Masonry, Atheism and Catholicism
Interview With Author of "The Masonic Plot"
BURGOS, Spain, JUNE 3, 2007 (Zenit.org).- What's true and what's not
about the Masons is the topic of a recent book by an expert in the
history of religions.
Father Manuel Guerra Gómez, who is an author of 25 books on
sects and other topics, recently released "La trama masónica"
(The Masonic Plot), published in Spanish by Styria.
Father Guerra is a diocesan priest of Burgos, and a retired professor
of the Burgos headquarters of the Faculty of Theology of Northern Spain.
In this interview with ZENIT he says that "the Masonic method,
atheistic in nature, reflects historical relativism and leads to the
socio-cultural relativism that it promotes."
Q: Is the famous Masonic conspiracy a myth?
Father Guerra: It is necessary to distinguish between Masonry and the
Masons. Masonry, as such, does not aspire to power or at least to
having it serve its own principles and interests.
Nevertheless, Masons are in fact present in every international
organization in which decisions are made and in the multinational
corporations that have an influence on economic and political power.
It is logical to think that they try to pass on their ideological
principles -- relativism, atheism, gnosticism -- wherever they are and
to irradiate them beyond their own context.
On the other hand, in the English-speaking world and in the northern
countries, in Turkey, etc., it is not that they seek to gain power,
they are the power.
Thus, for example, the sovereign of the United Kingdom is also the
grand master of the United Grand Lodge of England, and of the more than
150 grand lodges -- one for every country, and in the United States one
for every state. In 1995, in the United Grand Lodge of England there
were 750,000 members belonging to 8,000 lodges throughout the world.
Besides this, because of the rule of secrecy, there is no way of
knowing for certain where they are active and how far their direct
influence extends, and much less do we know the extent of their
Tony Blair's government sought to institute the obligation that Masons
declare their membership in the group, especially if they were
functionaries of the state, and above all if they worked in the area of
justice or in the police. The response of 1,400 English judges who
voluntarily declared their membership in the Masons is commendable.
Evidently there are many more.
Following the scandals of the secret Propaganda Due Lodge of Licio
Gelli in Italy, functionaries in certain areas of Italian public
administration must declare whether that they are Masons at the risk of
losing their post.
Q: Is it true that 60% of the members of the European Parliament are
Father Guerra: This and a similar claim were made by Josep Corominas,
grand master of the Grand Lodge of Spain up until March 2006. On Feb.
9, 2007, he left the Grand Lodge of Spain, but affirmed that he would
continue to be a Mason and wanted to be considered such.
Is this a new division which has given place to a new Masonic
obedience, or is it an incorporation into one already existing?
Indeed, all the proposals pertaining to family and bioethics issues,
dissenting from the teaching of the Church and even the natural law,
have been approved by the European Parliament. There is also the case
of the Italian Rocco Buttiglione who was rejected as a European
commissioner by an atheist majority of the Parliament.
Q: In Rome a conference has just ended in which the incompatibility of
Catholicism and Masonry was recalled. A call for dialogue with Masons
on socio-cultural questions was made. How can this happen?
Father Guerra: Despite the objective incompatibility between Masonry
and Catholicism, Catholics can dialogue with Masons at different
levels, except for those things that the Holy See, aware of the risks,
has reserved for its exclusive competence.
In the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's declaration on
Freemasonry it is stated that it "is not within the competence of local
ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic
associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided
above, and this in line with the declaration of this sacred
congregation issued on Feb. 17, 1981."
It is likewise necessary to consider the reality and consequences of
Masonic secrecy. How can you dialogue with someone who wears a mask?
Despite this, it is still possible to dialogue about socio-cultural
questions. Even if religions and ideologies end up forming and
conforming the respective cultures to themselves, there always exists
some common ground.
Unlike that which is specifically religious and ideological, the
cultural ambit is still a sector about which it is possible to
dialogue, at least in theory. It is easier to undertake dialogue on
intercultural issues -- like poverty, literacy, the environment,
health, globalization, etc. -- than on interreligious issues.
Nevertheless, even on this terrain, dialogue with the Masons encounters
serious difficulties, insofar as Masonic atheism, open or hidden, tends
to relegate to the margins religious particularities, that which is not
common to all religions and moral codes, and tends to enclose it --
like someone under "house arrest" -- in the forum of personal
conscience and behind Church walls.
