"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pope Wants Knights of Malta Purged of Lurking Freemasons

A story appeared today on the website of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN Global Catholic Network) that alleges Pope Francis is worried about Freemasons who may have infiltrated the modern-day Catholic lay organization, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (not to be even remotely confused with the Order of Malta conferred in our own Masonic Knights Templar body). 

See Pope ordered Card. Burke to clean out Freemasons from the Knights of Malta

Better known as the Knights of Malta and the very real inheritors of the mantle of the Crusade-era Knights Hospitaller, it is reputedly the the oldest surviving chivalric order in the world. According to the Wikipedia entry (usual disclaimers duly noted and understood), the order today is comprised of "13,500 Knights, Dames and auxiliary members, employs about 25,000 doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and paramedics assisted by 80,000 volunteers in more than 120 countries, assisting children, homeless, handicapped, refugeed, elders, terminally ill and lepers around the world without distinction of ethnicity or religion."

Apparently, the Knights have been rocked by the recent dismissal (or resignation, depending on the source) of its grand chancellor over their distribution of condoms in Africa and elsewhere to prevent the spread of AIDS.

The article by Deacon Nick Donnelly links to a public statement the Pope made in 2015 in which he mentioned Freemasonry only once, and he did not actually link the fraternity to "Satanists." But the article below attempts to make that jump by association and perpetuate the hoary old fables peddled by Leo Taxil in the 1890s. Francis by most accounts is not considered a foolish man, and one wonders why he would credulously repeat the absurd allegation that Freemasons had anything to do with "Satanism." From the actual statement in full context, he didn't really do that. Certainly there have been conflicts between anti-clerical, anti-Catholic Masons - mostly in Europe - but such commentary hasn't happened among U.S. Freemasons since the early 1960s, and then only limited to a single appendant body. Unfortunately, the Church continues the longstanding policy of making no distinction between organizations like the Grand Orient of France, versus regular, recognized Masonic jurisdictions, despite the very well known and well documented differences.

Likewise, the article links to an in-flight interview Francis gave in 2013 in which he only mentioned Masonry a single time, as being allegedly involved in lobbying efforts ("a lobby of masons") regarding social issues. Again, certainly not in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and virtually any other Anglo-Saxon derived jurisdictions. 

Ultimately, it seems that Nick Donnelly has combed the Pope's statements and speeches over the years, desperately hunting for Masonic references of any kind, and found...two.

