WOMAN CATHOLICS AND FRIENDLY SOCIETIES.
CARDINAL MORAN’S VIEWS
Recently we republished from the Sydney * Daily Telegraph’ some sweeping remarks made by Cardinal Moran in relation to friendly societies and to the attitude which hia church holds in regard to them. The Cardinal’s remarks attracted a good deal of attention, especially among members of friendly societies in Sydney, and the ‘ Telegraph’ followed up the matter by interviewing prominent representatives of the various orders. We reprint below the substance of the criticisms passed on Cardinal Moran’s statements: —
an oddfellow of thirty-four years’ BTANDINO.
Mr Alexander Kethel, of Market Wharf, was the first to be interviewed on the subject. “Neither religious nor political matters are allowed to be discussed in the lodges of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows,” said Mr Kethel. “Yea, I should know something about it, for I have been an Oddfellow for thirty-four years, and during that time have held the offices of Chief Secretary, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Master of tho Order. For twenty years I was a member of the Executive in New South VVales, and I can say without fear of denial that in every lodge polities and religion are entirely excluded. Members of any denomination can take part in the proceedings of Oddfellowship without in any way interfering with their religious scruples. 1 may say that among those who have been most industrious in furthering Oddfellowship in the past have been many Catholics. In fact our society is a Catholic society in the widest interpretation of the term. In reference to this Mr Collins, who is said to have written to Cardinal Moran on the subject of approval of the Order, I know nothing of it; but Ido know that it is more than any member of tho Manchester Unity would dare to do on his own responsibility, and I never heard of his being authorised. We are certainly not a secret society. Tho only thing secret is the password, and, of course, it is necessary to keep that secret to prevent imposition. Members travelling are given a password that introduces them to any district, and, as anyone can see, it is necessary to keep this secret, so that lodges may bo satisfied of the bona (ides of the visiting member. This is all the secrecy there is, if that can be called secrecy, and I hardly think it can, at least not in the objectionable sense implied. The so-called religious service is a very simple matter, »nd can be read in five minutes. It is entirely and altogether unsoctarian, and, in dealing with the death of the brother over whom it is read, inculcates a lesson of general piety and resignation. It embodies no religious dogma whatever, and can be read by a clergyman of any denomination without violation of his religions samples, I have known instances where the families of Catholic members have specially requested that this short service should be read over the deceased, but have desisted at the wish of the officiating priest, if the service is desired by relatives it is read, but if there is any objection raised it is not persisted in. Catholics would certainly be placed at a disadvantage if compelled to transfer themselves from the Oddfellows’ Societies to one of the private societies alluded to by the Cardinal. Of these latter there are only branches here and there, in tho principal centres, whereas there are lodges of Oddfellows everywhere. A member of one of the private societies spoken of by the Cardinal would, if he transferred himself to a district where there was no branch, find that his connection with the society was profitless. On the other hand, a member of the Oddfellows could be transferred anywhere, and need not find himself thrown out of his society after being in it for a number of years. It had also been broadly stated that these societies alluded to by tho Cardinal have not been so well managed as they might have been, and that cannot bo urged against the Oddfellows’ Society, into which tho fullest scrutiny may without fear be invited. As a consistent Christian and a member of another branch of the Christian Church, I say then there is nothing in the constitution or practice of Oddfellowship to prevent the most devout member of any denomination from being a full and active member of our society. On the contrary, all its works tend to the advancement of the highest Christian principles—namely, brotherly love, benevolence, and self-denial. As to our singing Wesleyan hymns and saying Wesleyan prayers, it is entirely incorrect. Neither prayers nor hymns, Wesleyan or otherwise, are used in opening or closing an Oddfellows’ Lodge, or during the proceedings. It is quite a misstatement so far as we are concerned," COMBINED TESTIMONY OP ODDFELLOWS. The three grand secretaries of the different constitutions of Oddfellows having branches in this colony were interviewed together. Mr E. Schofield, Grand Secretary of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, Mr J. A. M'Cubbin, Grand Secretary of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, and Mr H. H. Greene, Grand Secretary of the I. American Constitution, were the gentlemen spoken to on the matter, and they were unanimous in their denial of the various statements made by Cardinal Moran in reference to their Orders. In all three constitutions members upon initiation were distinctly given to understand that discussion of religious topics would on no account be tolerated. Neither Wesleyan nor any other description of hymns or prayers were used in any of the lodges, and in each the funeral service was declared by the secretaries to be quite unsectarian. Moreover, this service of ritual was never used cxceptby request. They had never heard of inconvenience at funerals arising out of the reading of this service, which was read by consent of the officiating minister. There was no secrecy in any of tho lodges, except in the matter of the password, as explained by Mr Kethel. WHAT THE URL IDS THINK, “ Decidedly incorrect ” was the opinion of Mr J. H. Peat, Grand Secretary of the United Ancient Order of Druids, who is also secretary of the Friendly Societies’ Association. “No Wesleyan prayers or hymns, or any others, are used in the Druids’ lodges, and wo forbid the introduction of religion or politics, Ob, yes, we have a funeral service which we read over a departed brother, but it is entirely unseotarian. It is simply a moral oration, and is not intended to be religious at all, If relatives of a deceased brother do not wish It the service is not read. Rut as a matter of fact there is nothing in tho service that any member of any denomination can take exception to.”
FROM A FORESTER'S POINT OF VIEW, ' Mr W. 0. Fox, District Secretary A.0.F., said“ The Cardinal’s remarks in reference to the Foresters are quite unjustifiable and are not borne out by facts. We are not a secret society. We have the password, grip, and sign, but the possession of these can hardly brand us as a secret society in the accepted moaning of the term, No one who knows anything about na would think of designating the Foresters a secret society. No, we do not sing Wesleyan hymns or say Wesleyan prayers. We do not sing hymns of any kind, and prayers do not form part of our proceedings. There is nothing in the Foresters’ funeral service to which anyone could take exception. We have a great many Catholic members. I remember a somewhat similar ukase to this, if I may term it ukase, which was issued about eight or nine years ago, but I do not think it had any very noticeable effect. I may say in regard to that service, it is never read without the permission of the presiding minister, whoever he may be. The Foresters are quite an unsectarian body." the temperance view. Mr G. D. Clarke, Grand Electoral Superintendent of the Independent Order of Good Templars, said their Order could not bo designated a religious body. True, they sang, but they sang unsectarian temperance songs, which were quite distinct from Wesleyan hymns. They had prayers also, but they were likewise unsectarian. The only thing secret about their lodges was the password, and that could not be held to tount in a charge of being a secret society when backed up by nothing else. The Order was decidedly untfrawrisa. “ We
simply fight drink,” said Mr Clarke, “and we have helped many men out of the gutter and into good positions, and not a few of these have been Catholics. We have a number of Catholic members, and several have held prominent positions on our Executive and in the mission field. The Good Templar funeral service might bo read over anybody, whether Wesleyan, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Catholic, or anyone else. It is, like I 'if prayers and temperance songs, of an unsectarian character.”
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WOMAN CATHOLICS AND FRIENDLY SOCIETIES., Evening Star, Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
WOMAN CATHOLICS AND FRIENDLY SOCIETIES. Evening Star, Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
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