[Darkness Visible] “alone deals conclusively with the matter of whether or not Masonry is a religion”.
Stephen Knight’s best-selling analysis of Freemasonry, The Brotherhood.
As a practising Christian, is Freemasonry compatible with one’s duty to Jesus Christ? That is the question which the Rev. Walton Hannah, then a Church of England clergyman (and subsequently a Catholic priest), set himself to answer with the publication of Darkness Visible in 1952.
Darkness Visible contains the entire and authentic text of the Masonic ritual of the first three degrees and of the Royal Arch. Hannah wrote this book to substantiate his conviction that for a quasi-religious organisation such as Freemasonry to offer prayers and worship to God but exclude the name of Jesus Christ demonstrates its incompatibility with Christianity.
Since Darkness Visible was first published, the accuracy of the author’s transcription of Masonic rituals has never been questioned, no intelligent answer to his case has ever been forthcoming, and the book continues to sell strongly among Masons and non-Masons alike.
Every Christian denomination which has seriously studied Freemasonry has declared it incompatible with the Gospel – with the exception of the Church of England.
The accuracy of the rituals printed in Darkness Visible was confirmed to the Synod of the Church of England in 1987 by Commander Higham, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England.
It is now ten years since the first edition of Darkness Visible made its stormy appearance in a fierce controversy that was taken up by the secular as well as the religious press. No one was more surprised than myself that the demand for it has continued steadily after the heat of the initial controversy died down. I have been assured by a friendly officer of the Grand Lodge of England that part, at least, of this demand comes from Masons themselves, particularly those whose eyesight is strained by the tiny print of coded rituals issued by Masonic publishers. This is a welcome testimonial to the accuracy of my transcription of the ritual, which indeed no one has ever seriously called in question.
In a quiet way, however, the controversy still continues, and there is, I am assured, continued heart-searching among Christian Masons as to the legitimacy of their dual allegiance. Sometimes the controversy again flares up publicly; in recent months the Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Dr. Mervyn Stockwood, saw fit to ban non-Christian Masonic services in his diocese. As long as Masonry exists, as a secret society with a religious ritual, it will excite curiosity and questioning, and I am still of the opinion that its ritual should be publicly available, that those who are interested may freely judge for themselves.
My own comments which make up the first ten chapters are in one or two respects a little dated (for instance, any mention of the Archbishop of Canterbury refers to Dr. Geoffrey Fisher) but on re-reading them carefully I still consider them in general as relevant and as pertinent as when they were first written. Furthermore, the fact that no intelligent answer to my case has been even attempted since Darkness Visible was written ten years ago strengthens my conviction that the theological objections to Masonry from the Christian point of view should continue to be available. This book was written originally in an Anglican context, as a result of an inconclusive debate in the Anglican Church Assembly. The debate was inconclusive because all the Masonic speakers urged the futility of such a debate when “no non-Mason could possibly know the facts.” As far as the ritual is concerned, the facts continue to be available. But Roman Catholics, too, are often sorely puzzled as to why their Church has condemned Grand Lodge Freemasonry; they are often sorely tempted to join for business or other reasons, under the assurance of their Masonic friends that the Catholic condemnation was a gigantic blunder, based on misunderstanding or narrow-minded exclusiveness. With the facts in front of them all convinced Christians can form their own judgments.
My thanks are due to Dr. V. A. Demant, of Christ Church, Oxford, for his kindness in contributing an opinion on the Masonic oaths, and for reading the chapter which deals with that subject; to Dr. Paul M. Bretscher of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, U.S.A. and to Canon A. Abraham of London, Ontario, for information and literature from America. Also and especially to Dr. H. S. Box for invaluable assistance and advice at every turn, and to Fr. Krivoshein of Oxford for information on the Greek Orthodox attitude. I am most grateful, too, to a certain Bishop and Past Grand Chaplain whom I will not embarrass by naming, for his sympathetic understanding and courtesy in giving a morning of his much-occupied time to trying, at my request, to persuade me to a different opinion on Freemasonry. He succeeded abundantly in convincing me of the personal sincerity of the individual Christian Freemason, which nowhere in these pages do I wish to impugn.
St. Malachy’s Church,
We carefully choose fonts for our titles in order that our books are readable even by those with eyesight impairments. It is important to know that the font size alone is not a good indication as to whether a text is easy to read. We therefore encourage our customers to print out a sample page of the title they are interested in to see whether the type of font and the fonts size are acceptable to them.
Download PDF Sample Page
Click here to see an explanation of font sizes and legibility.
Point size vs. x-Height
- The point size of a typeface (Font Size) is a measure of its overall height, from the top of the tallest character above the baseline to the longest descender below the baseline.
- x-Height refers to the distance between the baseline that letter sits on and the top of the lower case x (the source of the term) and mid-section of lower case letters
The x-height is what really makes a difference to readability, not font size.