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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rain on the Parade

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.


Unknown said...

Ah, SMM, thank you for the morning belly laugh!

God bless,

Anonymous said...

My grandparents were Masons (for the gals it's called Eastern Stars; for girls it's called Rainbow Girls) . . . They are both deceased now, but I pray for their souls. The Church put out a book on the masons (maybe even a few books), but the one I read is called: The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita by John Vennari (A Mason Blueprint for the Subversion of The Catholic Church).

Look, when are people going to go back to just TRUSTING and FOLLOWING what Our Church says?!? It's baffling, but it seems like everyone these days has to put their hands on the hot stove just to be sure it's hot. C'mon! If Mother Church says "NO", no means no. Accept it. Sure, find out WHY if you must, but accept it.

My grandfather's funeral was Lutheran (because my mum insisted on a Christian burial), but he wanted to be buried in his stupid (Mason) apron and have them guys come out. They did, and they did some nutty "earth" service with stupid fir tree branches. Talk about weird. The crows loved it. There were three of them cawing in the sky during that part. When the pastor prayed and recited John 3:16, I swear to God, a bald eagle flew overhead. Even nature cried out to the REAL God.

If you are Catholic, stay away from Masons. Trust Our Church.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the guys with the little bikes Shriners?

Anonymous said...

Maybe she's confused because in places like Ft. Wayne the Masons give money to the Catholic hospital, for a general 'huh?' moment. My grandfather was an anticatholic mason, my grandmother was a catholic convert. Nobody rode little scooters. :)

Anonymous said...

If you go to www.shrinershq.org and look under HISTORY, you will read a quote that says (in the body of the description): "What they may not know is that ALL Shriners share a MASONIC heritage: each is a Master Mason in the Freemasonry Fraternity." (Emphasis mine).

The scooters dudes are Masons. My grandparents were philanthropic and always said it was because of the Mason ideology. I commented earlier about grandpa's funeral. Let me tell you, the Masons are a strange lot - even if they do some nice things through the Shriners hospital. In fact, the site I referred you to says somewhere in the body where I quoted from that You can't share in all they have to offer unless you are one of them.

Anonymous said...

Also, if you look around at that above site, you will see the breakdown of their leadership. The names of some of these groups are weird: Zenobia, Moolah, Alzafar, Rameses, El Jebel, Egypt, Bahia. What does all that mean? And, why do they have that middle-Eastern blade and star and it's red?!?

I looked at their head honcho's bio and he's a graduate of Loyola and Oh, goodness! I mean, I know no-Catholics can go to Catholic schools, but I've know Catholics who are Masons, too. They either don't know or don't care.

Amy said...

What I have read of the about the Masons scares me beyond belief. My borther and his family are deeply wrapped up in it all. Any orgainization that doesn't allow you to say the name of Jesus is not a safe orgainization.

Nurseco said...

I have many relatives who are/were Masons. They were not Catholics, but considered themselves to be Christians. I honestly don't believe that they knew how ungodly it really was. Masons require a belief in a higher power or being but it can be any higher power, including Lucifer (and Lucifer has been specifically mentioned in some Mason publications). 'Nuff said? While I believe in accepting the teaching of the Church, I think it's also important to know WHY. Sounds like a little kid with her mom, I suppose, but, in some cases, "Because I said so" isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

I think the Masons are a fraternity house for people old enough to know better, and they dress it up in all sorts of occult nonsense to exclude people. I don't subscribe to Satanism hysteria, but I think there is a sin of pride thing going on there.

Anonymous said...

Even though I did say earlier that if you need to know WHY, by all means do the research - then you will know what to say if someone questions why you believe a certain teaching or not. That should be true of anything, but I am a Catholic who wants to know the Why's, which is why I bought that above mentioned book on Masons. I didn't want to know why because I wanted to join Eastern Stars or anything, but to understand what the Church teaches . . . also to find out if there was anything written by Catholics about the Masons that I've read from Protestant/Evangelicals on the matter. The P&E's pretty much condemn Masons to hell and talk about the satanic rituals etc. Of course, it's very disturbing! The book I mentioned was based on actual writings and understandings of Mason's wanting to subvert Catholicism, which is also disturbing. The difference? Church teaching condemns the PRACTICE OF, not the PERSON. It's more merciful.

"Because I said so" isn't enough for most people, I agree, but on the other hand, having faith that the Church has good reasons for her teachings is good practice.

Greg Stewart said...

Just as you mention parades, so to is the question of Freemasonry just a mater of opinion at the time. Parades, as boring as they may seem today, served a vital role in society in an era of no television and greater civic pride.

But to the topic at hand, several Papal documents have mentioned that Freemasonry is incompatible with Catholicism, one penned by the present Pope in fact, but then this is the same seat that at one time was known to sell salvation and even today harbor pederasts, but it seems little it written to condemn those things.

Personally, I see it as an argument of control. Anything that promotes an air of ecumenical ideology can’t be good for the universal church, right? Isn’t it just about there really being only one true path? Or perhaps all roads do lead to Rome.

Anonymous said...

Could you at least site in your comments, Masonic Traveler, which Papal documents you got your information from?

If some one is Catholic, it (Freemasonry) is NOT a matter of opinion. Either you believe everything the Church teaches (dogma/doctrine) or you are a Cafeteria Catholic or some other religion.

Ecumenism is a good thing - because Christians (and other faiths) can meet where we agree. However, as a Catholic, we cannot just say that our Faith is just as good as a Lutheran's or some other denomination or even a Buddhist. Catholics have the FULLNESS of the deposit of Faith Christ gave the Church. However, like Fr. Groeschel once said, my hats are off to those other faiths who do so much with the few sacraments they do have. This is where the faiths meet, that is ecumenical.

Traveling Man said...


You had asked for citations for the documents issued by the Catholic Church against Freemasonry.

I point you first to Humanum Genus written by Leo VII:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18840420_humanum-genus_en.html. It should be pointed out that the document condemns much of what I believe makes America great "Then come their doctrines of politics, in which the naturalists lay down that all men have the same right, and are in every respect of equal and like condition; that each one is naturally free; that no one has the right to command another; that it is an act of violence to require men to obey any authority other than that which is obtained from themselves."

The present Pope had the following to say:

"The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.... Consequently, neither the excommunication nor the other penalties envisaged have been abrogated." -Cardinal Ratzinger, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 26, 1983

I am a Master Mason, and I can tell you without the least equivocation that Freemasonry has no agenda involving the destruction of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

22. Then come their doctrines of politics, in which the naturalists lay down that all men have the same right, and are in every respect of equal and like condition; that each one is naturally free; that no one has the right to command another; that it is an act of violence to require men to obey any authority other than that which is obtained from themselves. According to this, therefore, all things belong to the free people; power is held by the command or permission of the people, so that, when the popular will changes, rulers may lawfully be deposed and the source of all rights and civil duties is either in the multitude or in the governing authority when this is constituted according to the latest doctrines. It is held also that the State should be without God; that in the various forms of religion there is no reason why one should have precedence of another; and that they are all to occupy the same place.

23. That these doctrines are equally acceptable to the Freemasons, and that they would wish to constitute States according to this example and model, is too well known to require proof. For some time past they have openly endeavoured to bring this about with all their strength and resources; and in this they prepare the way for not a few bolder men who are hurrying on even to worse things, in their endeavor to obtain equality and community of all goods by the destruction of every distinction of rank and property.

To give the full quote in the middle of this document.

Unknown said...

Thank Sister Mary Martha!

As a Catholic who has strayed from home, I prayed before I googled in a desperate attempt to find a patron saint. Your blogs were first out of the hopper. Thank you for being who you are in devotion to Jesus, because he answered my prayer through your words.Thank you for being there when I needed you,when Jesus needed to work through you. I have been reading and reading...just thankful to God that I had enough sense left to reach out.

Anonymous said...

The Masons seem to have died out two generations back, given that nearly everyone here says their grandparents were Masons.

As it happens, MY maternal grandfather was a mason also. I don't see how he could have been forbidden to say the name of Jesus, as I heard him say "Jesus Christ" many times, usually when he was upset with my grandmother. Her name was Francis, and he called her "Frankie". Many, many times I heard him say, "Jesus CHRIST Frankie, can't you leave me in peace for five minutes?" or "Jesus CHRIST Frankie, put down that damned Bible. I'm trying to eat."

Of course, they weren't Catholics, any more than I am. They were Christian Scientists. In fact, Grandmother was a Christian Science Practitioner, which is why she thrust her Bible quotes, along with her Mary Baker Eddy quotes, at us far more than we needed. (Actually, since we didn't need such nonsense at all, any was more than we needed.)

Me? I escaped it all. Not a Catholic, not a Mormon (Dad's family was Mormon), not a Christian Scientist (Were I a Christian Scientist, I'd have died 10 years back, instead of having open heart surgery and living.), not a Mason. I get to tell myself what to think.

Anonymous said...

My neighbor is a Mason - there are several on this military base who are Masons - they aren't a thing of the past.

Mason's are free to express themselves, alright, just like anyone else.

