That the witnesses of Lucifer are in all cases attached to the Latin Church, whether as priests or laymen, is no matter for astonishment when it is once realised that outside this Church there is no hostility to Masonry. For example, John Robison’s ‘Proofs of a Conspiracy’ is almost the only work possessing, deservedly or not, any aspect of importance, which has ever been penned by a Protestant or independent writer in direct hostility to the Fraternity. Moreover, Catholic hostility varies in a vanishing direction with distance from the ecclesiastical centre. Thus, in England, it exists chiefly in a latent condition, finding little or no expression unless pressure is exercised from the centre, while in America the enforced promulgation of the Humanum Genus encyclical has been one of the serious blunders of the present pontificate as regards that country. The bibliography of Catholic Anti-Masonic literature is now, however, very large, nor is it confined to one land, or to a special epoch; it has an antiquity of nearly 150 years, and represents most of the European continent. That of France, which is nearest to our own doors, is naturally most familiar to us; it is also one of the most productive, and may be assumed to represent the whole. We are concerned with it in this place only during the period which is subsequent to the alleged foundation of the New and Reformed Palladium. During this period it falls obviously into two groups, that which preceded any knowledge of the institution in question and that which is posterior to the first promulgation of such knowledge. In the first, we find mainly the old accusations which have long ceased to exert any conspicuous influence, namely, Atheism, Materialism, and revolutionary plotting. Without disappearing entirely, these have been largely replaced in the second group by charges of magic and diabolism, concerning which the denunciations have been loud and fierce. One supplementary impeachment may be said in a certain sense to connect both, because it is common to both; it is that of unbridled licence fostered by the asserted existence of adoptive lodges. We shall find during the first period that Masonry was freely described as a diabolical and Satanic institution, and it is necessary to insist on this point because it is liable to confuse the issues. Before the year 1891, the diabolism identified with Masonry was almost exclusively intellectual. That is to say, its alleged atheism, from the standpoint of the Catholic Church, was a diabolical opinion in matters of religion; its alleged materialism was a diabolical philosophy in matters of science; its alleged revolutionary plottings, being especially directed against the Catholic Church, constituted diabolical politics. Such descriptions will seem arbitrary enough to most persons who do not look forth upon the world from the windows of the Vatican, but they are undeniably consistent at Rome.
Of actual diabolism prior to the date, I have named, there is, I believe, only the solitary accusation made by Louis Gaston Adrien de Ségur, and having reference to a long anterior period. He states that in the year 1848 there was a Masonic lodge at Rome, where the mass of the devil was celebrated in the presence of men and women. A ciborium was placed on an altar between six black candles; each person, after spitting and trampling on a crucifix, deposited in this ciborium a consecrated host which had been purchased or received in church. The sacred elements were stabbed by the whole assembly, the candles were extinguished at the termination of the mass, and an orgy followed, similar, says Louis Gaston Adrien de Ségur, to those of “Pagan mysteries and Manichæan reunions.” Such abominations were, however, admittedly rare, and the story just recited rests on nothing that can be called evidence.
During the years intervening between 1870 and 1891 we may search the literature of French Anti-Masonry in vain for any hint of the Palladium. In 1884 the collaboration of Louis d’Estampes and Claudio Jaunet produced a work entitled ‘Freemasonry and the Revolution,’ which affirms that the immense majority of Masons, including those who have received the highest grades, do not enjoy the confidence of the true secrets, but the establishment of atheism in religion and socialism in politics as designs of the Fraternity are the only secrets intended.
The New and Reformed Palladium connects with the Order of the Temple by its supposed possession of the original Baphomet idol, but in 1882 this was entirely unknown to Amand-Joseph Fava, who denies all the reputed connection between Knights Templar and Masons, and traces the latter to Fausto Paolo Sozzini as founder, following Jacques-François Lefranc in his ‘Veil raised for the Curious.’ A mystic and diabolic aspect of the Fraternity is so remote from his mind that in his ‘Secret of Freemasonry’ the Bishop of Grenoble affirms that its sole project is to replace Christianity by rationalism.
The third and concluding volume of Père Deschamps’ great compilation on ‘Society and the Secret Societies,’ supports, on the contrary, the hypothesis rejected by Amand-Joseph Fava. It recites much old knowledge concerning adoptive lodges, the Illuminés, the Orders of the Philalethes, of Martinez Pasquales, and of Saint Martin, on which subjects few writers indeed can say anything that is new; but while specially devoted to the political activity of the Fraternity all over Europe, Père Deschamps tells us nothing of the conspiracy which produced the New Palladium, though the alleged collaboration of Mazzini gave it a strong political complexion; of Pike nothing; of Diabolism still nothing. I may add that his work claims to be verified at all points.
