We've inherited some Masonic stuff - what to do with it?

My father-in-law was a longtime Mason. After he passed away, my wife and I are now in possession of various Masonic items (although my wife only has a 1/3 interest in these - she has two sisters, each with equal interest).

These items were entrusted to my wife with the intent that she liquidate them and divide the proceeds, because there are no Masons (or Easter Stars) in the family. The other two sisters (and their husbands) are not conversant with offering items on eBay, so the task went to my wife, mainly because I have sold many items, so the task really falls to me.

Most of the stuff is worthless (might fetch a few dollars - hardly worth the effort for 1/3 of a share), but there are a couple of jewelery-type items that may be worth a few dozen to a few hundred dollars, if I compare them to recent sales of similar items on eBay.

But I find myself conflicted about what to do with these things. Masonry is condemned by the Catholic Church (as are all secret societies). If I sold these things to a Mason, would I be promoting Masonry? I cannot, in good conscience, do that. But I’m not sure that selling a Masonic item to a Mason promotes Masonry. If a Jew sold me a Rosary, I would not be any more Catholic after the purchase than I was before.

As I see it, I have these options:
*]Sell these things on eBay and divide the proceeds (this is what I am expected to do)
*]Give the items to the other sisters, even though they don’t really want them (and, thus, they would probably just figure out how to sell them on eBay anyway).
*]Destroy these items (and compensate the other sisters for the lost value)
The last choice appeals to me, but I doubt it would appeal to the majority of the owners (because of the sentimentality of the items), so I don’t think it’s an option. And, besides, I am reluctant to destroy any item of religious faith (I would never burn a Koran, even though I utterly reject the Muslim faith).

What do you think I should do?

Number 3 is the one.

Sentimentality about material objects is -not- the Catholic viewpoint here. The Catholic mindset, is if it’s a material thing, and it gets inbetween a person and God, -out- it goes.

Woosh. Kaput. Gone. Nada.

Ebay, then give the money to a worthy cause?

DavidFilmer: I would destroy the items and compensate the sisters(if you can afford it)

Hmmm. That’s a tough one.

I guess number 3 if possible. But remember: technically speaking, they don’t belong to you, so they aren’t yours to destroy. I would ask permission from your wife / in-laws before destroying them and then compensating.

If they don’t give permission, then just have nothing to do with them. Or maybe destroy just your wife’s third (with her permission of course) and then give to the sisters the rest.

If in the case of jewerly and they are made from gold or silver why not sale them for scrap to be used to make something else at would no longer by masonic?

One thing you don’t have to worry about is destroying an object that is holy in some way to another, because in the case of masonry it is a satanic religion that should be destroyed. Thank God you got your wife away from them.

I spent many years with the Freemasons and some time after my conversion to Catholicism I sold all the regalia and some of the jewelry on Ebay. I took most of the books to a used book store and sold them. Most of the valuable ones I sold at Amazon. I kept the history and some ritual books that I can use in my writings these days… I also kept some awards and gifts I had received over the years, and put them in a box.

So the money I earned I tithed some, gave some to my ex-wife to help with our daughters, and used the rest to start my new Catholic Ministry and publish my books. God seems to have blessed my laundering.

So I would suggest that if you do sell the stuff, just do what is good and please to God with the proceeds. Jesus could have told the rich young man to give away all of his possessions, but He told him to SELL them.

Such objects only have such spiritual value as people project into them. If they were in his personal posession rather than in safe keeping in the lodge, they are probbaly not actual cult artefacts but more mementoes or souvenirs. I very much doubt that there is anything directly satanic about them. I’d sell them and donate your share of the money to a worthy cause.

Compare it to a Catholic dying. In their house you might find a missal, some prayer cards and a rosary, but you won’t find a chalice or a reliquary.

Just to be clear, does your wife has a 1/3 interest in these specific Masonic personal items, or a 1/3 interest in a larger category of personal items which includes the Masonic ones?

I ask because if the former is the case, destroying the items without obtaining the consent of her sisters would be improper (and likely conversion, which is illegal), as she wouldn’t have title to them. But if the latter is the case, she could request them as part of her share, and if her sisters agree to this, then it wouldn’t be improper for her to destroy them because they would be hers.

I would sell the items on eBay. No matter the stigma put on the item, chances are you’re not selling it to a Mason. They’ll be going to a collector, historian, or the likes. No matter the views on Masonry, they are a historical sect that should be taught to those interested. I don’t see this as a promotion of ungodly items, or the furthering of a secret society. It’s the preservation of history, no matter whether you like what that history is.