That said, EVERYONE gets to decide what they think or believe. However, you say it like you have cornered that market. I choose the Catholic faith. This is a Catholic blog . . . why come here to tout anything contrary to our faith unless you are a serious inquirer or are here to pick a fight?

It's just like Traveling Mason, who quoted the FIRST HALF of the popes quote (#22 and #23) . . . it sounded as if the Pope said those things were wrong, but when you finish reading the paragraph, you get the whole story. WHY these organizations can be dangerous to all mankind . . . because they subvert authority to become the authority that is unnatural and perverts the Christian God's purpose.

Amy said...

I didn't mean they can never say JC... only in their.... ummm temples?

Traveling Man said...


First, my user name is Traveling Man, not Traveling Mason.

Second, this blog is a public forum and the good Sister has not decided to moderate comments, therefore I see no reason why a civil reply to what is posted here is in any way out of line. I certainly didn't come here "looking for a fight". Years ago, the fraternity did not answer its' critics, but I and other members will no longer stand idly by while lies,half truths, and myths are perpetuated about the fraternity.

I did not quote Humanum Genus in full because I did not wish to take the space. The full post, in my opinion, still supports my position that Pope Leo was opposed to equality and was still writing in support of the Divine Right of Kings. Not something that I agree with being a citizen of the United States.

To the first anonymous poster, (I'm not sure you are the same individual.) The Masonic Funeral Service is not "nutty" the sprig of evergreen represents immortality, much in the same way a Christmas tree in your home. The service has brought great comfort to relatives of deceased Masons for years, and I find your comment insensitive.

As to the other points raised in subsequent comments:

1. Masons do not discuss partisan politics or sectarian religion in Lodge. Prayer is offered to God, who is refered to as "The Great Architect of The Universe". References to Jesus, Allah, Buddah, Vishnu, etc. are considered un-Masonic. This is no different to invocations given at any number of public events and is done to respect the religious convictions of *all* present.

All Shriners are Masons. The various Shrine hospitals provide treatment for free regardless of Masonic affiliation. I have not read the specific page to clarify about sharing in "all we have to offer", but I'd wager they were refering to cammaraderie and brotherhood.

As far as "occult nonesense". The word "occult" means hidden. Freemasons do not engage in anything resembling Ouji boards, or spellcasting in the Lodge. The ties we form in Lodge are far from nonsense. (Again in my opinion.)

As for the reference to Lucifer; the most famous reference is contained in Albert Pike's _Morals and Dogma_ a copy of which may be found online at the Gutenberg Project. A much better explanation than I could provide here of Pike's use of the term may be found at www.masonicinfo.com.

Traveling Man

David Peronnet, RA said...

"Church teaching condemns the PRACTICE OF, not the PERSON. It's more merciful."

Excerpt from anonymous post above.

What an intriguing concept. How does one NOT include the other. If something is practiced isn't something practicing it? If I practice drawing mosque's and a Mosque by its nature is not an 'approved' Roman Catholic building then is drawing to be condemned, the drawing of Mosques or the artist practicing drawing.

The drawing would never happen if a person was not involved so the cause of action should be condemned since none of it would have happened if the person never drew in the beginning. It seems that if a practice is condemned then the real condemnation lies with the person because the person has the soul and not the practice.

Say you could condemn a practice and not a person. Wouldn't all practices that seem to fit within Pope Leo's Humanum Genus 22 & 23 be under the same condemnation. Those practices mention in his work seem to describe the essence of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights as my Brother (Traveling Man) has already mentioned in his comment.

I am also a Master Mason and find much of these comments from anonymous spiteful and aggressive. I am also a Protestant / Christian / Presbyterian / catholic (rome doesnt own that word) and have never been told to keep the name of Jesus out of the Lodge but to respect the beliefs of my brothers and keep worship in Church. I do not go to Lodge to worship God but to enjoy the diversity and wisdom He has made in all Man.

To make the point of Jesus calling clearer. There is a point in the degrees of the Blue Lodge where the brother is asked to pray out loud or silently to his God for guidance. If the brother says Jesus so be it no condemnation is found.

Anonymous said...

Only a hit dog cries.

I think it's VERY interesting that the so-called 'Masons' are posting here --on a CATHOLIC blog-- and that they are are so very irritated and ready to attack Catholics or anyone who questions their 'secret' organization.

'Traveling Man' or whoever you are, I am sure there are 'pederasts' in your 'esteemed' organization, only that YOUR (and YOUR ORGANIZATION'S) secrecy is keeping the heinous crime hidden.

I've never heard anything good about 'Masons', and you (et al.) have confirmed my suspicions.

