Editor’s note: This blog is being republished to feature the second part of a two-part series. Watch Part 1 here.
(LifeSiteNews) –– The Catholic Church has released repeated condemnations of Freemasonry since its official start in the seventeen hundreds. In 1885, Catholic priest Msgr. George Dillon, D.D., released a book that detailed Masonry’s hidden plot to overthrow the Church, and the book in turn received the endorsement of Pope Leo XIII.
My guest today, convert to the Catholic faith from Protestantism Joshua Charles, recently edited a new edition of Dillon’s book published by TAN as The War of the Antichrist with the Church and Christian Civilization, explains why the Church has repeatedly condemned Masonry and what its ultimate goals are.
Describing Masonry, Charles told me “[The Masons] wanted to destroy the temporal and then the spiritual power of the papacy. They wanted easy divorce laws across the world. They wanted marriage to be as easy to break or if not easier than a business contract. So I think no fault divorce and whatnot. They wanted completely secularized education. They didn’t want the church or any Christian influence in it whatsoever. They wanted complete and total separation of church and state. They… were animated by a socialistic, communistic sort of agenda… And ultimately it was leading toward a form of sort of pantheistic nature worship.”
He also explained that the essential difference between Masonry and Catholicism is the Catholic doctrine on grace, essentially “lowering the horizon” of human destiny from nature restored and perfected by grace to nature without grace.
According to Charles, “The essential difference is we as Catholics believe that we can’t save ourselves. We must be given the Holy Spirit in baptism and the sacraments if we fall, and that we’re given this by God’s grace, and that when we’re given it, our souls become a temple for His presence … The root of [Masonry] is the opposite, is that the divinity already resides in human nature … latent, so to speak, waiting to be unlocked by their very by their gnosis, their knowledge, their particular knowledge, their rituals, their signs, their symbols. And that in this is salvation rather than a participation in the divine nature itself, they believe it’s already there. And so when we’re heading toward pantheism, it’s sort of the sense that the divine is intrinsic to nature itself. And you don’t need grace.”
Charles further explained that the Masons have as their ultimate goal the reintroduction of pre-Christian pagan mystery religions, such as the Eleusinian Mysteries in Ancient Greece or Mithraism in Ancient Rome.
“Actual Masonic books… explicitly claim that they are the restoration of the pagan mystery system that preceded the incarnation of our Lord,” Charles said. “And we know from Paul, who I believe is quoting the Psalms, that the gods of the nations are demons. So before the incarnation of our Lord, there was literally an act of alliance between humans and the demonic. And this was holding the world, enthralled them to ignorance and superstition.”
“And so the Christian mysteries end up supplanting and destroying, really defeating, the pagan mysteries. Well, Freemasonry sees itself as a restoration of these pagan mysteries. That’s what many of them say,” he continued. “And so the reason why they want to restore these pagan mysteries is because it’s the pre-Christian system in which man was finding salvation in some faux attempt to be like God, which is what Satan had tempted us into in the first place.”
Charles further explained that the means if this reintroduction of the pagan mystery cults is, according to Masonic sources, the reintroduction of an active alliance between human beings and the demonic.
Charles also explained that there were two parties in Masonry, an Intellectual Party and a War Party, led by a secret directory, the last director of which, suggests Charles, will be the Antichrist. “Msgr. Dillon claimed that there was a secretive directory that centrally controlled all or most of the occult groups in the world that were that were seeking to overturn Christendom,” Charles told me. “He claimed that this directory was headed by one individual with a very, very few people around them that knew about it.”
“This directory centrally controls everything,” Charles continued. “And what it does is it has what’s called the Intellectual Party and the War Party. The Intellectual Party is the ideas, the legislators, whatever. The War Party is, I guess we could say, the activists, the street demonstrators, maybe those who get violent. And basically… the Intellectual Party always knows what the War Party’s doing. But the War Party doesn’t always know what the Intellectual Party’s doing, so they’re kept separate.”
Charles also addressed the reasons regarding the apparent loss of reason in the culture wars. According to him, the root cause of the cultural loss of reason is the rejection of Catholic teaching.
