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Anyone else seen the on-line Anti OA items Re: similarity to Masonic Order?


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#1 skeptic

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:07 AM

An acquaintance sent me this link about a supposed plot to secretly turn scouts in non-Christians. I found it basically silly and amusing; yet wonder if others may have encountered this and what their thoughts are. Here is the link, if anyone is interested. This might be better in the politics section, so moderators, please feel free to move. http://catholicintl....w-JohnSalza.pdf
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#2 Eagle92

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:40 AM

INTERESTING. I've only read part of it, but as a Catholic and a Vigil, i do not see any problems with the OA and Catholicism. I think the person who wrote the article is making much ado about nothing. Especially since he doesn't know exactly what is happening, but only reading a script. As for the ceremony comparisons The Knights of Columbus has similarities to the OA ceremonies, and most frats have them as well. can't speak about frats, but I when I was an active KC, I was 2nd degree.
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#3 emb021

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:12 AM

My understanding is that one of the main issues that certain Christian groups have with the Masons aren't so much their rituals, but the oath of secrecy which they must make. I know that these same groups don't have issues with my Fraternity (which has rituals) and the OA because we DON'T have such oaths.
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#4 emb021

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:21 AM

Let's see. Neither Goodman or Edson were Masons when they formed the OA. I know that Goodman LATER became a Mason, no idea about Edson. AFAIK, our rituals never had a 'blood covenant'. AFAIK, the Brotherhood was NEVER called the "Blood-Rite" degree. We originally didn't have 3 'degrees'. That came later. The OA has changed it rituals over the years. ALL the rituals were re-written in 1948. Am uncertain if they've been re-written since (vs minor tweakes). So getting bent out of shape over pre-1948 rituals seem a little silly. I glanced over his list of similiarities between the OA rituals and masonic ones. I wonder how many might match with KoC? I know many match with my fraternities, but know that others don't match. Considering we have a National Catholic Committee on Scouting, and THEY don't seem to have a problem, who is this guy to pitch a fit?
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#5 GernBlansten

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:53 AM

The writer is in extreme peril. He has desecrated the cloak of mystery of two powerful secret societies. I predict he will be disappeared soon. Actually, this makes me want to become a Free Mason too!
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#6 Kahuna

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:44 PM

According to Wikipedia: "In an interview with Carroll Edson during his later years, he recalled that the task of writing the first rituals of the Order of the Arrow was assigned to an early member who was "a 32nd degree Mason." Familiar terms such as "lodge" and "obligation," were borrowed from Masonic practice, as were some ceremonial practices. Even the early national meeting was called a "Grand Lodge," thought to be a Masonic reference. Goodman became a Mason only after the OA was established." Anyone who is or has been a Freemason would recognize immediately the similarities in ritual. This guy Salza is a serious religious fanatic, however. BTW, I took Brotherhood in 1962 and that lodge had only about 2 years before been drawing blood in that ritual. I believe the early ritual books read a little differently in that regard than do the current ones. However, I know lodges had been expressly forbidden to practice that prior to the time some of them actually stopped.
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#7 blade1158

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:45 PM

I, like Eagle92, am both a Roman Catholic and a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. I read part of the article and must say that the author is a serious whack job. I've been in the order for 30 years and have never seen or done anything that conflicted with my faith or the teachings of the Church. Let's see, brotherhood, cheerfulness and service, all ideas that undermine the tenets of Christianity. I have the pleasure of working with a Scouter who has received not only the Bronze Pelican and the St. George awards, but has worked for many years on the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, is the current chairman of the vocations committee and has received the Silver St. George award for his work on the national level. He is also a Vigil Honor member and a strong supporter of the Order of the Arrow. My bishop, a recipient of the Silver St. George, Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo, has no problem with the OA. I think I trust his judgment over the author's.
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#8 John-in-KC

