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Gruber, Pater Hermann

The Abbe Pater Hermann Gruber, of the Society of Jesuits, made a life-long profession of Anti-Masonry. He is known to American Masons by his article on the Craft in the Catholic Encyclopedia; in Europe he is known for books, hundreds of articles in periodicals, speeches, and a Europe-wide correspondence in which he everywhere undertook to show that Freemasonry is the enemy of Christianity. When, after General Eric Ludendorff's violent Anti- Masonic campaign in Germany and the equally violent Anti-Masonic campaign which was conducted so Scrupulously in France after the Leo Taxil affair, the Fascists in France and Italy, the Phalangists in Spain, and the Nazis in Germany coupled their war on the Jews with a war on Masonry, and began to burn, demolish and pillage Lodge rooms, and mob, shoot, and imprison Masons, Abbe Gruber appealed to those who had taken his own arguments too literally to be more moderate. It was to his credit. His endeavors at moderation were made the more difficult because the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII (Humanum Genus) against Freemasonry was the official platform upon which he based his Anti-Masonic campaign, and that Encyclical as mendacious, violent in judgment, harsh in language, completely un- Christian in spirit, and an open invitation, set down in so many words, to Roman Catholics to use once again the machinery of the Holy Inquisition. What the Abbe Gruber has always lacked is what Leo XIII always lacked: a complete honorableness, a high sense of truthfulness. This is exhibited by them both in their Anti-Masonic writings as a whole; it is most clearly shown by the fact that in both their denunciations and descriptions of Freemasonry they carefully ignored the fact--known to both of them that more than 90% of the Freemasonry of the world is in English-speaking countries, and that this Regular Masonry alone has consistently conformed to the Ancient Landmarks.

In a series of articles which Gruber published in Das neue Reich, the Catholic weekly of Austria, he himself stated the fundamentals of his "criticisms" of Freemasonry:

1. He accused it of being grounded on "liberalism." There is no means to define "liberalism," because it is a political catch-word which is made to mean whatever a partisan wishes it to mean; but one may guess that the Abbe Gruber meant by it what Leo XIII meant by it in his Eneyclical; if so, it means democracy, public schools free speech, a free press, representative government, civil; liberties, free worship, and the absence of serfdom, slavery, etc., under an ecclesiastical hierarchy or ruling clique or class. These things are taken for granted by Free masonry, and ever have been; but it has never existed for the sole purpose of teaching them as a doctrine. Its teachings belong to a different region, one into which Abbe Gruber never penetrated and of which he had no; knowledge.

2. He accused Masonry of "naturalism," by which he meant materialism, Darwinism, etc. It is difficult to know why, because a belief in God and a use of prayer are required of every Candidate. He also accused it of "human itarianism." That also is a word impossible to define; but in the context of the whole body of his writings the Abbess accusation may be taken to mean that Masons treat other men with respect, consideration, and kindliness even if they are not white men, or are not Roman Catholics, or even if they are not Christians. His accusation is true. Masons do those things.

3. He accused Masonry of "Deism." The writer has elsewhere stated that the Abbe did not begin, as a scholar should, by a thorough and impartial study of the history of Freemasonry but began without it; this accusation is one of many proofs. If anything is certain, Freemasonry began centuries before the doctrines of Deism were invented; there is not one Deistical statement in the Land marks, Constitutions, or the Ritual; the Deists themselves were not Masons; in the 200 or 80 Minutes or Histories of the oldest Lodges there is nowhere a mention of Deists, or any record of the presence of Deists, except in one or two instances where Candidates were excluded because they were Deists.

See Freemasonry and Roman Catholmsm, by H. L. Haywood; Masonic History Company; Chicago; 1944. The Freemason, by Eugen Lennhof; Oxford University Press; 1934. In an essay on Freemasonry and "natural religion" Bros. Knoop and Jones discuss the point of Deism; unless they intended to say what they do not appear to have said they have confused Deism with any one of a number of theologies, such as Monotheism, or with Unitarianism; or with the attempt of a group of Eighteenth Century philosophers and theologians to show that "Christianity" can be proved by facts and arguments drawn from science. Deism was a new doctrine, unique, almost a new religion, and cannot be explained away in terms of something else. (See Bishop Butler's "Analogy." On the subject in general see the works of George Park Fisher.) The whole subject of Masonic philosophy is so far removed from the fields of naturalism, Deism, etc., that it is difficult to find sufficient grounds to reason from one to the other. Gruber, trained man that he was, could easily have discovered for himself (as could Pope Leo XIII, who was not a trained man) that there never was a link between Freemasonry and Deism if he had mastered Masonic history, to do which, as stated above, was his first duty, because it belongs to the "Hippocratic oath" of the gild of scholars. It is not the business of scholars to go about gathering materials for arguments, accusations, propaganda; their business is solely to find the truth.

In June, 1928, the Abbe Gruber held a day's conversation with Bros. Eugen Lennhof, Dr. Kurt Reichel, and Ossian Lang at Aachen, Germany. On that occasion he expressed the hope that Anti-Masons in Europe and Anti-Roman Catholics in America would raise the debate to a more dignified level--afterwards French Anti-Masonic periodicals accused him of having accepted bribes from the Masons! Bro. Lang was Secretary of the Foreign Department of the Grand Lodge of New York at the time; after returning from Europe he stated to the present writer that the Abbe had regretted that his career had been to make war on Freemasonry which he had come to admire; that his superiors had started him off with a collection of inferior and misleading books; and he was afraid his article on Freemasonry in the Catholic Encyclopedia had lowered him in the eyes of impartial scholars as it had. American Freemasonry did not need that any man read it a lesson in moderation; it had forbidden Lodges to so much as discuss Roman Catholicism under the Order of Business.

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