Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How Charles Carroll Influenced U.S. Founding Fathers

ZENIT - Scott McDermott on the Catholic Signer of Declaration of Independence, Part One and Part Two

A close friend from grad. school sent me a complete copy of a very controversial talk given to the St. Thomas More Society in Dallas, TX by Scott McDermott. Send me an e-mail if you desire to have it. Refer to the following quotes (you'll have to read the entire talk for context):

"...Carroll brought the Catholic political tradition into the American founding..." (p. 4)

"...the Founding Fathers, in their recovery of natural law and in other ways ...unknowingly reinvented the Catholic political tradition..."(p.6)

"...the United States was the first political system in the history of the world to base its constitution explicitly on the concept of natural law, which has its roots in Catholic tradition." (p.7)

"...Catholic traditionalists, who are the dynamic force in our Church today, fell quite lukewarm about the American experiment. Many traditionalists refuse to exert themselves for a republic founded, as they see it, by Deists and masons." (p. 17)

"Essentially we have accepted the propaganda coming out of academia, that the American Revolution had nothing to do with religion. The historical truth is far different." (p. 17)

A lot of cyber ink has been spilled on this topic. Refer to my classic post - Freemasonry and America, which provides the history (links) of this dialog.

32 comments:

David said...

The Carroll family were well known Masons, specifically Daniel. One cannot be a Mason and a Catholic. Which was more important for the Carroll's, Masonry or Catholicism? History shows it was Masonry, which is logical considering their very good relations with the other leading American Masons of their day which includes Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton & Washington.

David said...

Facts seem to upset and confuse Neocons because it gets in the way of their ideology.

For a Catholic to ignore the Masonic connection of the Carrolls, not to the mention, our other Founding Fathers is criminal.

Pastor John said...

David:

Why is this so controversial and so emotional for people to see and acknowledge? A September 2005 issue of Newsweek has an article on Masons and the United States, and it seems rather uncontroversial. In discussions that I have recently had, the impact of Mason's political philosophy on the formation of the United States was called "simply false and bad history". Instead, it was argued that a 'mosaic' of denominations worked through the political order on pragmatic grounds. This was by a very good historian of American religious history.

Thanks!

John

Christopher said...

The Carroll family were well known Masons, specifically Daniel. One cannot be a Mason and a Catholic. Which was more important for the Carroll's, Masonry or Catholicism? History shows it was Masonry, which is logical considering their very good relations with the other leading American Masons of their day which includes Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton & Washington.

Q: Can you elaborate on how, specifically, Masonism exerted the dominant influence on Bishop John Caroll? -- We know from Whalen's Christianity and American Freemasonry that

". . . Daniel Carroll was active in Freemasonry, and Bishop Carroll did not consider the papal ban applicable to this country until sometime after 1800. Carroll discussed the various censures of the Holy See on the lodge question in a letter to a layman in 1794. He added, 'I do not pretend that these decrees are received generally by the Church, or have full authority in this diocese.'

But beyond that, I mean -- please, eludicate me on how this rather lengthy entry in the [1917] Catholic Encyclopedia reveals the dominant hand of Masonry pulling the strings on Carroll's submissive mind?

It also appears that Charles Carroll of Carrollton was NOT a Mason ("Charles Carroll of Maryland was not a member of the fraternity. Historically, it is believed the reason he was identified as a Mason is that he was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the B&O Railroad" -- Masonic Service Association of North America).

Facts seem to upset and confuse Neocons because it gets in the way of their ideology.

Q: Pray tell, David, who are the 'Neocons' you are referring to in this indictment?

For a Catholic to ignore the Masonic connection of the Carrolls, not to the mention, our other Founding Fathers is criminal.

I'm not ignoring the Masonic connnection of the Carrolls. I just find it amusing that you post excerpts from a very good speech by Scott McDermott . . . and then fail to critically engage McDermott's position, but rather use it as grounds to reiterate your dismissal and discrediting of Bishop John Carroll and his brother Daniel on account of their membership in the lodge, as if this has anything to do with Charles Carroll.

If that's "criminal", I stand accused.

However, thanks for linking, as McDermott's book, Charles Carroll of Carrollton Faithful Revolutionary, sounds like a fascinating work of Catholic-American history and scholarship, and perhaps one day I can attend to it.

David said...

Christopher,

Rest assured that I will address Scott McDermott more fully in latter comments. A couple points necessary now though considering your remarks. No where did I mention John in my comments, but let's go there considering your above response.

First, the Masonic Lodge is a secret organization, a secret society. For a Catholic to be an active Mason is to incur automatic excommunication. Therefore secrecy in this case is especially necessary. His resistance to apply this automatic excommunication in the United States is evidence of the close relationship Masonry had with the Carroll family. It would have resulted in his own brother being excommunicated… What we do know (historical fact) is that his brother was a very active Mason. His resistance to apply this automatic excommunication is also evidence of an early form of American "cafeteria Catholicism" to pick and choose what they like or dislike from Rome. Consider nowadays the problems with contraception, abortion, etc.

Second, one must not forget John's close friendship with a very well known Grand Master of the Lodge and very serious Occultist (Rosacrucian, etc.), Ben Franklin. For years, they worked very closely together on a number of different projects, both in and out of the country. This is well known historical fact.

Third, as the above referenced Catholic Encyclopedia article states, Archbishop Carroll was given the honor of laying the Masonic corner-stone of Washington's Monument in Baltimore and only due to illness did he not do so. This is a Masonic monument as well as Washington's Monument in D.C. Refer to the history of these monuments, which can be found here and here. As any Mason will tell you, this honor is only given to Masons.

Christopher said...

. . . For years, they worked very closely together on a number of different projects, both in and out of the country. This is well known historical fact.

Can you elaborate (or direct me to further sources) on the specific nature of Bishop Carroll's nefarious activities with the diabolical occultist Benjamin Franklin? -- Besides, of course, their mission to Canada at the request of Congress to seek its neutrality in the War of Independence.

F-TON said...

1. There was nothing "controversial" about Scott McDermott's talk. That you may (apparently) disagree with parts of it does not make it controversial. (Although it does suggest to me that you never took the time to study it.)

2. Your oversimplification of Catholicism v. freemasonry is anachronistic.

3. As you know from Whalen's book and your extensive (I agree that it is) research into this subject, not all forms of masonry are the same.

4. It pretty much follows that some forms of masonry are more objectionable than others.

5. Although this may be clear to you today, it has not always and everywhere been clear to everyone that all forms of masonry were in all ways incompatible with Catholicism.

6. Even assuming that all forms of masonry have always been clearly incompatible with Catholicism, it does NOT follow that Catholics should not associate with, or even work closely with, masons.

7. As Scott notes, both Franklin and Jefferson were instrumental in allowing Catholicism to even exist in colonial America.

Eric Lee said...