It has emerged that during a meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke in November about the scandal of the Knights of Malta distributing condoms and oral contraceptives in Africa, the Holy Father instructed Cardinal Burke to "clean out" Freemasonry from the order. The Holy Father gave this order to Cardinal Burke in his role as patron of the Knights of Malta by papal appointment. 
The Vatican journalist Edward Pentin revealed details of Pope Francis's concerns about the influence of the Freemasons on the Knights of Malta: 
Hopes that the contraceptive scandal would be addressed came on Nov. 10, when Cardinal Burke was received in private audience by Pope Francis. During that meeting, the Register has learned, the Pope was “deeply disturbed” by what the cardinal told him about the contraceptive distribution. The Pope also made it clear to Cardinal Burke that he wanted Freemasonry “cleaned out” from the order, and he demanded appropriate action. The concern was followed up by a Dec. 1 letter to Cardinal Burke, in which the Register has learned that the Holy Father underlined the cardinal’s constitutional duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law. 
Edward Pentin reports that Pope Francis was “deeply disturbed” by the evidence concerning Malteser International's distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives in the Far East and Africa during the tenure of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, a German Knight of Malta.  Boeselager was dismissed as grand chancellor following an internal investigation by the Knights of Malta. It is not clear why Pope Francis specifically identified Freemasonry as a problem in his response to the evidence presented by Cardinal Burke during the November meeting. 
Pope Francis has previously criticized the destructive influence of the Freemasons and their hostility towards the Church. During his address to young people during his apostolic visit to Turin the Holy Father spoke about "Masonic, hardcore anticlericals and Satanists": 
"At the end of the 19th century there were the worst conditions for young people’s development: freemasonry was in full swing, not even the Church could do anything, there were priest haters, there were also Satanists.... It was one of the worst moments and one of the worst places in the history of Italy. However, if you would like to do a nice homework assignment, go and find out how many men and women saints were born during that time. Why? Because they realized that they had to go against the tide with respect to the culture, to that lifestyle."
It was during his in-flight press interview in July 2013 that Pope Francis first expressed his concerns about the influence of Freemasons on the Church: 
“The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me." 
2017 marks the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge in London. It is important for Catholics to remember that Freemasonry has a history of plotting against the Catholic Church. During the 200th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry St Maximilian Kolbe witnessed Freemason conduct sacrilegious demonstrations in Rome.  In front of St. Peter's Freemasons displayed banners declaring, "Satan must reign in the Vatican. The Pope will be his slave". St Maximilian Kolbe summed up the objectives of Freemasonry: 
"In particular, it aims to destroy the Catholic religion. Their deceits have been spread throughout the world, in different disguises. But with the same goal -- religious indifference and weakening of moral forces, according to their basic principle -- 'we will conquer the Catholic Church not by argumentation, but rather with moral corruption'." (Kolbe -- Saint of the Immaculata, p. 32). 
It is important that during the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry that Catholics pay heed to Pope Francis's warnings about the continuing dangerous influence of Freemasonry on the Church.
Donnelley quoting the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe is a pretty disingenuous attempt to shield his ending Comment from criticism, as Fr. Kolbe was beatified, and subsequently canonized, for being martyred in Auschwitz during WWII. He is famously known for sacrificing his own life to save a fellow prisoner from death by volunteering to take the man's place, and was starved to death. It was unarguably a selfless demonstration of his deep devotion to his own faith and principles. However, his newspaper articles before the war in the 1920s and 30s have been severely criticized as both anti-semetic and anti-Masonic, which referred to the spread of communism as part of a Masonic conspiracy by Zionists to take over the world. Scholars of Holocaust era propaganda and publishing differ in their opinions, with many simply acknowledging that Polish society at the time quite openly accepted the claims made by the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There is certainly great difficulty separating his conflicting written words from his ultimate personal deeds.

Yes, there are plenty of Catholic Masons in the world. Yes, almost all of them fully realize that Rome's official stance is that such Catholic members are in a "state of grave sin." They also almost entirely understand the flawed reasons for that pronouncement and know there are no conflicts with the faith in their jurisdictions. And they are all aware that Freemasonry is not a monolithic organization, and has not been since it began. The Vatican - or certainly Donnelley - never seem to acknowledge that when making sweeping statements (or encyclicals) about "Freemasons." Masonry has had its share of schisms over the years, but in that regard, in comparison to Catholicism, we're mere pikers.

For the brethren who sent me links to this story today who are afraid Pope Francis has some sudden excitement about pestering Catholic Masons, it should be noted that Donnelley runs his own website called Church Militant. He is based in the diocese of Lancaster, England. So he knows darn good and well the difference between truly anti-Catholic Masons (almost entirely from decades, or over a century ago) who are regarded as irregular and unrecognized, versus the garden variety he finds in Lancaster and the rest of his nation - in fact in all of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, even if he doesn't get to the continent very often. But he obviously has his own agenda to promote, as a search of his site today returned 171 results for the word freemasonry.  

As an aside, if you really desire a slightly more detailed approach to the current scandals about the Knights of Malta and the condom controversy than Deacon Donnelley's (and their mission to save lives first as a matter of priority, instead of strictly following dogma to save souls), try the National Catholic Register HERE. 

UPDATE 1/15/2017:

Wow. Donnelley is on a tear. I have a feeling as we go through the 300th anniversary of UGLE this year he's going to be increasingly shrill. Here's his followup post from Friday on EWTN:

Will Freemasonry's 300th anniversary be as violently anti-Catholic as 1917?

