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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Hysteria or Conspiracies
William Whalen provides a very straightforward and easy to read explanation of Freemasonry and its relation to Christianity without the alarmist hype so often found in books of this genre.
The book focusses on the Craft as practiced in America, but also touches upon the English and Grand Orient Lodges. He reviews the Blue Lodge Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow...
Published on September 4, 2001 by Charles Wesolowski

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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile account of Christian objections to Freemasonry
William Whalen, a retired Professor of journalism at Purdue University and a Catholic layman, has written a very readable, well-organized and complete book detailing the Church's (most specifically, the Roman Catholic Church's) objections to the Masonic fraternity and the practice of Freemasonry. He presents his material in a straightforward, non-polemical fashion that...
Published on February 7, 2008 by William Courson


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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Hysteria or Conspiracies, September 4, 2001
By 
This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
William Whalen provides a very straightforward and easy to read explanation of Freemasonry and its relation to Christianity without the alarmist hype so often found in books of this genre.
The book focusses on the Craft as practiced in America, but also touches upon the English and Grand Orient Lodges. He reviews the Blue Lodge Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason)with just the right amount of detail -- neither glossing over, nor bogging down with the needless repetition often found in "exposes." (The full rituals are readily available from Masonic sources.)
He explains the history of the Blue Lodge, the Scottish and York Rites, the Shrine, Prince Hall Lodges, and other Allied Masonic Organizations. For the most part, he lets Masonry speak for itself; not only does he cite Masonic sources that claim Masonry as a religion of itself, but includes Masonic defenses of its compatibility with Christianity (and other religions).
In his chapter "Catholic Attitudes toward the Lodge," Mr. Whalen presents the objections of the Catholic Church to Freemasonry as consistently taught for nearly three hundred years. Freemasonry represents a belief system that is at best indifferent toward Christianity, and the unique plan of salvation revealed by Jesus Christ.
He also explains the confusion that resulted in the 1970s, after a Cannon Law revision removed the explicit reference to Freemasonry and its penalty of excommunication for Catholics who joined the Lodge. Many Catholics apparently became Masons during this time under the mistaken impression that Church Teaching had changed. (Rome has since clarified this misunderstanding.)
Whalen devotes a chapter to the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox criticisms of Freemasonry, which are virtually identical to the Catholic position.
In his closing chapter "The Christian and the Lodge," the author explores reasons for the decline of Freemasonry in our society, and insists that while "Christians must respect the decision of others to affiliate with the lodge,...[many] have come to realize that the Great Architect of the Universe is not the God Jesus taught them to call Our Father."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reasonable Christian Critique of Freemasonry, March 2, 2013
By 
William B. Krebaum (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As one who has been very active in Masonry over the years, including serving two terms as Worshipful Master of my lodge, it is truly refreshing to read a reasonable critique of Masonry from a Christian perspective. I could quibble here or there, but on balance, the author does a fine job of presenting a well-informed view of Masonry with a degree of objectivity that is rare in treatments of this subject.

The shelves are full of pro-Masonic books making extravagant and speculative claims for the craft, and with anti-Masonic books full of misinformation and paranoid fantasy. So Mr. Whalen's contribution is most welcome.

Even when Masons and their critics wish to engage in calm and reasonable discussion, they tend to talk past each other, as though inhabiting parallel universes, thinking that they're speaking the same language, yet not seeming to understand what the other is saying. I think this is due to the fact that the Christian critic is focused on Masonry as a form of religion that is incompatible with Christianity, whereas the typical Mason is likely to see Masonry primarily as a fraternal and charitable organization, with only the vaguest (and essentially unimportant) religious overtones. Those Masons who do take the religious aspect seriously, tend to have a Deistic or pagan orientation and thus are not troubled by the proposition that Masonry is incompatible with Christianity, for they, themselves, are indifferent to Christianity. So it appears that the Christian critic takes Masonry more seriously than does the average Mason and takes Christianity more seriously than does the average Christian Mason.

Mr. Whalen, in a fair-minded way, without hyperbole, effectively argues that a serious Christian would not wish to become a Mason, and that Masons who convert to, or rediscover their Christianity would naturally decide to withdraw from Masonry. He does not argue that Masonry is evil, or that it is satanic, or that Masons are bad people-- merely that it is a religious organization that is not Christian, and that it is therefore unfitting that a Christian should be a Mason. It is a truly compelling argument, infinitely more effective than any amount of fantastical Mason-bashing.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile account of Christian objections to Freemasonry, February 7, 2008
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This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
William Whalen, a retired Professor of journalism at Purdue University and a Catholic layman, has written a very readable, well-organized and complete book detailing the Church's (most specifically, the Roman Catholic Church's) objections to the Masonic fraternity and the practice of Freemasonry. He presents his material in a straightforward, non-polemical fashion that is far from the almost hysterical, conspiracy laden ranting which nearly all anti-Masonic works fall into. That is not the same thing as calling the Church's objections to Freemasonry rational or temperate, for they demonstrably are not.

When and where religious institutions have differed with Freemasonry, it has largely been because of the fear that the Masonic conception of "that natural religion in which all men agree" might take the Church's place in society, pastoral eyes apprehensively fixed on the secret rituals, initiatic vows, ethical philosophy and the notion that all men of whatever faith might worship a Great Architect of the Universe around a common Altar. In short, Freemasonry was seen to have become a rival to Churchly devotion for the attention and resources of its members.

There has always been conflict between any two opposing ideas. For centuries organized religion fought scientific thought and progress with the explanations of Scripture. The doctrine of the divine right of kings ran headlong into the doctrine of the rights of man. Galileo was tortured and Giordano Bruno roasted alive for making assertions about the nature of the universe that today every civilized human being accepts as self-evident, because their assertions displaced the authority of the Church.