I'm not even a Roman Catholic, but any defense whatsoever of Masonry seems completely antithetical to Christianity.

Peace,

Eric

F-TON said...

Who's defending masonry?

David said...

I appreciate the comments and questions from everyone above, especially Christopher's & Tim's (F-Ton). A few remarks are in order.

1. Very simply, I would recommend that any Catholic study what the clear and consistent teaching of the Magisterium has been and is in regards to Freemasonry. You can't have your cake and eat it too. There has been something like 14 papal encylicals or documents explicitly and clearly condemning Freemasonry over the last several hundred years. The Church's position on Freemasonry has not changed, which even Cardinal Ratzinger while as Prefect for the CDF clearly stated when questioned. I am not being "anarchistic" as Tim claims. The question for you guys - do you take seriously what the Magisterium states in regards to Freemasonry or do you just give it a hand-wave?

2. Scott McDermott is a librarian. He is not a historian nor a political scientist. What academic qualifications does he have? None as far as I can see. One can assume he does have an undergraduate degree by the comments that he made in the interview, but what was his major? I suspect basket-weaving :-) Now miracles are possible and even my sister's nanny with only a high school diploma can speak truth sometimes so lets judge his own comments.

3. Let's begin with some positive comments. I want to be fair here. I'm going to rely mainly on his comments from his controversial talk (& yes it is!) in Dallas so if anyone needs a copy of this talk just email me. The Word doc. is protected therefore it's impossible to cut and paste his comments on this post. I very much enjoyed the comments that are made in regards to Montesquieu (pgs. 4, 11-12, & 15-16). It makes me want to go back and re-read Montesquieu, which is a good thing. I also like how he defines what is talking about in regards to popular sovereignty, corporatism, the liberty of the Church, the primacy of the common good, and the natural law. What I found of most value though is how he fleshed out the fatal errors in the thought of the Founding Fathers. This is worth quoting.

"The natural law concepts which were at hand in the late eighteenth century had already been distorted, by thinkers such as Locke, Hobbes, Hume, and Grotius, in an individualistic direction. That is, enlightenment thinkers tended to see the natural law not so much in terms of the common good, which is the object of politics in the Catholic tradition, but rather in terms of the natural rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property. Thus, there was at the beginning of America a tendency to detach natural rights from their roots in natural law. Eventually, this leads to the creation of new 'rights,' like the right to an abortion or to sodomy, that are not rights at all because they violate the natural law. Even in the most triumphant expression of the natural law basis for our society, the Declaration of Independence, we see the effects of this distortion. After citing 'the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God' to justify the Revolution, Jefferson goes on to list the natural rights to property with a vague new concept, the 'pursuit of happiness,' which could mean almost anything you want it to mean. It could mean you have a right to pursue the beatific vision, or it could mean you have the right to cook your company's books and spend the money in Vegas or at the nearest gambling casino." (pgs. 6-7)

"...There was always a tendency in America to emphasize individual rights over the common good of the whole society. This has accelerated in recent years, to such an extent that the 'right to privacy,' as Justice Scalia pointed out, threatens to destroy the rule of law. To some extent this was inevitable. Americans are an individualistic people; Montesquieu would have said it was our natural 'humor,' and that our system of government should reflect that individualism to some extent. But when the Supreme Court declares, as it did in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that 'the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life' is at the 'heart of liberty,' we have individualism rum amok. The current rights discourse is no longer within shouting distance of natural law." (pg. 15)

In the long run, though, we will need to resurrect the latent natural law content of our institutions if we are going to survive as a free society. Our revolution was based on natural law principles and our social contract depends on them: without a living natural law tradition, our social contract must eventually be broken and disappear." (pg. 16)

4. My disagreement with Mr. McDermott's though are with the following items.

"I think it's clear that in a variety of ways we've degenerated from the view of human nature by the Founding Fathers" (pg. 2). Have we? Or have we just progressed down the road that they laid? Did the Founding Fathers have a correct view of human nature to begin with considering our major Founding Fathers were active Masons and not Christians?

"I want to look as objectively as possible at the situation today, and ask what attitude faithful Catholics should take in political life? The political thought of Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the best place for us to begin this inquiry, I believe" (pg. 3). This is clearly misguided and erroneous advice. The "best place" to begin is with Sacred Scripture followed by the CCC, the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine, the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, the writings of various saints, including Augustine, Aquinas, Moore, etc. Somewhere long after I had mastered these texts and thinkers would I move onto any of the thinking of our Founding Fathers.

"I believe that the Founding Fathers, in their recovery of natural law... unknowingly reinvented the Catholic political tradition. If anyone had suggested to them at the time that this is what they were doing, the Founders would have been horrified. Paradoxically, they were able to revive so many elements of Catholic thinking because they were totally ignorant of the authentic tradition" (pg. 6). This is completely bogus. The Founding Fathers (as Santi has been so clear to point out) were very learned men. They read Hebrew, Greek & Latin. They were very familiar with the classical, Christian, and Enlightenment texts. They were far from "ignorant." The question we must ask ourselves, how much of their thought was true or not true regardless if it was classical, Christian or from the Enlightenment?

I think Scott goes completely off the deep-end starting on page 17 until the end of the talk on page 19. On page 17, he quotes Fr. John Courtney Murray and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Maybe he should do some reading of David Schindler, Tracey Rowland, John Milbank, etc :-) The distinction he makes between the "relatively few masons among the founders were English-rite masons in the Newtonian tradition" and the "continental, anti-clerical, Scottish-rite Masons" is completely false, but my biggest problem is that he openly mocks the consistent and clear teachings of the Magisterium on Freemasonry and does not take it seriously.

5. To answer Christopher's question - As Scott clearly documents in his talk (pg. 18), both Franklin and Jefferson were directly responsible for John being made Bishop. This should concern you considering both of these men were active Masons and not Christian by any stretch of the imagination. Why was John Carroll the only one acceptable to them? Does a Masonic connection (within the family) have anything to do with it? Why was he so trusted by them? B/C Daniel, Charles & John all worked hand-in-hand with the Founding Fathers (Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Madison, etc.) during and after the American Revolution. One could consider this to be a major theme in Scott's talk, interviews & book. As Tim more or less asks the question that we must ask ourselves though, was Catholics working hand-in-hand with Masons a good thing or not?

Christopher said...

David: . . . To answer Christopher's question - As Scott clearly documents in his talk (pg. 18), both Franklin and Jefferson were directly responsible for John being made Bishop. This should concern you considering both of these men were active Masons and not Christian by any stretch of the imagination. Why was John Carroll the only one acceptable to them? Does a Masonic connection (within the family) have anything to do with it? Why was he so trusted by them? B/C Daniel, Charles & John all worked hand-in-hand with the Founding Fathers (Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Madison, etc.) during and after the American Revolution. One could consider this to be a major theme in Scott's talk, interviews & book. As Tim more or less asks the question that we must ask ourselves though, was Catholics working hand-in-hand with Masons a good thing or not?

