Or so I think. I am rather new to worries about Masonry. There are so many other groups to worry about. Thus I was absolutely staggered to discover today that Masons in Portugal despoiled the little oak tree of Fatima, set up a mocking museum and had a blasphemous procession with the captured relics.
This is from a book by Father John de Marchi, The True Story of Fatima, which can be found online through EWTN:
During the night of October 23 , as duly recorded in the newspaper, Diario de Noticias, some gentlemen from Santarem (whose names, incidentally, are listed) joined with some other apostles of enlightenment from Vila Nova de Ourem, then continued on to the Cova da Iria. Here is part of the contemporary newspaper report:
With an axe they cut the tree28 under which the three shepherd children stood during the famous phenomenon of the 13th of this month. They took away the tree, together with a table on which a modest altar had been arranged, and on which a religious image (of our Lady) had been placed. They also took a wooden arch, two tin lanterns, and two crosses, one made of wood and the other of bamboo-cane wrapped in tissue paper.
These prize exhibits, including, as a footnote explains, a bogus version of the tree, were placed on exhibit in a house not far from the Seminary at Santarem, and an entrance fee exacted from those who wished to enter and be entertained at the widely advertised religious farce. One disappointment to the sponsors was the fact that not everyone, even among the Church's active critics, agreed it was amusing. The profits from the exhibit were to be turned over to a local charity, but the beneficiaries said very politely, "Thank you; no." Later, in the evening, a blasphemous procession was held.
The parade was headed by two men thumping on drums (a newspaper account reveals), while just behind it came the famous tree on which the Lady is said to have appeared. Next came the wooden arch, with its lanterns alight, then the altar table and other objects which the faithful had placed upon it at the Cova da Iria. To the sound of blasphemous litanies, the procession passed through the principal streets of the city, returning to the Sa da Band Eira Square, at which point it broke up.
Further research discloses that many of the demonstrators, less than satisfied with the appeal to bigotry they had attained, reorganised on a street not far from Sa da Band Eira Square, and were about to start parading anew when a woman, from a window above them, dropped a pail of water on their heads. She succeeded, less willingly, in drenching a local policeman as well, and the commotion in the street was considerable. A more substantial force of police then came along and dispersed the gathering.
The affair was a disgrace (the newspaper concludes). How is it possible that the authorities tolerate such a thing while at the same time refusing permission for the processions of the Church to which nearly the whole population belongs and whose ceremonies in no way offend the religious convictions of others?
What amazes me is how very 21st century such insulting hijinks seem.
UPDATE (January 4): This is
going viral getting me quadruple my daily allowance of hits. Why is this going viral getting me so many hits? I mention the Freemasons once in TEN YEARS of blogging, and it goes viral reintroduces me to a wider audience. Goodness me.
UPDATE (January 4): This is