The fundamental doctrine of the Naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide. Laying this down, they care little for duties to God, or pervert them by erroneous and vague opinions.
For they deny that anything has been taught by God; they allow no dogma of religion or truth which cannot be understood by the human intelligence, nor any teacher who ought to be believed by reason of his authority.
And since it is the special and exclusive duty of the Catholic Church fully to set forth in words truths divinely received, to teach, besides other divine helps to salvation, the authority of its office, and to defend the same with perfect purity, it is against the Church that the rage and attack of the enemies are principally directed.
Catholicism and Freemasonry are therefore essentially opposed. If either were to terminate its opposition to the other, it would by. that very fact become something essentially different from what it previously was; it would in effect cease to exist as itself.
For Catholicism is essentially a revealed religion; it is essentially
both in its destiny and in its resources. Beyond all natural fulfillment, it tends toward an eternity of ineffable union with God in Himself; and beyond all natural resources, it begins that union here and now in the sacramental life of the Church.
Masonry, on the other hand, is essentially a religion of "reason." With an insistence and a consistency matching Catholicism's self- definition, Masonry promises perfection in the natural order as its only destiny—as indeed the highest destiny there is. And it provides for this perfectibility with its resources: the accumulated sum of purely human values, subsumed under the logo of "reason."
Literally a logo, the Masonic compass and square are the symbol of a Rationalism that claims to be identified with all that is "natural." The consequent syncretism, blending all the strands of human experience—from the cabalistic mysteries of an immemorial Orient to the technological manipulations of a post-modern West—is the basis for Masonry's claim to be not just a religion but
religion: the "natural" Religion of Man. That is why its claim to date from the beginning of history—its calendar numbers the "Years of Light" (from the first day of Creation) or the "Years of the World"—is no mere jest on its part. And that is why its opposition to the Catholic Church antedates the Catholic Church's opposition to it. For it cannot abide the Church's claim to be the One True Church, and the consequent refusal by the Church to be relegated to the status of a "sect" which Masonry would have it be.