Friday, May 29, 2009

Gate City II: Religion & Culture Series V: The Catholic Church & Freemasonry: Ninety - Five Attend:

95 people attended our fifth installment of our Religion & Culture series. Unbelievable. We were expecting sixty five to seventy. Not bad for a Tuesday night! Over sixty of the attendees were non-masons.

Our attendance for the first five installments of the Religion & Culture series is now well over three hundred.

As is the custom, when a religious topic is discussed, the blessing of the meal is given by the guest speaker or someone of the speaker's faith. Our blessing was given by John J. McManus, that evening's presenter. Being a Catholic, Deacon McManus' blessing was overtly Christian and particularly Catholic. The blessing was well received by all of our guests who were of many different faiths.

The meal was over eight hours in preparation: from a repeat performance of slow smoked beef brisket to grilled asparagus drizzled in olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Our gathering was quite impressed by the quality of the fare. Many thanks go to members of Fulton Lodge who grilled the asparagus as well as a brother from Tucker lodge who cut the brisket.

As the food was running out, a strange realization crept over the members of Gate City II: the crowd was large!

We opened as quickly as possible and welcomed our guests into the Lodge Hall. They were welcomed by Beaux Pettys who also introduced our guest speaker. Deacon McManus was warmly received by a round of applause. He immediately dug into his presentation.

Deacon McManus' delivery was authoritative, honest and unashamed. His deep voice was augmented by the booming bass of the PA system. His passion for his religion was clear in the uttering of every sentence. Yet his understanding of the differences which separate us from him did not preclude him from mentioning all of the wonderful works of Freemasonry - particularly in the United States. He made note of the fine people present. Not knowing what to expect from "the lion's den", he acknowledged and was appreciative of the warm welcome which he received. We were impressed with everything about Deacon McManus. You will be too. Read his full presentation two blogs down.

Beaux Pettys thanked John J. Macmanus, Fulton, Tucker and Fairburn Lodges. A special "Thank you" was given to DDGM David Herman. After several attempts by other brethren, it was only through David's diligent search for a speaker on this topic that this presentation was made possible. Out guests were also thanked for their support of the Religion & Culture Series.

Afterwards, a joint communication of Fairburn and Gate City was closed in fine form by Fairburn PM Andy Lovas.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Thursday, May 28, 2009

John Holt To Receive 50 Year Award Tonight:

DDGM John Holt will receive his fifty year apron this evening at Palestine Lodge. WB Holt is held in high esteem at GCII for his continued and ever present friendship. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to report that, in honor of this great occaision, John Holt is now an Honorary Member of Gate City II.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Gate City II: Religion & Culture V: John J. McManus' Presentation On The Catholic Church And Freemasonry:

John J. McManus' presentation on the Catholic Church and Freemasonry was everything we'd hoped it would be. More details on the event itself will be forthcoming. The following is his presentation in it's entirety.

Once again, thank you just does not express how grateful we are to John for the excellent information, eloquent delivery, and wonderful fellowship.

John J. McManus' Presentation:


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gate City II for inviting me to speak with you tonight about a rather difficult topic, the historical relationship between the Catholic Church and Freemasons, and why Roman Catholics have been and continue to be prohibited by the Church from becoming Freemasons. My name is John McManus and in my civilian life I am an attorney who has been practicing law for just over 27 years. I am Roman Catholic Christian from birth, and since my ordination in 2002, I have been a member of the Roman Catholic Clergy as a Deacon, the lowest of the three levels of clerical hierarchy in the Catholic Church. Since 2007, I am also a Canon Lawyer, which means that I have a pontifical licentiate that allows me to practice as a lawyer in the Tribunals, or courts, of the Roman Catholic Church, and also to advise the Archbishop or others regarding canonical issues, or those issues related to the law of the Roman Catholic Church.

I have provided you with that personal background to let you know that my studies have been related to the Roman Catholic Church and its laws. I am not a Freemason, nor have I studied in any detail, other than for the preparation of this presentation, the laws, rules, creeds, or other constitutive documents of Freemasons. Nothing presented herein is intended to criticize, condemn or otherwise cast aspersions on either Freemasonry or Freemasons, as a group or to any individual Freemason, whether Roman Catholic or not. Instead, this presentation is intended to provide historical and current information on the subject matter that may be used in civil discussions and personal reflections about the issues presented in order that each person may be informed and form their own consciences about the issues presented.

This presentation is being given from the Roman Catholic Church’s point of view, particularly since that is the only point of view I can articulate, and the material presented about Freemasons has been gathered from various sources, primarily within the Roman Catholic literature. While I have examined quite a bit of literature preparing this presentation, I have relied to a great extent on a very fine paper entitled “The Evolution Of The Church’s Prohibition Against Catholic Membership In Freemasonry” by Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins.
For those of you interested in the complete text of that paper, it was published in 1996 in The Jurist, Volume 56, pages 735-755. I was particularly interested in that paper because Msgr. Jenkins was one of my instructors at The Catholic University of America where I received my Juris Canonical Licentiate. During my preparation for this presentation, I had an opportunity to communicate with Msgr. Jenkins about recent developments in this area since the publication of that paper, and those developments have been incorporated into this presentation. I wish to thank Msgr. Jenkins for his kind assistance in this matter.

As the title of that article and this presentation suggest, the Roman Catholic Church has for centuries, and continues to this day, to prohibit its members from membership in Freemasonry. That prohibition remains applicable today in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for all members of the Roman Catholic Church. There has certainly been a great deal of confusion regarding whether this prohibition continues today, engendered in large part by the language of the 1983 Code of Canon Law that omitted the specific prohibition against Freemasonry stated in the 1917 Codex Juris Canonici. In response to this confusion, in November of 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith issued a declaration stating that the prohibition was still in force and that Catholic Masons were barred from receiving Holy Communion. However, that declaration did not quell the debate about that prohibition, and the debate continues. It is my purpose here tonight to address the foundational reasons for this centuries old prohibition, clarify the confusion created by the new Code of Canon law, and explain why the Roman Catholic Church through the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith continues that prohibition today.

As advertised, I will begin this presentation with a look at the origins and historical issues related to this prohibition, then address in passing some of the official canonical documents related directly to that prohibition, then review in some detail the efforts in modern times to reconcile the differences between the parties, and finally address the canonical issues developed by both the 1917 Codex Juris Canonici and the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It is my sincere hope that at the end of this presentation the fundamental inconsistencies between the basic tenants of the Roman Catholic Church and those of Freemasonry will allow at least a better understanding of the prohibition that the Roman Catholic Church asserts in this matter.

In order to understand why the Roman Catholic Church has the authority to prohibit one of its members from belonging to Freemasonry, or to prohibit or allow its members to do or not do other things, it is important to understand a little about the Roman Catholic Church itself. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ himself. To be Catholic, one must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he established the Church with divine authority. The Gospels state that “As the Father gave authority to Christ,” [Jn 5:22] Christ passed that authority on to his apostles [Lk 10:16], and they passed it on to the successors they appointed as bishops.

For nearly two thousand years, through unbroken apostolic succession, bishops have taught the Catholic faith that was received from Christ in the Gospels, Sacred Tradition, and through the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church. The Church is not a democracy. The authority of the Church rests in the Bishop of Rome, The Roman Pontiff, the successor to St. Peter, who Jesus himself selected to guide the Church. It is important to note that this “authority” held by the Holy Father is not power, but a right…it is humble in both its origin, as received from Christ, and in its end, which is to serve as Christ served. In fact, all of the laws and all of the traditions of the Church have one goal, one end, and that end is the salvation of souls.
The Roman Catholic Church believes that it has an innate right and obligation to speak the truth about all human matters, and that truth is directed at the one primary end, the salvation of souls. And, therefore, throughout the ages, the Church has issued decrees, which are decisions regarding a particular case, and encyclicals, which are writings approved by the Holy Father, and she has held Councils and synods, discussing various issues related to the faith. The most recent Council was the Second Vatican Council held in the 1960’s which has had a significant effect on the law of the Church, and the Church itself. The rules and laws that are articulated by the Holy Father become laws that Catholics must respect and follow because of the aforementioned authority from which they are derived. Willful failure to follow the teachings of the Church has consequences for Catholics, including excommunication in the most serious cases.

The laws of the Church, codified as canon laws, set forth both the requirement and the penalty for not following the teachings of the Church, and there is a judicial process involved in determining whether the law has been broken and what sanction, if any, is appropriate in the individual case.

