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Inquisition, The, and Freemasonry

Speculative Freemasonry appeared in Madrid in 1726, at Gibraltar in 1727, and at about the same time in Paris. The first Italian Lodges were constituted in Tuscany about 1735, and a Lodge was working in Rome at about the same time. These dates are mere indicia, and in themselves mean little, because almost every page of written records was lost, and it is probable that there were many more Lodges, and Masons not in Lodges, than the few surviving records would indicate. On April 28, 1738, Pope Clement XII issued a Bull of Excommunication; it was a feeble, ill-drawn document, in a Medieval Latin which only experts could read, but it consigned a Mason to hell in the future and ostracized him from the church, his family, and his property here and now; also it was drawn in such a way as to be most useful to the Inquisition, which assisted the Pope to draft it. The modus operandz of arrests, tortures, penalties, etc., was left to local tribunals; but the Cardinal Secretary of State gave assistance by publishing on Jan. 14, 1739, a model for these tribunals to use; it pronounced "irresistible pain of death, not only on all members but on all who should tempt others to join the Order, or should rent a house to it or favor it in any other way." But while local tribunals were adjured to be as harsh as possible, the crusade as a whole was turned over to the Holy Inquisition. It is difficult for modern men, and especially in England, America, and Canada, to understand the organization of the Inquisition because they have never had it in their midst. For centuries each country had two governments side by side; the state, or civil, or "temporal" government headed by a King, Prince, or Parliament; and an ecclesiastical government headed by the Pope, and under him by Cardinals, Bishops, and special offices appointed for the purpose. Present day churches have their own rules and regulations governing their internal affairs, but these do not at any point encroach upon civil government, nor can they apply civil penalties. The Roman Church government was of a different kind, before the Reformation, and rested on a different principle; it was not a church government, but a general government, of an authority and a jurisdiction equal to that of the civil government; it differed from the latter in that only such categories of laws and cases belonged to it as had to do with religion, and with the properties belonging to the church; there were, therefore, two complete governments standing side by side, of equal sovereignty, and duplicating offices and penalties. The church enacted laws (canonical law); it had courts, lawyers, judicial processes, hearings, verdicts, and penitentiaries and execution yards or chambers. l.t arrested men, tried them, sentenced them, and punished them. Among its punishments were the disfrocking of priests, removal from office, excommunications, interdicts, alienation of property, torture, selling into slavery, hanging, burning at the stake, beheading, sentence to galleys, banishment, fines, etc. If a crime, or an alleged crime, was a mixture of both civil and ecclesiastical offenses, the accused would be tried and sentenced in the civil courts and then tried and sentenced a second time in the church courts. He was in "double jeopardy" each day of his life. (It was one of the first concerns of the framers of our Constitution to make double jeopardy impossible.) The so-called Holy Inquisition was set up as a special arm of this ecclesiastical government, and yet while only an arm was itself empowered to act as a separate government, and could impose and execute sentence in its own name; it differed from ecclesiastical government in general only in that it was designed to stamp out heresy, and by heresy usually was meant any form of Protestantism. It is this fact which in the long run filled men of normal, sane minds with horror and led to uprisings and to driving the Holy Inquisition out of the country, as happened even in Spain which once was its home and center, as it also was the home and center of the Jesuits; and where an auto daf, or the public and ceremonious burning of "here tics," was a holiday, and celebrated like a Fourth of July. The secret police of the czars, and the gestapos of the Fascists, Phalangists, and Nazis were patterned on it. Heinrich Himmler and his staff made a detailed study over a period of years of the methods used by the Inquisition. The Inquisition was not directed against criminals but against men accused of heresy--an exceptionally flexible term, because the Inquisition could decide for itself, and on the spot, what it meant by heresy; thousands of the men and women destroyed by it were of irreproachable reputation and character, many of a saintly life, and whom not even the Inquisition could accuse of crime. The theory on which the Inquisition worked was that it should act as a detective to search out the heretic, the heretic should confess, and the penalty would then be sanctioned by his confession; but where a marked-down man refused to confess or had nothing to