(Continued from page 1) secrecy, a charge that the Craft taught strange doctrines.
" Even supposing my case was entirely wrong. I still feel that a Bishop should be free to answer it; if he is not free to do so, that means that his Masonic oath of secrecy takes precedence over his Episcopal oath, which for the Church is an exceedingly sinister situation."
Commented a prominent Anglican Canon: " I don't know that it's alto gether a sinister situation. It is certainly extremely disconcerting — especially for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is well known as a Mason, " The trouble is that there doesn't seem to he any rule or law prohibiting Anglicans from becoming Masons."
Though I understand the published list is not necessarily complete, the Masonic Year-Book for 1951 gives the following Church of England Bishops who are—or were —Masonic Grand Chaplains: Rt. Rev. Charles Saunders, Assistant Bishop of Chichester, Rt. Rev. Ernest Neville Lovett, formerly Bishop of Salisbury, The Bishop of Norwich, The Suffragan Bishop of Crediton, The Suffragan Bishop of Warrington, The former Bishop of Sodor and Man.
The former Bishop of Assam, India.
The Suffragan Bishop of Reading.
The Bishop of Chester. . The Bishop of Carlisle.
The Suffragan Bishop of Woolwich.
The Suffragan Bishop of Selby, The Suffragan Bishop of Whitby. The Archbishop of Canterbury. The Anglican Chaplain-General to the Forces. the Rev. C. ID. Symons, is also listed with the Grand Chaplains of the Craft.
The fact that only four diocesan Bishops are included in the official (rimier is regarded by one Anglican authority I spoke to as "a sign of the general lack of interest in the meaning and practice of Masonry."
This critic took the view that the Craft is normally " only too eager to use ecclesiastics in the highest positions."
The Catholic attitude to Freemasonry is clear-cut.
Papal pronouncements from 1739 onwards have condemned its naturalistic character, endangering faith by spreading indifferentism, its secrecy, the form and ends of the oaths binding on members, and its general incompatibility with civil and canon law.
That is why since 1738 Catholics have been strictly forbidden, under pain of excommunication ipso facto to enter or help in any manner Masonic societies.