I'm still here in the Mid West, offering up the sweltering heat. My plate is very full with family matters, so my poor brain can only tackle this poaced egg of a question:
I would love to have you write about the Freemasons, there seems to be confusion among many about the Churches stance, thought it is quite clear. I've had an ongoing 'kind' debate with a friend about this. She supports it and has a very cavalier attitude towards it.
Okay, I'll bite. I'm guessing that since you have an ongoing friendly argument, that you are aware of what the Church's stance is: Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic Church.
I'm not sure what her cavalier attitude is about. Perhaps she doesn't give a fig about the Freemasons. What's their deal, anyhow? Aren't they the ones that drive around on those tiny bikes in those funny hats during parades. Who even likes parades? I would like to meet the person who invented parades and ask him what made him think watching people in hot coats with tubas marching by would be any fun for anyone.
I, for one, have never understood the appeal of a parade, except for the opportunity to offer up the pain of your standing there craning your neck for more than an hour to watch the high school band march by and people in convertables waving for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. I can find a wooden kneeler to get the same affect. I can go kneel on dried peas.
I've never paid much attention to the Freemasons myself, except to pray for their immortal souls, because I know they are incompatible with the Catholic Church and have been since the 18th century. Three hundred years should be enough time for anyone to get it through their thick skulls that Freemasonry is off the Catholic "to-do" list.
Back then and for years to come, Catholics joining the Freemasons were excommunicated. Today, Catholics joining the Freemasons have to join with that guy who ran for president in the 'do not administer Communion to" room. I think that still means you're excommunicated, since you can't receive Communion because you are not 'in unity' with the Church. I never see them call it excommunication any more. I think that word scares everybody. EXCOMMUNICATED! So now they don't tell you you are excommunicated. But you are. As far as I can tell.
That ought to put a damper on her cavalier attitude. Although I have a feeling that her frivolity is due to one of two things.
1. Every once in a while some priest somewhere takes it upon himself to say that it's okay for Catholics to join the Mason. Apparently fooled by the tiny scooters, these men seem to think the Freemasons are harmless fun. A charity group, maybe, like The Loyal Order of the Moose. They stand corrected.
2. She can't stand parades anymore than I can. By that I mean, she has no real contact with Freemasons and doesn't know anyone who does and so...who cares about those people? Just because she doesn't like parades she feels she shouldn't rain on anyone else's.
Or maybe she is hoping one of them will come over and fix her retaining wall at no charge.