What is it about Freemasonry that would cause churches to forbid or openly discourage seventy million Americans from membership? Why have eight popes condemned the Lodge? Why has the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Masonic order been strained for centuries? Christianity and American Freemasonry answers these and many other questions and describes why Christ ianity and Freemasonry are incompatible. Today over two million American men belong to the Masonic order, the largest and oldest secret fraternal society. In earlier history the Freemasons boasted a prestigious membership, including fourteen American presidents and such founding fathers as Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and Alexander Hamilton. [Christianity And American Freemasonry, by William J. Whalen] is the most complete reference book available on the subject. Chapters discuss the rituals and oaths, the Scottish and York rites, allied organizations such as the Shriners, and the historic antagonism of Christianity toward Masonry.From the same book:
After the Reformation had practically halted the construction of new church buildings, the waning masonic lodges began to admit "honorary" or nonworking members to their ranks. The original lodges were unquestionably orthodox in their adherence to the Catholic religion that they served so admirably. One of the earliest masonic charges reads: "The first charge is that you shall bee true man to God and holy church, and that you use no heresie or error by your understanding or by teachings of indiscreet men." Eventually the honorary members outnumbered the operative masons, more or less dispossessed the active members, and took over the symbols and secret signs of the lodges to form what we know as speculative Masonry. Members were expected to believe in God and in the immortality of the soul, but otherwise their religious views were completely irrelevant to the lodge. In 1717 a governing authority known as the "Grand Lodge of England" was established at a meeting of four surviving lodges in the Apple Tree Tavern in London...Also, current Catholic apologist and ex-Mason on Masonry. All very interesting. All suggesting that more time might be profitably spent examining the group which has, for most of the modern age, been counted amongst the Churches most persistent and effective foes.
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