McDermott's paper doesn't seem that Franklin and Jefferson were directly responsible for the specific appointment of Carroll, only in conveying to Rome that Congress, as a matter of principle, did not take a stand on ecclesial appointments:

. . . Over the next several years there was a four-way correspondence among Cardinal Antonelli of Propaganda Fide, the papal nuncio to France (Cardinal Dugnani), Benjamin Franklin, and his successor as ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson. Rome asked if it could send America a vicar apostolic. Franklin asked Congress. Congress said it didn't care because the question was a purely spiritual matter. The Cardinals were amazed. That had never happened before - usually governments did everything they could to meddle in the Church's business. Rome then appointed Charles Carroll's cousin, Fr. John Carroll, vicar apostolic in order to, quote, "please and gratify many members of the republic, and especially Mr. Franklin." After that, Jefferson told Rome that it could make Carroll a bishop, quote, "without offense to our institutions or opinions."

Forgive the lengthy citation, but the Catholic Enyclopedia [1917] provides a more detailed 'behind the scenes' report on Fr. Carroll's appointment:

In response to a petition sent by the Maryland clergy to Rome, 6 November, 1783, for permission for the missionaries here to nominate a superior who should have some of the powers of a bishop, Father Carroll, having been selected, was confirmed by the pope, 6 June, 1784, as Superior of the Missions in the thirteen United States of North America, with power to give confirmation. He was asked to send a report of the state of Catholicity in the United States. This same year a minister named Charles Henry Wharton, a Marylander, an ex-Jesuit, and distant relative of Father Carroll, attacked the Church, and was answered by Carroll in "An Address to the Roman Catholics of the United States of North America". Its aim and spirit may be gauged from one of its passages wherein Carroll said: "General and equal toleration, by giving a free circulation to fair argument, is a most effectual method to bring all denominations of Christians to an unity of faith." The work was published at Annapolis in 1784, and is the first Catholic work written by an American Catholic published in the United States. Father Carroll was, all the while, distracted, personally wishing the rehabilitation of the Society of Jesus and to remain himself a Jesuit. But officially seeing the need of a bishop, and that too an American, he decided to accept the pope's appointment of himself, and forthwith as Prefect Apostolic sent (Feb., 1785), to Cardinal Antonelli, his acceptance of that office, but urged that some method of appointing church authorities be adopted by Rome that would not make it appear as if they were receiving their appointment from a foreign power. A report of the status of Catholics in Maryland was appended to his letter, where he stated that 9000 were freemen, 3000 children, and 3000 negro slaves; that some of the more prominent families, despite the dearth of priests (there being then only nineteen in Maryland) were still Catholics in faith, sufficiently religious, though prone to dancing and novel-reading. The pope was so pleased with Father Carroll's report that he granted his request "that the priests in Maryland be allowed to suggest two or three names from which the Pope would choose their bishop". In the meanwhile Father Carroll took up his residence in Baltimore (1786-7), where even Protestants were charmed by his sermons delivered in old St. Peter's church. He took an active part in municipal affairs, especially in establishing schools, Catholic and non-Catholic, being president of the Female Humane Charity School of the City of Baltimore, one of three trustees for St. John's College at Annapolis, founder of Georgetown College (1791), head of the Library Company, the pioneer of the Maryland Historical Society, and President of the trustees of Baltimore College (1803).

He represented to Congress the need of a constitutional provision for the protection and maintenance of religious liberty, and doubtless to him, in part, is due the provision in Article Sixth, Section 3, of the Constitution, which declares that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States", and also the first amendment, passed this same year by the first Congress, that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: (for a more cautious view see SHEA, op. cit., 348).

Church troubles, Trusteeism in New York, and Nationalism in Philadelphia, at this time decided the priests of Maryland (March, 1788) to petition Rome for a bishop for the United States. Cardinal Antonelli replied, allowing the priests on the mission to select the city and, for this case only, to name the candidate for presentation to the pope. Twenty-four of the twenty-five other priests in the meeting voted for Father Carroll. Accordingly on 6 November, 1789, Pope Pius VI appointed him bishop. His consecration took place in Mr. Weld's chapel at Lulworth Castle, England, 15 August, 1790, at the hands of the Rt. Rev. Charles Walmesley, Senior Vicar Apostolic of England. Bishop Carroll returned to Baltimore in triumph, 7 December, when he preached an appropriate and touching sermon in St. Peter's church. . . .


There are a number of possibilities as to why Jefferson and Franklin were appreciative of the appointment of John Carroll or of the Carroll family in particular. For David the involvement in Masonry lies front and center, the underlying theme that explains every decision, every friendly interaction btw/ the Carrolls (John, Daniel or Charles) and their non-Catholic friends. But of the many histories of America's founding, I can't say I've read any that many that give credence to this explanation.

The Catholic Enyclopedia tells us that "In February, 1776, the Continental congress appointed Carroll one of a committee of three to visit Canada to secure the alliance of the Canadians in the struggle for independence. Franklin and Samuel Chase were the other members of the committee, and Father John, afterwards Archbishop, Carroll accompanied them." If something influenced Franklin's approval of the Pope's appointment of Father John, it seems to me that a likely explanation would be John Carroll's service to the Continental Congress and support of the Founding.

Christopher said...

To add some external contributions to the discussion, the following article was recommended to me in connection with this discussion (pertaining more to the philosophical and religious roots of the American founding):

"Catholics and The Republic", by Reverend Father Christopher Hunter. The Angelus SSPX Feb. 1987, Vol. X, No. 2.

Fr. Hunter makes some mention of the thought of Bellarmine and his alleged influence on Thomas Jefferson. On this note, see also:

"Catholic Sources of the Declaration of Independence by Rev. John C. Rager The Catholic Mind. XXVIII, no. 13 (July 8, 1930).

and fellow blogger Greg Mockeridge touched on this issue recently in "The Declaration of Independence from a Catholic perspective".

F-TON said...

David,
I have seen you take arrogant and uncharitable positions before to make a point, but this post takes the cake. You are off base and way out of line both in tone and content. My comments below relate to your numbered paragraphs.

1. Look up anachronistic in a dictionary please. No one involved in this discussion, and certainly not Scott, questions what the Magisterium has to say about freemasonry. Please don’t resort to distorting arguments in a vain effort to make a point.

2. Your comments about Scott’s credentials are childish and serve no purpose other than to highlight your desire to speak loudly from a position of ignorance.

3. I repeat -- there was no controversy about Scott’s talk. It was excellent and well received. You are certainly free to disagree with Scott, but a mere disagreement does not make it controversial.

4. See point 1. No one makes the point that the Founding Fathers had a perfect nor a perfectly Catholic understanding of human nature. That they had valuable insights about it is beyond dispute to anyone who cares to examine the record.