The best way for me to explain the relationship between the law of the Church and the essential end of human behavior is in a statement by Mother Teresa. She said, “God did not put me on earth to be successful, he put me here to be faithful.” Catholics have an obligation to be faithful to the teachings of the Church, all of the teachings of the Church, and they are not allowed to pick and choose which teachings they like and which they don’t like as if they were ordering from a menu at McDonalds. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Catholics to understand the teachings of their faith, the reasons why the Church teaches as it does, and then live a life accordingly, constantly striving to be faithful to Christ and his teachings.

It was difficult to determine the precise historical origin of the Freemasons, primarily because there is little historical evidence of the Masons before the eighteenth century. It does appear, however, that on June 24, 1717, four independent guilds of stone cutters met in a London inn to form the first grand lodge. It appears that this new order of masons spread to France by 1732, Hamburg, Germany by 1737, and then throughout much of the rest of Europe, including Italy.

On April 28, 1738, the Roman Catholic Church published the first of many condemnations of this new society when Clement XII issued the constitution In eminenti. In that constitution, Clement XII declared the basic tenants of Freemasonry to be a threat not only to the basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but also to the stability of governments and society. Clement XII imposed the penalty of excommunication reserved to the Holy See on persons who either belonged to or externally supported the society. This document was significant because subsequent popes repeated the condemnations for the next two hundred years. For example, on May 18, 1751 in his decree Providas, Benedict XIV repeated the gravissima damna [the “most serious condemnations”] and appended Clement XII’s constitution to his own decree.

The nineteenth century brought renewed and continued confirmation of the charges and penalties against Masons, particularly Catholic Masons. Here are a few examples:

1. On September 13, 1821, Pius VII issued his decree Ecclesiam Christi in response to the growing influence of a particular form of Masonry called Carbonarism on the movement to form liberal governments in much of Europe.
2. On March 13, 1826, Leo XII issued his decree Quo graviora in which he not only reaffirmed past condemnation, he added more condemnations, and he offered a particularly critical view of the influence of Masons on universities.

3. On August 15, 1832, Gregory XVI in his decree Mirari Vos reaffirmed all previous papal decrees condemning Freemasons, and he added more justifications for the Church’s condemnation of Freemasons.

4. On October 12, 1869, Pius IX in his decree Apostolicae Sedis that reformed certain automatic [latae sententiae] penalties, retained membership in the Masons among those excommunications reserved to the Holy See. Apostolicae Sedis can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 5 (1869) beginning at page 311.

5. On April 12, 1884, Leo XIII issued his encyclical Humanum genus which was a document dedicated entirely to the condemnation of the Masons and reaffirmed the latae sententiae penalty imposed by Pius IX in Apostolicae Sedis. Humanum genus can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 16 (1883-1884), pages 417-433.

The twentieth century canonized the penalties and condemnations of the previous two hundred years. It should be noted here that the law of the Roman Catholic Church, which was developed through Tradition, Sacred Writings, synods, Councils, Decrees and Encyclicals, was not codified in one in a single code of canon law until the Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917. Three canons in the 1917 code spoke directly against Freemasons:

Canon 1240: Canon 1240, Section 1, paragraph 1, denied Freemasons a Catholic burial.

Canon 2335: This canon, with only a few changes, reaffirmed the reserved ipso facto excommunication of catholic masons promulgated by Pius IX on Apostolicae Sedis. The English translation of that canon reads: “Those giving their name to Masonic sects or other associations of this sort that machinate against the Church or legitimate civil powers contract by that fact excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See.”

Canon 2336: This canon levied additional penalties against clerics or religious who belonged to the masons. These penalties included suspension for clerics and loss of active and passive voice for religious.

Other canons indirectly affected Catholic Masons and included:

1. Canon 1065, Section 1: Denied them the right to a Catholic marriage.
2. Canon 542, Section 1: Denied them the ability to enter a valid novitiate.
3. Canon 693, Section 1: Denied them the right to inscribe validly in a pious association of the faithful.
4. Canon 1453, Section 1: Denied them receiving the right of patronage [support].

Two requirements had to be met for Roman Catholics to incur the ipso facto excommunication set forth in Canon 2335:

1. They had to have actually enrolled in the membership books of the organization; and

2. The organization had to be wholly devoted to heretical or subversive ends.

It was easy to establish whether the first requirement was met—all one had to do was examine the membership books of the organization. But it was not as easy to determine when the second requirement had been met. Jenkins poses these questions:

1. What if the charitable or fraternal organizations were only indirectly associated with Freemasons? Were these included in the ban?