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:23 PM

Of course they're similar to Masonic! Go look at E Urner Goodman's biography. Go look at Carroll Edson's biography. Both were 33d Degree Masons. They had to have some model for their initial ceremonies. I've seen some re-enactments of early Ordeals. Yes, they sound more like Masonic than does the modern Ordeal or Brotherhood. OK. So what? Who cares? This is Scouting, not Masonic, not DeMolay, and not Rainbow. It's our job, as Scouters, to ensure we're not pushing any single faith path. That is the family's duty and responsibility. Next, why are the program materials open to inspection by any concerned teacher, spiritual leader or even parent? Because of the faith matters, in part! I can state reasonably certainly that if the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod assessed the Order as a Masonic spinoff, parishes Nationwide would receive instructions from St Louis to drop charters immediately. Being a member of a Masonic organization as an LCMS member can cause Matt 18 church discipline, up to excommunication to kick in. I'm rather hard over on this. At one point, EagleSon's mother, my former bride, was putting heat on my son as well as on men around him that OA (and Mic-o-Say in my neck of the woods) were Masonic in nature. Further, I was leading him on a path of works righteousness to salvation. Thankfully, several men in my parish are Eagle Scouts and Arrowmen, that got shut down in short order. Let's keep remembering something: OA promotes the CHARACTER AIM through its program use of the Ideals, Personal Growth, and Outdoors Methods. It's our job as Arrowmen Scouters to make sure youth members do not confuse the Order with a religious practice.
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#9 nrp1488

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:01 PM

I'm Roman Catholic, been one since I was born. I'm also OA, did my Ordeal last September. Missed my anniversary so I could attend. All three of my sons are OA. Two of them are Eagles and the third is working on his project now. I have two daughters who earned their gold awards. We have shared scouting since my oldest joined tigers. Seems like we all turned out okay. We are all proud of our scouting accomplishments. Usually don't discuss religion or politics. I tried to access the website that was mentioned to contain the OA rituals. Got nowhere fast. Told me the site doesn't exist. Seems strange it disappeared so fast for an article that was written in 2008.
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#10 shortridge

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:30 PM

"It's our job as Arrowmen Scouters to make sure youth members do not confuse the Order with a religious practice." I'm not sure that this is much of a problem. I've known many youth Arrowmen who did their work religiously (as in the single-minded pursuit of excellence), particularly ceremonialists. But I've yet to meet anyone who has begun active worship of the Chief of the Fire. The only "devotion" the Order stresses is to the welfare of others. That's the true calling.
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#11 John-in-KC

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:32 AM

shortridge, You've not heard some of the Sunday Morning worship services at Ordeal Weekends that I've heard. That's all I'll say.
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#12 SMT224

