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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Masonic lobbying in the Vatican....?

You may have heard that Pope Francis has made a surprising statement regarding gays.  "Who am I to judge?"

The orientation is ok, he says, but a "gay lobby" (another thing he recently referred to) is not.  Neither is a greed lobby, an overtly political lobby, nor....Masonic lobbies.

"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem." (link)

So, there are Masonic lobbies in the Vatican?  Or is he talking about elsewhere?

No sarcasm meant here, I honestly want to know what he's referring to.....

Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, writing for the UK's Catholic Herald has a couple of theories:

If there is a masonic lobby in the Vatican, it could mean that there are Deists in the Vatican – people with a watered down version of the Church, religious indifferentists, people who no longer believe in the efficacy of the sacraments except as pieces of theatre, certainly not outward signs of inward grace.

Secondly, the masonic lobby, if it exists, could be the lobby of Italian big business and Italian banking. As such it might have an interest in the way the Vatican bank is run; or it could be trying to undermine the Church’s social teaching. It could – historically – have been steering the Vatican away from compromises with the Italian left, the traditional enemy of the masons.

This isn't so far-fetched, given the sordid history of Italy's Propaganda Due (P2) Lodge:

a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 (when its charter was withdrawn), and a pseudo-Masonic, "black", or "covert" lodge operating illegally (in contravention of Article 18 of the Constitution of Italy banning secret associations) from 1976 to 1981. During the years that the lodge was headed by Licio Gelli, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries, including the collapse of the Vatican-affiliated Banco Ambrosiano, the murders of journalist Mino Pecorelli and banker Roberto Calvi, and corruption cases within the nationwide bribe scandal Tangentopoli. P2 came to light through the investigations into the collapse of Michele Sindona's financial empire.

Note that it's charter was revoked due to its shenanigans, and it operated illegally for a few years, but hell, this could be exactly the kind of thing The Pope was on about.  I actually think Lucie-Smith's hypotheses aren't too far-fetched.

P2 is a sinister story I know far too little about, and I'd like to know more about it.  Looks like I know where my next book euros are going!

7 comments:

  1. Father Alexander Lucie-Smith wrote:

    "There is a strong belief – on what evidence is not clear – that Continental masonry is markedly different from the British variety. While the British masons are supposed to be well represented in the police and the courts, Italian masonry is strongly identified with big business and banking, and the powerful secretive elites that are supposed to be the ‘real’ government of the country."

    Sorry to be dense, but is he saying that the British Masons are controlling the government via infiltration, while the Continental Masons are controlling the government from the outside (via a shadow government comprised of a economic powerhouse)?

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    1. Maybe, I think in both cases it boils down to the belief that Masons seeks to control the government or society by whatever means they can. This is a typical Catholic position in many ways, as there is a long-standing emnity between Masonry and the Church. Part of this stemming from Masonic antagonism towards the Church during the French Revolution.

      Generally, Anglo-Saxon Masonry, that is, Masonry in the UK and the English-speaking world, is organized into Grand Lodges which are explicitly non-partisan. It's forbidden to talk politics in Lodge for example. The systems in Catholic Europe and Latin America are divided into Grand Orients are more politically involved. I think there's a great deal of variation from country to country. In France there are three major groups. The Grand Orient is the biggest and most visible in the press, but to speak of a Monolithic Masonry is pretty untenable.

      In my own experience, my Lodge had both very conservative and liberal members and we all got along very well because we never talked politics, something I've tried to do more and more in my daily life! I haven't been involved in Masonry for over 11 years though....

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  2. What do you make of this statement?

    "Oddly, much of what the freemasons seem to believe is close to the neo-atheism of many of our contemporaries – except of course the masons believe in the Great Architect of the Universe – though why they bother themselves with this retired architect, I am not sure. After all, he is not bothered with them, is he?"

    This struck me as a disingenuous misinterpretation of the meaning/role/symbol of the Great Architect, but when I started to articulate my thoughts, I realized that I didn't know what the heck I was talking about, so I am curious to hear your thoughts.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Freemasons teach in allegory and symbols which can be interpreted by each Mason differently. To say what "Masons believe" is meaningless, as Masons believe many different things. I think one can say generally that they are not fundamentalists, but ecumenical: a Christian and a Jew and a Muslim, a Zoroastrian, varieties of Hindu and Buddhist belief are all valid paths to God. I think for some people, this invalidates the whole Masonic belief system.

      As for the GAOU, again, each Mason is free to have their own interpretation of what he (usually he!) is. I think for some it's less neo-atheist than neo-deist, but there are definitely some who believe in an interventionist God.

      I don't think the statement is disingenuous, though, merely prejudiced from a "conservative" religious viewpoint. (In quotes because I don't mean to implicate a political POV).

      I do think he comes closer to Masonic philosophy when he says Mason believe less in grace than 'human rational progress and “science”' but there again, there are variations. Freemasonry is more of a "good works" system and one where actions count more than beliefs or words, but like I said, I'm sure many a Mason believes in grace and in the Anglo-Saxon world it would be considered un-Masonic to tell someone they should believe otherwise.

      Fact is, despite the title of Pike's book there is no Masonic dogma,at least in the 1st three degrees. Maybe some of the optional appendant degrees become more dogmatic--some are open only to Christians for example. It's more like a set of philosophical principles and guidelines, open to interpretation in a spirit of rational inquiry. Easy to see why Fundamentalists and hard-line Catholics dismiss Masonry as at best spiritual relativism or at worst an active threat to the way they interpret religion. If you beleive in an infallible Pope and Church or in the literal meaning of the Bible, obviously, Masonry won't be your cup of tea.

      Tant pis!

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    1. easy for me.. The Book, God's Banker, is worth a look-see, but it has the frustrting characteristic of being both overly detailed and not detailed enough. Plus, so far P2 hasn't been explored in a very interesting way....

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