2. Masonic lodges themselves varied greatly in their teachings and practices. American lodges were far less subversive than most European ones. Did Catholics who joined an American lodge deserve to suffer the same penalty as one who joined a lodge more patently opposed to the Church?

These and other similar questions gave rise to discussions within the Church hierarchy about a new legal attitude toward Freemasons. Those inquiries lead to the hope that the issue would be addressed by the Second Vatican Council. The Second Vatican Council, however, did not specifically address the issue with Freemasons. Instead, it sought to open dialogue with various groups that had been counted among the Church’s “antagonists.”

As a consequence of this new attitude, several groups of bishops began to view the ban on Masonic membership in the light of the particular character of the respective local lodges. This was first done in 1966 by the Scandinavian bishops who determined that each bishop could judge whether or not a particular lodge was acting or teaching in ways contrary to the interests of the Church. If the bishop decided that the lodge was not manifesting such behavior, the bishop was free to determine whether a particular Catholic could join that particular lodge. Similar actions were taken by the bishops of England and Wales, and the French bishops were even allowed by the Vatican to have limited discussions between the Italian grand master and a priest who was an expert in Masonic affairs.

These events lead to perhaps the most significant advance in Catholic-Masonic relations. In March 1969, a commission of three Catholics and nine masons gathered in Innsbruck to discuss their mutual concerns. The commission met under the auspices of the Secretariat for Non-Believers and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. The committee’s dialogue resulted in the July 5, 1970 publication of a document entitled “Lichtenau Declaration,” which declared that, contrary to the Church’s consistent position, the Masons were not a threat to the Catholic Church. The document recommended that all canonical penalties and condemnations be abrogated and relations opened between Catholics and Masons, stating in pertinent part:

“We are of the opinion that the papal bulls concerning the Freemasons are now only historically significant and no longer relevant in our time. We are of the same opinion regarding the condemnations of ecclesiastical law since, in light of what has been said, they cannot be justified by a Church that follows God’s commandment in teaching fraternal love.”

The next significant event in Catholic-Masonic relations occurred in talks that occurred over a six-year period between 1974 and 1980 when representatives from the German Episcopal Conference held talks with a group representing the Grand Lodges of Germany. The conclusion of the German Bishops’ Conference was:

“the Freemasons have essentially not changed. Membership [in the masons] places the foundations of Christian existence in question. Detailed investigations of the Masonic rituals and fundamental ideas, and of their current, unchanged self-understanding make clear: Simultaneous membership in the Catholic Church and freemasons is incompatible.”

Jenkins points out that “the bishops reached their unequivocal conclusion after having first considered the positive elements of Freemasonry, including its humanitarian interests, charitable works, anti-materialist ideology, as well as the excellent personal qualities required of its members.” He states that the bishop’s listed twelve areas of Masonic teaching that were at variance with the Church’s own belief, and with which the Church could never reconcile itself:

1. The Masonic World-view: The Masons promote a freedom from dogmatic adherence to any one set of revealed truths. Such a subjective relativism is in direct conflict with the revealed truths of Christianity.

2. The Masonic Notion of Truth: The masons deny the possibility of an objective truth, placing every truth instead in a relative context.

3. The Masonic Notion of Religion: The Masonic teaching holds a relative notion of religions as all concurrently seeking the truth of the absolute.

4. The Masonic Notion of God: The Masons hold a deistic notion of God which excludes any personal knowledge of the deity.

5. The Masonic Notion of God and Revelation: The deistic notion of God precludes the possibility of God’s self-revelation to humankind.

6. Masonic Toleration: The masons promote a principle of toleration regarding ideas. That is, relativism teaches them to be tolerant of ideas divergent or contrary to their own. Such a principle not only threatens the Catholic position of objective truth, but it also threatens the respect due the Church’s teaching office.

7. The Masonic Rituals: The rituals of the first three Masonic grades have a clear sacramental character about them, indicating that an actual transformation of some sort is undergone by those who participate in them.

8. The Perfection of Mankind: The Masonic rituals have as an end the perfection of humankind. But Masonry provides all that is necessary to achieve this perfection. Thus, the justification of a person through the work of Christ is not an essential or even necessary aspect of the struggle for perfection.

9. The Spirituality of Masons: The Masonic Order makes a total claim on the life of the member. True adherence to the Christian faith is thereby jeopardized by the primary loyalty due the Masonic Order.