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 04:18 AM

A little history to put things in perspective Back in the teens and roaring twenties there were hundreds of honor societies and honor programs that existed in various scout councils and camps throughout the country. In the early days of the Boy Scouts of America many camps around the country had "honor camper" programs where a scout could progressively earn award patches or have totems stenciled on their belt as they became proficient in different skills. Back then, summer camp was a two week affair, and Scouts interested in becoming part of the camp honor society would go through all kinds of ceremonies during the week-end between two weeks of camp. A partial list of these honor societies is below. One of these honor societies was the Order of the Arrow. Created in 1915 in the Philadelphia Council at Treasure Island Scout Camp. It was originally reported as "Wimachtendienks Tribe" then was known as "WWW" and eventually was called "Order of the Arrow". Through the influence of its founders and the OA followers, many of the other honor societies began to convert themselves into Order of the Arrow Lodges. In the teens and twenties there were only a few Order of the Arrow Lodges, but by 1935 there were only 81 Order of the Arrow Lodges out of the 536 Scout Councils and in existence. By 1950 there were still only 537 Scout Councils but 445 OA lodges had by then been chartered. The Order of the Arrow was adopted by the National BSA Council in 1948 as the primary honor camper association. Alpha Phi Omega Aquehongians Black Crescent Society Black Diamond Society Blue Spruce Lodge Braves of Decorah BSA Camp Promotion Society Buckskin Camper Society Buckskin Men Buckskin Son's of Camp Wauwepex Camp Manatoc Honor Patrol Camp Wisdom Honor Campers Chadwick Braves Chi Sigma Society Clan of the Mystic Oak CMR Honor Society Council Fire Circle Elgae Firecrafter Four M Gimogash Golden Tomahawk Indians of Treasure Mountain Indian Tribe of Honor Campers Kanawa Knights of Dunamis Knights of Yawgoog Ku-Ni-Eh Manhawka Mic-O-Say Mikanakawa Tribe Mohawk Indians Moon Scouts Mound Builders Mystic Arrow Mystic C Nani Ba Zhu No-Su-Ca-Ba OOBADOSTOOM Order of the Axe Order of the Black Arrow Order of Nikiwigi Old Guard Old Guard of Glen Gray Order of the Black Diamond Order Of The Chingagook Order of the Crimson Arrow Order of Kamp Kia Kima Order of the Modern Merit Scholars Order of Owls Order of the Arrow Order of Cochipainee Order of Taunkacoo Order of the Blue Knot Order of the Golden Sun Order of the Links Order of the Mystic Circle Order of the Pawnee Order of the Red Arrow Order of the Rising Sun Order of the Silver Marmot Order of the Solo Hiker Order of the Spear Order of the Tipi Order of the Uinta Moon Order of the White Swastika Pathfinders of the Golden Trail Pawnee Tribe Pequoket Pipestone Honor Powderhorn Polaris Lodge(non OA) Red Feather Sagamore Service Troop SA-KA-S-EMBA Scout Legion Scouts of the Mountain Secret Order of the Black Arrow Senior Division Senior Honor Degree Society Sequoia Indians Silver Tomahawk Ta-Tonka-Saba TIPISA, The Order of the Red Lodge Tribe of Ahwanee Tribe of Aquanuschioni Tribe of the Black Arrow Tribe of Chawanakee Tribe of Chickamauga Tribe of Chief Tonnaleuka Tribe of Gimogash Tribe of Golden Eagle Tribe of Gorgonio Tribe of Ingawanis Tribe of Keokuk Tribe of La Porte Tribe of Manatee Tribe of Matilija Tribe of Mazasha Tribe of Mic-O-Say Tribe of Nacopen Tribe of Nikiwigi Tribe of Oh-Hit-E-Kah Tribe of Oljato Tribe of Pahatsi Tribe of Papago Tribe of Pokagon Tribe of Quivira Tribe of Sha Utes Tribe of Sierra Tribe of Siniwa Tribe of Siwinis Tribe of Tahoe Tribe of Tahquitz Tribe of Talako Tribe of Temescal Tribe of Tonkawampus Tribe of Torqua Tribe of Wakpominee Tribe of Wapsipicon Tribe of Winton Tribe of Wokanda Tribe of Yosemite Vi et Consilio Wabiningo Honor Campers Society Wah Tut Ca Braves Wakondale Tribe of Ohiyesa Indians White Bears White Feather Society White Horse Tribe White Sharks of Tahkodah Wigwam Lodge Wimachtendienks Tribe Wincheck Indians Wolfeboro Pioneers Wolf tribe of Medawewin Wonnux Tribe
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#13 shortridge

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:26 AM

John-in-KC, Really? Wow. That's fascinating. I don't ever remember more than a handful of people at our Sunday service, and they were as bland as bland could be.
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#14 willhi1979

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:06 AM

I'm a Christian, Vigil Member of the OA, and Freemason. The rituals of Freemasonry and the OA are similar, but there are some similarities that used to exist that have been removed over time. The Ordeal (First Degree) ritual prior to 1921 have been lost. The Ordeal (First Degree) Ritual was rewritten by Dr. William M. Hinkle who was a Freemason in 1921, and he also wrote the Brotherhood (Second Degree) Ritual and started the 3 ritual system we have today, prior to that, the Vigil Honor was the Second Degree. Goodman and Edson were not Masons at the founding, but Goodman later became a Mason. There's no evidence that Edson was a Mason. Since that time, we've seen some changes that have made the rituals less Masonic, but there are still some similarities there. It seems like certain Catholics have issues with any society that maintain some level of secrecy, but they have the Knights of Columbus which practices secrecy as well.
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#15 mmhardy

