Here’s an interesting tidbit: Pope John XXIII called Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist “our special patrons” in his speech announcing the Second Vatican Council:
"Above all, we trust in the intercession of the Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, in the protection of the Ss. Peter and Paul, "Princes of the Apostles," as well as of the Ss. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, our special patrons…"
And when he actually opened the Council, Pope John XXIII again called upon Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist to “intercede for us to God”:
"O Mary, Help of Christians, Help of Bishops, of whose love we have recently had particular proof in thy temple of Loreto, where we venerated the mystery of the Incarnation, dispose all things for a happy and propitious outcome and, with thy spouse, St. Joseph, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, intercede for us to God."
Now it’s probably nothing, and with a hat tip to our friend PD, one wonders if there’s anything to be made of the fact that the special patrons of Freemasonry are also Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. Probably not. Right?
In his article, “…And Dedicated to the Holy Saints John” An Inquiry into the designation of the Saints John as Patron Saints of Freemasonry”, W. Bro. Harvey L. War, Jo. PM of the Grand Lodge of Florida writes:
(Photo of a Masonic Image of Patron Saints John)
It is proper then that as we celebrate the feast day of St. John the Baptist, we pause a few minutes to consider the history and background of this celebration.
As Masons we are all familiar with the phrase “erected go God and dedicated to the Holy Saints John.” All of our Blue Lodges are so dedicated, yet we never hear any other information regarding these “Holy Saints John” or anything to explain why we refer to them as the Patron Saints of Freemasonry.
They are referenced in the Entered Apprentice Lecture as being “perfect parallels in Masonry as well as in Christianity.” It is almost an afterthought of a reference, given that we dedicated every Lodge to these two men. Who were these Saints John? Why are they important to us as Freemasons?
In early Masonry, the feast day of St. John the Baptist was always celebrated by the Craft. In fact, the first public Grand Lodge the Grand Lodge of England was born on St. John the Baptist’s day, June 24, in 1717 in London. Thereafter, the Grand Lodge of England sponsored great annual celebrations of this day for many years. Eventually the Feast of St. John the Evangelist became important as well and many Lodges and Grand Lodges moved the beginning of their Masonic years from June 24 to December 27.
Go figure, eh? There were always a lot of wild theories back in the day that John XXIII was a Freemason. And of course Archbishop Annibale Bugnini (1912–1972), the father of the New Mass himself, was abruptly demoted from the Roman Curia and sent to Iran by Paul VI under suspicion of being a Freemason. He denied this, of course, but in his own biography does admit that suspicion of Freemasonry was the reason he was demoted and sent to Iran….He claimed Paul VI was, eh, “misinformed.”
It’s likely we’ll never know for sure, just as we’ll never know the full impact Freemasonry (a secret society condemned by more popes than any other single organization, most recently by the Holy Office under Pope John Paul) had on the sacking of the human and liturgical elements of the Catholic Church. Theories abound, of course, and I’m not suggesting the Council’s patron saints as designated by John XXIII prove anything at all. I just find it to be an interesting coincidence.
What do you think?
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