10. The Diverse Divisions within the Masons: The Masons are comprised of lodges with varying degrees of adherence to Christian teaching. Atheistic lodges are clearly incompatible with Catholicism. But even those lodges comprised of Christian members seek merely to adapt Christianity to the overall Masonic world-view. This is unacceptable.

11. The Masons and the Catholic Church: Even those Catholic-friendly lodges that would welcome the Church’s members as its own are not compatible with Catholic teaching, and so closed to Catholic members.

12. The Masons and the Protestant Church: While a 1973 meeting of Protestant Churches determined that individual Protestants could decide whether to be members of both the Christian Church and the Freemasons, it included in its decision the caveat that those Christians must always take care not to lessen the necessity of grace in the justification of a person before God.

The German bishops’ statement had a significant influence on the subsequent attitude of Rome toward Catholic-Mason relations, renewing the age-old attitude of distrust and antagonism. The canonical questions about these issues, however, were still to be resolved.

During the period of time between the 1970 Lichtenau Declaration, which indicated a more positive relationship between Catholic’s and Masons, and the German Bishops’ statements in 1980, the code of canon law was being revised. As a direct result of the Lichtenau Declaration, canons 2335 and 2336 of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law were abandoned early in the code revision process and were not included in the penal law schema of 1973. This has lead to some confusion among the bishops about the Church’s stance toward Masons. In 1974, Cardinal Franjo Seper of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to select bishops stating that “the law toward masons had not changed, but that its application might be more strictly interpreted in favor of lay Catholics.” In essence what the Cardinal was saying was that the canon’s penalty applied to Catholics who joined a Masonic group “or similar associations that conspired against the Church.”

Therefore, if the particular lodge the Catholic joined did not conspire against the Church, then only one of the two requirements for incurring the penalty of excommunication had been met. Therefore, membership in a neutral lodge would not necessarily bring with it an ipso facto excommunication for the Catholic.

The 1977 coetus for the revision of penal law formulated its draft of what would become canon 1374 of the 1983 code, and it is stated in English as follows:

“A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.”

Therefore, the revised canon removed the ipso facto excommunication of canon 2335, and it was broad enough in scope to allow for particular legislators to determine when the penalty was warranted and if, or whether, harsher penalties were called for in certain circumstances.

The broad language provided room for what Catholic’s call “pastoral sensitivity” in a particular case. Based upon this canon, it appeared that the decision about whether Catholics were allowed to join a particular lodge was left up to the local legislator, the bishop.

However, the new code promulgated in 1983 did not settle the issue. There are two canons in the 1983 code that most clearly apply to Catholic Masons, although, as indicated, Freemasonry is not mentioned specifically:

1. Canon 1374 against subversive societies; and
2. Canon 1364 against heretics and apostates.

As indicated earlier in the presentation, on November 23, 1983, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith attempted to resolve the doubt created by the 1983 code revisions and issued Declaratio de associationibus massonicis, the “Declaration on Masonic Associations.” Declaratio de associationibus massonicis can be found in Acta Santa Sedis [ASS] 76 (1984) beginning at page 300. The Congregation stated the following:

1. The Church’s position regarding the Freemasons had not changed.

2. Catholic membership in Masonic lodges was still prohibited because Masonic principles were still contrary to the teachings of the Church.

3. Catholics who did, in fact, belong to Masonic associations were committing grave sin and were, consequently, barred from receiving Holy Communion.

4. The reason the Masons were no longer explicitly referred to in the new code was due simply to the principles that guided the revision of the law.

5. Local ordinaries did not enjoy the prerogative of determining which Masonic lodges operated against the interests of the Church and which were neutral towards or even supportive of the Church’s interests.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States did not officially respond to the Congregations 1983 declaration. However, it did ask the Pastoral Research and Practices Committee to write a report on the compatibility of Masonic principles with the Catholic faith. Their report, which is quite brief, was published in the June 27, 1985 edition of Origins [Origins 15/6] at pages 83-84. The committee restated the fundamental conclusions of the German bishops, stating:

“Even though Masonic organizations may not in particular cases plot against the faith, it would be still wrong to join them because their basic principles are irreconcilable with those of the Catholic faith.”

While the Congregations declaration reflects the current law in the Church and Catholics are prohibited from joining the Masons, the debate among Church scholars and canonists about this issue and the related issue of enforcement, application, and the canonical implications of each issue remain.