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:13 PM

Yawn....this guy is a crackpot author. In order to sell books and tapes he has to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt into a population of potential customers. He is allover YouTube, blogs and other viral forms of cheap marketing. I'm pretty sure this guy can find a way to portray that the Thanksgiving dinner is a Masonic ritual. I find it amusing. In fact I'll make sure Johnny finds this thread. I'll bet he will comment. Here is the bait. "John Salza", John Salza, Salza, John" "John Salza the author." Now let the search engines spider it.
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#16 BadenP

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:16 PM

Willhi hits the nail on the head all these groups have some sort of secret rituals and handshakes. The KofC was created, in spite of what some may say as an fraternal organization for Catholic men who according to cannon law can not be members of the Masons, who refused them membership anyway until fairly recently. Masons are making inroads with Catholic members of the armed services promising them more rapid advancement etc., the bishop in our area published a decree to all the parish priests to read at Mass stating that any man in their congregation who acknowledges he is a Mason is to be refused communion and counseled into resigning from the Masons. The OA is in no way related to either of these organizations in their operations, however I have heard of a few lodges who do not exactly follow BSA rules and when something happens thats when these news articles come out.
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#17 John-in-KC

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:56 PM

One comment vis a vis the laundry list of programs: It helped that Goodman was National Program Director from 1931 to 1951, including the point where the program was incorporated into the BSA main program and the National Lodge was dissolved. Just a thought for those of us who are from places where other honor organizations still function :)
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#18 Narraticong

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:35 PM

Overall, I found it to be interesting reading, and thought provoking. I also come from a Lutheran background and would consider myself rather conservative in matters of faith. But I have been a Brother in our Order for 37 years. I'll welcome my son as a Brother in another month! But I can see how those even more conservative than me might see a problem with OA. That is their decision to make. We can argue about matters of faith until the cows come home, but in the end it all comes down to our personal relationship (or lack of) with God. We can beleive as Christians that God gave us free will which results in non-stop bad decisions. Or we can be atheists and beleive that there is no afterlife and what we do in life has no meaning once we die. Or we can beleive any number of things in between! Make your choice and live with the result. It's all up to you. So, Mr. Salza is welcome to believe whatever he likes, and to do his best to convince me and all of you that we are "bad parents" for allowing our sons to join OA. He does have some valid points to consider. We most certainly do have a "blood covenant" in our rituals. It is symbolic. But some people might equate that symbolism to Christian Sacraments. It's all a matter of perspective. But when the OA as a whole is considered, we each must decide where it fits in relation to our Faith life. As conservative as I am, I'm OK with the the OA.
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#19 NWScouter