Your second paragraph is another strawman. You act as if Scott is suggesting that Sacred Scripture and the other resources you list should be ignored or somehow placed behind Charles Carroll of Carrollton in terms of importance. That is a willful distortion of his point and you know it.

Your third paragraph is yet another strawman. (Do we see a pattern here?) Scott most certainly did not say or imply that the Founding Fathers were unlearned. Quite the contrary. But they had not been steeped in Catholic tradition, had not been educated from a Catholic perspective, and did not look at things in general from a Catholic worldview. Those facts have nothing to do with their intelligence.

Your last paragraph in no. 4 is simply outrageous. Scott most certainly does not “openly mock” the Magisterium, and I am quite certain that he takes it very seriously. Perhaps you should make an effort to do the same. Contrary to popular belief (or at least apparently yours), taking a magisterial teaching, stretching it beyond all recognition and applying it retroactively does not equate to taking the Magisterium seriously.

5. Was Jefferson a mason? I notice that Scott did not refer to him as one in his talk, and from what I can tell, it appears that the weight of the evidence suggests that he was not.

David, you set out to raise some serious and thought-provoking questions in your blogs on this topic. But it is very, very hard to take you seriously at times. Any good points you make get lost in the nonsense. As has been pointed out before, you completely refuse to intellectually engage anyone on this topic. Rather, you are content to simply apply a label to something or someone, and then dismiss it or them completely out of hand without any further thought as if you had somehow exhausted the topic.

To clarify, the point of Scott’s talk was anything but an exaltation of freemasonry. His point (or at least one of them) was that despite the Masonic and Deist backgrounds of many of our founding fathers, it is noteworthy that so much consistent with Catholic thought found its way into our country’s founding. That the only signer of the Declaration with a Catholic education might have had something to do with that is a proposition at least worth considering.

David said...

Christopher - thanks for your comments and the links. We are more or less in agreement.

Tim, brother, lets go point by point.

1. If the Church, the official Magisterium, has ever endorsed Freemasonry please cite me the source. No one is projecting the present into the past - The Church's Tradition on their rejection of Masonry has been consistent throughout history. Neither the Church nor am I being "anachronistic" as you claimed.

2. I personally wrote Scott before your last response and apologized to him. I did ask him to clarify his academic qualifications and I also told him that I would publish anything he would have to say on the topic. Please verify this.

3. You completely and totally ignored the several positive comments I made in regards to his talk, which is unfair. The only thing you did address was the issue of controversy. What makes it so is the content of his talk ( what he actually says in it), which I clearly lay out in paragraph 4 so let's go there.

4.
Point One - We agree, you and I. My point is that the Founding Fathers had a flawed view of human nature, which results in the many things that Scott identifies in my Number 3 above.

Point Two - All that I can go off is WHAT he said. He clearly stated "The political thought of Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the best place for us to begin this inquiry." It's neither the best NOR the first place we should begin. I cannot read his mind. He should be more careful in the things is says.

Point Three - Scott clearly called Our Founding Fathers ignorant. "...They were totally ignorant of the authentic tradition." He treats them as if they knew not what they were doing. That's complete and total bs. They knew exactly what they were doing.

Point Four - Scott makes an attempt, a poor one at that, to water down the influence of Masonry on our Founding. He first states they were "English" masons and not Scottish masons therefore they were ok guys. This distinction between English and Scottish is a completely bogus argument. Does the Church make this distinction between the two? No it doesn't so as to leave no doubts. Scott then goes on to openly mocks the fact that Franklin and Jefferson were not Christian. It is very clear by his own comments how serious he takes the teaching of the Magisterium.

5. Jefferson was not only a Mason, but a Rosicrucian as well. His own religious writings are very, very clear that he can in no way be considered an orthodox Christian by any stretch of the imagination. He directly and explicitly denies the divinity of Christ, etc.

The fatal flaws of the major Founding Fathers thought is very important to discuss so as not to give the impression that Church endorses this style, nor any style, of government. Our salvation lies with Christ through His Church, not through the government of Founding Fathers nor King George II.

David said...

Why not answer the questions that I asked.

What academic qualifications (specific academic background) does Scott have?

Do you take seriously what the Magisterium states in regards to Freemasonry or do you just give it a hand-wave?

Did the Founding Fathers have a correct view of human nature to begin with considering our major Founding Fathers (Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Hamilton, Jay, etc.) were active Masons and therefore not Christians?

How much of [Founding Fathers] thought was true or not true regardless if it was classical, Christian or from the Enlightenment?

Was Catholics working hand-in-hand with Masons [and non-Christians in forming our governement] a good thing or not?

David said...

American "Freedom": Can it Shed Its Enlightenment Roots?

F-TON said...

David,

You state: "If the Church, the official Magisterium, has ever endorsed Freemasonry please cite me the source. No one is projecting the present into the past - The Church's Tradition on their rejection of Masonry has been consistent throughout history. Neither the Church nor am I being "anachronistic" as you claimed."

You imply that I have somewhere suggested that the Church HAS endorsed freemasonry. Wrong. Then you pretend that's really my point, and line yourself up with the Church and imply that I have maintained that the CHURCH is being anachronistic. Wrong again.

You further state that Jefferson was a freemason (I note that you state this much more confidently than any source I've been able to lay my hands on, but that is really beside the point), but go on to suggest that I had somehow suggested that Jefferson was a Christian. Wrong again.

Let me first clarify that I in no way support freemasonry or in any way disagree with what the Church has always taught about freemasonry. I should not have to clarify that for you, David, but since you have deliberately chosen to imply to the contrary others who may read this may have some doubt.

Let me also clarify what I mean when I say that you are being anachronistic.

Today we have the internet and unprecedented access to papal documents. There have been, by my count, 17 papal documents condemning freemasonry and various aspects of it. At the time our country was founded, there were 2 papal documents: Clement XII, Const. "In Eminenti", 28 April, 1738 and Benedict XIV, "Providas", 18 May, 1751. I do not know what access the population at large had to those documents, but I would be surprised if they were generally available and generally read by the population at large.

At the same time -- and Whalen I believe makes this point -- the vast majority of masons are actually quite ignorant of much of what freemasonry teaches. And, I believe, freemasonry itself was in quite a state of flux in the 18th century.

The freemasonry entry at New Advent contains the following statement: "In its religious spirit Anglo-Saxon Masonry after 1730 undoubtedly retrograded towards biblical Christian orthodoxy. [62] This movement is attested by the Christianization of the rituals and by the popularity of the works of Hutchinson, Preston, and Oliver with Anglo-American Masons. It is principally due to the conservatism of English-speaking society in religious matters, to the influence of ecclesiastical members and to the institution of "lodge chaplains" mentioned in English records since 1733. [63]

Scott's point distinguishing (at a very high level -- this was a short talk and masonry was not the topic) between two different types of masonry was not to suggest that one was ok and the other was not. The point of fact is that some masonic organizations undoubtedly looked and felt more "Christian" than others.