“I’d say this is this is happening because the Catholic faith is true,” he told me. “And what I mean by that? The Catholic Church has always said that the natural law is binding on all of us. It’s kind of summarized in the Ten Commandments, whatnot. But we’ve also always said, again, as we’ve said throughout this conversation, we cannot attain our end without grace.”
“With the Enlightenment … we started looking at nature as something to be manipulated and control for the purpose of power, whereas… in… the medieval Christian mindset… nature was sacramental, meaning you looked at something in nature and you automatically associated it with the divine. How does this natural thing point to that which is higher than itself? That really changed with the Enlightenment.”
Charles explained that because of the rejection of the Church’s magisterium by the first Protestants, there was no longer a sense of certainty in religious matters, and that this mindset bled into philosophy and the natural sciences, changing “man’s view of nature from sacramental to mechanistic.”
The aim of the Freemasons specifically against Catholicism, Charles holds, is connected with the coming of the Antichrist.
Stressing that his view is an opinion based on Patristic commentaries of Scripture, he maintains that St. Paul’s use of the term “man of lawlessness” in his letter to the Thessalonians, universally held to be the Antichrist, means that Christ and His Church are the sources of lawfulness. Thus, Charles maintains, that the Masonic agenda to reintroduce the pagan mystery cults means the not just a challenge to a Catholic distinction between the temporal and spiritual orders, something foreign to the paganism Charles holds the Masons want to reintroduce, but also to the introduction of Antichrist.
“Well, the Church has always taught the two powers, the spiritual power and the temporal power,” Charles explained.
“We know from Romans 13, the temporal power holds the sword and they hold it for justice, to enact justice against evil doers and to support the righteous. And we also know the spiritual power with the hierarchy. They have the authority to speak for God. But here’s the thing. Prior to the incarnation, both of those, the pagans didn’t conceive as a temporal and a spiritual, but that was part of the problem. The temporal in the spiritual were completely the same.”
“Now, why is this distinction important? Because the temporal power, a purely natural power, bereft of grace, is not capable of leading people to God,” he continued. “It’s just not. It needs the spiritual power in the sense that our minds… need grace… to discern what God requires. The same thing with the temporal power. The temporal power requires the spiritual power to lead it in the right direction.”
Charles also explained that the katechon referenced by St. Paul, the restraining force that stops the mystery of iniquity from coming forth is, in his understanding, the Catholic Church, and that the pagan mystery cults are the mystery of iniquity, which lead to the rise of Antichrist.
“I personally believe that’s very, very related to the katechon no longer restraining,” said Charles. “I don’t think it’s done restraining just yet. But I think my personal opinion is it’s getting quite close.”
“But that’s why I think the Catholic Church is their number one target,” he continued. “Yeah, they want to go after Christians in general, but they’re very, very clear in many of their writings that the big kahuna is the Catholic Church, because frankly, Protestantism doesn’t have the same view of grace that we do.”
“And so I think the katechon is likely Christendom,” Charles elucidated further. “It’s the Church. It’s… the sources of lawfulness that oppose the coming of the man of lawlessness. And so when that katechon stops restraining, we know what comes next. And it certainly seems that there’s a case to be made that it’s getting closer and closer to no longer restraining.”
Later in our conversation, Charles explained to me what Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor and Father of the Church, said this could look like.
Referencing St. Gregory’s Moralia on Job, Charles said “The Church prior to the appearance of Antichrist would be severely weakened. He said… that the voice of doctrine would fall silent. He said… the penance would be weaker, that there’d be fewer miracles.”
Charles also explained that St. Gregory gave two reasons as to why this would be the case, which agree with what St. Paul discusses in his letter to the Thessalonians. “Saint Pope Gregory the Great says that the reason this [weakness of the Church] is allowed is so that those… who don’t love our Lord, will be shown for who and what they are, and they’ll all the more easily fall away. And two, those who do love our Lord will merit even more by the fact that they can rely less and less on what they see and more and more on what they know [from what the Church teaches].”
It is also available in audio format on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and Acast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the Acast webpage here.
We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.
You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].