasonry would be a laic Church. But if Masons deny it, Freemasonry makes it easy to believe it. Where is the truth? In order to know it, it is not enough to distinguish the meanings of symbols, vestments and ceremonials, but we need to understand the use of sacredness. Men who can use sacredness make Institutions special; otherwise they would only be material entities. As usual, the truth unperceivable to the outside can be reached by the conscience of the observer. If we stop listening to people who want to give different forms to the truth, it is not difficult to discover that ancient ‘Mediterranean Mysteries' are the common denominator that affects initiatory Institutions.
A Brotherhood outside the ‘herd'
Freemasonry is a container of symbols taken from an ancient wisdom, which has remained the same despite crossing socially and culturally different epochs. The first function of ancient wisdom is to answer the questions that everybody asks himself at some point of his evolutionary journey: ‘ who am I, where do I come from, what is the purpose of my life? ' The answer requires a certain degree of education and the ability to use the faculty called introspection, in order to study the research of the inner reality. This originates a different Brotherhood, made of souls and not only bodies, since the center of the initiatory thought is the divinity inside man, not outside him, as it is taught by religions made in the likeness of the people, which the Mason keeps away from.
Nobody can point at the way of progress, but Freemasonry teaches to undertake the responsibility of our destiny, becoming ‘shepherds of ourselves'. Therefore outside the ‘herd', the Mason can acknowledge himself and set himself free from the yoke of a desolating moral and spiritual vassalage.
The first work that a ‘mason' engages in is directed to his character , that, like ‘rough stone' must be smoothed and freed from imperfections . In order to become ‘workers' we must learn to ‘build' the conditions that favor the great inner change. If degrees, utensils, emblems and symbols don't correspond to a genuine inner gold, they would only be useless habits and the mason a smartly dressed puppet. The best decoration for a builder is the disinterested work carried out for the advantage of the Humankind, no matter how big or small.
To become ‘workers' of the Great Architect of the Universe doesn't mean to kneel in front of symbols or stone artifacts. The spiritual worker is inspired by the Work of the Great Architect and he works for the elevation of the Humankind; all of it, not only a part.
Since there isn't exclusivity on the ‘divine right', it belongs to everybody for everybody; therefore spirituality doesn't need intermediaries or administrators. Spiritual authority is not established by the rules of men for men, but it comes from the soul.
‘God is in every place and in every thing' , Christ prophesized; therefore God is for the Christian also in man, in the portion of conscience not yet identified that makes him ‘ to his image and likeness' . This likeness is the ‘Stone' for every initiate that searches for himself in himself, whilst being in a dimension more advanced than the material one . To reach this goal means to learn to confide in one's own spirituality, careless of those who lead their similes to bewilderment for their interest.
Atheism and universal principle
Freemasonry is an initiatory Institution that welcomes people from different races and nationalities. The combination of different cultures requires reciprocal respect and tolerance, so that when going from the general idea shared by all the masons to the individual idea, everybody can follow his own religious feeling without impositions. But someone accuses Freemasonry of atheism. To understand if this is the case, we can refer to the meaning of the word ‘atheism'; it is the negation of the existence of God in any form, even in the form of a personal God.
It is difficult to think that atheism can exist among the Pillars of Masonic Temples, since every ceremony is opened and closed ‘To the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe'; every official document carries this statement, which seals the oath for every degree, function and dignity.
We can only consider it as a prejudice from someone who thinks that whoever has a feeling different from his own is an atheist. For Freemasonry there isn't atheism where the feeling is based on the principles of love, brotherhood and equality. So, what are the dangers of religious differences? Easterners believe in the existence of divine Beings, that they love and fear; likewise westerners love and fear spiritual Beings that inhabit the planet and space. Both believe in the existence of disembodied intelligences, superior and inferior beings, angels and ghosts; therefore it seems nonsense to accuse of being a misbeliever someone who expresses his religiosity in different and apparently incomprehensible terms.
From spirit to spirit
The man who confides in spirituality can find it in the part of conscience that is not affected by maniacal sensations and fears. The man who subjects spirituality to his material condition is not able to recognize spiritual intelligence ; neither can he communicate from ‘spirit to spirit'.
Spiritual intelligence can reach man's mind only through his (superior) conscience. It is not man's self that looks for its excellence, but rather the superior Ego which, gifted with free will, is conscious of the divine project to which man is called in his wholeness of mind and spirit. Conscience as well pushes man to perfect himself; when the searches for excellence and perfection coincide, the conscience becomes the best ally of man and the bridge with Divinity, whatever name it is given to it.
Spiritual conscience doesn't originate from devotion but from religere , which means to join in the hearts what is different on the outside. Spiritual religion joins men like ‘brothers' regardless of race or religious language, relying on love and good will.
Religiosity, on the contrary, produces obsessions that divide men like ‘Cain and Abel', separated by classes of faith where believers of the same principle with different names fight against each other in His name. therefore the ‘true believers', the races elected by God seem to be joined by the need to judge, punish and bully the weakest , rather than by respect and tolerance.
Athos A. Altomonte