In the year 1886 another ecclesiastic, Dom Paul Benoit published two formidable volumes on ‘Freemasonry and the Secret Societies,’ forming part of a vaster work, entitled ‘The City of anti-Christ in the Nineteenth Century.’ Like Louis d’Estampes and Jannet, he distinguishes between a small number of initiates and a vast crowd of dupes who swell the ranks of the Fraternity.
“Many Masons ascend the ladder of the grades without receiving the revelation of the mysteries.” The highest functions of most lodges are said to be given to the dupes, while the ruling chiefs are concealed behind humble titles. It is further represented that in certain countries there are secret rites above the ordinary rites, and these are imparted only to the true initiates, which sounds like a vague and formless hint concerning a directing centre; but so far from supposing that such an institution may exist in Masonry, the author affirms that unity is impossible therein: “Image of hell and hell anticipated, Masonry is the realm of hatred, and consequently of division. The leaders mutually despise and detest one another, and universally endeavour to deceive and supplant each other. A common hatred of the Church and her regular institutions alone unites them, and scarcely have they scored a victory than they fall out and destroy each other.”
The first seeds of the Manichæan accusation are found in the second volume, but the term is not used in the sense of Albert Pike’s Luciferian transcendentalism, but merely as an equivalent of Protestantism coloured by the idea of its connection with the Socinian heresy. In conformity with this view, Dom Paul Benoit attaches himself to the Templar hypothesis, saying that the Albigenses and the Knights of the Temple are the immediate ancestors of Masonry. But the point which is of most interest in connection with our inquiry is where Dom Paul Benoit asserts that Satan is the god of Freemasonry, citing an obscure grade in which the ritual is connected with serpent-worship, and another in which the recipient is adjured “in the sacred name of Lucifer,” to “uproot obscurantism.”
It is, however, only a loose and general accusation, for he says also that the Masonic deity is “the creature,” that is, humanity, the mind of man, human reason; it is also “the infamous Venus,” or the flesh; finally, “all divinities of Rome, Greece, Persia, India, and every pagan people, are the gods of Masonry.” This is merely indiscriminate defamation which is without force or application, and the writer evidently knows nothing of a defined cultus of Lucifer existing in the Lodges of the Fraternity. So also when he elsewhere states that sexual excesses are sometimes accompanied in Masonry by Eucharistic profanations, he has only Louis Gaston Adrien de Ségur’s out-of-date narrative to support him, and when he hints at magical practices, it is only in a general way, and apparently referring to acts of individual Masons. In one more significant passage, the records, as a matter of report, that apparitions of the demon have occurred “recently” in Masonic assemblies, “where he is said even to have presided under a human form.” While there is no mention of Palladism and none of Pike in his treatise, we may regard Dom Paul Benoit as a herald of the coming accusation, speaking vaguely of things half heard.
Some time previous to 1888, Paul Rosen, a Sovereign Grand Inspector – General of the 33rd and last degree of the French rite, had come to the conclusion that the mysteries of Freemasonry are abominable, and in that year he published a work, entitled ‘Satan and Co.,’ suggesting that in this case, a witness to the desired point had, at last, come forward, and, as a matter of fact, the writer does take us a few paces beyond the point reached by Dom Paul Benoit. So far as I am aware, he is the first French anti-Mason who mentions Albert Pike, with one exception, to be considered separately in the next chapter. He describes him as the Sovereign – Grand Commander of the Supreme Mother Council of every Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and he tells the story of the foundation of that Rite, but he knows nothing of Isaac Long, the Palladium, or the skull. He cites also certain works which Albert Pike wrote for the exclusive use of initiates, apparently of the higher grades of these rites, namely, ‘The Sephar H’Debarim,’ ‘Ethics and Dogmas of Freemasonry,’ and ‘Legenda Magistralia.’ But so far from accrediting the order with a supernatural aspect, he affirms that its war-cry is annihilation and anathema thereto.
The end of Freemasonry is, in fact, social anarchy, the overthrowal of monarchical government, and the destruction of the Catholic religion. The Satanism imputed to Freemasonry by Paul Rosen is therefore of an arbitrary and fantastic order, having no real connection with this inquiry.
Two years later the same author published a smaller volume, ‘The Social Enemy,’ which contains no material of importance to our purpose, but is preceded by a Pontifical Brief, conveying the benediction of Leo XIII. to the writer of ‘Satan and Co.’