It is certainly possible to me that Catholics in the 18th century could have become involved with masonry with no intention of being disobedient to the Magisterium, and no intent of disavowing their Catholicism. Even if they had read the two papal documents that had been issued at that time (I have not) it is certainly conceivable to me that they could have believed that the particular type of masonry they were involved with did not suffer from the evils that were being condemned by the Magisterium.

None of this is to say that being involved in masonry was a good idea. But to suggest that everyone who has ever entered a lodge door necessarily checked their Christianity, or their Catholicism, at the door is disingenuous.

F-TON said...

David,

Lest you think that I have intentionally dodged any of your comments or questions. I will address a few more of them.

"Point Two - All that I can go off is WHAT he said. He clearly stated "The political thought of Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the best place for us to begin this inquiry." It's neither the best NOR the first place we should begin. I cannot read his mind. He should be more careful in the things is says."

David, if you cannot recognize a literary device when you see it, then perhaps you are not as intelligent as I believe you are. If he had said it was raining cats and dogs would you have had him prove that furry animals were falling from the sky?

"Point Three - Scott clearly called Our Founding Fathers ignorant. "...They were totally ignorant of the authentic tradition." He treats them as if they knew not what they were doing. That's complete and total bs. They knew exactly what they were doing."

You have twisted his words and ascribed a meaning to them that he clearly had not intended. The founding fathers -- for the reasons I have set out before -- were no doubt ignorant of authentic Catholic tradition. Do you really doubt that?

"Scott then goes on to openly mocks the fact that Franklin and Jefferson were not Christian. It is very clear by his own comments how serious he takes the teaching of the Magisterium."

I am honestly not certain what you are trying to say in the first sentence. I never interpreted anything Scott said to even imply that Franklin or Jefferson were Christian. As to "openly mock[ing] the fact that [they] were not Christian" -- what does that even mean? And your last sentence their is a very serious, and seriously flawed, charge. And I repeat, you are very out of line in leveling it.

"What academic qualifications (specific academic background) does Scott have?"

You have asked him and I will let him answer. I will point out, though, that job of a librarian is to RESEARCH things.

"Do you take seriously what the Magisterium states in regards to Freemasonry or do you just give it a hand-wave?"

I've already answered that, but then again, you knew the answer to that question. Again, that is an irresponsible suggestion and it is not the level or argument you should be engaging in.

"Did the Founding Fathers have a correct view of human nature to begin with considering our major Founding Fathers (Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Hamilton, Jay, etc.) were active Masons and therefore not Christians?"

I take issue with your "therefore" proposition for the reasons in my previous post. But I repeat, it is beyond dispute that several of the Founding Fathers were not Christian. I also have no doubt that they nonetheless had several very valuable insights into human nature. The Church admits that -- why can't you?

"How much of [Founding Fathers] thought was true or not true regardless if it was classical, Christian or from the Enlightenment?"

I agree that this is a relevant question, but I see no point in any of your posts where you've actually tried to address this question.

"Was Catholics working hand-in-hand with Masons [and non-Christians in forming our governement] a good thing or not?"

Since masons and non-Christians were going to form the government with our without the involvement of Catholics, I would not hesitate to answer that question "Yes."

F-TON said...

For what it is worth, an EWTN post regarding masonry contained this explanation:

"Eight different popes in 17 different pronouncements, and at least six different local councils, condemned Freemasonry. The Church made its first official statement about Freemasonry in 1738, when Pope Clement XII (r. 1730-40) condemned the practices of the Lodges that were then multiplying in Catholic lands. His condemnation was followed by that of Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58) in a 1751 bull. The pontiff also persuaded Empress Maria Teresa of Austria to close the lodges in her empire. It took many years for the full weight of the papal condemnations to reach every diocese of the Church. The bulls were sometimes never promulgated by some bishops who saw no need; others never understood their import; and still more never received the decree. In Ireland, for example, priests and laypeople were members for decades after the bulls were promulgated out of ignorance of the condemnation. Indeed, a Catholic, Lord Robert Edward Petre (d. 1801) was grand master of the English Lodge as late as 1772. In the Colonies, a similar situation existed. In the early 19th century, starting with Pope Pius VI (r. 1800-23), the popes issued numerous condemnations and made much more clear the Church’s opposition to the secret society."

David said...

I refer everyone to a post over at Christopher's The Church and The Liberal Tradition Blog - Charles Carroll and the American Founding

Considering Tim's recent comments above, a few points are necessary before moving onto the bigger picture here.

Tim, you made the claim that I was being "anachronistic" which you have failed to explain or prove. I was just responding to your claim against me. Very simply, the Masonic Lodge was an evil organization in the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and remains so today. The Church officially teaches it's an organization of Satan. Bishop Carroll was aware of this teaching against Masonry by the Vatican, but chose to ignore it. This should concern you. Most importantly though, why does the Church teach what it does about Masonry? Why does the Church teach one cannot be a Mason and a Catholic?

In regards to Jefferson I would just make the recommendation to read his own writings on religion. Read them Tim and then come back to me. I can provide the names of books (& page numbers) with his original writings on religion.

In regards to the history of Freemasonry, I'll make it short. Masonry adopts the Holy Book of the country in which the local lodge is located. America was Christian therefore it was the Bible and had Christian Chaplains. In a Muslim country, it would be the Koran, Muslim Chaplains, etc. Freemasonry is not a Christian organization, it's an Occult organization regardless of where it's located in the world or the ethnicity of it's members. This is a major flaw in your thinking and Scott's.

I would make the recommendation that Scott says "the political thought of Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the best place for [Catholics] to begin" when studying the thought of our Founding Fathers.

"The founding fathers... were no doubt ignorant of authentic Catholic tradition. Do you really doubt that?" Not nearly to the extent that Scott claims. Franklin, Jefferson and Madison were very learned men and had very solid classical educations. They knew the Christian tradition much better than you give them credit for.

I would make the recommendation that Scott rewrites the last two-three pages of his Dallas talk for future audiences. I think we are more in agreement than not and I want to refocus on what's important here. I value Scott's work (which includes valid criticisms) and the discussion that has resulted b/c of it.

Once again Tim you have ignored my positive comments about Scott's talk (especially the flaws of Jefferson's & other Founders' thought, etc.), which I consider to be his most important points of the entire talk! Of a 19 page talk (really 18 pages with a few lines on the 19th), I had no problems with 12+ pages. Only a few points, especially his last part, did a I take issue with as I have clearly laid out above.

Christopher and I agree that some of the most important questions that we should be asking ourselves are the following:

How much of [Founding Fathers] thought was true or not true regardless if it was from classical, Christian, Masonic or Enlightenment sources?

If there were flaws in Our Founding Fathers thinking, what are they and is it possible to fix them?

