Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Masonry Unmasked

I’ve always been curious … what are Masons and what do they do? Well, read on and you'll find the cliche, "truth is stranger than fiction" is VERY true where the Masons are concerned.

Maybe it was the popularity of the recent National Treasure movies where the plots hinged on membership in this secret society. Maybe it was the memory of smart, intelligent people whom I once knew who were members. Maybe it’s the mystique of a secret organization – what do they do, why do they do it, are they as bad as the Church would have us believe? What’s the deal with the “eye” and the “G”, the compass and the square? Why would anyone – let alone intelligent, God-fearing Christians, want to be a part of such a secret society?

Are you with me? Do you, too, want to know? Do you have relatives, friends, co-workers who are flirting with the idea of joining? STOP! Get a copy of Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge by John Salza, read it cover-to-cover and then decide. I think you’ll be surprised, scared and pretty incredulous when you finish the book.
I was!

Salza, a Catholic lawyer from Wisconsin, was deeply embroiled in all the workings of Freemasonry, attaining the highest ranks and awarded the Proficiency Card (a big deal, apparently) sooner than anyone in Wisconsin history. He was a rising star within the ranks, attaining 32nd degree Mason in the Scottish Rite and membership in the Shriners.  By 1997, he was a Lodge Officer and the self-professed greatest apologist for all things Masonic.  He was a Mason, through and through … and then he threw away his membership card and wrote this book. Why?

While focusing all his free time on learning the ins and outs of Freemasonry, Salza began to get nudges and queer feelings about what he was reading. He began to see cracks in the carefully constructed edifice of Freemasonry; he began to question whether he could reconcile his Catholic faith with what he was learning. The further he researched, the more he found to question and worry about.

Throughout Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge, the reader is led on a piece-by-piece deconstruction of all facets of Masonry and its irreconcilable differences with ANY Christian religion, but especially Catholicism.

From a removal of Christ from the God-head, to espousals of bi-level charity toward others, to swearing on a Bible to oaths BEFORE hearing the promises … Salza finally saw through the smoke-and-mirrors of Masonry and left. Little things like the fact, exposed by the Orlando Sentinel in 1985, that the Shriners’ collection of charitable funds through their annual circuses amounted to $23 million (!) while the tax returns showed only $346,251 going to medical care for the children for whom they were purportedly raising the funds – less than two percent of the take!

One thing I really like about Salza’s account is that he openly admits his own gullibility, his own pride-filled sense of “I know something you don’t know”, and his willingness to accept what the Lodge and Mason-authored literature told him, with little questioning. His pride was at stake – he was in the inner circle and wined and dined accordingly. He didn’t seek the answers from Church authorities.

Once he did, he found the Grand Lodge filled with discriminatory practices (all-Black Mason lodges are not recognized by the main Lodge), atheistic practices (all religions are equal, thus making them all irrational and thus, not real) and double-talk and half-truths. Basically, the “truths” preached in Masonry are false – and the edifice of Masonry comes down like a house of cards.

In fact, since Clement XII in 1738 and as recently as then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s report to Pope John Paul II in the 1980s, the Catholic Church has consistently condemned membership in the Freemasonry. Writing encyclicals, letters and amending Canon Law in 1983, the Church has made clear to all Catholics that every facet of Freemasonry is irreconcilable with Church teaching – regardless of what the Masons themselves will say. This is not just a fraternal organization but a “religion” set up in direct opposition to Christian values. Salza, productively using his legal training, proves “beyond the shadow of a doubt”, that Freemasonry is not only against Church teaching but a real danger to the soul!

This is a great book for those of us who are curious about Masonry. This is a must-read for those of us who know someone flirting with the idea of joining Masonry.


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This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge and to purchase your own copy of this eye-opening text.

Salza, John – Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge – Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, IN). 2006. ISBN: 978-1-59276-227-9 (paperback, 222 pgs)

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