Traveling Man said...


I will address your posts point by point:

Only a hit dog cries.

>>You appear to be proving that yourself. I am merely countering lack of information, myths, lies, and slander against the fraternity with facts.

I think it's VERY interesting that the so-called 'Masons' are posting here --on a CATHOLIC blog--

>>While I am not personally acquainted with everyone who posts here, I can assure you that there is nothing "so-called" about my Masonic membership. I am a fully paid up member of my mother Lodge and a Research Lodge. As I have stated previously, this is a public forum, and I see no reason why certain statments here should go unchallenged in civil debate.

and that they are are so very irritated and ready to attack Catholics or anyone who questions their 'secret' organization.

>>Speaking only for myself, I am not irritated in the least, I am providing factual information about Freemasonry as practiced in the United States. You are confusing a rational response to your posts as an "attack". As is plainly stated all across the Internet, the only "secrets" Masonry has are the modes of recognition.

'Traveling Man' or whoever you are, I am sure there are 'pederasts' in your 'esteemed' organization, only that YOUR (and YOUR ORGANIZATION'S) secrecy is keeping the heinous crime hidden.

>>Please check your facts before posting. I am not the individual who posted that comment. I am just as sure as you are that some unqualified men have joined our fraternity. When their deeds are made known they are expelled. They are not shifted from location to location.

I've never heard anything good about 'Masons', and you (et al.) have confirmed my suspicions.

>>Really? You have heard nothing good about George Washington? Nothing good about Benjamin Franklin? Nothing good about Red Skelton? Nothing good about Ernest Borgnine? You appear to be quite upset that someone has posted facts which contradict your paradigm. Understandable. Humans as a species tend to not to like having their preconcieved notions challenged. I certainly don't expect to change your mind; but I have no intention of letting coments such as are posted here go unchallenged with fact, and a civil response.

Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

David Peronnet;
There are two reasons we are careful to condemn acts and not actors.

First, part of sin, especially mortal sin, is mental. And none but God may judge with certainty the contents and condition of a man's mind.

Second, one can give up actions (repent), and that, combined with sorrow, the Rite of CPR, and penance, brings complete forgiveness.

Traveling Man said...

arkanabar t'verrock ilarsadin:

Forgive me, but yourargument is fundamentally specious. I "loving the sinner but hating the sin:, you are forgetting Matthew 18:23-35 where a Christian is admonished to forgive sin, not condmemn it.


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

My only encounter with the whole mason thingy was when my great-grandma died. I was about 16 or so and we were told that grandma was not Catholic (news to me, I thought everyone in the family was!) and that she was being cremated. My mom and dad got into a little discussion about how that's not the Catholic way and that led to the knowledge that gma wasn't Catholic... anyway, we went to her "funeral" at this little, sort of "meeting room" that reminded me of a Lion's Club hall or something and it was really weird to not have a body there. Me and a couple of my cousins wandered around during the dinner and meandered up the stairs where we found a couple of strange rooms. In one room, there were some chairs around in a circle and a big, giant star on the floor with all kinds of writing and colors on it. We didn't know what it was but it gave us the heebies and we rushed downstairs to be by our parents. When we were on the way home, we asked about that room. My mom and dad told us that gma was an "Order of the Eastern Star" and tried to explain it but all we could think was that gma was sweet, talkative, nice and why the heck would she be a witch involved in witchcraft? See, it didn't matter how my parents prettied up the explanation, we made our own assumptions based on what we actually saw and felt when we came upon that room. I never forgot it but I never really thought about it again until just now! Funny.

Traveling Man said...

laura the crazy mama:

Many of us have impressions when we are younger that stay with us for a long time. That doesn't make them correct.

The Order Of The Eastern Star has nothing whatsoever to do with "witchcraft". Yes, their emblem is a five pointed star with one point downwards and symbols placed in it, but it is no more "satanic" than the United States Medal of Honor which is also a five pointed star with one point downwards.

The best way to combat fear is with facts.


Anonymous said...

"That said, EVERYONE gets to decide what they think or believe. However, you say it like you have cornered that market. I choose the Catholic faith."

Dear anonymous, so you were raised in some other faith or as an atheist, and then as an adult you chose Catholicism? Because if you were raised in it, you didn't choose it. It was brainwashed into you when you were young and you're stuck with it in your head. I know some people do choose it as an adult. I can't fathom why, but they do, and that is certainly their right. I'm sure they can't fathom my choices.