Lastly, I would make the recommendation that you and Scott read David L. Schindler, Tracey Rowland, Alasdair McIntyre, and the entire camp of Radical Orthodoxy thinkers (John Milbank, etc.) to understand more fully the ontological and metaphyical problems that exist within modernity, liberalism, capitalism, etc.

David said...

In our country, the root of many of the problems lie in the flaws of our Founding Fathers' thinking who were greatly influenced by Masonic/Enlightment thought.

F-TON said...

David,

You said:

"Bishop Carroll was aware of this teaching against Masonry by the Vatican, but chose to ignore it."

"Chose to ignore it" is a strong charge. If I didn't know you better, I'd ask for your evidence on that point, but I am rather certain based on past experience that you have none other than your presupposition. If I am wrong on that point, please forgive me and let me consider your evidence.

"In regards to Jefferson I would just make the recommendation to read his own writings on religion. Read them Tim and then come back to me. I can provide the names of books (& page numbers) with his original writings on religion."

Unless those writings tell me that he was a freemason, what point should I be reading them for? Given that there is widespread controversy among those who care about the topic on the question of whether or not Jefferson, was a freemason, I will indeed be surprised if he claims to be one in his own writings. If you are still laboring under the misimpression that I am classifying Jefferson as a Christian, I would simply have to question your ability to read and process information.

"In regards to the history of Freemasonry, I'll make it short. Masonry adopts the Holy Book of the country in which the local lodge is located. America was Christian therefore it was the Bible and had Christian Chaplains. In a Muslim country, it would be the Koran, Muslim Chaplains, etc. Freemasonry is not a Christian organization, it's an Occult organization regardless of where it's located in the world or the ethnicity of it's members. This is a major flaw in your thinking and Scott's."

David -- this confirms it. You simply cannot read and understand what other people have to say. TO REPEAT: I AM NOT NOW QUESTIONING, NOR HAVE I EVER QUESTIONED WITH YOU OR ON THIS SITE, THE FACT THAT FREEMASONRY IS AN OCCULT ORGANIZATION WHICH CATHOLICS ARE PRECLUDED FROM JOINING. NOR DO I DISAGREE WITH ANY OF THE REASONS GIVEN FOR THAT ASSESSMENT.

If you're going to argue, at least TRY and figure out what the argument is about for Pete's sake.

"They knew the Christian tradition much better than you give them credit for." Are you now contending that there was no difference in the 18th century between the Protestant Christian tradition and the Catholic Christian tradition? I somehow doubt it, but I don't know how to make sense out of your comment otherwise. I have no doubt that they were very familiar with Protestant Christianity and its traditions, but I do have serious doubts that they were at all in tune in any serious sense with Catholic tradition. I have certainly read nothing (other than your posts) to suggest that they were.

"How much of [Founding Fathers] thought was true or not true regardless if it was from classical, Christian, Masonic or Enlightenment sources? If there were flaws in Our Founding Fathers thinking, what are they and is it possible to fix them?"

I will repeat what I said before. You can SAY that these are your questions all you want, but I have not seen you make any attempt, in any of your posts on this topic, try to address these questions.

David said...

Tim,

I stated that "Bishop Carroll was aware of this teaching against Masonry by the Vatican, but chose to ignore it." - Refer to Christopher's first comment above, which comes directly from Whalen's Christianity and American Freemasonry.

Please read the following in it's entirety - Masonry in US History -- through 1846 (BACKGROUND, HISTORY, AND INFLUENCE TO 1846). This article is only the "tip of the iceberg" of historical evidence of the influence that Freemasonry had on our founding as a country. Read this entire document, please. On no less than two occasions it explicitly and directly claims that Jefferson was a Mason and this is not the only source I can provide you...

Not one time have I ever stated that you, Tim, believe that Jefferson as a Christian. You have built a paper tower to tear it down.

You missed my whole point in regards to the appearance that the Anglo-American Masonic was "Christian." The Masonic Lodge, regardless if it's American, European, or wherever it's located in the world, is an Occult Secret Society. One should not ignore the impact it had on the thought of John Locke (who became a Mason himself... read the above link) and in the thought of the majority of our major Founding Fathers.

I asked the following questions. "How much of [Founding Fathers] thought was true or not true regardless if it was from classical, Christian, Masonic or Enlightenment sources? If there were flaws in Our Founding Fathers thinking, what are they and is it possible to fix them?" Tim, as I've clearly laid out above, this is what I found of most value in Scott's talk especially in regards to "how he fleshed out the fatal errors in the thought of the Founding Fathers." Re-read my paragraph 3 considering you have completely ignored my positive comments about Scott's talk.

As you stated Tim, "the point of Scott's talk was that despite the Masonic and Deist backgrounds of many of our founding fathers, it is noteworthy that so much consistent with Catholic thought found its way into our country's founding." Scott even goes on in this same vain to state "the Founding Fathers... reinvented the Catholic political tradition." God save us if this is true. I would argue, as many others much smarter than I do as well, that the Masonic/Enlightenment influences far outweigh whatever "authentic [Catholic] tradition accidentallyly made its way into our Founding documents and structures of government.

F-TON said...

"Was Thomas Jefferson a Freemason? This question has been asked by Masons and others and not conclusively answered for 200 years. In 1960, Brother William R. Denslow, Masonic scholar and editor of the Transactions of the Missouri Lodge of Research, concluded that Jefferson was not a Mason, saying all claims for his membership are based on association or insinuation, with no proof by records.

Thomas Jefferson was often in Masonic company. His son-in-law Governor of Virginia Thomas M. Randolph, his favorite grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph, and nephews Peter and Samuel Carr were all members of Door to Virtue Lodge No. 44, Albemarle County, Virginia. Freemasons such as Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Lafayette, and Jean Houdon were some of his closest associates in Europe. Masons whom he admired in America included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, John Paul Jones, James Madison, James Monroe, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Brother Denslow showed that Jefferson was reported by Dr. Joseph Guillotin to have attended meetings of the Lodge of Nine Muses in Paris; that he had marched in a Masonic procession with Widow’s Son Lodge No. 60 and Charlottesville Lodge No. 90 on October 6, 1817, at the cornerstone laying of Central College (now the University of Virginia); that the Grand Lodges of South Carolina and Louisiana held funeral orations and processions for him following his death on July 4, 1826; and that a Blue Lodge at Surry Court House, Virginia, was named Jefferson Lodge No. 65 in 1801.

The many details of Jefferson’s public and private life, as well as all facets of his philosophy, have been thoroughly explored. Preserved and now available for examination are over 25,000 letters from his friends and acquaintances as well as 18,000 copies of his own letters and records. The latter were made with letter presses and polygraph machines of Jefferson’s own invention. The Princeton University book The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, now in 24 volumes, covers letters and records for the years 1760 to 1792. The indexes to those volumes, which report details of personal expenditures, daily activities, meetings attended, and friends and associates contacted, show no reference to Freemasonry."

