The Bishop of Terni (left) helps open the new Masonic house in his episcopal city.
(Rome) Official efforts for a rapprochement between Church and Lodge have existed since the Second Vatican Council . For some, they don't go far enough, others see the border to immorality long since crossed. An example of this transgression was provided by Monsignor Francesco Soddu, Bishop of Termi, who attended the inauguration of the Masonic House of the Grand Orient of Italy on September 27th.
Soddu, who comes from Sardinia, was ordained a priest in 1985 for the Archdiocese of Sassari. He became regent of the archdiocesan seminary, diocesan director of Caritas and finally director of Caritas Italy in 2012 .
On October 29, 2021, Msgr. Soddu was appointed Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia by Pope Francis and received episcopal ordination on January 5.
Freemasonry is divided into two major streams, regular or English Freemasonry and irregular or Romanesque Freemasonry. The latter came about in 1773 with the creation of the Grand Orient of France. Formally, the essential difference is that English Freemasonry still presupposes a Christian confession in its constitutions (which, however, was weakened in 1929 to a theistic confession and in 1989 only to a deistic confession), while Romanesque Freemasonry rejects any form of reference to God.
Concretely, this meant that the Romanesque Freemasonry that arose in the Catholic states was radically anti-church. Her struggle to oust the church from public life is a common thread running through her story to this day. English Freemasonry also gives a nobler impression, as it seems to be lacking in anti-clerical leadership. But that is only because the Catholic Church in Britain had already been abolished in the 16th century, so there was no longer any need for an anti-clerical leadership. From this, it follows that in reality there are not two or more Freemasons, but only one, which corresponds to the same thinking that contradicts that of the Church.
Is it all just a misunderstanding?
On September 27th, in Via Roma di Terni, the new Masonic House of the Grand Orient of Italy was inaugurated. On this occasion, an open house was held, at which, in addition to the Freemasons of the city, Grand Master Stefano Bisi also came to cut the ribbon that marked the opening. Bisi was welcomed in Terni by the highest officials, the mayor, as the first citizen of the city, the prefect, as the highest representative of the state, and... by the bishop, representing the Church. The Bishop of Terni, Monsignor Francesco Soddu, was undoubtedly the most important of the guests of honour. In his words of welcome, he thanked profusely for the invitation and expressed his best wishes that initiatives such as these,
All attempts at rapprochement between Church and Lodge since the end of the 1960s can be summarized in the justification that the Church's condemnation of Freemasonry since its foundation in 1717 was only the result of misunderstandings. The historian and Franciscan Father Paolo Maria Siano, one of the best experts on Freemasonry, on the other hand, tirelessly provides evidence of the incompatibility of Church and Lodge, relying exclusively on Masonic sources. Freemasonry became a haven for an old enemy of the Church, Gnosticism. From the beginning, there are strong elements of esotericism and also of satanism. And it has not changed until today.
The satisfaction of the lodge brothers was correspondingly great at being able to welcome Bishop Soddu in the new Masonic house.
This approach is supported by the highest church authority. It was Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who addressed the “Dear Brothers Freemasons” in an open letter on February 14, 2016. The letter was, generously, reprinted in its entirety by Italy's leading business newspaper, Il Sole 24Ore. There was no clarification from the Vatican, no reference to the specification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1983 under its then prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger that Catholics are forbidden to join a lodge. Anyone who does so will be subject to excommunication.
Even more: In 1981, Pope John Paul II had the then Prefect of Faith Franjo Cardinal Šeper and then his successor Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger answer the question of whether the excommunication by the Second Vatican Council and the new Code of Canon Law had become obsolete:
Cardinal Ravasi ignored these statements of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in his open letter, while referring to the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law. In doing so, he followed those pro-Freemason church circles that undauntedly claim that there is no ban on becoming a member of a lodge, and that membership does not entail excommunication. A well-known representative of this direction is the Viennese cathedral priest Toni Faber.
In 1983 Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Faith with the authority of John Paul II, stated:
"The negative judgment of the Church on the Masonic associations thus remains unchanged, because their principles have always been considered incompatible with the teaching of the Church and therefore joining them remains forbidden. The faithful belonging to Masonic associations are therefore in a state of grave sin and cannot receive Holy Communion.
After in the first post-conciliar period, churchmen who were friendly to the Freemasons on the one hand and Freemasons on the other had already raised hopes that the epochal difference could soon be overcome, an abrupt change followed with the election of Pope John Paul II and the appointment of Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect of the Faith turning point that ruined those plans.