But once you DO choose it, whether it was forced on you by your family or not, you have to accept the Pope's statements and church doctrines as Received Truth. The Sister makes that point on this blog over and over: no picking and choosing; believe what you are told by the church to believe, and ALL of it, not just the stuff that you want to. That is not thinking for yourself. That is handing your brain over to the church to run for you. Faith is the traditional alternative to thinking.

So no, I haven't cornered the market on Free Thinking, but you left the market the minute you "Chose" Catholicism, or most any other religion. My Mormon relatives are no more Free Thinkers than my Christian Science relatives, or even my Catholic relatives. (Yes, there was a whole pack of them, although fewer now, as most, though not all, of my Catholic cousins left the church at adulthood.)

Of course I know there are still Masons. That was a small joke. Take the stick out of your butt and recognize a joke when you read one. Sister fills her column with them.

Sad dogs cry also. And dogs that are in pain from cancer. And hungry dogs. And dogs that want walking.

Why are you hitting dogs?

To the anonymous who has never heard anything good about Masons (Which means they MUST be bad, or you would have heard about it.): my grandpa was a very nice man. He worked at MGM as a grip, and was friends with Lon Chaney and Will Rogers. I never saw him in a fez except in one picture I have from 1915. He never to my knowledge rode a mini-bike in a parade, but he rode a full-size bike with me a few times when I was a boy. Maybe Washington, Franklin and Red Skelton were bastards (Best not to use any $1 or $5 bills, as you don't want their evil hoodoo rubbing off on your wallet.), but my grandfather was a good man, and he never practiced witchcraft, and did his best to avoid his wife's Christian Science.

I come to this blog because I enjoy the Sister's sense of humor. I occasionally post a comment when I'm amused, or when the blarney gets too thick. (Hilarious as dogma can be, sometimes one just overdoses on dogmatic idiocy.) It's not YOUR forum any more than it's mine, so you don't get to dictate comments.

And what's wrong with a little debate, or even a bit of a fight? Your complacency and smugness certainly needs some stirring up. Sister is never either complacent nor smug.

And I sign my real name.

What was yours again, anonymous?

Anonymous said...

PS. And anonymous, I can not believe that this very week, when the Catholic church has just agreed to pay out a huge sum to buy off the damage the child molesters they harbour have caused, that you would dare point a finger at pederasts in the Masons. That's A Black Hole in Space calling the kettle black.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Well I can't speak to George Washington, Ben Franklin, or Red Skelton, but I was married to Ernest Borgnine for an hour or two in the mid-60s (It's in my autobiography.), and I can't say enough against him. So all Masons are Godless bastards who look AWFUL naked! (Except possibly Dougie's GRandpa.)

Cheers darlings.

Anonymous said...

Douglas M.,

I am the anonymous who chose the Catholic faith (11 years ago, happily, gladly, and of my own free will). I embrace ALL the Churches dogmas and doctrines. On that point, I think I can safely say I'm like SMM. On the flip side, I may be unlike her in that I am younger and relatively speaking, still new to the faith - but at least I strive to embrace it and learn it.

Those who I may have offended or slighted in any of my comments, I take this moment to apologize. But, I will not apologize for being Catholic and trying to explain why the Church teaches certain things. My own opinion, of course, cannot matter to you, really, if you say I have left the forum on free thinking by aligning myself with any of the aforementioned religions.

I have a bloody fantastic sense of humour, not that it matters. But, in this forum you can't always tell the tone of someone's comments.

I did not comment about pederasts, just to make that clear.

Now you can piece together which comments I made and continue to bash me to death . . . I just don't understand why you are essentially saying people who chose a religion are no longer free thinkers and under some kind of spell or brainwashed. I'm sure your comments have offended others much like it offends me.

I have learned a few things from this blog - from everyone's comments. Thank you.

Blessed Mother's Daughter
(that's all you need to know)

Kasia said...


I was raised to be "a free thinker" and chose Catholicism as an adult.

I do not think that I somehow abdicated reason or free thought when I chose to become Catholic. I choose to remain Catholic. I make a daily choice to remain faithful to the Church, and to trust her about the Truth. My making the choice to trust the Church, whether on the Resurrection of Christ or the question of birth control, does not make me a Stepford parishioner.

And I would be careful of painting all people who were raised in a particular faith and have remained in it as brainwashed. If that's true, then folks who were brought up to be "free thinkers" and who have NOT chosen to enter a specific faith should be considered equally brainwashed.

Faith is not antithetical to reason. You might try reading Fides et Ratio if you'd like to hear the Church's take on that.

I can say for myself that I came to the Church with a heavy dose of skepticism and a considerable personal bias against entering, and I didn't check my brain at the door of RCIA. Yet I still entered, because the priest who taught RCIA was able to answer my objections with argumentation and reason. NOT by telling me that I just had to 'take it on faith.'