confess, torture was used to reduce him to a state where out of agony or when out of his mind he became willing to confess anything-- again, precisely according to the methods used by the Gestapo. Such an engine could be employed for many purposes: to terrorize a community, to browbeat a civil ruler, to defy civil laws, to destroy churches and associations, to seize wealth and property, to commit plain murder, etc. The Inquisition was not given exclusive jurisdiction over men accused of Masonry, for the regular church and civil courts continued to have jurisdiction also, but the Inquisition was especially held responsible for what in later years Adolf Hitler, a spiritual descendant of the Inquisition, was to describe as "the liquidation of Freemasons. " There were never many Masons in countries where the Inquisition was free to act in the Eighteenth Century, and only a few records escaped being destroyed, but in proportion to their numbers the Masons probably suffered more excommunications, tortures, and martyrdoms than any other one group. Books were written about the cases of Coustos and Da Costa. Cagliostro was a charlatan and a thief, and was repudiated by Lodges when his character was exposed, but the wide publicity given to his imprisonment brought the methods of the Inquisition into the light, and in the long run helped to drive it back into the un-advertised offices in the Vatican where it continues to carry on such work as it is able. In Spain alone, and as late as 1816, twenty five Masons suffered under the Inquisition; in 1819 there were seven cases; if it were free to act again, without a civil government to check it, it would resume its old practices, because neither it itself nor the Vatican has ever admitted the Inquisition to have been a crime against Christianity and civilization, nor altered its principles. Americans are far from Europe and farther still from the period when the Church was the second government in a land; because of this lack of information and first-hand knowledge they often confuse the Inquisition with the Jesuits. The two are and ever have been independent of each other. The Society of Jesuits is in theory an army, a church "militant," its members are enlisted; they receive a training," each is under an oath of allegiance to a general"; they go as troops, singly or in companies, wherever they may be sent, to carry out whatever orders are given to them. In some times and places they have been ordered to make war on Freemasonry; in others they have been ordered to join in with it, to weaken or divide it from within by " infiltration, " etc.; the whole story of Jesuit dealings with Freemasonry reads like a page out of a detective novel of a rather trashy sort, and causes adult men still unbereft of their senses to wonder how other grown-up men can have indulged in practices so childish. The Jesuit author of the article on Freemasonry in the Catholic Encyclopedia even charged Masons with "phallic worship" and Pope Leo XIII solemnly assured the whole of France that Masons worship the devil! The records of the Holy Inquisition are voluminous, in a dozen languages, full of ecclesiastical terminology, tortuous and tortured to the extreme; it is doubtful if any American scholar except Henry Charles Lea has ever examined them detail by detail; but the general organization and purpose of it is public, plain, easily intelligible. When in 1738 the Roman Church decided to abolish Freemasonry the Inquisition was used as one of the engines for that purpose. See Clement XII's Bull. History of Inquisition in Spain, by Henry Charles Lea. Freemasonry and Roman Catholicism, by H. L. Haywood. Sufferings of John Coustos, by Coustos. Censorship of the Church of Rome, by George Haven Putnam. Article on Freemasonry in Catholic Encyclopedia by Abbe Gruber. Memoirs of the History of Jacobznism and Freemasonry, by Barruel. See also in Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. II, p. 127; Vol. III, p. 330; Vol. XIV, p. 347; Vol. IV, p. 748; Vol. XIII, p. 9; a sort. on "Illuminati"; Vol. VII; Vol. XIV, p. 265; Vol. XV, p. 309; Vol. XIV, p. 72; Vol. X, p. 266; Vol. XII, p. 138; Vol. XII, p. 190; Vol. XIII, p. 193; Vol. XIV, pp. 67, 624. Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry, by Dudley Wright. Severe condemnations of the Inquisition have been written by Roman Catholics themselves. Lord Acton, a Roman Catholic, was a scholar of learning, intelligence, and character far above the type of such propagandists as the Abbe Gruber, and still more the unhappy Abbe Barruel; he declared the Inquisition to have been organized on the principle of crime, and that its executions were murders and nothing more. Men rebelled against the Inquisition because it was criminal, sadistic, unjust, and in violent contradiction of Christianity; American Roman Catholic apologists, of whom the number is now rapidly increasing, seek to becloud that known fact and at the same time to win Protestants over to their side by reiteration of the sophistry that men were killed by the Inquisition "because they were the foes of the Christian religion. "

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