Since yesterday was the (new date) feast of Pope St. Pius X, I decided to dive into his writings. The wisdom, understanding, and prophetic nature of his writing is intoxicating. His Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists in part reads like a critique of the commentary in my New American Bible.
But I turned my attention to another subject of his and many popes beforehand: Freemasonry. Wow, I never knew. Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Humanum Genus is stirring things in my mind which had not previously been considered. I am not a Freemason but I have been a believer in the model of government and society put forth by that organization. I now see its fundamental incompatibility with Christianity.
Unfortunately our government in the United States is essentially a Freemason playground. And almost everything Leo XIII warned about is coming true. I would explain it but his words are better than mine:
From Humanum Genus (Leo XIII - 1884):
(My emphasis and comments.)
(To explain the "Naturalists")
12. Now, the fundamental doctrine of the naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide.
17. But the naturalists go much further; for, having, in the highest things, entered upon a wholly erroneous course, they are carried headlong to extremes, either by reason of the weakness of human nature, (watched the news lately?) or because God inflicts upon them the just punishment of their pride. Hence it happens that they no longer consider as certain and permanent those things which are fully understood by the natural light of reason, such as certainly are -- the existence of God, the immaterial nature of the human soul, and its immortality. The sect of the Freemasons, (America?) by a similar course of error, is exposed to these same dangers; for, although in a general way they may profess the existence of God, they themselves are witnesses that they do not all maintain this truth with the full assent of the mind or with a firm conviction. Neither do they conceal that this question about God is the greatest source and cause of discords among them; in fact, it is certain that a considerable contention about this same subject has existed among them very lately. But, indeed, the sect allows great liberty to its votaries, so that to each side is given the right to defend its own opinion, either that there is a God, or that there is none; and those who obstinately contend that there is no God are as easily initiated as those who contend that God exists, though, like the pantheists, they have false notions concerning Him: all which is nothing else than taking away the reality, while retaining some absurd representation of the divine nature.
18. When this greatest fundamental truth has been overturned or weakened, it follows that those truths, also, which are known by the teaching of nature must begin to fall -- namely, that all things were made by the free will of God the Creator; that the world is governed by Providence; that souls do not die; that to this life of men upon the earth there will succeed another and an everlasting life. (Here he states that when the when the belief of the existence of God is weakened, the other principles which society is based begin to fail.)
19. When these truths are done away with, which are as the principles of nature and important for knowledge and for practical use, it is easy to see what will become of both public and private morality. We say nothing of those more heavenly virtues, which no one can exercise or even acquire without a special gift and grace of God; of which necessarily no trace can be found in those who reject as unknown the redemption of mankind, the grace of God, the sacraments, and the happiness to be obtained in heaven. We speak now of the duties which have their origin in natural probity. That God is the Creator of the world and its provident Ruler; that the eternal law commands the natural order to be maintained, and forbids that it be disturbed; that the last end of men is a destiny far above human things and beyond this sojourning upon the earth: these are the sources and these the principles of all justice and morality.
(Here comes the important part that I think relates to American society. Which yes has taken time but nevertheless is inevitable.)
If these be taken away, as the naturalists and Freemasons desire, there will immediately be no knowledge as to what constitutes justice and injustice, or upon what principle morality is founded. (...like abortion?) And, in truth, the teaching of morality which alone finds favor with the sect of Freemasons, and in which they contend that youth should be instructed, is that which they call "civil," and "independent," and "free," namely, that which does not contain any religious belief. (This happens now in "public" school, which is free and civil.) But, how insufficient such teaching is, how wanting in soundness, and how easily moved by every impulse of passion, is sufficiently proved by its sad fruits, which have already begun to appear. For, wherever, by removing Christian education, this teaching has begun more completely to rule, there goodness and integrity of morals have begun quickly to perish, monstrous and shameful opinions have grown up, and the audacity of evil deeds has risen to a high degree. All this is commonly complained of and deplored; (LIKE IT IS NOW, but we wonder why...) and not a few of those who by no means wish to do so are compelled by abundant evidence to give not infrequently the same testimony.-----------------------
To me this sounds like the very bedrock of American Society which has manifested itself in things like public education and morality. Our Founders absolutely realized that American society would crumble without God as its head (...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...). But as Leo XIII points out in in his encyclical it is no secret that the existence of God is hotly debated amongst the Freemasons. In any human organization which by nature holds no absolute truth but is driven by the passions of men the path of least resistance is almost always chosen.
The point of all of this is that as far back as 1738 (Pope Clement XII) the Church has been warning about the potential breakdown in society due to masonic influence. This topic really deserves more time and space than I can give but I highly encourage everyone to read Humanum Genus and see the parallels evident in our society today.