THE 'TABLET' AND ' GUARDIAN '—FREEMASONS.
New Zealand Tablet, Volume II, Issue 104, 24 April 1875, Page 12
THE 'TABLET AND GUARDIAN '—FREEMASONS.
The late controversy between you and the Otago Guardian in re Freemasonry was rather violent than otherwise. If you would not be offended I will give you a bit of my mind regarding it, even at the risk of scalding my mouth with other folks broth," as the old saying is. To begin, I rather like the Guardian/ I dislik* the word lie in any controversy, however great the provocation may be to use it. The Guardian/ no doubt, has circulated statements against the Catholic Church and its venerable Chief Bishop, which are unfounded, and most injurious. But lam unwilling to believe that he did so knowing them to be untrue. He has not, therefore, been guilty of lying. If it be asked how comes he to repeat the statement about the Pope having once been a Freemason, after His Holiness himself had asserted the contrary. Is that not barefaced lying on the part of the Guardian Well, I admit it looks very like it but then the Pope's denial may have escaped his notice, and you must remember that he most likely does not credit the Pope's word. He, possibly, believes the Pope is ready, as many other Catholics, he thinks, are ready at any time to tell any amount of fibs for the benefit of Holy Church." He has been bred up to form such an idea of Catholics he has sucked this notion in with his mother's milk, and he is hardly responsible now for holding it, however absurd and groundless and insulting it may be. For all that I like the Guardian.' I would rather have a stiff Protestant bigot a furious persecutor, in fact, like him than one of your milk-and-water pretended Liberals," who professes to believe that one religion is as good as another, neither better nor worse. We have lots of such liberals "on the Press. The editor of the Guardian is not one of them. He is in spirit a. real persecutor, like Saul, of Tarsus. He does not inflict physical pain on his opponents, the Papists," nor send them to the gaol, not having power to do so, and, most likely, not the inclination. But he is a persecutor for all that. He persecutes with his types and presses often more formidable instruments of mischief and torture, in a certain sense, than the dungeon, the axe, or the halter. Like Saul of Tarsus, his understanding is blinded by religious rancour, and he cannot see in its true light the religion he seeks to destroy. But the time may come when a "bright light from heaven shall shine into his mind, and he will see the Catholic religion in its true colors. Saul, of Tarsus, in ancient times, and Lord Bipon' with many others, in modern times, have gone through, this process. The editor of the Guardian is doubtless a great man; a man of grand intellect of a capacious and logical mind; of extensive, various, and exact information on all subjects, secular or religious, as all editors axe yet many converts to the Catholic Church, both in ancient and modern times, "were fully his equal in knowledge and judgment and honesty, if only his extreme selfesteem would permit him to think so. Men like Bismarr, the editor of the London Times/ Mr Gladstone, and your Guardian/ I look upon as the best friends of the Catholic Church in this age* Their exertions to destroy her we may call "a happy fault/ feliat
culpa. They are, with the most hostile intentions, doing the Catholic Church an immeasurable amount of good. Bu>b for their hostility, the public attention would not be so eagerly directed as it now is to the nature of Catholic tenets, and to the claims the Roman Catholic Church has on the acceptance of mankind as the only true Church of Christ. Treat the Guardian tenderly. Be to his faults a little kind and blind. The London Times calls the Masonic body a harmless and benevolent society. Possibly it may be so in England, otherwise it is difficult to believe that an amiable, high-principled man like Lord Ripon would have continued a member of it for any length of time. But is it so on the Ob-ntinent Will the Guardian* pretend that there it is a harmless and merejbenevolent society. Again, is not the Masonic body Societas isibxque eadem. If actuated by a dangerous spirit on the Continent, it must be so everywhere, because the body is one and undivisible. One thing is certain It professes to regenerate the world, to promote a universal charity, without the aid of the religion of Jesus Christ. In this sense it offers a direct affront to Christianity, by implying that religion is unnecessary, and may be safely and properly discarded. What are Christian men to think of a society like the Masons, which professes to regenerate mankind and establish the supremacy of virtue by the agency of men who are the avowed enemies of Christ Jews and Infidels form part and parcel of the Masonic body, and it surprises -me to see Protestant ministers identifying themselves with or apologising for it. But, I presume that, as there is ever an irreconcileable hostility between the Catholic Church and the Freemasons, therefore some Protestant Ministers may think it a point of duty to ally themselves with the Masonic body, Jewish and heathenish though it be, to a great extent. To what lengths will not some Christians go, if they can only by any possibility inflict a blow on the Catholic Church. The v Masons, so far as outward appearances go, in this Colony are a harmless and beneyolenfc society and nothing else but, being a secret society, who can tell what is the real nature of their proceedings in the inner sanctuary. They themselves profess to be mysterious "in their ways. They cannot, therefore, expect the outside public to give them credit for frankness and simplicity- Whatever is shrouded in mystery is suspicious, and may be dangerous. It may seem that in England and the Colonies, at all events, the Masonic body has a religious and even a Christian character, seeing that Protestant clergymen belong to it, and they carry the Bible in procession. It, therefore, cannot be anything bad. Still, a close fraternity which admits as members Jews and Infidels the one the avowed enemies of Christ, the other scoffers at all religion, surely cannot consistently claim to be regarded as a religious, or still less a Christian body. A. society so peculiarly constituted cannot be either creditable or safe among a Christian population. This may be said without casting any injurious reflection on its individual members, some of whom are men of high principles honorable and humane.