This should be no surprise: the author of the Roman Catholic Church's condemnation of Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII, was the prolific author of a host of encyclicals condemning not just Freemasonry, but such threats to ecclesiastical power as humanism, freedom of expression, parliamentary democracy, a universal franchise, women's emancipation, "modernism" and countless other horrors. Typical is the sentiment in his encyclical "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio" (1878) which succinctly states the Church's position:

"[And] If any one of sound mind compare the age in which We live, so hostile to religion and to the Church of Christ, with those happy times when the Church was revered as a mother by the nations beyond all question, he will see that our epoch is rushing wildly along the straight road to destruction; while in those times which most abounded in excellent institutions, peaceful life, wealth, and prosperity the people showed themselves most obedient to the Church's rule and laws. Therefore, if the many blessings We have mentioned, due to the agency and saving help of the Church, are the true and worthy outcome of civilization, the Church of Christ, far from being alien to or neglectful of progress, has a just claim to all men's praise as its nurse, its mistress, and its mother. That kind of civilization which conflicts with the doctrines and laws of holy Church is nothing but a worthless imitation and meaningless name. Of this those peoples on whom the Gospel light has never shown afford ample proof, since in their mode of life a shadowy semblance only of civilization is discoverable, while its true and solid blessings have never been possessed."

Clearly, the (then) pontiff did not view the Dark Ages in which unquestioned obedience was the Church's due and unbridled ignorance civilization's lot as anything other than a happy, peaceful and just society, a culture to be admired and emulated.

Freemasonry is a philosophy which cannot exist side by side with certain ideologies, among them absolutism, superstition and tyranny. Either the latter must be consigned to the dustbin of history or Freemasonry must be annihilated. Wherever men have believed that one man or some men are above the law which applies to the many; wherever government is by men and not by law, there Freemasonry is unwelcome.

Freemasonry stands and has always stood for freedom of political thought; for freedom of religious thought and conscience; for the dignity and worth of the individual: in Freemasonry, as it is said, "We meet upon the level.". In Freemasonry there is no compulsion. In Freemasonry is no religious sect elevated above others: indeed, therein lies the problem for the Christian Church. Because of its rubric that any who be admitted to the Craft confess a belief in a supreme intelligence that rules the cosmos and in the immortality of the soul, and nothing more, it is viewed as contrary to the exclusivist claims of Christianity. It is, in other words, not Christianity, and therefore worthy of condemnation.

Dr. Whalen's book focuses on the Craft as practiced in America, but also touches upon the English and Grand Orient Lodges of the continent. He reviews the Blue Lodge degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason) with just the right amount of detail and avoids the needless repetition often found in "exposes." He explains the history of the Blue Lodge, the Scottish and York Rites, the Shrine, Prince Hall Lodges, and other aligned bodies. For the most part, he lets Masonry speak for itself, citing Masonic sources both supporting and in opposition to his - and the Church's - claims.

I highly recommend this work for anyone interested in the history of Freemasonry and in its opposition by the Christian Church, and specifically to those interested in understanding the Catholic Church's objections to the Craft.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting book, September 22, 2013
By 
Matthew (McKinney, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book as I consider joining the Catholic Church in an attempt to understand why the Church opposes Lodge membership so strongly. I was raised Protestant and have several Masons in my family, friends of the family, etc. This book has helped me understand why Catholics and other Christians are anti-Masonic, and while there's always different ways of looking at things. I can now feel empathy for the Christian cause against Freemasonry (while still understanding how my Christian family members could have seen it possible to embrace both). I wish this book had been longer and more extensive, because it was well written and informative, and maintained a calm and reasonable composure. Additionally the author generally resisted the trend of speculating into Masonic conspiracies and occult connections.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great researched book for those desiring more information on this subject., February 15, 2008
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This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
This book is just as advertised, it is not sensationalist but well researched and presents the real facts. You will not go wrong purchasing this book if this subject interests you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, September 22, 2014
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This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
Good book.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clear, concise and to the point, June 10, 2007
This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
I was doing a little research on freemasonry and came across this book. I like it. It's clear, concise, objective and lacks the sensationalism that some masonry books have.

Masons in good standing were interviewed (anonymously) as well as some that were disgruntled. The rituals are explained and accompanied with some illustrations as well as an explanation as to why the Roman Catholic church has the stance that it does against membership. Clears up a lot of misconceptions while not compromising any truth. Gave it to my bro who was in the middle of the first steps of initiation. (He wanted to know what he was in for). Of course, that's not why I wanted him to have it! LOL
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20 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why freemasonry is in direct opposition to Christianity, July 25, 2001
By 
Robert P. Barnard (Fairbanks, Alaska USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
William Whalen gives an excellent description and history of freemasonry. Today when some might question what all the fuss is between Christianity and freemasonry, this book explains in extremely understanding detail. William Whalen tells everything from the secret "blood oaths" freemasons take to why freemasons vowed not to let the "enemy," the Catholic Church, continue succeeding in providing health care through Catholic Hospitals. A great book for understanding how egregiously mislead people are into believing freemasonry is just another fraternal organization. Exposes the evil of freemasonry at its most basic, as well as advanced levels.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cover is upside down and backwards, May 9, 2013
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This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
The book must be turned upside down to read.
This anomaly is not so stated in the description of the book.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fake it untill you make it truth?!, February 21, 2011
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This review is from: Christianity and American Freemasonry (Paperback)
If you repeat "Freemasonry is a religion" over and over and over and over, maybe it is? You better not say the pledge of allegiance either because according to this book that's blasphemy. I was smarter before I read this.
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Christianity and American Freemasonry
Christianity and American Freemasonry by William Joseph Whalen (Paperback - Nov. 1998)
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