The British press, ever on guard against us wily Freemasons, now has the jitters over whether Dan Brown is lying or not. The BBC today has posted Can we trust Dan Brown on the Freemasons? The BBC's favorite Mason/Anti-Mason tag-team of UGLE's John Hamill and hysterical author Martin Short take turns batting specific passages from the Lost Symbol back and forth over the net at each other. This does, however, have the distinction of perhaps being the first article about Freemasonry in the UK that didn't use the phrases "rolled-up trouser leg" or "dodgy handshakes."
Meanwhile, the Catholic League can't believe that "Dan Brown Adores The Masons." Catholic League president Bill Donohue writes:
Dan Brown may loathe Catholics, but he just adores the Masons. “Brown goes out of his way in ‘The Lost Symbol’ to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood,” says an AP story today. The Catholic Church, of course, is seen by Brown as essentially wicked and misunderstood only by its followers. “Masons are praised for their religious tolerance,” the article says. Somehow Catholics failed to notice: so abhorrent were Masons in their thrashing of Catholicism that the 1917 Code of Canon Law provided for automatic excommunication to any Catholic who joined a lodge. The current stricture in the Church, following the 1983 revisions to the Code, doesn’t mention Masons by name, but does retain excommunication for those who join anti-Catholic organizations.
In his new book, Brown defends the Masons against “unfair” portrayals. So kind of him. In real life Brown says he has “enormous respect for the Masons.” Must be their historic anti-Catholicism that won him over. Showing nothing but sweetness and light, the man who has made millions dumping on the Catholic Church says of his new work, “It’s a reverent look at their philosophy. I’m more interested in what they believe than all their rituals and conspiracy theories about them.” Now if only Brown had cut Catholics the same break.
Cry me a river. I was born and raised into Catholicism. I went to a Jesuit High School. I've been a Freemason for 11 years. I know the arguments, and I'm sure zealots like John Salza will come roaring out of the gate to proclaim far and wide why Freemasonry and Catholicism cannot be reconciled, no way, nohow. I know the historic battles between the two organizations. But Mr. Donohue alleges Freemasonry is an anti-Catholic organization, and the truth is that Anglo-Saxon derived Freemasonry as it is practiced in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and the rest of the regular, recognized Masonic world is NOT anti-Catholic. There are Catholic Masons all around the world who know better.
In the meantime, I again restate my apologies for all those bad premonitions I had over this book. We all owe Dan Brown a healthy dose of gratitude. Maybe a Christmas card. Perhaps a fruitcake. I'm sending Omaha Steaks.