The Catholic Statement About the Order of DeMolay

Quite often, members of DeMolay have experienced a sort of "communication gap" between members of the Catholic faith and the Order of DeMolay. The following statement was made in 1969 on the occasion of the 5Oth Anniversary Pilgrimage to Europe. You may find it helpful in explaining the possibility of a young man of the Catholic faith in wanting to petition a DeMolay Chapter.

     While it is a well known fact that the Order of DeMolay has no religious requirements for membership except a belief in God, oftentimes in the past, officials of particular religions have objected to their members being affiliated with DeMolay. Some of the strongest objections in this regard have come from Catholic officials, however their objections to DeMolay have gradually lessened over the years, and then a major breakthrough occurred in 1969.

     This breakthrough was on a visit to the Vatican in Rome in July 1969 as part of the 1969 European DeMolay Pilgrimage. While the DeMolay group missed having an audience with the Pope, since he had already departed for his summer home, the DeMolays were received by the Pope's representative, Cardinal Jan Willebrands.

     His remarks are reproduced below and you will note the endorsement he gives DeMolay, and it is suggested that you keep this message on file as an answer to any Catholic Church officials in your community who might raise some objection of a member of their denomination joining DeMolay.

     Remarks by Cardinal Jan Willebrands, Secretariate for Christian Unity:

     It is a pleasure and an honour for me to welcome you - at the request of the Secretariat of State -in the house of the Holy Father. The Holy Father is taking a short and necessary vacation in his residence at Castel Gandolfo, preparing at the same time his journey to Africa. Therefore he can now receive only on Wednesdays.

     This is the reason why I have been asked to greet you in his name. The inspiration and ideal which led to the foundation of the Order of DeMolay in 1919 have their full meaning, even increasingly, in our days.

     Although the disaster of a world war does not afflict us at the present moment, we all know the sufferings inflicted upon humanity by the war in Vietnam, the conflict in the Middle East, the divisions through racism, poverty, etc. We live in a broken world.

     On the other hand, mankind has never been so united, by means of communication, as we are now. The whole world has become my neighbour, but alas the whole world is not my friend. From the day of tomorrow on, the moon, a satellite of the earth, will fall under our direct control, will become an over-space territory, another continent.

     Living in an age or highest scientific perfection and technical possibilities, man tries to overcome the problems of human society and the problems or his personal life, through the application of skilled labour, which brought him so far in the domination or nature. However, with full appreciation for the values of science and power, we cannot forget that science and power are in the hands or man, they are governed by man for the service or man. It is precisely at this point, at the human level, that other elements and characteristics have to play a decisive role, those elements which made man great in his government, in his behaviour, in his relationships with his fellow men. Such elements or characteristics are above all: reverence for God, supreme source of justice and peace; love of man respecting his human dignity as a creature and son or God, and therefore comradeship, honesty towards every man and towards our country. So we fulfill the commandments given in the book or Deuteronomy (6, 5), and Quoted by Christ in the gospel or Mark (12,29): "Hear, 0 Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength", and Christ adds to this first command' the second, which we find also in the book Leviticus (19, 18): "You shall love your neighbour as yourself", and he concludes, there is no other commandment greater than these.

     This inspiration animates the Order or DeMolay and therefore you as its members, in your service of humanity, especially or the sick, the abandoned, the invalids etc.

     May I, as the President or the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, express my gratitude and joy that the membership or the Order includes Catholics and Protestants and Jews in a great cooperation for the benefit or humanity.

     I congratulate you particularly on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Order and I pray that the Lord of hosts may bless you in all your noble work.

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