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 03:16 AM

Many Christian Denominations have issues with the Masons not just because they are secret. Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: Bylaw 3.925 of the Synod's Handbook summarizes the rationale for the Synod's longstanding position on the lodges: "Pastors and laypeople must avoid membership or participation in any organization that in its objectives, ceremonies, or practices is inimical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the faith and life of the Christian church." It is because tenets and practices of Freemasonry conflict with the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ that our church from its very beginning has held that membership in this organization conflicts with a faithful confession of this Gospel. Many examples from the official rites and ceremonies of Freemasonry could be cited to illustrate the reasons for the Synod's position, but the following is one example. The second section of the Entered Apprentice degree reviews what has taken place in the initiation rite and closes with this definition of the Lambskin of White Leathern Apron given to the candidate: "The Lamb has, in all ages, been deemed an emblem of innocence. He, therefore, who wears the Lambskin as the badge of a Freemason, is constantly reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides." This statement holds out the promise that "purity of life and conduct" is "essentially necessary" for entry into life hereafter with the divine being called the "Supreme Architect." Such an assertion stands in direct conflict with the apostolic Gospel, and therefore endangers faith. St. Paul affirms in his epistle to the Galatians that "by works of the law shall no one be justified...for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:16,21). The Wisconsin Evangelic Lutheran Synod says this about Masons : The Masonic Lodge and its affiliates are essentially deistic religious organizations. They strongly maintain that there is a Creator God who rewards good and punishes evil but do not formally acknowledge God as a gracious giver of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. Nor do they acknowledge the Triune God as the only true God, but allow that most any "Supreme Being" embraced by any Mason may be seen as a legitimate deity. To them salvation is not by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, but based on good works. They also maintain that the supreme deity ("Architect of the Universe") may be and is worshiped in many forms and under many names by many religions aside from Christianity. Additionally, the oaths and rituals of the lodge have many features that consistent and conservative Bible students have long found incompatible with Christianity. There are many books and pamphlets available that give this kind of information in much greater detail. This negative appraisal of the Masonic Lodge is shared by a number of church bodies, and is not the conclusion of only a few like the WELS. You are invited to speak with any WELS pastor about this and to request more detailed information as desired. So although the Masons somewhat promote civic righteousness and undertake certain praiseworthy projects in society, we maintain that a Christian would compromise clear Bible teachings by becoming a member of that lodge. We are aware that people have joined such groups for the sake of business connections as well as a sense of social responsibility and say they really don't care for or think of the religious aspects of the organization. But we maintain that to do so is still a compromise of truth, easily or inevitably causes others to stumble spiritually, and links the person to a false religious group. The Bible often testifies against such an attitude and action. Bottom line: to be a WELS member with the public confession involved with that membership and to be a Mason with that public confession are incompatible. We owe members of masonry a loving and courteous reply that will not compromise truth. Refraining from membership in that network of organizations and providing patient but consistent testimony to the falsehood the Masons embrace or tolerate would be right and fitting And then about Scouts: We do warn against civil religion which treats all religions as one or interchangeable. If the Pledge (of Allegiance) is used to give that implication, we could not join in it. I do not know what percentage of WELS schools use the pledge. None of the ones I attended used it. Many people, religious or non-religious, have objections to the wording of the Pledge. The reason we say more about scouting is that the topic involves voluntarily joining an organization with false religious priniciples. You hit the nail on the head with your statement "Scouts promotes religion to God as the most important thing. No matter what religion it is." That is exactly why we can't participate. People in this world work for rewards at their jobs, at school, in athletics, and many other endeavors, but these rewards are earthly not spiritual. We have no objection to organizations that give earthly rewards for earthly achievements. Scouting is talking about doing your duty to God by your achievements. That is a very different matter. Believing in God or a god is not the same as believing in the one true God. We can associate with people from outside our faith in every way except joiining them in evil or false worship. We can't win people by joining them in false worship. And Someone told me that the Wisconsin Synod does not allow its members to be Boy Scouts. Is that true and if so, what is the basis for it? ________________________________________ There is a question that must precede the one you asked. Does God want Christians to belong to organizations that requires its members to accept religious principles that are contrary to the First Commandment? Or putting it another way, can a Lutheran who on his confirmation day promised that he would suffer everything rather than deny the teachings of the Bible subsequently take another promise that is based on the premise that anyone of any religion can do his duty to God? The obvious answer to both questions is "no." Then the next question is, what organizations fit this description. The Scouts require all members to take the Scout promise, even atheists. A few years ago a Scout who was an atheist was allowed to become an Eagle Scout, but had to take the Scout promise to do his duty to God, although he could qualify that by saying that he did not believe God was a personal being. The promise cannot be omitted. Such a promise a Christian cannot make in good conscience. Getting to your question. WELS does not have a list of organizations that its members cannot join. Many congregations have a statement in their constitution which says that members cannot belong to organizations that require religious principles that contradict the Bible. The Boy Scouts fall into that category. The question really is not what does WELS allow or not allow. It is what does the First Commandment allow or not allow. Roman Catholics about Masons: Why is Freemasonry incompatible with Christianity? Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity because it promotes indifferentism. Indifferentism is the heretical belief that all religions are equally legitimate attempts to explain the truth about God which, but for the truth of His existence, are unexplainable. Such a view makes all truths relative and holds that God can be equally pleased with truth and error. Because Christians believe that God has definitively revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and desires that all men come to the knowledge of this truth, indifferentism is incompatible with Christian faith. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). Freemasonry's teachings and practices also result in syncretism which is the blending of different religious beliefs into a unified whole. This is evidenced most especially by Masonry's religious rituals which gather men of all faiths around a common altar, and place all religious writings along side the Bible on the Masonic altar. This is also demonstrated by the Lodge's prayers and its unique names and symbols for God and heaven. Syncretism is the logical consequence of indifferentism. The Lodge's practice of requiring its members to swear immoral oaths is also incompatible with Christianity. These oaths require a Christian to swear on the Holy Bible that he will uphold a code of moral conduct that prefers Masons over non-Masons, and to preserve secret passwords and handshakes. Such oaths are gravely immoral because their subject matter is trivial or does not give rise to the necessity of an oath. These oaths are also sworn under symbolic, blood-curdling penalties of physical torture and death called self-curses (e.g., having my throat cut across, and my tongue torn out by its roots). These penalties show a lack of respect for God and amount to blasphemy which is a serious sin. And What is the Catholic Church's position on Freemasonry? The Church, through its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has formally declared that Catholics who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. This declaration, which is the most recent teaching of the Church, has affirmed nearly 300 years of papal pronouncements against Freemasonry on the grounds that the teachings of the Lodge are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. The Churchs declaration on Freemasonry exposes Catholic Masons to a number of penalties under canon law. For example, a Catholic who is aware that the Church authoritatively judges membership in Freemasonry to be gravely sinful must not approach Holy Communion (c. 916). The Church imposes the duty upon all grave sinners not to make a sacrilegious communion. Such a Catholic Mason who is aware of the grave sin must receive absolution in a sacramental confession before being able to receive communion again, unless there is a grave reason and no opportunity to confess (c. 916). This confession, in order to be valid, also requires the Catholic Mason to renounce his Masonic membership. Further, because membership in Freemasonry is an external or public condition, the Catholic Mason can be refused Holy Communion by the pastors of the Church for obstinately persevering in his Masonic membership (c. 915). Such a Catholic Mason would also be forbidden from receiving the Anointing of the Sick (c. 1007) as well as ecclesiastical funeral rites if public scandal were to result (c. 1184, 1, 3). Canon 1364 also imposes an automatic excommunication upon apostates, heretics, or schismatics. This canon could also apply to Catholic Masons. If, for example, a Catholic Mason embraced the theological teachings of Freemasonry that the Church has condemned (indifferentism, syncretism), he would be in heresy by virtue of his belief in these teachings. Further, if a Catholic Mason knew the Church opposes membership in Freemasonry, and yet adamantly and persistently refused to submit to the popes authority in precluding his membership in the Lodge, he may also find himself in schism. Catholic Masons could also be subject to canon 1374 which imposes an interdict or just penalty upon those who join associations that plot against the Church. For the canonical penalties to apply, the Catholic Mason would have to act in a gravely imputable way (that is, the Catholic would have to be aware of the Churchs teaching on Freemasonry and, after being warned about it, choose to disregard it). In my personal experience, a fair number of Catholic Masons do act in a gravely imputable way in regard to their Masonic membership. In these cases, the canonical penalties, including excommunication, apply. The Church's penalties are not meant to alienate the person on whom the penalty is levied. Instead, the penalties are meant to communicate to the person the gravity of his conduct, encourage his repentance and reconciliation with the Church, and bring him back into the one fold of Christ. After all, the mission of the Church is the salvation of souls.
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#20 scoutldr

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 07:47 AM

I am also Lutheran...of the ELCA variety. Interesting reading, NW. I would be interested in the source. I also find it interesting that other Christian denominations not only have no objections to Scouting, but embrace it as their youth program, e.g., United Methodists and LDS. Equally interesting to me are the attitudes of the Catholic churches in the area...the one down the street from me will NOT associate with the BSA in ANY way, including allowing us to use rooms for training events. THis is not priest-specific, because the policy doesn't change although the priests do. Meanwhile the one a mile away has an Eagle Scout priest and charters a Pack, Troop and Crew, and all of our District meetings are there. Go figure. No offense to my brothers and sisters here, but in the ELCA, we've always considered the LCMS and WELS as somewhat "weird". At one time, they wouldn't even allow each other the Sacraments.
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