|In the late 1800’s there was a man named Gabriel Jorgand DePages. Gabriel was a prankster, he enjoyed hoaxes. Gabriel also had some resentment toward the Catholic Church, particularly directed at the Pope, Leo the XIII. [click]|
|In addition to being a hoaxer, Gabriel was very creative. So creative, in fact, that he made his living writing pornography.|
|And so, he decided to combine his talents with his interests, and began concocting stories about Masonry, and selling them to papers within the Catholic world. Either because of the dangerous nature of his idea, or as some additional added effect, he adopted an alias – Leo Taxil.|
|Eventually, The Pope, Leo XIII heard of his tales, and appointed Taxil to investigate further. Taxil complied, and the result was the most comprehensive Church statement ever issued about Freemasonry. HUMANUM GENUS (the Human Race).|
|The "New Catholic Encyclopedia" contains the following about Taxil:|
|"Taxil purported to reveal the existence of "Palladium," the most secret Masonic order, which practiced devil worship. He recounted the story of its high priestess Diana Vaughan; and ended by publishing the "Mémoires d'une ex-Palladiste" after her conversion to Catholicism. When doubts began to spread, Taxil realized the time had come to end the deceit. In a conference in Paris (April 19, 1897), he cynically admitted his hoax, whose aim, he said, was to hold up Catholicism to derision."|
|After Taxil's public confession, DeLaRive expressed his disgust and recanted his writings on Diana Vaughan in the April 1897 issue of "Freemasonry Unmasked," a magazine devoted to the destruction of the Craft. As much as he disliked Freemasonry, DeLaRive had the integrity to admit Taxil's hoax.|
|Today entrepreneurs still try to sell the story of the fictitious Diana Vaughan to the gullible.|
|The net result of Taxil’s hoax was excommunication of Catholic Masons. This lasted until Vatican II, when the condemnation was adjusted.|
|In a letter from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to the Masonic Service Bureau, on official Church stationary, from the office of the Archdiocesan Tribunal, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, dated 15 September, 2000:|
These principles are set forth in canons 1374 and 1364 of the 1983 Code, which forbid a Catholic from joining "an association which plots against the Church" and impose penalties for heresy under certain conditions. If "a particular Masonic lodge truly promoted heretical teaching or conspired against the interests of the Church" (Ronny E. Jenkins, "The Evolution of the Church's Prohibition Against Catholic Membership in Freemasonry," The Jurist, 56 (1996), pg 735,) then a Catholic would be bound to avoid membership.
The bottom line is this. A man’s religious beliefs are none of our business. If someone inquires about Catholics, or members of any religious organization, becoming Masons, they should be informed that the fraternity has no religious restrictions, but for the position of his Church, he should be advised to discuss the matter with his Minister, Priest or other ecclesiastical authority.