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Kasia!! VERITAS!!!

Anonymous said...

Blessed Mom's Kid,

No one,least of all me, asked you to or wants you to apologize for being Catholic and trying to explain why the Church teaches certain things. I am certainly not offfended by your being Catholic. It's your right. You chose it as an adult; good for you. As I said earlier, we all make choices others find unfathomable. My dad thought lima beans were delicious, and yet I never once tried to have him committed to an insane asylum. I DID object to his insistence that I eat the foul legumes, but you were not attempting to force anyone to accept your beliefs, just explaining them. This is also what I'm doing. We are both sustained by our knowledge that we're right and the other is wrong.

Kasia, I assure you I was not raised to be a Free Thinker at all. Quite the converse. My lovely, well-intentioned, but quite demented mother did everything in her power to control my thinking, and force-fed me the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy endlessly. Having to listen to SCIENCE & HEALTH and the Bible read aloud while I was eating breakfast EVERY DAY for 18 years has resulted in a lifelong aversion to breakfast. I can not eat food before noon. And she denied me and my siblings all medical care growing up in accordance with her deeply insane Christian Science strictures.

But despite all her best efforts, all five of her kids learned to think for themselves, and none of them remained in her church. (A church which eventually KILLED her, as it killed my dad and my grandmother, and every pet I had as a kid.) These days, three of us are atheists, and my other two sibs have/had (One is dead.) a rather free-floating agnosticism.

But I'm sorry, Anonymous's shout-outs of "Veritas" notwithstanding, Faith IS antithetical to reason. YOU might try reading "Why I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN" by Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, if you'd like Reality's take on that.

But I always enjoy reading the intellectual triple-loops that intelligent persons of Faith leap through to try and establish as reasonable their irrational beliefs, when they always boil down to "I don't want to die, so I will not believe in death." & "I will not accept the universe just is. I MUST believe there's a controlling intelligence." as though Reality were a big novel, with God as the author.

People generally really can not deal with the true chaos of Reality. Fortunately, in our society at least, they don't have to if they don't want to. Enjoy your Faith. May it give you the joy of it's illusions.

Kasia said...


First, I wasn't suggesting that you were raised a 'free thinker' - I did read your earlier comments. I was suggesting that, by your logic, people like the kids I grew up with at the Unitarian church who have not since signed on to a religion, would also be brainwashed. Perhaps that's true, but I would hate to think that of them. By and large they're pretty bright. I would likewise hate to think it of you, though honestly when someone tells me a story like yours, I am inclined to think their atheism or agnosticism is at least as likely to be a reaction against their upbringing as any serious intellectual investigation. However, I'll assume you've given the matter serious and unbiased investigation.

Irrespective of what you may believe about my faith in God, it does not boil down to "I don't want to die, so I'm not going to believe in death." I believe in God because He made His existence perfectly plain to me a few years ago. I later became a Christian because I came to believe it was true, not because I was looking for celestial real estate.

I'll be happy to take a look at Russell, if you'll take a look at some C.S. Lewis, another of the finest minds of the 20th century. You may recall Lewis was a dogmatic atheist until becoming a Christian in his 20s or 30s (based on arguments with a friend, not because he had a near-death experience and got scared about what would happen when he finally did kick off.) I would start with Mere Christianity. (If you'd like more recommendations, I'd be happy to provide them.)

You might also look at some of Edith Stein's writings, though while she was a brilliant philosopher in her own right, I don't know that she was as into apologetics as Lewis was. However, she was raised Jewish, became an atheist at eleven or twelve, then became a Catholic in her thirties because after searching for truth for twenty or twenty-five years, she became convinced that what the Catholic Church teaches was true.

So. Harry Potter is coming out this weekend, so I won't have a chance to look at Russell just yet, but shall we meet back here in a couple of weeks and discuss what we've each taken away from our homework? :-)

Cheers, and may the God you don't believe in bless you abundantly,

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Travelling Man: Duh, I know it was my teen mind's impression and I know it wasn't exact (impression, not fact) but I was just stating my only direct encounter with anything mason-y. I don't for a second think that the O of the ES was witchy or that my beautiful, goofy grandma would have knowingly had anything to do with a sinister organization. Whatever the masons are or aren't, she was a good lady. If she got involved in something she thought was good but was actually bad and had her duped, so be it. It probably helped her be social into her 90's. Like I said, she wasn't Catholic so I don't hold her to any Catholic standard and the fact that she was involved in this means really nothing. My grandpa, her son, converted to Catholicism when he married my grandma. That's why I just thought everyone was Catholic and thought that any other kind of ritual or symbolism was strange and that's probably why I thought the star was something witchy.

