Relationship between Catholicism and Freemasonry
by Athos A. Altomonte
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Q : I would like to know what the relationship between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is today. Do you think that it is possible to be practicing Catholics and Masons at the same time? I asked this question to a priest and he answered: ‘It's best to let it go… '.
A : I think that the answer should arise from a deep conviction which, on its turn, should originate from a deeply analytical and intellectual personal experience.
On the contrary, in the above question you highlight a habit that, in the light of reason, appears as the paradox of an ordinary credulousness, which is to put Christianity and Catholicism on the same level.
On the other hand the same confusion occurs between Freemasonry and the initiatory Order originated from the Mysterial Schools.
They are both the heritage of a distant initiatory (Freemasonry) and spiritual (the Church) memory, put in a completely exoteric form and re-veiled (veiled twice) by mythical interpretations full of folklore and approximation.
In both the inner advancement is perfunctorily omitted in the clouds of words instead of the light of facts, making it a human, too human journey.
The initiatory journey linked to the Ancient Mysteries, hard to reconstruct for the ordinary Mason, is a ‘solitary' journey, where the aspirant can only rely on his energy and merits.
As a principle this journey is similar to the Christian one, also based only on personal merits. This implies the impossibility of ‘intercession' of a third human element but the spiritual and interior one. In this instance we can find a similitude with the meritocratic principle postulated in the topic of Karma (and Dharma) of the Eastern Brothers. But the difference between Christianity and Catholicism is precisely in the concept of human intercession.
Christianity has never postulated a human hierarchy, especially an infallible one. The officiant is the primo inter pares , viz. equal amongst equals, brother and sister among brothers and sisters, son among sons and daughters.
The oriental point of view is similar; it says that we are all divine (children of the same God) and the difference is between those who are aware of being such and those who don't remember it yet.
Catholicism, on the contrary of Christianity, is not about a Principle (in this instance Love represented by God) but about a man: an infallible sovereign placed by other men at the top of a hierarchy that represents the divinity.
It is a representative hierarchy that often, with its theses and actions, has dimmed or even replaced the Principle of universal Love and Communion turning it into a rampart between different people placed in conflicting opposition. Catholicism is an expression of religiosity founded on power and temporal regality.
But Jesus the Nazarene (not from Nazareth as it has been mystified), Essen and therapist, never imposed on himself or on his brothers and sisters (he clearly states it) the imperial authority (repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God); he didn't do it in the Sanhedrin either, whose components he called white-washed Sepulchers; viz. hypocrites. He placed on himself only the Principle Love and its spiritual intercession. This is the difference. And the ecclesial hierarchy, which placed itself between man and heaven, knows it.
The cards are on the table, because the man who joins an initiatory journey made of inner values that must be individually recomposed doesn't believe nor accepts the intercession of a third person equal to him, viz. neither better nor worse than himself. He prefers the Principle.
But if he denies the intercession of man, what use does he have for his holy hierarchy?
Therefore an adept can be a Christian but it would be paradoxical if he was part of the Catholic movement, where the reference is the apology of human characteristics in vices and virtues.
Freemasonry, aware of the weaknesses, vices and virtues of its adepts, has never claimed to have the aureole of categorical absolute; it only preserves, hidden into symbols, some ancient initiatory principles that join East and West. These symbols are mysterious to most of its own adepts and they show a path towards the absolute visible to ‘those who have eyes to see it'. This path must be carried out individually, without intermediations and according to one's possibilities and qualities.
The only possible intermediation is to create the condition for the inner illumination to occur. We must say that nowadays the search for this ‘illumination' has become a little more than a symbolic convention, not very representative of the reality that is practiced inside it.
But for those who don't ‘see' what is re-veiled in the ancient symbolical and ceremonial representations, Freemasonry can become the means of a socially useful moral and ethical teaching. It always highlights the vacuity of mundane life and the importance of inner metamorphosis that detaches the adept from the ‘profane' models that have attacked his mind and conditioned his conscience. For example this occurs with the transmutation of metals. Metals, as transposition of ideas, emotions and feelings to be corrected in their material form in order to exalt a greater spiral.
From these short notes we can draw the conclusion that the initiatory Principle that Freemasonry has put in an intentionally impersonal term, viz. the Great Architect of the Universe, is a Principle of Love and Brotherhood that joins, accepts and welcomes all diversities without any intolerance. The purpose is to be compatible with any form of creed that is as much loving, open and tolerant.
Therefore the Mason can be many things but as far as Catholicism is concerned, I agree with the priest, although for other reasons, who told you….it is best to let it go.
We can talk about the apology of the white race made in its ‘sacred texts'; about misogyny, intolerance and violence – with good intentions. We can mention the racism and fascism that appear from the ideas of a Divinity of which they claim absolute monopoly and the copyright on salvation given for convenience.
Certainly Catholics are not the only ones to claim the monopoly of God and to politicize his intentions. They are in good company, or shall we say ‘competition'?
But there is also who doesn't ‘want' to see the paradox between the ideal model (Christ) and the incongruence of certain ‘miracles of faith' postulated by Churches; in this case as well… it is best to let it go.