F-TON said...

David,

I did refer to Christopher's comment regarding Bishop Carroll above, and to Whalen's book. I see no support in either for your statement that he ignored any Vatican teaching regarding masonry.

F-TON said...

David,

In direct response to my comments on Jefferson you stated:

"5. Jefferson was not only a Mason, but a Rosicrucian as well. His own religious writings are very, very clear that he can in no way be considered an orthodox Christian by any stretch of the imagination. He directly and explicitly denies the divinity of Christ, etc."

The only logical inference that can be drawn from your last two sentences is that I had somehow implied Jefferson was a Christian.

AND

"In regards to Jefferson I would just make the recommendation to read his own writings on religion. Read them Tim and then come back to me. I can provide the names of books (& page numbers) with his original writings on religion."

Again, since Jefferson's writings do not contain any evidence to support that he was a mason, you must be instructing me to read them for some other purpose. Again, the only logical inference is that I will see the light afterward that he was not really a Christian.

There may be a paper tower, my friend, but it is one of your own making.

As for your internet source regarding Jefferson's masonry, I did run across that in the middle of about ten others of similar weight that ruled out Jefferson being a mason. Believe what you want, but I would personally prefer to have a little more in my corner before I started putting my neck out like that and stating that he was definitely a mason.

F-TON said...

David,

You state:

"You missed my whole point in regards to the appearance that the Anglo-American Masonic was "Christian." The Masonic Lodge, regardless if it's American, European, or wherever it's located in the world, is an Occult Secret Society. One should not ignore the impact it had on the thought of John Locke (who became a Mason himself... read the above link) and in the thought of the majority of our major Founding Fathers."

Let's take a look at what your point was in, in context. When you made the point, you said:

"In regards to the history of Freemasonry, I'll make it short. Masonry adopts the Holy Book of the country in which the local lodge is located. America was Christian therefore it was the Bible and had Christian Chaplains. In a Muslim country, it would be the Koran, Muslim Chaplains, etc. Freemasonry is not a Christian organization, it's an Occult organization regardless of where it's located in the world or the ethnicity of it's members. This is a major flaw in your thinking and Scott's."

What is the "major flaw" in my thinking that you are so charitably pointing out? (Let's leave Scott out of it for the moment.) I had already made the point that masonry in the U.S. looked "Christian." The reason I made that point -- combined with the evidence that the Vatican teachings were neither widely known nor necessarily clear in application at the time (the reason for 15 additional statements was, at least in part, to CLARIFY) -- was to demonstrate that it was certainly possible that Catholics (or other Christians) could have associated with masonry at the time and (1) not understood what the masonic teachings were, (2) not understood what the Vatican teachings about masonry at the time were, and (3) not abandoned their Catholicism or their Christianity. I DID NOT STATE THEN AND I REPEAT AGAIN HERE THAT MASONRY WAS NOT CHRISTIAN THEN AND IT IS NOT CHRISTIAN NOW. Thus, the obvious "flaw" in my reasoning that you were trying to correct simply was not there.

The point had nothing to do with Locke or the influence of masonry on the founding fathers.

David -- let me be real clear here. I AM NOT DISPUTING THE UNDENIABLE FACT THAT FREEMASONRY IS INSIDIOUS OR THAT IT HAD A SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON THE FOUNDING FATHERS.

You started this post with the comment:

"One cannot be a Mason and a Catholic. Which was more important for the Carroll's, Masonry or Catholicism? History shows it was Masonry, which is logical considering their very good relations with the other leading American Masons of their day which includes Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton & Washington."

In the 18th century this was not the clear take-it-or-leave-it proposition you make it out to be. You call one Carroll a mason, lump all the Carrolls in with them as if they all necessarily rejected their Catholicism because they associated with "known masons." You have ABSOLUTELY NO BASIS for the statement that "their" masonry was more important to them than their Catholicism.

Is it prudent to take notice of the masonic connections? Yes. But the draconian conclusions you draw from limited facts and limited evidence is entirely unwarranted. And it is at least equally prudent to take notice of the undeniably Catholic characteristics that were present in the founding of this country. THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT IT WAS PERFECTLY CATHOLIC. That is to say that some CATHOLIC influence is umistakably present. That this is due, at least in part, to the only Catholic among the Founding Fathers is, in my opinion, an entirely sane and reasonable proposition. (To the extent sanity and reason have any place in this argument.)

David said...

Tim, I think you would agree on the following points.

1. Various Masonic & Enlightenment thinkers influenced (some to a greater and some to a lesser degree) the thought and actions of our Founding Fathers.
2. Our Founding Fathers had serious flaws in their thinking (i.e. Jefferson), which resulted in helping to cause many of the problems that we now have today (i.e. abortion, sodomy, etc.) as Scott so clearly pointed out in his talk.
3. The Catholic Church teaches that the Masonic Lodge is an evil (Satanic) organization. There are many, many reasons why the Church teaches what it does about Masonry (i.e. a religion of naturalism, a secret society, etc.), but this is not in question or doubted.
4. The majority of our major Founding Fathers were active (historically documented) Masons (Franklin, Washington, Madison, & Hamilton, among many others).

My main point (as its always been on this topic) is that I argue, as many others much smarter than I do as well, that the Masonic/Enlightenment influences far outweigh whatever "authentic [Catholic] tradition" accidentally (as Scott claims) made its way into our Founding documents and structures of government.

Scott spends a large portion of his talk explaining the very large influence that Montesquieu had on many of our major Founding Fathers. What he fails to explain is that Montesquieu had a poor understanding of many Catholic beliefs and had publicly criticized the Catholic Church on more than one occasion. I refer you to the Catholic Encyclopedia - Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. Montesquieu was also a historically documented Mason along with Hobbes, Locke, Hume and other major Enlightenment thinkers who so influenced the thought of our Founding Fathers. Enlightenment thought was taught and promulgated in the Masonic Lodges of Europe. In fact, one could argue reasonably, that the Masonic Lodge in Europe was the primary means (at minimum a major contributor) of how Enlightenment thought was disseminated. The Church recognized this very early on and did what it could to battle it. More on that below.

No qualifications have ever been given for Scott except for what we already knew from the beginning. He's wrote a historical book and is giving speeches on a historical topic of which we don't even know what, if any, qualifications he has to do so. He lacks in credibility to be pontificating about historical issues. His so-called "research" abilities need great improvement.

In regards to the Carrolls, I assume you admit that Daniel (John's brother) was an active Mason. I assume that you admit that Bishop Carroll was very aware of the various censures of the Holy See against Freemasonry. Why did he choose to not impose these censures in the U.S.? There could be a number of different reasons. (1) It would have resulted in the excommunication of at least his brother (and the possibility of himself and his cousin Charles if they were Masons) plus many other people whom he considered friends. (2) The political backlash against Catholics would have worsened the possibility of religious freedom for them in the U.S.

