Freemasonry (Humanum Genus)
People and Rulers Deceived
Would that all men would judge of the tree by its fruits, and would acknowledge
the seed and origin of the evils which press upon us, and of the dangers that
are impending! We have to deal with a deceitful and crafty enemy, who, gratifying
the ears of people and of princes, has ensnared them by smooth speeches and
by adulation. Ingratiating themselves with rulers under a pretense of friendship,
the Freemasons have endeavored to make them their allies and powerful helpers
for the destruction of the Christian name; and that they might more strongly
urge them on, they have, with determined calumny, accused the Church of invidiously
contending with rulers in matters that affect their authority and sovereign
power. Having, by these artifices, insured their own safety and audacity, they
have begun to exercise great weight in the government of States; but nevertheless
they are prepared to shake the foundations of empires, to harass the rulers
of the State, to accuse, and to cast them out, as often as they appear to govern
otherwise than they themselves could have wished. In like manner they have by
flattery deluded the people. Proclaiming with a loud voice liberty and public
prosperity, and saying that it was owing to the Church and to sovereigns that
the multitude were not drawn out of their unjust servitude and poverty, they
have imposed upon the people; and, exciting them by a thirst for novelty, they
have urged them to assail both the Church and the civil power. Nevertheless,
the expectation of the benefits which were hoped for was greater than the reality;
indeed, the common people, more oppressed than they were before, are deprived
in their misery of that solace which, if things had been arranged in a Christian
manner, they would have had with ease and in abundance. But whoever strive against
the order which divine Providence has constituted pay usually the penalty of
their pride, and meet with affliction and misery where they rashly hoped to
find all things prosperous and in conformity with their desires.
Benefit of Church's Teaching
The Church, if she directs men to render obedience chiefly and above all to
God the sovereign Lord, is wrongly and falsely believed either to be envious
of the civil power or to arrogate to herself something of the rights of sovereigns.
On the contrary, she teaches that what is rightly due to the civil power must
be rendered to it with a conviction and consciousness of duty. In teaching that
from God Himself comes the right of ruling, she adds a great dignity to civil
authority, and no small help towards obtaining the obedience and good-will of
the citizens. The friend of peace and sustainer of concord, she embraces all
with maternal love; and, intent only upon giving help to mortal man, she teaches
that to justice must be joined clemency, equity to authority, and moderation
to law-giving; that no one's right must be violated; that order and public tranquillity
are to be maintained; and that the poverty of those who are in need is, as far
as possible, to be relieved by public and private charity. "But for this
reason," to use the words of St. Augustine, "men think, or would have
it believed, that Christian teaching is not suited to the good of the State;
for they wish the State to be founded not on solid virtue, but on the impunity
of vice." Knowing these things, both princes and people would act with
political wisdom, and according to the needs of general safety, if, instead
of joining with Freemasons to destroy the Church, they joined with the Church
in repelling their attacks.
The Popes' Warning Reiterated
Whatever the future may be, in this grave and widespread evil it is Our duty,
Venerable Brethren, to endeavor to find a remedy. And because We know that Our
best and firmest hope of a remedy is in the power of that divine religion which
the Freemasons hate in proportion to their fear of it, We think it to be of
chief importance to call that most saving power to Our aid against the common
enemy. Therefore, whatsoever the Roman Pontiffs Our predecessors have decreed
for the purpose of opposing the undertakings and endeavors of the Masonic sect,
and whatsoever they have enacted to deter or withdraw men from societies of
this kind, We ratify and confirm it all by Our Apostolic authority: and trusting
greatly to the good-will of Christians, We pray and beseech each one, for the
sake of his eternal salvation, to be most conscientiously careful not in the
least to depart from what the Apostolic See has commanded in this matter.
No Compromise with Masonry
We pray and beseech you, Venerable Brethren, to join your efforts with Ours,
and earnestly to strive for the extirpation of this foul plague, which is creeping
through the veins of the State. You have to defend the glory of God and the
salvation of your neighbor; and with this object of your strife before you,
neither courage nor strength will be wanting. It will be for your prudence to
judge by what means you can best overcome the difficulties and obstacles you
meet with. But as it befits the authority of Our office that We Ourselves should
point out some suitable way of proceeding, We wish it to be your rule first
of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really
is; and by sermons and Pastoral Letters to instruct the people as to the artifices
used by societies of this kind in seducing men and enticing them into their
ranks, and as to the depravity of their opinions and the wickedness of their
acts. As Our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think that he
may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic
name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them. Let no one be deceived
by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing
that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle
and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these
men or in any way to help them cannot be lawful.
Taken from Humanum
Genus: On Freemasonry by TAN
Books & Publishers, Inc.
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