If the square and compasses are not "sacred", why is the Bible? They are each a Great Light of Masonry. Perhaps due to the symbolic nature of
Masonry, even this terminology can be confusing, depending on how one defines "sacred". I would suggest that the things represented by the Bible,
Square, and Compasses are sacred, while the physical items representing them on the Altar are not "sacred" as such. In other words, they are not
treated like a Catholic priest would treat the consecrated host.
The Bible is sacred, because it is Holy Writ.
The square and compass are symbols, not sacred items. While respected, they certainly don't contain religious significance in the same vein that a
consecrated host does in the Catholic Mass - which represents the Body of Jesus Christ to Catholics.
The original question was regarding religion versus the fraternal Masonic system. The square and compass are not religious items, nor are they
sacred. They are symbolic only and hold no religious significance whatsoever.
Masons don't offer the square and compass to God, nor worship these items. They aren't of that nature - They are simple workmen tools designed to
I have to disagree strongly on this point. Masonic ritual and symbolism is full of mystery in the literal sense, not in the sense that Lodge
proceedings are simply private.
First, the question regarding "mystery" was related to "sacred objects", not the ritual and symbolism of the degrees.
Put this in the context of the original question posed:
5. Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred
objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
Masons have no sense of mystery, awe, sense of guilt, adoration towards the square and compass. They use these symbols to convey meaning - yes,
agreed - but they are not designed to create guilt or adoration.
Masons don't worship and adore the square and compass, nor do they feel guilt towards these items.
You could, presumably, make a case that the ritual and symbolism holds mystery, but not the ritual objects themselves. In fact, the symbolic square
and compass are quite thoroughly explained as to their purpose in Masonic ritual.
Actually, in virtually all approved versions of the Work, there are numerous formal prayers. These take place in both the opening and closing of the
Lodge, as well as the actual degree work.
Yes there are prayers, but not in the same vein as the synagogue service nor as in the Catholic Mass. They are simply introductory prayers. No
different than people saying grace before meals.
The ritual is replete with references to the Old Testament, but the ritual is NOT a prayer service. It is, however, a fraternal initiation - not a
religious service such as the Catholic Mass, nor the Jewish synagogue service. They aren't even close in that regard.