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The Roman Catholic Church., Issue 8019, 23 September 1889
The Roman Catholic Church.
Mr Wise's article in the ‘ Centenary Magazine,’ a brief extract from which was given in our cable news, caused so much sensation in Sydney that the representative of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ recently made soma inquiries, and finally interviewed Cardinal Moran to ascertain if they were correct. The statements to which particular reference was made were two. First, that under the regulations adopted at the Diocesan Synod, held in the Catuedral in 4.nril last, all Catholics joining the “ Odd. fellows, Foresters, Druids, Good Templars, Rechabitos, jnd kindred societies” after that date would he “deprivedof the benefit of the presence and services of the priests at their funeraland, secondly, that in accordance with the decrees of the Plenary Council of 18S5, No. 173, the City Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Limited, and the Sydney Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Limited, had received “ temporary diocesan approval.” In regard to the insurance question, Cardinal Moran said that th.o recommendation made by the Synod was not intended to prevent business being done with other companies j that there was no obligation on any of the clergymen who had already effected satisfactory insurances to withdraw them in favor of the companies named, apd in fact no obligation to insure in these two particular companies at all. The action of the Plenary Council and subsea uent Diocesan Synod having been thus explained so far as the recommendation of the insurance companies was concerned, the next question was as to the extraordinary regulations adopted at the Diocesan Synod in April anent ’the banning of the Oddfellows and all other kindred societies. Tire ‘ I'elegraph ’ continues“ Was such a regulation adopted?” we inquired of His Eminence. “Most assuredly it was, replied the Cardinal, “ The secretary of the Oddfellows—Mr Collins, I think, was lua name—wrote to me some time last year requesting my formal approval to the Oddfellows’ Society being recognised as a Catholic society, the same as the Guild. Inquiries were instituted about the different societies. ft than that they were not merely relict societies, bat strictly Wesleyan for the meat part, beginning with Wesleyan prayers and using Wesleyan hymns. And, furthermore, there were difficulties with regard to interment. These societies—l am speaking in particular of the Oddfellows—have their own religious rites, or, at f.ny rate, what they call religious rites, at interment. Inconvenience was occasionally experienced by jpatbolics on the societies insisting that these funeral rites should be carried out. To prevent any further inconvenience a regulation was passed, intimating that all Catholics joining after that date should be deprived of the benefit of the presence and services of the priest at their funeral. This would not provent the Sacrament being given, but only the attendance of the priest at the funeral, ami in no case was it to have a retrospective effect. The Catholic Church is very strict in ail matters connected with secret societies, such as freemasons, Oddfellows, etc. We condemn them all, If any society has a secular or anti-religious rite we could not allow the priest to ; attend. In the three or four cases where the priest did attend—l am referring only to the Oddfellows’ Society - some very serious threats were mfcd? a * B rave > and were obliged to refuse to proceed with the ri£e unless they desisted. It is not on account of these societies being benefit societies—although Mr Wise seems to think so—that we oppose them, but on j account of their being religious societies. We find that if once a man affiliates himself wM Protestant societies, and begins to practise rites not consistent with his own religion, ijs leads to the break-up of the family union,' to drunkenness, and everything else. We say that if a man is a Roman Catholic let him be z Roman Catholic thoroughly, and not half Catholic and half Protestant.” “ But, added the Cardinal, “the Catholic Church does not ban every society formed for a
‘friendly’ or ‘benefit’ purpose except the Hibernian and the guilds. There are a number of private friendly societies other than those last named not so large in their field of operations, to be sure, but which Catholics can join if they feel so disposed. Any friendly society that does not combine attacks on the Catholic religion with the practice of a religion opposed to theirs could be joined by a Catholic. But in the same way as uo Protestant would join a distinctly Homan Catholic benefit society, because Catholic prayers would be used, so Catholics should not join a Protestant benefit society for a similar reason, The fact is,” observed the Cardinal in conclusion, “that the Catholic Church is and always has been opposed to secret societies, and our opposition has been justified on the Continent of Europe very recently.” “How was that?” we inquired. “On June 10th last,” said the Cardinal, “ there was a procession in Rome in memory of Bruno, sentenced to death years ago for heresy. In the procession the Freemasons of England and Australia figured conspicuously, and one of the banners was borne by a society of New Zealand. Tho societies commemorated the event as a triumph not only over the Roman religion, but over all religions. The English Freemasons do not claim to be associated with the Continental Freemasons, regarding the latter as aiming at the overthrowal both of the altar and of the throne ; but at the installation of of one of their grand masters recently in Loudon the Grand Orient Continental Lodge was represented, and their address was received. These are some of our reasons why we object to Roman Catholics joining secret societies such as those to which I have referred.”
The Roman Catholic Church., Issue 8019, 23 September 1889
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