Offer the items up, compensate the inlaws, and do something charitable with your share. As detestable as the Nazi invasion was, I own items from Nazi Germany that I’m sure a few would like to see destroyed. But, it’s history, and therefore, as bad as the act was, I cannot in good conscience destroy them.

well spoken

take them to jewery store to be examined, they may be worth more broken down into gold, silver, gems, then as they are now.

The ideal solution is number 3, but I wouldn’t do it with out having a long talk with your family in law about it.

I suppose there’s a way to make #3 happen without any moral conflicts. The intent of the sisters was to liquidate the items on eBay. So I could list the items on eBay, but I would be also bidding, with the intent to outbid everybody else. If I prevail in the auction and pay for the items, they now belong only to me, and I am free to do whatever I want. 1/3 of the proceeds of the sale go to my wife (less the auction fee), so our actual cost is only about 2/3 of the final bid.

There are three items - one (a gold tie-tack) is pretty worthless, one (a gold Eastern Star child’s ring) might fetch $25. However, the third item is an ingenious spherical key-chain fob which unfolds into the shape of a cross comprised of six pyramids, each face of which is engraved with Masonic symbols.

http://thmb.inkfrog.com/thumbn/thelistingmonkey/s780.JPG http://thmb.inkfrog.com/thumbn/thelistingmonkey/s780a.JPG

This is a collector’s piece and could fetch a few hundred. If I got into a bidding war with a wealthy collector the price could go rather high.

It is also a remarkable work of art, craftsmanship, and design. I could not bring myself to destroy it if I owned it myself. But if I buy it and just keep it, I simply pass the problem to my heirs when I die.

My preference is to sell it to somebody who wants it. That is what the owners want, and it would have surely been the wish of my father-in-law. But the fact that it’s Masonic bothers me. Yet, if I had a beautiful menorah, I would not hesitate to sell it to a Jew. If I had a beautiful illuminated Koran, I would not hesitate to sell it to a Muslim.

I’m quite conflicted, but it may be only because of my negative disposition to Masonry (a disposition which I do not have for Judaism or Islam). This is my own prejudice, but what does Catholic morality have to say about it? Should I, at possibly great personal expense, buy a beautiful and remarkable work of art, simply to destroy it, because it represents a belief system that I reject?

Do we not preserve and protect artwork from ancient pagan cultures? Is Masonry any worse than these? Should we destroy Masonic art, simply because it is Masonic?

Why not give them to a museum as a charitable donation, get a receipt for the value from them, use the value as a charitable donation deduction on your income tax returns and give all the money (ie the difference between what you would have owed in taxes had you not effected this transaction) to the other two sisters.

Well, I’m not sure it’s special enough to attract the interest of a curator, but, besides - I think that WOULD be promoting Masonry. If I sell it to a Mason, I have not promoted Masonry (the guy was already a Mason), but a museum would display it to many non-Masons who may be very impressed by it (heck, I’m very impressed).

But the fact that it’s Masonic bothers me. Yet, if I had a beautiful menorah, I would not hesitate to sell it to a Jew. If I had a beautiful illuminated Koran, I would not hesitate to sell it to a Muslim.

‘Then at last I baptize them in due form, and I give to each his name written on a ticket. After their baptism the new Christians go back to their houses and bring me their wives and families for baptism. When all are baptized I order all the temples of their false gods to be destroyed and all the idols to be broken in pieces. I can give you no idea of the joy I feel in seeing this done, witnessing the destruction of the idols by the very people who but lately adored them.’

St. Francis Xavier

By this reasoning, we should destroy the pyramids, we should destroy Stonehenge, we should destroy the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and we should have been applauding rather than protesting when the Taliban destroyed those ancient statues in Afghanistan.

No, I don’t buy that line of argument. He who does not learn from history will ultimately repeat it. He who destroys the memory of history is preventing others from learning from it.

Yes, absolutely.

Let’s put forth an extreme example. Suppose we unearthed an ancient silver statue of the Greek godless Artemis in the region of Ephesus (in modern day Turkey). Would we destroy it?

St. Paul preached the Gospel in Ephesus, and was opposed by various silversmiths who created idols of Artemis (Acts 19:23…). Her cult was great in that city - her temple is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The silversmiths had a lucrative trade and resented Paul’s teaching, and they rose up against him.

They were led by a silversmith named Demetrius. Suppose we found a silver statue that had some sort of mark that told us it was surely made by the hand of Demetrius himself - the very man who incited such resistance to the Gospel in Ephesus.

WOULD WE MELT IT DOWN? Of course not! The Vatican Museums themselves would be ecstatic to include it in their collection.

If we would not destroy the idol of Artemus, we should not destroy the Masonic orb.

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