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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Auburn, CA
    Posts
    209

    Re: On Masonry

    Quote Originally Posted by hiplainsyank View Post
    It also seems to me that Roman Catholics at various times have also regarded Masonry with suspicion, although I am not 100% certain on that.
    (Dear Moderators - I'm not trying to bring my views or the modern era in this discussion, but rather I think for a good understanding of the topic it might pay to mention the modern policy and modern experience to provide some contrast.)

    On this topic there persists some confusion (and debate among Masons who also identify as Catholic) , but basically the Catholic Church has barred its members from becoming Masons since 1738. That has never changed, although in the last 40+ years there has been confusion by some, which is thought to come primarily from ‘softening of language’ from the Vatican on this matter to the point of becoming ambiguous to some. Further confusion comes from the Masonic point of view which doesn't have a problem with membership in the Catholic Church. In 1983, Pope John Paul II restated the Church’s position, saying, “[T]he Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains …[t]he faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Masonic Associations, Nov. 26, 1983.

    From 1738 until 1983 being a Mason, while at the same time being Catholic, incurred the threat of excommunication – pretty serious stuff. I’ve read some pretty hot back and forth mudslinging from around the time of the French Revolution, so I question how openly a practicing Catholic would publically belong to the Masons 150 years ago. as mentioned previously, I was also aware of some versions of Methodism not being too friendly toward it as well. I think the lines were drawn pretty sharply, and I think there were harsh words for each side, although I’ve yet to see evidence for that in the 1860s.

    Respectfully,
    Last edited by mtvernon; 02-12-2012 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Explaining my mention of the modern era
    Joe Marti
    Bvt. Cpl., 20th Maine Vol. Inf. Co. G., ACWA
    Commander, 6th Military District, Sons of Veterans Reserve

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tuskaloosa, Alabama
    Posts
    1,620

    Re: Regarding Masonry

    Blessings to you Mr Ezell. Another Traveling Man.


    Mr Marti,
    I somehow hope you to be versed in the similar organizational structure and purpose of the Knights of Columbus, who provide good works and brotherhood in a format acceptable to the Mother Church. I wish you would speak of that.

    I've not encountered the Methodist prohibition during the period , but I can see the logical roots of it based on my knowledge of that doctrine. I think I shall go looking when time permits.
    Terre Lawson

    Wearing Grossly Out of Fashion Clothing Since 1958.

    ADVENTURE CALLS. Can you hear it? Come ON.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
    Posts
    3,912

    Re: Regarding Masonry

    As you know, Freemasonry has no objection with Catholicism among it's ranks - it's the Catholic Church that has taken issue with freemasonry. I've heard/read various theories on the subject which suggests some of the reasons the Catholic Church may have taken that stance - beyond doctrinal reasons.

    More to your question - there was at least one Catholic-Freemason who signed the Declaration of Independence (Charles Carroll) and two others (Carroll's brother and Fitzsimons) that signed the US Constitution. Additionally George Washington was Church of England, but regularly attended Catholic services and was a well known freemason.

    Specific to the period of the 1860's, I'd have to do some looking around but I assume there were Catholic Freemasons in the 1860's, just like there were at the turn of the 18th century and just like there are today. Anecdotaly, at least one of my best masonic friends is Catholic - it doesn't seem to slow his participation.

    I've always found the Anti-Catholic "Know-Nothing" movement in the 1850's to be interesting reading. Freemasons had their own baggage with the Morgan Affair a couple decades earlier. For a Catholic-Freemason, it would perhaps be a perilous intersection of characterizations and mischaracterizations to navigate through as a member of both.

    Interesting subject. Let me know where you get with it.
    Paul Calloway
    Proudest Member of the Tar Water Mess
    Proud Member of the GHTI
    Member, Civil War Preservation Trust
    Wayne #25, F&AM

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2

    Re: On Masonry

    So mote it be Brother Patrick.