May 26, 2009 Rev Mr. John J. McManus, JD, JCL

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tommorrow Night!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Catholic Deacon, John J. McManus, whose presentation was approved by the Archbishop of Atlanta, will speak on the ancient rifts, papal bulls and the Church's current stance on Freemasonry. Dinner will be slow cooked beef brisket with a Cajun rub, grilled asparagus, red potato salad, field greens and baguettes.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Greatest Jefferson Quote:

"I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Thomas Jefferson. Quote inscribed at the base of the dome of the Jefferson Memorial. If Pike could have stolen that line, he would have.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

David Johnston's Pool Party: July 18, 2009

David Johnston is having another back yard shin dig at his house, on July 18th, 2009, for the Brethren of Gate City 2 and their families and friends. The party starts at 7:00PM and goes til 11PM.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Annual Gate City II Retreat: December 4th - 6th, 2009:

The annual Gate City II retreat has been scheduled for the first weekend in December. The house in Big Canoe is reserved and ready. As some of you doubtless recall, the house features a gourmet kitchen. As he did last year, David Llewellyn will be putting the kitchen to great use. Among the other many amenities are the huge deck overlooking a few mountains, heated pool and jacuzzi, pool table, two entertainment centers, three fireplaces, and bad cell phone service...yes!

The retreat also serves as a means for officers to ready themselves in their respective new positions. The house features a large theatre room in the basement which doubles as a lodge hall. There will be five practices scheduled throughout the weekend for ritual work.

Our new Brethren are not excluded. By the time the retreat rolls around we should have another class in training. Fellowcraft and Entered Apprentice Brethren still learning catechisms will receive instruction upstairs while the officers are training downstairs.

Brethren who are not officers or training for Catechism are invited as well. There is plenty of time for fellowship. Brethren that are not members of Gate City 2 may also inquire about attending.

The cost is $125 for the weekend including food. Make your reservations now

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309


Monday, May 11, 2009

Minh Duc Van: Our New Junior Deacon:

Minh Duc Van has been appointed as our new Junior Deacon. Minh will enter our officers line as a Master Mason of two years (raised in Chamblee - Sardis 444). He is ready to slide into his tuxedo and work his way to the east.

Minh is also active in the Asian business community where he sits on several boards. His business networking skills are well honed. As reported in an earlier bio of Minh, if anyone can provide a platform for bringing business networking back into the craft, Minh Canh!

Brother Van will also be spearheading the Grand Finale to our Religion and Culture series in November. Our November program will be announced in the next few's a big one!!!

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Edwin Demars Goes On Active Duty:

Edwin Demars has gone on active duty with the United States Army. The Brethren of Gate City wish him well. We are proud of your service!

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309. Edwin Demars, United States Army, is not to be confused with Gomer Pyle, United States Marine Corp.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Catholic Church and Freemasonry Will Be Available On YouTube

Due to a large amount of requests, our presentation, The Catholic Church and Freemasonry, will be available for viewing on YouTube. In addition, a thorough recounting of the presentation will be posted here.

Thanks to everyone for the positive response.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chris Hodapp, Author of Freemasons for Dummies, Django Fan, "Look No Further Than Gate City 2's Example."

Taken from Freemasons for Dummies Blog spot, Saturday, May 2, 2009:

Atlanta's Gate City #2: "The Catholic Church and Freemasonry"

"The brethren of Gate City Lodge are putting on amazing programming this year. Their ongoing "Religion & Culture" series has presented programs on surviving the Holocaust, Hinduism, and classic Islamic poetry. Even a concert of Gypsy Jazz (and any lodge that promotes Django Reinhardt music zooms to the top of my list). This lodge is a true leader in making Freemasonry an important part of its community, and teaching its members. In case you think your own lodge can't come up with a way to have outstanding programming, look no further than Gate City #2's example." Chris Hodapp.

See the article in it's entirety:
Freemasons For Dummies: Atlanta's Gate City #2: "The Catholic Church and Freemasonry"

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gate City II: Religion and Culture IV: Surviving the Holocaust: Well Done, again!

WM Mike Bjelajac welcomes our sixty guests.

