Faith/Spirituality Forum: Should I attend a friend's mason cerimony?
Should I attend a friend's mason cerimony? QUESTION from A. Basto on January 26, 2003 One of my friends is a member of the DeMolay group, a kind of Mason Youth organization.
He knows that I am a loyal catholic and I know that he is a DeMolay member.
We have known each other since the first day in Law School and I have never discussed religion of philosophy with him. We are very good friends. We go to soccer matches together, to clubs, to the beach, we play tennis together, etc., but we never say a word about our different worldviews.
He never attempted to talk to me about my being a catholic and, in a similar way, I never attempted to discuss his status as a quasi-mason. We just avoid that issue.
He never attempted to teach me any doctrine, and I have never sensed even the subtlest attempt on his part to influence my beliefs.
Thus, I might say that he has always shown great respect for my beliefs, and I have always respected his liberty.
I know that the Church condemns the masonry and I myself avoid it. I not only obey the Church on that subject but I also agree with Her. I regard the masonry as a apostate organization, dangerous to the Faith and anti-christian in charatcter, which spreads error in the world.
That's why I have been always very sensitive in avoiding any religious argument with my friend. His membership in DeMolay is a part of his life that I try to ignore, just as he never says a word about my attendance at masses, my loyalty to the Church, etc.
The problem is that, two days ago he informed me that he had been elected as president of the local DeMolay group, and that he was inviting several of his friends to the inauguration cerimony on February, 1st. He said that he considered my attendance as essential.
I realise now that I am perhaps one of his best friends, and I also regard him as a close friend. So, my presence must really be meaningful to him. But I don't know if my presence would be in keeping with my status as a catholic.
Today, I consulted a priest in the abbey where I attend Mass and also my parish priest. They have very different views. The parish prist said that he would go, talked about ecumenism, and said that if he were in my place he would just abstain from reciting any creed.
The priest in the Abbey where I attend Mass said that I must apologise to him and that I should not go.
What are your views?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 29, 2003 Dear Mr. Basto:
I find that there is a tendecy among parish priests to commit what I call plausibility -- being argreeable and nice at the expense of truth thus avoiding making a stand on truth for the sake of feelings.
This kind of plausibility is, I believe, the greatest danger to the Church in history. It has infected the Church and is, in reality, part of the smoke of satan that has entered the sanctuary as Pope Paul VI observed.
The usual excuse for not making a stand on truth is ecumenism, but this is a false ecumenism. The ecumenism taught by the Church is NOT lets accept everyone theology or let us all get along theology. These type of theologies are hostile to the Christian worldview as taught by Christ and the Apostles.
Jesus Himself said, I did not some to bring peace, but division. He was talking about the effects of His coming -- He who is the TRUTH, the way, and the Life. Some people will not accept the truth and will thus be divided. Jesus illustrates this in the continuing passages where he explains that even family members will be divided over Him.
Jesus also said, I'd rather you be hot or cold, as lukewarm I spit you out of my mouth.
Being a Christian amongst a non-Christian society is HARD. No one said it would be easy. Being a Christian means taking a stand for Truth even if it hurts, even if is means losing friends, losing a job, or even causing division in our own homes.
If Jesus is willing to accept that even family members will be divided by Him, surely taking a stand for truth that divides non-family members is appropriate too.
The situation you are in, and has your friend has specifically couched it, is that your presence is essential as a source of approval and support for his becoming an officer in a ungodly organization.
To maintain friendship is one thing. Through friendship perhaps the friend can be subtilely evangelized. But to actively and publicly support his rewards and achievements in an organization that is hostile to God (even if you friend is not aware of that fact) is another matter altogether.
The final decision is yours to make according to your conscience and the general guidance of the Church has it applies to supporting such organizations.
I opinion is with the most holy priest-monk who is less likely to be contaminated by the world's plausibility and is more likely to give advice that is prudent not only in accord with the precepts and teachings of the Church, but also in accord with the worldview of the Catholic Church.
Pray about this. Perhaps your kindly apology to the friend explaining that attendance would be a violation of your faith will stimulate, eventually, a conversion in the him. If not now, perhaps in the future.
You may lose the friendship with him, but that will be his choice, and following the higher road will leave a seed planted in him that may lead him to salvation -- and if this means the loss of a friend, remember that his soul is far more important than your friendship with him.
As Catholic Christians we must always stand with God who is Love, Truth, Mercy, and Justice. And in honoring God, He will honor us with His graces.
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