Sunday, January 21, 2024

Thurman C. Pace

I'm saddened to learn of the death of Brother Thurman C. Pace, Jr. of New Jersey. He was 99 years old (next week he would have turned 100). While I had only met him a few times, I learned how dedicated he was to Freemasonry.

Thurman was a World War II Veteran who was present when the Dachau Death Camp was liberated. After the end of the war, he returned to the States and earned a Bachelors degree from Auburn University. He retired in 1987 as Financial Executive of the corporation and President of the United States Mutual Liability Insurance Company. In 1950 he married his wife Betty and they had three children: Donna, Arthur, and Susan. They were married for 74 years.

As another Mason said, "Sir Knight Thurman's Masonic record is an enviable one. He's presided over more than 30 Masonic organizations during his life. Again, space does not permit their listing. It would be far easier to list what Thurman hasn't done!"

Thurman was a 33° and former Deputy of New Jersey for the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the USA; Past Commander of the Legion of Honor Preceptory for New Jersey DeMolay; a Most Illustrious Past Grand Chancellor and Knight Grand Cross in the Grand College of Rites; Past Grand Commander and Past Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of New Jersey, Past Department Commander of the Northeastern Department (1982-1985), recipient of the Knight Commander of the Temple, and an Honorary Most Eminent Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA; a Most Excellent Past Great Chief of the Grand Council of Knight Masons USA; an Honorary Most Venerable Past Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA; a Most Illustrious Past Grand Sovereign of the United Grand Imperial Council of the Red Cross of Constantine; the founder and first Grand Preceptor of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor (he served for over 25-years as Grand Preceptor); and a Most Worthy Past Supreme Magus and a Knight Grand Cross of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis where, in 2002, he also chaired the proclamation ceremony for the formation of the Societas Rosicruciana in Lusitania (Portugal) and the investiture of the Supreme Magus for the newly formed High Council.

I'm sure I missed an accomplishment of this truly amazing Mason and his death will be felt around the world of Freemasonry. Requiesce in pace.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Anti-Mason Disinformation: Alta Vendita

Freemasonry has been under assault since its inception and accused of many conspiracies. While anti-Masonry is an equal opportunity employer, religious anti-Masonry often takes the form of Christian fanaticism and the opposition is general across the board, but some are unique to certain Christian denominations and churches. The relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Freemasonry has been characterized by a complex and often contentious history. The Catholic Church's stance against Freemasonry can be traced back to the late 18th century when it formally condemned the secretive fraternal organization. The Church's opposition was rooted in a perceived conflict of principles and values, as well as suspicions regarding the Masonic rituals and secrecy.

In 1738, Pope Clement XII issued the papal bull "In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula," which marked the beginning of the Church's formal opposition to Freemasonry. The bull declared that Catholics who joined Masonic lodges faced excommunication, and subsequent popes reiterated and reinforced this stance. In 1859, during the reign of Pope Pius IX, the Vatican “exposed” and published Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita which the Vatican claims was written by a Jewish Freemason under the pseudonym of “Piccolo Tigre” (“Little Tiger”).

Through this document, the Vatican alleges the existence of a secret society within the Catholic Church known as the Alta Vendita, which purportedly seeks to infiltrate and manipulate the Church for its own agenda. This publication is a blueprint for the slow subversion of the Church. However, there is considerable skepticism about the authenticity of the document, and many scholars argue that the conspiracy theory is unfounded and lacks credible evidence.

According to “Architects of Deception” by Juri Lina, the Carbonari (Italian for "charcoal makers") was established in Naples in 1806 and was a guild that was supposedly infiltrated by the mafia, Freemasons, and the Illuminati. The governing body of the Carbonari was called “Alta Vendita.” This group was accused of participating in Italian insurrections in the 1830s and was supposedly presided over by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini (both of whom were influential in establishing an independent and unified Italian state), but that doesn’t hold that much muster as the group was suppressed by 1831. The Vatican makes claims that this group is a neo-Illuminati group and slanders them for their pro-republican stances (a common theme from that church). The Carbonari were divided into two degrees: Apprentice and Master. Supposedly, Masons could enter the Carbonari immediately as Masters. The Carbonari spread across Europe through the 1800s. It is claimed that the Carbonari worked behind the scenes to topple monarchies (particularly the Bourbon dynasty for some reason) and commit acts of terrorism. After failed uprisings, the Carbonari ceased to exist after government crackdowns, and many of their leaders were either put to death, imprisoned, or exiled, but conspiracy theorists claim that members just joined a new movement called Giovane Italia ("Young Italy") that was governed by Giuseppe Mazzini (who is also included in the World War conspiracy theory.

I’ve read several different works and no one can say how the Vatican got a hold of this document. They just say it fell into the hands of Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), but they declare it is authentic because Pope Pus IX (1846-1878) said it was authentic. However, nothing in any of the published works concerning the Alta Vendita prove any link or affiliation with Freemasonry and whoever wrote it was unfamiliar with legitimate Freemasonry.

The Roman Catholics who reference the Alta Vendita as proof of the evil of Freemasonry are often “sedevacantists”. Sedevacantism is a traditionalist Catholic movement that believes that since the death of Pius XII in 1958 anyone sitting as Pope is illegitimate. Sedevacantism comes from the Latin phrase “sede vacante” which means “empty chair” meaning the Throne of St. Peter is empty. The movement originated after the Second Vatican Council which made some changes that they did not like. It is ironic that those who claim to uphold Catholicism which includes the doctrine of Papal infallibility, but then reject the Papacy of their own church. They however use it as they see it as the cause for all of the changes in the church in the post-Vatican II era. These sedevacantists even say that recent Popes have been Freemasons including the current one, Pope Francis, even though he has recently condemned Freemasonry and upheld the doctrine that prohibits Catholics from joining Freemasonry.


1. Carbonari. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

2. Doesn't the Alta Vendita prove that Freemasonry is anti-Catholic? (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: 

3. Lina, J. (2004). Architects of Deception. Stockholm: Referent Publishing). 

4. Vennari, J. (n.d.). The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita. Retrieved from Catholic Family News: