Is “Continental” Freemasonry anticlerical?

When the Grand Orient of Belgium and later that of France skipped their references to the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Bible, some (many) Freemasons felt freed. There already was some enmity with the Church, for example because of the anti-Masonic Papal Bulls, but some lodges really started to move into an anticlerical direction. Some even say (half mockingly) that in Belgium you are either a church-goer or a Freemason and a Freemason is a freethinker, which is a very specific term in Belgium.

Of course there are also many (Grand) Lodges that have also skipped the (obligatory) references to ‘religious’ elements in Freemasonry, but leave it up to their members how they view religion. It is a mostly a next step in the ‘no discussions on religion in lodge’ policy that is also used in “regular” lodges.

Then there are those who are perhaps “irregular” in the eyes of some Grand Lodges for different reasons. Social/political activities or membership of women. There is no reason to assume that all such lodges are anticlerical.

In general it is better to look at the surroundings of a (Grand) Lodge. Since the French Revolution, France in general is more opposed to the influence of the Church and thus, so is Freemasonry within that country. This is much less the case in the UK and this you can see within their Freemasonry.

In Southern America, many lodges plea for secularity (the “laïcité” of France), but that can’t to be equated with anticlericalism.

Let’s just say that there is a ‘scale’, but mostly: a lot of variety.

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