Silo—Perhaps the statement of " Catho
" which " Luberi, Muratori," your recent correspondent on the above subject, informs us is intended " to make the flesh of all good Catholics creep," is not so far away from the truth as is suggested. The statement in question is "Strenuous efforts are being made to increase the numbers of Freemasons, and to recruit members among Catholics." An assurance is furnished by your last-mentioned correspondent that there is no sinister connection between Masonry and Rotary. It is not irrelevant in this connection to quote Dr. Vincent Davila, one-time President of the Rotary Club of Caracas, Venezuela, who stated in the local Masonic Lodge : " We Freemasons have the honour of being described as the elder brothers of the Rotarians: between Rotary and Freemasonry there are vital points of contact." Further, Fr. Cahill, S.J., the eminent authority on Freemasonry, describes Rotary as being one of several associations which are a type of Imperfect Freemasonry, and organised by Freemasons for the Masonic interpenetration of Christian society. That the policy and the aims of some Rotarian Societies are not consonant with Catholic policy and aims is instanced by the feet that the Rotarians of Mexico, in meeting assembled, sent this telegram to Calles, the butcher of the Church in that country: " We deem it an honour to send you a cordial and respectful salutation, and we resolve to co-operate with your Government as far as lies in our power."
As to the statement of "Luberi, Muratori." indicating that Freemasons are unwilling to admit Catholics into their ranks, it is natural that the question should be asked, " From where was the numerous and powerful army of Spanish Freemasons recruited except from the ranks of renegade Catholics and their offspring?" It is, perhaps, interesting to note in this connection that the President of the Dublin Club at the Annual Conference of the Rotary Clubs of Ireland in Portrush on September 28, 1933, said he appreciated the difficulties the movement had to face in Ireland, but he thought these difficulties could be overcome.
Although no general prohibition has been issued to laymen against joining the Rotarians. the fact is that the general attitude in Catholic countries is quite different from the attitude in countries like England and America. In the latter the idea is rather to join it and to influence it for good. Some American Bishops, it is said, made representations to Rome on these lines and succeeded in averting a general prohibition of Rotary. But the attitude in Catholic countries is that the Society is held under grave suspicion, for it is permeated with the unhealthy element of Freemasonry. The Spanish Hierarchy forbade their people to have any part or share in Rotary. In his pamphlet on Freemasonry the Rev. George Clune, B.A., L.Ph., B.C.L., states that the Holy See forbids Bishops and other ecclesiastical superiors to allow the priests subject to them to join Rotary or to take pert in its assemblies. (1 understand an exception is made in regard to America.) Three main reasons are given: First. the Masonic origin of Rotary; second, its hostility to the Church; third, its moral code, which very closely resembles that of Freemasonry. It is part of Rotary's work in this country to patronise Catholic works of charity, and in its publicity I have seen it stated that " the Catholic Bishop of Nice had accepted honorary membership of the Rotary Club of Nice." It would be interesting to know whether the Bishop (in 1933) is or was a Catholic or Anglo-Catholic" Bishop and what his reasons were for accepting the honour.
In regard to Freemasonry and it is well to remember that Leo XIII slated that "Satan himself is the inspirer of this diabolical organisation" and it is not out of season to call to mind that the same Pontiff wrote regarding that Satanic society: " AS IT IS A QUESTION OF A SECT WHICH HAS INVADED ALL DOMAINS IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO REMAIN ON THE DEFENSIVE. CATHOLICS MUST DESCEND COURAGEOUSLY INTO THE ARENA AND COMBAT IT FACE TO FACE. THIS YOU WILL DO BY OPPOSING PUBLICATIONS TO PUBLICATIONS, SCHOOLS TO SCHOOLS, ASSOCIATIONS TO ASSOCIATIONS. AND CONGRESSES T 0 CONGRESSES, ACTION TO ACTION. BY YOUR PERSONS AND YOUR MONEY HELP THE CATHOLIC PRESS."
[A. priest wrresponclant writes that on February 4, 1929, Rome answered in reply to a question about the Rotarians: " Non Expedit ut Clerioi Nomen Dent," which presumably means that it is better for the olergy not to join. We know of na " AngloCatholic " Bishop of eliee.—lierroan
It Is Undesirable
Stio—The Holy See in a decision issued February 4, 1929, by the Sacred Congregation of the Consistory, has declared that it is undesirable (non expedire) for Bishops or other ecclesiastical superiors to allow the priests subject to them to become membets of Rotary or to take part in its meetings. The Osservatore Romano in an authorised article enumerates three main reasons for the decision of the Congregation, viz.:
The Masonic origin of Rotary, its proved hostility to the Church and its moral code, " which in almost every particular resembles that of Freemasonry."
Cf. Revue Internationale des Societies
Secretes Nos. 43 (1928). No. 12 (1929) where the full text of the decision is given as well as a summary of the article in the Osservatore Romano.
Again, the following declaration was drawn up and signed by all the Catholic Bishops of Holland at an episcopal conference held at Utrecht in August 1930.
In view of the propaganda carried on even among Catholics in our country to induce them to join the Rotary Club, we feel obliged urgently to repeat what we have already recalled to our faithful people, namely, that it is our explicit desire that our faithful Catholics join Catholic associations. The Rotary Club is a neutral association of economic and social character, which wishes to reform society and educate its members in order to make them into honest and disinterested men. This aim is definitely praiseworthy, but the association wishes to reach it by applying ethical principles independent of any religion. It is for this reason that the Rotary Club is among the associations from which Catholics should hold themselves aloof. In consequence, we think it our duty expressly to declare that Catholics are not allowed to join the Rotary Club.
M. J. F.