Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)


One of Joseph McCabe's 'Big Blue Books' (the covers are blue) is A History of Freemasonry: The Story of its Relationships with Satan and the Popes (1949). This note isn't it. I haven't found a version online. Possibly I'll upload a scanned-in version in future.

Freemasonry.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

      Deraismes, Maria (1835-94), French writer and first woman Freemason. Mme. Deraismes was one of the founders of the Feminist movement in France and President of the Society for the Improvement of the Condition of Women. Like most of the pioneers of the movement in all countries, she saw that Christianity was responsible for the subjection of women in Europe, and was a militant Atheist and President of various Freethought Societies. She had the distinction of being admitted to the Pesq [sic-RW] Lodge of Freemasons.

      Freemasonry. The origin of the organization is still obscure. The symbolism and mystic verbiage which led some writers to trace it to ancient Egypt were really adopted less than two centuries ago, and a widely accepted opinion is that the body is in some sense a survival of the ancient Roman unions of workers [see Colleges and Guilds] which are said to have reached Roman Britain. The earliest documents, which are English, belong to the fourteenth century, and tell of a code of rules of conduct which was read to applicants for initiation. Others besides working masons were admitted, but what precisely is meant by the description" free" is disputed. The religious aspect is more relevant here. Until 1877, when the Grand Orient of France cut out references to the "Grand Architect" and required no belief in God or immortality, the Freemasons were, at least in profession, definitely religious. The action of the French caused a schism, several Grand Lodges in the United States refusing to recognize the Swiss body because it supported the French. The rabid hostility to it of the Papal authorities also is comparatively modern, and is due to the fact that the work which in the course of the nineteenth century destroyed religion in the greater part of France was largely organized in the Lodges. It was the same in the revolutionary movement against Church and State in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Catholics are still forbidden under pain of excommunication to join a Lodge, though the old anti-clerical fire is dimmed even in French Freemasonry.

      Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-91), Austrian composer. Son of a Catholic musician, he began to compose at the age of five, conducted a Mass of his own composition at the age of twelve, and two years later was made a Knight of the Holy Ghost by the Pope for his playing. For many years he was concert-master to the Archbishop of Salzburg, but he was accused of neglect of religion, threw up his appointment, joined the Freemasons, and began the series of compositions which made him world-famous. The Catholic Encyclopaedia, in claiming him for the Church, reminds us that his last composition was the Requiem Mass that is still used in Catholic services. He was, on the contrary, like Beethoven and so many other masters of music, a notorious apostate from the Church. Wilder's authoritative biography (Mozart, Engl. trans., 1908) tells us how, being hard pressed for money, he composed the Requiem secretly for Count Walsegg, who was to put his own name on it. Wilder quotes a letter of Mozart to his family, in 1778, saying that he believes only in the Grand Architect of the Freemasons (pp. 232-3). Although he refused to do so, his wife sent for a priest when he was dying. The man refused to come, and Mozart was, without Church service, buried in the common grave of the poor (pp. 310-11). The second leading biographer, A. Ulibiche (Mozart's Leben, 1847), tells how, referring once to the orthodoxy of his youth, he said: "That is all over and will never come back" (I, 243). Yet Catholic works generally, as well as the Encyclopaedia, which solemnly promises the public the exact truth, list him as a Catholic.
     

 

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Scanning, HTML Rae West. First upload 98-06-15. Small edits 2016-10-11.