The Terni incident, while not the first of its kind, represents a new taboo breach. A similar incident occurred in 2011 when the Grand Lodge of France was building a new lodge house in Lyon, to the delight of Freemasons and to the dismay of Catholics Episcopal Vicar Emmanuel Payen took part - on behalf of Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, then Archbishop of Lyon.
Alain-Noël Dubard, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France, first praised Lyon as a “non-dogmatic, open city”, only to exploit Monsignor Payen's presence to claim that it refutes “the myth of distrust existing between Freemasonry and Church law."
In Italy, Cardinal Ravasi's open letter was the initial spark for an escalation of rapprochement, after a few days before the publication of the Ravasi letter, La Croix, the daily newspaper of the French bishops, had demanded that there should be no more excommunication for Freemasons.
On November 12, 2017, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Freemasonry in Syracuse, a conference organized by the Grand Orient of Italy, "Church and Freemasonry - so close, so far?" took place. The main speaker was Monsignor Antonio Staglianò, Bishop of Noto. The question of why this conference took place with the appreciative participation of a bishop remained unanswered beyond general appeals for dialogue.
On May 18, 2019, Lodge No. 119 "Benedetto Cairoli" of the Grand Orient of Italy celebrated its 150th anniversary. The surprising guest of honor was Archbishop Riccardo Fontana of Arezzo. The image of Masonic Grand Master Stefano Bisi and the Archbishop embracing each other inspired lodge circles.
Terni means the last stage of increase for the time being: For the first time, a diocesan bishop was present at the opening of a Masonic temple, if only at the external celebration. The opening of the two lodge temples housed in the Masonic house is carried out by the Freemasons with their own ritual behind closed doors, in that the grand lodge "brings in the light" that indicates the beginning of the "ritual work" of the lodge wheels.
The Apostasy of the Bishops
In relation to Terni, the historian Roberto de Mattei, writing for Radio Roma Libera ( Radio Free Rome), recalled Jean Madiran's 1968 book, “L' hérésie du XXe siècle” ( “The Heresy of the 20th Century”). Madiran meant the bishops, namely the heretical or hereticizing positions held by bishops, especially the French, after Vatican II were represented. They gave in to the thinking of the world because, according to Madiran, they were convinced that they had to open up to modernity and leave traditional belief behind because social development also made it necessary to change the understanding of the salvation brought by Christ.
According to de Mattei, Madiran's analysis has lost none of its validity after more than half a century. However, today it is no longer so much a question of heresy, but of an apostasy by the bishops, a comprehensive denial of the Catholic faith. This is shown not only in the heresies and errors common among bishops, but also in a fundamental attitude of gestures and words of strong symbolic meaning.
"One of the first acts of the new bishop of Terni was therefore to visit a seat of Freemasonry, a secret organization condemned in countless documents by the Church, which represents a worldview diametrically opposed to that of the Church."
De Mattei clarifies the contradiction:
"The Masonic House of Terni, just opened, will be a place where the candidate Mason will abandon the Catholic Church to be assimilated into an anti-Christian sect in which he will lose his soul."
All men are "brothers", even "children of God", because it "doesn't matter" what religion one belongs to, because after all, even the condemnation of Freemasonry is just a historical misunderstanding made clear by the Second Vatican Council and the new code of the Canon law was overcome. Or not? It is this relativism that runs through the current pontificate that makes events like that in Terni possible. This attitude is not far removed from the first constitutionsFreemaurerei of 1717, which from its origin presents itself as an ideology that excludes any religious and moral truth, reducing traditional religions to subjective opinions.
What the brothers in the lodge wanted, they put down on paper in the instruction of the Alta Vendita written in 1818:
“We do not intend to win over the popes to our cause, to make them new initiates of our principles, propagators of our ideas. That would be a ridiculous dream (…). What we ask for, what we must seek and expect, as the Jews expect the Messiah, is a Pope according to our needs.”
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Image : MiL/Il Sussidiario (Screenshots)
Eugenio the friend of the pope, or: The pope who had a freemason and atheist as a friend and did not convert him.
(Rome) Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist friend of Pope Francis, died yesterday. The newspaper La Repubblica published an obituary by Pope Francis today about the founder of this newspaper. The relationship between Pope Francis and Masonic atheist Eugenio Scalfari is among the most telling and enigmatic pages of the current pontificate. It is significant and puzzling, if not surprising, that the obituary is a eulogy.
