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Baron Yves Marie Antoine Marsaudon (13 February 1899 - 1984) was a freemason in France, who is perhaps best known for supporting ecumenism in Christianity. Marsaudon was an administrator in the French merchant navy and a general manager of a shipping company. In 1964, Marsaudon gave an interview to Jean-André Faucher of the newspaper Le Juvénal where he claimed to have been on very close terms with Angelo Roncalli (later John XXIII) when he was Apostolic Nuncio to France from 1944 onwards, indeed Marsaudon was made a Minister of the Knights of Malta at Paris in 1946. He claimed Roncalli supported a "reconciliation" between the "Church and traditional Freemasonry" and had even visited his house.
Involvement with Freemasonry
Marsaudon was initiated into freemasonry on 26 April 1926 at La République lodge of the Grande Loge of France. This sect of freemasonry is different to the atheistic Grand Orient of France (although it is not recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England either) and follows a tradition inline with the Scottish Rite. It favoured the creation of the League of Nations and suspiciously, an exceptional convent of the Grande Loge of France met in January 1926 as an attempt to figure out "ways to combat fascism." Marsaudon affiliated with the Suprême Conseil de France in 1937, the French section of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and eventually became a 33 degree freemason.
In 1964, he was one of the members of the Grande Loge de France who joined the Grande Loge Nationale Française. He was not alone in this as around 1,000 members of a total of 8,200 made the same move. The two organisations had considered uniting since 1954, as both supported maintaining the Volume of Sacred Law (that is to say, it was against atheism). However, the Grande Loge of France signed a Treaty of Fraternal Alliance with the Grande Orient in 1964 which led to a split by those who disagreed. The Grande Loge Nationale Française was recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England and American freemasonry; it supported the Martinist-originated Rectified Scottish Rite.
John XXIII-Roncalli controversy
Marsaudon is best known in traditional Catholic circles for the controversy surrounding his connections to Angelo Roncalli, while Roncalli was Apostolic Nuncio to France. Roncalli had been criticised for his liberalism and the Second Vatican Council which he called; he is widely regarded as an Anti-Pope by traditional Catholics and his connection to a prominent freemason is of huge significance. Marsaudon gave an interview to Jean-André Faucher of the newspaper Le Juvénal which was published on 25 September 1964. Later, this was reprinted by renegade Vatican II priest Rosario Francesco Esposito (who himself joined the freemasons) in his 1979 book La riconciliazione tra la Chiesa e la massoneria.
- Faucher. You have known Pope John?
- Marsaudon: I was very intimate with Mgr. Roncalli, Apostolic Nuncio in Paris. He received me several times at the Nunciature, and on various occasions, he came to my home in Bellevue, Seine-et-Oise. When I was appointed Minister of the Order of Malta, I expressed the Nuncio perplexities since my membership in Freemasonry. Mgr. Roncalli formally advised me to stay in Masonry.
- Faucher: Did you see him after his accession to the tiara?
- Marsaudon: Yes, he received me at Castel Gandolfo in my capacity as Minister Emeritus of the Order of Malta, and he gave me his blessing, renewing me encouragement for a work of reconciliation between the churches, and even between Church and traditional Freemasonry (that is to say, regular).
- Faucher: In what spirit he the first two sessions of the Council followed?
- Marsaudon: With great hope and great conviction. Confidences I had received good Pope John did not allow me to doubt his sincerity. In fact the second session of the Council ended in a profoundly ecumenical spirit. The hope was immense in the Catholic world. Apart from a few unaffordable Pharisees, believers showed immense joy.
- L'oecuménisme vu par un franc-maçon de tradition (1964)
- De l'initiation maçonnique à l'orthodoxie chrétienne (1965)
- Souvenirs et réflexions: un haut dignitaire de la franc-maçonnerie de tradition révèle des secrets (1976)
- Le témoignage critique du Baron MARSAUDON by Suprême Conseil pour la France (in Freemasonic)
- Le pape est-il victime (2) ? Jean XXIII : « bon pape Jean » ou franc-maçon? at Avec L'Immaculee
- Le Pape du Concile by Fr. Francesco Ricossa