Talk:Letter to U.S. Bishops Concerning Masonry
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I'm wondering if we need to add a critique section, because there seem to be some pretty blatant errors in the document.
First of all, it references can. 1364 (which is about penalties for apostates and heretics), when it should be referencing 1374 (the one on secret societies).
It also has research errors - Jews aren't barred from the whole of York Rite, and certainly were not at the time when the letter was written (1985). I find it very interesting that the York Rite (which is not an American rite as stated in the letter), about which little has been written (all things considered) was completely ignored by the Church research.
The letter also suffers from using the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction as an exemplar for all of Scottish Rite in the US, when the NMJ is very different, and conflating the bodies of AASR and Craft.
Also: "The masons of early medieval times were Catholics, like almost everyone else in Europe." That's a pretty bold statement, and probably untrue, and borders on revisionist history.
"In U.S. Freemasonry all women, men under 21 and blacks are barred from Masonic initiation in regular lodges." The first 2/3 were right at the time, and now the last 2/3 are wrong, but age depends on the jurisdiction. Again, the charge of racism was probably more true in the South, but the Church also did not concern itself with Prince Hall Masonry, also about which little has been written.
The letter also uses Pike as an authority on regular Blue Lodge Masonry, which is not true, especially since the letter takes passages from higher degree sections (as one can tell from the page citations).
The "blood oaths" were out of date fifteen or twenty years prior to the letter, so the evidence of "blasphemy on the Bible" that is used to support the claim of "no swearing" is not really valid, although the underlying principle is valid.
I believe that all of this can be proven by primary sources and won't be violating NOR. MSJapan 14:25, 21 May 2006 (UTC)