Eugenio Scalfari, born in 1924, was a journalist and publicist all of his professional life, he came from an upper-class family with a long Masonic tradition, earned his first spurs in fascist daily newspapers and was a co-founder of the radical-liberal, anti-clerical Radical Party in 1955, 1962-1968 editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Espresso (comparable to the German Spiegel), as an independent member of parliament for the Socialists till 1972, in 1976 he founded the daily newspaper La Repubblica to the left of the upper-class liberal Corriere della Sera, of which he was editor-in-chief until 1996 and then its publisher. His self-description was, an atheist. Although he never described himself as a Freemason, he was happy to show the ancestral gallery of his direct ancestors, who were brothers in the lodge.
The editors chose the following words as the headline for the papal obituary:
"Eugenio, my laicist [secularist] friend, I will m[iss talking to you."
Since the 1950s, Scalfari himself has been involved in every socio-political struggle intended to lead the world a little further to the left. In addition to the political right, the main targets of his media activism were the indissolubility of marriage, the inviolability of human life and again and again the Catholic Church and its dogmas. He was successful as an extra-parliamentary spokesman in many struggles: in the 1970s, divorce and abortion were legalized, as were “gay marriage” and euthanasia a few years ago.
It was all the more striking that Pope Francis found his most enthusiastic fans, one cannot call it any other way, in the ranks of the anti-Church Radical Party, that radical liberal micro-party which, as a hinge between the Marxist left and left-liberal bourgeoisie, exerted great influence on political developments in Italy and beyond. The bandwidth of these fans ranged from Marco Pannella to Emma Bonino ( after all, former Foreign Minister, EU Commissioner and Soros Prize winner and for Pope Francis a "very big one") to the now deceased Eugenio Scalfari.
All of them came from well-to-do bourgeois families, were open to Socialism, but never joined communism, but internalized the emancipatory drive of liberalism, which still predates socialism, which is why they were able to become leading exponents of the political left in numerous struggles. Their fight was for the legalization of divorce, abortion, euthanasia, drugs and "gay rights". As a powerful doyen of Italian left-wing journalism, Eugenio Scalfari led this struggle from the columns of the daily newspaper he had founded.
Marco Pannella, the "Mangiapreti" (priest-eater), another of Scalfari's friends, became an "electrified" fan of Francis. Pannella, who died in 2016, still had under Pope Benedict XVI. demonstrated against the Church on St. Peter's Square with the slogan "No Taliban, No Vatican" and put the Vatican on the same level as the Islamist Taliban. Under Pope Francis, the same Pannella exclaimed, unforgettably:
"Viva il papa! We radicals love him very much”, so much so that Pannella wished: “I want to become a citizen of the Vatican”.
Pannella and Scalfari were two leading founders of the Radical Party.
Eugenio Scalfari's interviews with Pope Francis became downright notorious. In November 2014, Katholisches.info wrote for clarification:
"The jubilation of the Scalfari and Pannella is not the jubilation of those who have found or rediscovered faith, but of those who feel they have 'conquered' even the Vatican with their positions."
How could such adamant abortion lobbyists see Francis as a "friend"? Were they even deceived by the Pope, as some of their supporters suspected? Nothing like that.
Bergoglio made it clear at the beginning of his pontificate that the struggle for "non-negotiable values" is not his struggle. Rather, he made a serious break and described the attitude of his predecessors in the question of the right to life as "obsessed". Francis did not formally change the Magisterium in a very Bergoglian way, but in fact he did, entirely in accordance with the principle he advocated that practice comes before theory. For Scalfari and Pannella, this counted for far more than an occasional but inconsequential criticism of the killing of unborn children. Francis' recent stabs in the back at the majority of US bishops on the communion issue for abortion politicians reinforced this papal maxim.
In this way, Francis was able to establish an unofficial, parallel teaching post , the bard of which was his friend Eugenio Scalfari. This "new magisterium", also known as the " Scalfari magisterium" and never really denied by the Holy See, promulgated a new doctrine more like that of the Lodge than the Church. In 2019, all the conversations, interviews and phone calls that Scalfari subsequently reported to the world were collected in the book I l Dio unico e la società moderna' ('One God and Modern Society'). It contains all the statements of the reigning pope that caused considerable irritation in the church in the past and will probably do so in the future. Scalfari always insisted on their authenticity - unchallenged. Scalfari clarified a bridging in the subtitle of the book, because the publication included all "meetings with Pope Francis and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini". The latter had already died in 2012, not without Benedict XVI two months before his death. vigorously urged to resign.
“Eugenio Scalfari is twelve years older than the Catholic Church leader. How can their relationship, which is obviously deliberately surrounded by an aura of the unclear and opaque, be described? Most likely as congenial, since a certain kinship of spirit can hardly be denied after six years of irregular 'collaboration', which has continued despite all the criticism."
