At Ostia, 1
Yes, Master Mason, I was, early, taught|
the meaning of the square and compasses,
the plumb, the level, and the well carved stone.
After my revered mother had been caught
and murdered to a kind of martyrdom
by those too vengeful, too bloodthirsty, scum,
my father---who had loved her well---and was
the Master of a Lodge, and quite well thought
of, showed me many moral meanings known
through several tools by which he, long, had wrought.
I learned that his cathedral masonry
was servant to moral theology,
and to the Christian faith, exclusively.
A scholar I became; now set on the
ungilt cathedral chair of Ostia.
The speaker is the son of Pope Joan. According to some scholars, the child she delivered---just prior to her murder by people whose piety was false and only paid lip service to the merciful teachings of Christ---was, somehow, smuggled out of Rome, and survived into adulthood. At some point in his life, he was appointed Bishop of Ostia. I hope I have indicated the speaker's humility by describing the Cathedral chair as ugilt (and yes, it also serves as a pun).
The poem also suggests a cure to the moral weakness in the present form of the Masonic fraternity, of which I once was a member (32nd degree). Masonry began as a fraternity of builders of cathedrals, men whose entire working careers were spent in service to Christendom. During the moral darkening of the so-called Enlightenment in England and France, Masonry cast off its Christianity in favor of a vague deism, and its degradation of the Christian faith to just one of a number of religions that Masonry deemed equal. As it is today, Masonry does not even allow the name of Christ to be mentioned once a Lodge has been called to order. Masonry is divided into three orders, Blue Lodge, and the York and Scottish Rites. Only the highest York degrees are blatantly Christian.
I loved my fraternal activity, but relinquished it when I became a Christian. Some say that Masonry is in decline. I suggest that now is the time for its next transformation---into what the poem's speaker calls Cathedral Masonry, one which preserves the best of the Blue Lodge and the York and Scottish Rites, but subordinates all of that material to the supremacy of the teachings of Christ as delivered to us in the New Testament. I doubt this will happen in my lifetime, but I hope that, someday, others equally disatisfied with it will compel it to cast off its enlightenment trappings and step boldly and openly into its new form, Cathedral Masonry.
By the way . . . I actually did set out to write a poem about Joan's son; my opinions on Masonry are only a long digression. In August, 1992, just after my separation from my daughter's (when I was still active in the fraternity, and my conversion to Christianity still more than a year away), I thought to write about Pope Joan's son, and I imagined, for that child, a father who was also a cathedral builder.
With a small wink, I place this under the category, 'Introducing Yourself,' as that is what the speaker seems to be doing as the Cathedral's master builder listens.
© 2012 karsten
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