    Stewart-Gray

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Auburn, CA
    Posts
    209

    Re: Regarding Masonry

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lawson
    Mr Marti,
    I somehow hope you to be versed in the similar organizational structure and purpose of the Knights of Columbus, who provide good works and brotherhood in a format acceptable to the Mother Church. I wish you would speak of that.
    The KOC openly admits that it is a response to those Catholics who long for the brotherhood and fraternity that Freemasonry provided but were prohibited from joining. I'm not a member, but I have heard from former Masons who are currently Knights that the structure and purpose is quite similar to the Masons with some obvious foundational differences. But to try to answer (vaguely) your original question, since 1738 there has been no ambiguity regarding Catholicism and Freemasonry from the standpoint of official positions. I don't know how many Catholics at the time would be involved as Masons, but whoever did probably didn't advertise, I would guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulcalloway View Post
    As you know, Freemasonry has no objection with Catholicism among it's ranks - it's the Catholic Church that has taken issue with freemasonry. I've heard/read various theories on the subject which suggests some of the reasons the Catholic Church may have taken that stance - beyond doctrinal reasons.
    I'm sure there were/are regional reasons that might exist, but without needing to go into further detail, I agree with your first sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by paulcalloway View Post
    Specific to the period of the 1860's, I'd have to do some looking around but I assume there were Catholic Freemasons in the 1860's, just like there were at the turn of the 18th century and just like there are today. Anecdotaly, at least one of my best masonic friends is Catholic - it doesn't seem to slow his participation...[f]or a Catholic-Freemason, it would perhaps be a perilous intersection of characterizations and mischaracterizations to navigate through as a member of both.
    There are numerous examples of Catholic Masons today, but rather than think they are acting in open defiance of their declared faith, I think most of them just aren't aware that there's a prohibition. The fact that most Masons seem to be pretty normal, every day nice folks who have no problem with their Catholicism probably fails to raise any flags as well. But all this is modern. I'm not sure what the person of the 1860's would know about the upper echelon doings of the Vatican. With all the information at one's fingertips these days, and knowing there are still some who are honestly unaware of these writings, I suppose it's true that examples could be found of people of the truly snail mail 1860s who would likewise be unaware. But that's just me speculating. I can't seem to find any source to confirm or deny this at the moment.
    Joe Marti
    Bvt. Cpl., 20th Maine Vol. Inf. Co. G., ACWA
    Commander, 6th Military District, Sons of Veterans Reserve

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    266

    Re: On Masonry

    Quote Originally Posted by Spinster View Post
    As for our particular appeal at the time--we greeted the man in a manner she knew from Eastern Star and I knew from Rainbow Girls. Our need was genuine. He was clueless.
    One afterthought on this matter, unless a Master Mason is also a member of the Eastern Star, he is not taught the signs, tokens, or other secrets pertaining to that order. Nor would he likely know any similar signals from the Rainbow unless he's active in overseeing an assembly.

    Still, a fellow who has taken his obligation to heart is expected to come to the assistance of those in distress, of the Masonic family or not, if he is reasonbly able to do so...

    A good period reference for how it was handled in the 1860s is Brother Michael Halloran's book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2010, which cites a wide variety of vignettes in which widows or wives were able to appeal to the aid of passing Masons, and there are a number of examples in Allen Roberts' House Undivided, which is a little older, but still a good resource...

    Tom Ezell, 32
    Valley of Little Rock, Orient of Arkansas
    Adoniram Lodge #288, F&AM
    Union Chapter #2, R.A.M.
    Occidental Council #1, R&S Masters
    Hugh de Payens Commandery #1, Knights Templar

    & Co. A, 6th Arkansas Infantry

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Pontotoc, MS
    Posts
    10

    Re: Regarding Masonry

    Greetings Brethren, Sisters and Friends,
    I don't know how common it was in the mid 1860's for women to wear the slipper emblem, but I purchased one for my wife to wear when she's out and about, usually on her jacket lapel. Its small but stands out on a dark background. For those who don't know what the slipper is, I have attached a link for more information on the Masonic history of the "blue slipper". This emblem, from what I understand, is specifically for the female kin of Masons as a sign of recognition to Brethen while the lady is traveling, should they need assistance. I have seen only a very few examples dating as late as the Victorian era, so I don't know how common they were during the war.

    Check out this link

    Sincerely and Fraternally,
    James McMillen
    Sincerely,
    James McMillen
    Pontotoc, MS

    Proud descendant of Sgt. James Richard McMillen
    10th Cav. Regt/12th Miss. Partisan Rangers Co. E

    Pontotoc Lodge #81 F.&A.M.
    Grand Lodge of Mississippi

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