News about weird and bizarre happenings from around the world.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Masons build on long history

Its members are male, mostly conservative, and many are retired. They advocate living a moral life and doing charitable work.

So why would anyone label the Freemasons a cult?

Maybe it has to do with members' mystery-shrouded rituals that include secret passwords and initiations, their use of arcane symbols and their penchant for bestowing such exotic titles as "Entered Apprentice" upon its members.

Maybe it's because of a historically rocky relationship with the Catholic Church, which reinforced a prohibition against the faithful becoming Masons with this 1983 declaration from then-Cardinal John Ratzinger: "Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion."

Whatever the reason, Masons simply want people to know that there is nothing nefarious going on, that they are not a cult or even a religious organization, and that most of their 2 million or so brethren worldwide are law-abiding people with conservative values who have given tens of thousands of dollars to charities over the years, particularly to optometry and speech pathology causes.

Read more here.

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