In regards to Jefferson being a Mason, I have a preponderance of evidence from a number of different sources (at least two separate Masonic & one independent scholarly study) that proves Jefferson was not only a Mason, but a Granter Master Rosacrucian as well. First let's consider the evidence that Jefferson was a Mason. Jefferson was made a Mason in France therefore there would be no documentary evidence of his initiation here in the U.S., but here is what we do know. The Masonic Bible, which is awarded to all Masons when they are raised to the 3d degree, Master Mason (which is the highest level any Mason can ever receive) clearly states that there is "unmistakable evidence that he was an active mason." These include records of his name as a visitor in a cornerstone-laying ceremony and references in twenty-nine issues of Masonic journals to his status as a Mason. Not to mention Jefferson's humanitarian beliefs were harmonious with eighteenth-century Masonry. For those that are not familiar with the Occult, Freemasonry is the "minor-league" and Rosicrucianism is the "major league." Documents have been discovered in the above-mentioned papers of Jefferson (which you tried to use to discredit him being a Mason), which are clearly Rosicrucian. Who are my sources considering yours go unmentioned (i.e. the Brother William R. Denslow piece) - The MIT.edu document, which you prematurely discount, but must admit that it states what I made claims about and much more. The Masonic Bible awarded to all Master Masons is another source and lastly, Dr. Robert Hieronimus. Dr. Hieronimus' doctoral thesis was on this topic. His research has been used in speeches, literature, and the libraries of the White House, the State Department, and the Department of Interior. Tim, I'm happy that you also admit and agree with me that Jefferson was not a Christian. If you read his own religious writings, you will gain a deeper understanding on how anti-Christian and unorthodox his thought was. Jefferson was a major Founding Father (Decl. of Independence, etc.) and President of the United States. It's important to get inside his mind, his thinking process and the flaws therein to understand his actions.

You claim that the Masonic Lodge looks "Christian." Looking Christian and being orthodox is two different things. Masonry, as you admit, is not Christian so let's just move on. You also state that "the vast majority of masons are actually quite ignorant of much of what freemasonry teaches. And, I believe, freemasonry itself was in quite a state of flux in the 18th century." Both points are complete nonsense. It's impossible to go through the rites and all the memorization it requires and not understand what you're saying and doing. Masonry was very vibrant in 18th century America. Refer below to just get an idea how strong it really was before and during the Revolution. If there was a "state of flux" it was in the year 1826 during the Anti-Masonic excitement involving William Morgan.

What follows are a few interesting facts in regards to Masonry that you or others might find interesting. This data mostly comes straight out of the Masonic Bible awarded to all Master Masons and a little data also from Whalen.

Modern Freemasonry (speculative) formally began in 1717.

The first edict against Freemasonry was the Bull of Pope Clement XII, April 24, 1738 (21 years after the birth of the modern lodge). It forbid any pious Catholic from uniting with the Masonic Lodge under severest penalties of ecclesiastical excommunication.

Since the first papal condemnation of Freemasonry, there has been no less than 17 separate pronouncements by eight different popes. Any Catholic who joins the Masonic lodge incurs automatic excommunication and any Mason wishing to enter the Church must sever all connections with the lodge.

Koran: What is it? The sacred book of the Mohammedans. In a lodge consisting wholly of Mohammedians, it would be esteemed as the book of the Law, and take the place on the altar occupied in Christian Lodges by the Bible.

What is the earliest mention made of it in America? John Moore came from England to South Carolina in 1680. A letter written by him in 1715 says he spent a few evenings with Masonic brothers.

What are the three oldest Lodges on the North American Continent? Boston - 1733, Charleston (SC) & Savannah (GA) - both in 1735

Where was the first Masonic Hall erected in America? Philadelphia in 1734

Masonically, what may be said of the Boston Tea Party? It had its installation in a Masonic Lodge Room; all participating in the raid, were Masons

How many signers of the Declaration of Independence were Masons? Fifty-three (53!)

Who was the first Master of Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22, Alexandria, Va.? George Washington

Where was Washington initiated? Fredricksburg, Va., in 1752

What distinguished French officer in the Revolutionary War was a Mason? Marquis de Lafayette, who was made a Mason in the army Lodge at Valley Forge by Washington himself.

Who presented Washington with an embroidered satin apron? Madame Lafayette. The apron was conveyed by the Marquis from Paris to General Washington at Mt. Vernon. It is preserved by the Washington Benevolent Society at Philadelphia, and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. It is the most prized relic of Masonry in the U.S.

Washington: Did he ever hold the office of Grand Master? While the army for independence was encamped at winter quarters (1779) in Morristown, New Jersey, he was unanimously elected the Grand Master of Masons of the American Colonies. He is considered the first and only Grand Master of American Freemasons, and was at that time considered the most eminent Mason of his time.

F-TON said...

David,

I am personally appalled at the tenor and substance of your personal attacks on Scott, and they are both unwarranted and uncalled for. That the tone of those attacks comes from someone whom I consider to be a good friend and a faithful Catholic is even more disconcerting. I therefore regretfully believe that the time has come to end this discussion -- or at least my participation in it.

David said...

Tim,

Once again you have failed to give any qualifications for Scott whom you are defending. I asked repeatedly for any information about his background, which deals directly with his CREDIBILITY as an author and public speaker. Why is this TOP-SECRET? What's the problem here? As a lawyer you understand how important credibility is for those that you defend.

You have also failed to recognize ANY of the positive things that I have repeatedly stated that I appreciated about Scott's talk. Not one time, not one time, did you even acknowledge them even after repeated efforts and opportunities for you to do so. The glass is half-empty to you. Most importantly and in all fairness to Scott, he has been given the opportunity to respond on this blog. The invitation still stands.

You, Tim, on the other hand have directly challenged my integrity and inferred that I was just making up facts. I have ignored your personal attacks against me and have repeatedly proven you wrong by being able to provide authors, names of books, & even on-line articles. I will even provide the page numbers if you desire. One must be able to verify the information being discussed so it can be judged.

Observer said...

Membership in the Lodge is of little consequence if some of our founding fathers thought like Masons and imbibed the same errors and spirit of the Enlightenment. It is the philosophy, the thinking, which is of consequence...and David is surely right in concluding Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy and attitudes toward Christianity were in the same vein as Freemasonry, member or not.

Freemasonry today as an institutional network need not be as ideologically zealous as its early members, for the philosophy has spread throught the entire West and beyond. Fish need not think of the water they swim in.

Colonel Bogey said...

Virtually all American and British Masons join for purely social reasons, and not because they are interested in the occult.

Several of George III's sons and other close relatives were Masons, just like the Founders of the Republic, so it seems odd that anyone could think that the issue of American independence turned on any desire to set up a "Masonic" order of society.