Anonymous said...


Some 30 years ago one of my closest friends from high school, who had turned Christian in college and ended up becoming a Presbyterian minister. (He has now abandoned his wicked ways, and teaches drama at a high school in Fresno) sent me a copy of "Mere Christianity" sweetly inscribed. I sent him a thank you note before dropping it in the trash.

Actually my current non-fiction reading is "Atheist Universe: Why God Didn't Have a Thing to Do With It" by David Mills, and "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" by Sam Harris. The latter is about mankind's NEED to end religion immediately, before it kills all of us, in a succession of 9-11s, which was, after all, a big case of "My God can lick your God." Killing people over which version of this fictional chgaracter God is the "Real" one is sickening, and constitutes the main item in mankind's history.

It is true that my religous upbringing helped turn me against religion, but I've been studying science and rationalism for decades, and the fairy tales our ancestors came up with in the Dark Ages have long since worn ut their welcome. I'm 57, and no one will ever turn me religious. If I had just wanted to annoy Mother, I could have just become a Catholic. She HATED Catholicism with a raging passion.

The whole Harry Potter thing is lost on me. I don't get it. I saw a couple of the movies, but was bored by them. Tolkien; yes, Rowling; I'll pass.

But if you want a good, fun, enjoyable non-fiction book to read, albeit not at all about religion, check out THE Q GUIDE TO CLASSIC MONSTER MOVIES, which will be out on September 25. It was written by - who was it again? - Oh yes, me.

Anonymous said...

PS. There is no such thing as "Dogmatic Atheism." By it's very nature, atheism is being free of dogma.

Also, your statement: "I believe in God because He made His existence perfectly plain to me a few years ago." is almost exactly the words my mother used to explain why she KNEW that Christian Science was the reality of existence. She had "seen it's Truth deonstrated several times, and it had revealed the Truth of God's existence to her." She clung to this prattle right up to the day, 10 years ago, when her faith killed her.

A few weeks ago the Sister wrote a column in which she used the similie of the Easter Bunny's autobiography for how some people view religious writing and revelation. She was right on the nose. From my point of view, it's nice for you that the Easter Bunny made His existence perfectly plain to you a few years ago, but I remain aware that there's no such thing, and that it ws Dad hiding the eggs. (He should have hid the lima beans.)

Enjoy your Harry Potter book. It's what, 1900 pages long? I'm betting Harry doesn't die, but I'm cruising through A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I was a free thinker and neo alternative Gothic feminazi in college. I read it all-Kant, Marx, Ann Rand, Nietsche ( I can not spell today), Comte, Darwin, and a bunch more. But I can guarentee you, that today...I think a ton more than I ever did before and I have accepted the Catholic faith in it's fullness. I find it irritating when people imply that you check your brain at the back of the church and that only liberal hippies have brains. I researched Catholicism, historically, docrinally, philosophically, and biblically and I have no doubt in my mind that the only truth to be found is in the Fullness of the Catholic faith.


Anonymous said...

Welcome Home, Holly! Veritas, I dare say it again: Veritas!!

Blessed Mother's Daughter

Anonymous said...

Dear 2nd Anonymous up from this comment (In other words, I'm not addressing "Blessed Mother's Daughter"),

Between your use of the terms "feminazi" and "liberal hippies" I can say that you are right about your not checking your brain at the back of the church, or anywhere else. One must first have a brain, as several of the devout Catholic posters here do, to check it. Anyone who quotes Rush Limbaughisms with pride is an absolute brainless moron. A number of people here made good arguments on both sides of the issue, but not you. You have been kind enough to flag your opinions as utterly worthless.

Bertand Russell would be quite amazed to learn he was a "Liberal hippie."

See you in hell, dumbo.

Unknown said...

Well, Douglas, God bless anyway. I'll take a look at your book if it's available from the library; I am on a strict book-buying diet lately, as I am once again outgrowing my bookshelves. Harry Potter was my guilty binge. :-)

Unknown said...

Oh - and I was using "dogmatic" in a less literal sense, but if you'd rather, let's say Lewis was a firmly convinced atheist. :-)

Anonymous said...

Fine dear. Read my book free at the library while I write to pay my rent, because you bought a Harry Potter book. (Are you 10? Because they are CHILDREN'S books.) JK Rowling is WEALTHY and doesn't need your money, but by all means stiff me to pay a rich woman.

NEVER read library books. They're full of germs. Only buy books. Libraries are evil.