On Tuesday, April 28th, Gate City welcomed the public for another Religion and Culture presentation. The dinner was slow cooked beef brisket, potatoes, field green salad and french bread. In honor of the evening's presentation, the blessing was given in Hebrew by Ross Laver, Fulton 216. Our guests were served at their tables by Gate City Brethren. After dinner, the guests adjourned to the South Lodge of The Atlanta Masonic Center. They were welcomed by Worshipful Master Mike Bjelajac. Worshipful Brother David Johnston introduced our speaker for the evening, Murray Lynn.

A fourteen year old boy walks a lonely, moonlit dirt road. His unrelenting thoughts have been his sole source of companionship throughout his long trek which has included a daunting pass through the Carpathian Mountains of Hungary. Not three years ago, his father was forcibly removed from the family home only to be summarily executed and buried in a mass grave. For two years, the grieving widow was left to support four sons, all children - she and almost all of her boys would soon follow their father in death, save one - the eldest. Murray survived. So did his memories. He remembers the jeers and insults hurled by onlookers as his family and others in his neighborhood were being led away. They were going to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was Nazi Germany's most notorious concentration camp where nearly three million people died - ninety percent of them were Jews. They died in the gas chamber, by systematic starvation, through disease proliferation, suicides, executions and "scientific experimentation." Murray's family arrived to the concentration camp in the cattle car of a train. They were packed in with a hundred other people. Upon arrival, two lines were formed. Murray's mother and brothers went into the line that lead directly to the gas chamber. Murray went into the line where the suffering was more prolonged.

In Auschwitz, they were fed a piece of toast and coffee for breakfast, no lunch and soup for dinner. Around one hundred and eighty five calories a day was the average food intake. A third of Auschwitz inmates died in the first ninety days. It was orchestrated death in slow motion. As Murray recalls, " It was worse than going to the gas chamber. There is nothing more awful than watching people, day after day, die of starvation. After awhile, they are no longer hungry but are in a state of apathy. They told us not to expect to get out of there alive." Every day Murray would take a dozen bodies to the incinerator. Every night those who couldn't take it anymore got up to touch the electric wires and end their suffering. Death was omnipresent.

Everyday at 5AM the Nazi's would have a role call. The purpose of the role call was to "cull the herd". They would find the sick and the weak amongst their prisoners and take them to "the hospital." The Nazis would even ask if anyone in the group needed medical attention or if anyone couldn't work any longer. Those that replied in the affirmative were also sent to "the hospital." The hospital to which they were referring was an air tight, cinder block room where they were gassed. As Murray recalls, "no one ever returned from the hospital, we all knew where they were going."

Murray described himself as skeletal and weak. A young, adolescent boy working himself to a slow death. He was selected "a dozen times" to go to "the hospital". Whenever selected, Murray would sneak out of the line and join the "healthy" group. Of his most haunting memories, his cousin Sam Green, a large boy, not much older than himself though taller, bigger and healthier, chose to get into the line for the hospital. In horror, Murray looked at the boy and said, "don't get into the line, don't you know where you are going?" The boy looked at Murray and said, "Maurice, I know where I am going. But I will only suffer for ten or fifteen minutes. You will suffer until they kill you." Murray never saw him again.

Murray was in Auschwitz less than a year when it was liberated by the Soviets on January 27, 1945. After a three week stay in a hospital, Murray began the long walk home. He didn't know where else to go. He walked from Southwest Poland to his family home in Hungary.

Finally, after a year, a long, moonlit dirt road led him home. He knocks on the door. Frightened, the new owner refuses to let Murray enter, "I thought you were all dead!" Murray tells him, "I'm a ghost." Finally, the door opens and for two weeks Murray lived in the house formerly inhabited by his family. His stay was awkward to say the least. Murray was afraid that the new owner would kill him in his sleep. The new owner was afraid that Murray was a ghost.

Through a Jewish Relief agency, Murray came to live in England and Ireland. He earned the opportunity to come to America where he completed college in New York. He had no money. He knew no one. He barely spoke the language. He carried insecurities, fears and phobias. He would not wear yellow clothes (the color of the star of David which he was forced to wear). With memories of the horrible train which took him and his family to Auschwitz, he could not ride a train - he would ride on buses instead - which took him twice as long. When he saw a policeman or a soldier he would cross the street. It was the legacy he had to live with. But Murray refused to let the past define him. He staved off the horrible experiences of his early life and moved forward. In the past fifty nine years, Murray has become a successful business man, is married and has children and grand children.