In this sense Masonry works to eliminate the socio-cultural trappings
of Christianity in traditionally Christian countries -- such as for
example Nativity scenes or representations of symbols of the Christmas
mystery -- the star of Bethlehem, the Three Kings, etc.
Q: Does Masonry substitute itself for religion?
Father Guerra: Masonry, in line with one of its products, the New Age,
prefers to use the term "spirituality," which has a more subjective
resonance than the term "religion."
Some Masons say that they are Christians and deny that Masonry is a
religion. They should rather recognize that they belong to two
religions: the Catholic one and the Masonic one.
But in fact, at least for many, above all for the Masons who are
agnostics and deists, Masonry is a substitute for religion. Indeed,
Masonry is called a "religion" and sometimes "the religion" in Masonic
writings and those of Masons.
Q: How were you able to get up close to this world if it is so
Father Guerra: I dedicated many hours of study to the constitutions,
rules and rituals of the different federations of Masonic lodges, spoke
with Masons and ex-Masons in Spain and Mexico, and read books on
Masonry by Masons and non-Masons.
About 10 years ago in Mexico I spent two summers speaking daily with
Masonic and non-Masonic university professors. I spent the afternoons
visiting the centers of different sects, some of them para-Masonic,
that are on the outskirts of the cities.
Q: Does Masonry have more to do with a method than a content?
Father Guerra: Man, besides thinking, also feels and imagines.
Sentiments and imagination can interfere with and disturb mental
lucidity. But despite this, ideas and beliefs orient man; principles
create and orient human institutions. But to achieve the objective it
is necessary to use the right "method."
The Greek word "odos" means "way," and "met" means the "goal" at which
we want to arrive. In Masonry the method aims at the highest categories
and the maximum effectiveness since it in fact constitutes one of the
"principles," perhaps the most fundamental, the one that is at the
basis of all the others.
It is precisely because of its method that Masonry ends up being
incompatible with Christian doctrine.
The Masonic method, atheistic in nature, reflects historical relativism
and leads to the socio-cultural relativism that it promotes.
Alain Gérard, one of the directors of the Grand Orient of
France, says that "Masonry is only a method." According to him, a Mason
can have "opinions" or the beliefs of a particular religion, but the
Masonic method obliges him to "call into question" his opinions and to
accept the possibility that they will be declared false or surpassed by
a more solid rational system and with the support of the majority.
"You cannot have a real discussion if, whatever be the outcome of the
discussion, there will always be some points about which you are
convinced you are right," Gérard says.
With this the Masonic allergy to dogmas and to dogmatic and revealed
religion, especially to Christianity, comes to light.
This also explains why Masons tend to consider democracy as an
achievement of Masonry and the democratic method -- approval by
majority vote -- as something connatural to Masonry. This democratic
method they extend to every reality, including the truth itself, the
The present grand master of the Grand Orient of France, Jean Michel
Quilardet, in a statement to the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Asturias
on Jan. 29, 2007, said that "you can think that a non-atheistic
democracy exists -- and non-atheistic means non-Masonic -- but to my
way of seeing things and to my way of thinking atheism is an
accomplishment of democracy." Thus, those democrats who are not
atheists or Masons, if they are democrats, would be second-class
Q: Are the Masons a creative minority? Are Christians as well?
Father Guerra: Masons obviously do not have a monopoly on creativity.
Even if it is of a different nature, creativity also belongs to
Christians with the help of divine grace and the influence of the Holy
Spirit. And Christian creativity is not of a lesser sort.
To demonstrate this all we need to do is look at the history of the
Church and at its adaptation of evangelization to quite variable social
and cultural circumstances in the 2000 years of its existence. "The
hand of the Lord is not too short" -- Isaiah 59:1 -- in our day.
When, a few years ago, Pope John Paul II called the ecclesial movements
"the new springtime of the Spirit," "the renewed Pentecost," "a special
gift that the Spirit offers to the Church in our historical moment," I
initially attributed it to his incredible goodness.
The good and holy person only sees good in everything, like the greedy
man sees lucre and the lustful man sees sexual pleasure.
When, however, I worked on a piece called "The Ecclesial Movements in
Spain," and I was able to see the reality for myself, it left a deep
impression. What creativity the sons and daughters of the Church, moved
and inspired by the Holy Spirit, have today!
How could the Church or the world survive if the ecclesial movements --
the educational projects, the aid work, etc. -- disappeared, leaving a
kind of large "black hole" in the ecclesial and socio-cultural galaxies?