Tenets of the Bergoglian Scalfari Magisterium are:
that for Christians there is no "absolute truth";
that good and bad are merely subjective opinions;
that there is "no Catholic God";
that Mary the Blessed Mother under the cross perhaps wanted to ask herself whether she had been "tricked" because the messianic promises must have seemed like "lies" to her;
that Jesus Christ is “not” the Son of God;
that "sin is done away with";
that "hell is abolished";
that mankind should merge into a “mestizo” through racial mixing;
that conversion is not necessary.
The atheist Scalfari wanted to "build a tailor-made, fluid and relativistic Christianity", according to Il Giornale at the end of 2013. And Francis supported him in this.
The Vatican spokesman at the time, Fr. Federico Lombardi, objected embarrassed and half-heartedly, but soon realized that Santa Marta had not issued any order for a denial. So the statements remained unexplained in the room. It was obviously intentional. Even more: The Vatican publishing house even published the first and most irritating interview in book form . It probably doesn't need any more confirmation.
In 2019 the second book " Grand Hotel Scalfari. Confessioni libertine su un secolo di carta” (“Grand Hotel Scalfari. Libertine Confessions over a Century of Paper”, Marsilio Editori, 2019), a benevolently conceived biography in the form of a conversation book. Katholisches.info wrote enlighteningly :
“Scalfari, who has long since given up the editorship, has retained his weight and his column. Some, including Catholics, lulled by accusations of spreading conspiracy theories, don't like to hear it, but it's important for Scalfari: he's proud of his Masonic heritage. Although he is silent about his own affiliation with a lodge, he likes to point out that his grandfather and his great-grandfather and his great-great... were brothers and founders of the lodge. 'My ancestors founded lodges all over the Catanzaro area', Scalfari himself quotes in the book as a Masonic friend who said of his grandfather, a 'staunch socialist', that he was 'like an old Lucifer who catches fire'. Similar allusions abound throughout this book, while he suggests, more clearly than before, that he entered the lodge in San Remo immediately after the war. He does this, not without pointing out that in 1874 the Lodge in San RemoLiguria , predecessor of the lodges that work there today, and published the newspaper Lucifero ( Lucifer ). For the brothers in the lodge, Lucifer is not the personified evil of Christianity, but the 'bringer of light' who is worshiped in lodges and whose knowledge is striven for.”
Having said that, we publish Pope Francis' obituary of his friend Eugenio Scalfari:
"Eugenio, my lay friend, I will miss talking to you"
by Pope Francis
I am saddened by the death of Eugenio Scalfari, founder of La Repubblica newspaper. In these painful
hours, I am close to his family, loved ones and all those who knew and worked with him. He has been a loyal friend to me. I remember him telling me at our meetings at Casa Santa Marta how he was trying to grasp the meaning of existence and life, exploring everyday life and the future through meditation on his experiences and his great readings. He described himself as a non-believer, although in the years I've known him, I've also thought deeply about the meaning of faith. He always wondered about the presence of God, about the last things and about the life after this life.
Our conversations were pleasant and intense, the minutes with him flew by, punctuated by the cheerful confrontation of our respective opinions and the exchange of our thoughts and ideas, but also by moments of joy.
We talked about faith and worldliness, about everyday life and the great horizons of humanity in the present and future, and about the darkness that can envelop man and the divine light that can illuminate his path. I remember him as a man of extraordinary intelligence and an ability to listen, always searching for the ultimate meaning of events, and always eager for knowledge and testimonies that might enrich the understanding of modernity.
Eugenio was an intellectual open to the present, courageous, transparent in describing his fears, never nostalgic for the glorious past but looking forward, with a touch of disillusionment but also with high hopes for a better world. And he was excited and in love with his work as a journalist. He left an indelible mark on the lives of many and charted a career path that many of his collaborators and successors have followed.
At the beginning of our exchanges by letter and telephone, and during our initial conversations, he had expressed his astonishment at my decision to call me Francis and wanted to understand the reasons for my decision. And then he was very fascinated by my work as a chaplain of the universal church, and in this sense, he argued aloud and in his articles about the church's commitment to interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, about the mystery of the Lord, about God, source of peace and Source of paths of concrete brotherhood between individuals, nations and peoples.
He emphasized the crucial value - for our society and for politics - of sincere, fruitful and continuous relations between believers and non-believers. He was fascinated by various theological issues, such as mysticism in the Catholic religion and the passage in Genesis that states that man was created in the image and likeness of God. And the composition and characteristics of the population groups that will inhabit the common house in the coming decades.
From this day on, I will keep in my heart the kind and precious memory of the conversations I had with Eugene during those years of my pontificate. I pray for him and for the consolation of those who mourn him.