Many Jews speak of reinventing themselves. After Auschwitz, Murray's faith in religion was eroded. It's the same story of many survivors. They felt that they had a covenant with God to protect them and that God had broken it. They came home bitter and disenchanted with all faiths and religions. They were angry..."but at some point", says Murray, "you have to make peace with yourself". Anger is a pathology of the mind and heart. It is worse for the bearer than the hated. He refused to communicate with survivors for many years. He did not want to become a slave of the past. It was how he ultimately rebuilt his life. He calls himself a born again Jew.

Despite his success in life, his nightmares are so vivid that, to this day - more than sixty years later, he screams in his sleep.

"Over the centuries, Jews were persecuted because they differed in their belief's and who they were. They were persecuted not for the wrong they'd done, but, for steadfastly holding to their beliefs to honor and uphold the faith of their ancestors. The greatest threat to pluralism and religious freedom are the apostles of purity and fanaticism who claim sole possession of the truth about how to live and what theologies to invoke and embrace. Worse yet, are the dangerous precepts that those who differ in their beliefs are subversive and evil apostates."

Murray now offers his testimony in the hope that, as his generation passes into history, the younger generation will bear the responsibility of remembering the lessons learned from his era. He hopes that in the face of hatred, future generations will not remain silent. "When any group is degraded, it degrades all humankind. When the fervor of religious passions or political ideologies threaten to stifle the rights of others, no one is safe."

After the presentation, WM Bjelajac gave Murray Lynn our custom made appreciation award.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

Honoring Gate City II's Three Potentates of the 1960's

Norman W. Pettys. Potentate 1960. Pictured left in a Divan Fez. Among his many accomplishments was making a fez look stylish. Among his many innovations during his term: Crown of Honor Award, Uniform By-Laws Temple wide, and Mass Installation of officers. He was raised in 1949 and was Potentate by 1960. He also served as CEO of DeMolay in Georgia.

Thomas S. Perry. Potentate 1963. Pictured left in another of his many Masonic honors, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Scottish Rite.

1948 PERRY, Thomas S. (Thomas Shean; "Tom")
♣ Born May 13, 1916, Kalamazoo, Mich.
♣ Raised Aug. 30, 1942, Gate City Lodge
♣ W.M., Gate City Lodge, 1948
♣ Treas., Gate City Lodge, 1949
♣ President, GCL Past Masters Assn., 1957
♣ Dim. Dec. 10, 1968 (to become Charter Member, Buckhead Lodge No. 712, Atlanta)
♣ Aff. Gate City Lodge, July 27, 1976
♣ 33° A.&A.S.R., 1955
♣ Sov. Grand Inspector General, State of Ga.
♣ Knight, Royal Order of Scotland
♣ Potentate, Yaarab Temple, 1963
♣ Trustee and Vice-Chairman of Board, Scottish Rite Hospital

Charles Augustus Wofford was Potentate in 1969. He founded the Salamala group. He set records for levels of novices inducted.

I know we've used this picture before but you would too.

♣ Born Nov. 29, 1914, Atlanta, Ga.
♣ Raised Sep. 23, 1947, Gate City Lodge
♣ Editor, The Trestle Board, 1949
♣ President, Gate City Lodge Craftsmen's Club, 1950
♣ W.M., Gate City Lodge, 1957
♣ Treas., Gate City Lodge, 1958 - present
♣ President, GCL Past Masters Assn., 1963
♣ W.M. of the Fifth District, 1971
♣ H.P., Mt. Olive Chapter No. 161, 1956
♣ T.I.M., Euclid Council No. 33, 1961
♣ E.C., Coeur de Lion Commandery No. 4, 1966
♣ Knight, York Cross of Honor, 1967
♣ 33°, A.&A.S.R., 1969
♣ Knight, Royal Order of Scotland Potentate, Yaarab Temple, 1969
♣ President, Atlanta Masonic Temple Board of Directors, 1977-1979

Potentate Pettys hands coveted Crown of Honor to Noble (Judge) Charles A. Wofford, of the Directors Staff, who turned in 10 membership petitions for this class. Looking on are, L to R, Nobles Sid Kiker, Tom Perry, Len Defoor, Wallace Streater, Bill Stewart and Lou Taylor.

Gate City II is an Atlanta Masonic Lodge. We are Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of The Grand Lodge of Georgia. We meet at the Atlanta Masonic Center (formerly The Atlanta Masonic Temple) 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309