And NEVER tell a writer you're going to read their book free; that you're too cheap to shell out the $11 Amazon charges for mine because you shelled out $30 for a multi-millionaires's book, because trust me, the writer in question, namely me, won't take it well.

Anonymous said...

Didn't your breakout first novel rake in enough money for you, Tallulah?!?

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church doesn't accept the Masons because the Masons accept men of all faiths and their faiths as equal. As a catholic school student I was involved in the boy scouts, as many other catholic school boys were and still are. Since the scouts require a belief in God(though it doesn't matter which view of God you hold), and the scouts were started by a Master Mason, does that mean we should excommunicate all boy scouts from the church? I mean, obviously our youth must be unwittingly brainwashed by the scouts to accept all scouts as equal no matter their religion. Just as the church was in favor of a fraternal organization for catholics only-The Knights of Colombus; should we then form the Catholic Scouts? Maybe we can call them the Junior Carpenters or something. Just a thought. [Now excuse me whilst I remove my tongue from my cheek.]

Anonymous said...

If the Masons accepted men of all faiths as equal, then why are there degrees? I only ask because my boyfriend is a Mason and won't discuss it with me, except to say he's a 22 degree.

Also, banning the Boy Scouts doesn't make sense. It's not a secret society and the ceremonies are open to the public. Although my brothers' Pinewood Derby car designs were known only to a chosen few for a while there. :)

Anonymous said...

Basically, the Church is telling us that if you have the ability to think on our own they don't want you.
It' the fear factor. If the Church can put fear in your heart,they will be able to control you. If they control you, they will have a steady stream of income. It's been this way since the beginning. The whole concept of the Masons bringing all faiths together as one united brotherhood scares the hell out of the Catholic church.
I don't believe Jesus came to earth to start a religion. In fact, I'm sure he would be very much against a group that claims to offer salvation to those who are willing to PAY$$ for it.

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly new to Freemasonry, but I've been a Roman Catholic my whole life. Do I follow my religion to the "T"? Nope, unfortunately, I don't. But, my religion is MY religion. I don't believe that "all non-Catholics" are DAMNED, as many believe. But, that's on them. Religion is a guidebook. There is only one God, no matter what you call him. That's the very premise of Masonry. I'll admit, the titles, verbage, and symbols of Freemasonry are very odd. By that, I mean they are unusual. However, they are mere traditional pieces of history - symbols used to help guide the social conscious to be a 'better' member of society - NOT as religious material. I attend my church every week, respect the Pope and my church's teachings. However, I'm not going to pretend to agree with everything. If you don't have some flexibility, that does not mean your soul will rot in Hell for eternity. If you believe that, then good for you. I, on the other hand, have no problem balancing my deep respect for the Catholic church with my use of Masonic traditions - both working to make me a better person. It's a good thing. I really don't care that strongly for what strict rule is written or what the Pope's opinion is, though, because the Pope isn't God... nor is the Vatican. More than anything, being a member of the Freemasons is a great social club to belong to, and the networking you can get out of membership is amazing. As a lover of history, I enjoy the readings and symbolism of Masonry, and I have learned a lot about my Nation's past through my membership. In my opinion, the problem religious zealots have with the Masons is that they follow the premise that "all religions are accepted in the Mason lodge," and the "My religion's right and everyone else is wrong" fundamentalists can't step out of their box and accept that there is unity amongst religions. The reason Masons incorporate an element of religion in their practice is because respect for religion and God is fundamental to being a "good person." That's a widely accepted belief... the reason our children pledge allegiance to "one Nation, under God," and "In God We Trust." It is what it is. I have one Non-Denominational Christian friend who honestly believes anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ will go to Hell. That's insane! The billions of people who follow other beautiful, loving, good-doing religions and live lives of greatness and care for others are going to hell? Because their parents raised them to be... Budhist, Islamic, Jew??? I just don't get that train of thought. The Catholic Church, in my opinion, is very wrapped up in politics. Granted, I give my weekly donations because I like to see my church improve, but I think it needs to be a little more accepting of others' beliefs -- as was the clear policy of Pope John Paul II. Mason meetings aren't a mass. We don't receive a communion, sit around preaching about religion, or spouting blaspheme about our churches. It merely requires us to believe in "one supreme being" -- being God -- not Lucifer. Followers of Lucifer believe in evil and follow malicious teachings. The fundamental purpose of Masonry is to spread unity and brotherhood, not secretly plot an invasion of Vatican City or burning crosses, as some crazy, self-assured "Christian" groups do. The "G" in the middle of the commonly seen symbol means "God." Sorry for the long post, but I won't be back to respond to any posts... as I stumbled onto this site by accident. Cheers.