He quotes Kolbe again, who claimed in 1939 that Freemasonry's motto is or was, "Destroy all religion, whatever it may be, especially the Catholic religion.''  

Saint or not, Kolbe swallowed the Taxil hoax top to bottom, four decades after the guy's open confession, and kept perpetuating it, along with the standard crap from the Protocols. If you're going to try to take a swipe at Masons, Kolbe isn't really the guy to use to do it with. He regularly broadsided Jews and Masons in print and in person - right up until the Gestapo hurled him into Auschwitz for being a Catholic. Yes, his death was true martyrdom, but Kolbe was the very embodiment of Niemöller's commentary, "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist..."

Donnelley also goes on to quote a large excerpt from an anti-Masonic booklet by Fr. Ashley Beck, who lays out why he believes Freemasonry is "incompatible" with Catholicism. Nothing really new. Just the standard canards that if Masonic lodge rituals and ceremonies are not specifically and overtly Christian, they must therefore be anti-Christian.

Masonic lodges are NOT churches, nor do they pretend to be. They are spiritual neutral ground, and we leave a man's faith to himself. All we ask is that he has some in a higher power. How he chooses to conceptualize or commune with that God is his business, not ours.

I'm seriously not wanting to shine a bigger light on Donnelley's posts than he deserves, and I'm not going to keep doing it and sending traffic his way. It's just two coming in one week of the new year that made him pop up on the radar. It's just worth it for us to stay aware of the kind of stuff being circulated and targeted to Catholics who are our members, or those who may be considering petitioning. 


  1. We have a brother in my local lodge who (until recently) was part of the Knights of Columbus in the local Catholic body as well, but was recently given the ultimatum of either dropping Masonry or being expelled from the order. As you mentioned, these people know that there's no conflict between Masonry and their faith, but it's a shame the higher-up's in the Catholic church still hold on to these antiquated beliefs.

  2. There is no religion higher than truth, Petronella Dayana

  3. It probably doesn't help that the Orange Order (and similar organizations) use symbols and regalia that look Masonic.

  4. It is unfortunate that some among the regular masons blame the Grand Orient for the hostility of the Varican towards Freemasonry in general. This amounts to believing the conspiracy theories fabricated among right wing Catholics when it comes to the Grand Orient, but not when it comes to their own jurisdiction.

  5. Why give this Donnelley the free publicity he probably craves by even mentioning him in your blog at all?

    The Catholic Church is obviously never going to admit they've been lying about Freemasonry for over 300 years. And they'll never stop opposing us in one way or another, because if they did stop it would be a tacit admission that they've been lying. So I propose that we just choose not to care what they say about us. JUST IGNORE IT.

  6. Can I give a somewhat cynical take on this whole matter.....Cardinal Burke has been a real thorn in the side of the current Pope, publishing books against him no less, and stirring up problems for him all around. Putting him in charge of the Knights of Malta was widely seen as a make-work demotion for the influential Cardinal. Taking the next step and actually sending him on wild goose chases against Masonic "conspiracies" is just a sort of clever Machiavellian maneuver to keep him more and more busy. I think the Pope is not stupid, and he likely knows of the researches of his fellow Jesuit Fr. Benimeli who has shown in many books the cultural background of these mistaken notions of Freemasonry in relation to Catholicism in Spain and Spanish speaking countries. (I myself published a lengthy article in Heredom coming to the same conclusions on a wider historical basis even). So it is simply not believable that the Pope is not aware of Benimeli's work at least, and so this whole thing is just a very savvy ruse. Remember, the Catholic Church actually invented a lot of the clever techniques of misdirection that became commonplace in western political life. So we should see such matters under that light, in my view. --- Add to this that there may also be a number of personal issues for the Pope coming from his time in Argentina as a recent article suggests. Even if this is all true, it still does not gainsay the broader desideratum for him of simply keeping the annoying Cardinal, whose rigid views the Pope has claimed are close to a kind of heresy in themselves, quite busy scurrying after spectres! (https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/01/13/popes-history-knights-malta-linked-current-row/


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