“NO! You may NOT do that!”

One of the main functions of the Church is to say “no”.

In saying “no” by the Ten Commandments, God the Father was not simply trying to ruin what would have otherwise been a good time in life.  He said “no” because, after the Fall, we tend to hurt ourselves.  Similarly, Holy Church, having Christ’s own authority to teach and govern, says “no” to things we do – or think- that actually hurt us rather than “free” us.

One of the things that hurt us, to which the Church says “no” is being a Freemason.

NO!  If you are Catholic you may NOT be a Mason.

From CNA:

French priest suspended after Freemasonry revealed

Paris, France, Jun 11, 2013 / 02:02 am (CNA).- Bishop Yves Boivineau of Annecy in southeastern France has barred a local priest from public ministry after he was exposed as an active Freemason.

Father Pascal Vesin, 43, was suspended for his active membership in a Masonic lodge of the Grand Orient of France. He became a member in 2001, five years after his 1996 ordination as a Catholic priest, the French newspaper Le Figaro reports.

The priest served a parish in the Alpine ski resort of Megeve and Bishop Boivineau suspended him at Rome’s request, his parish said.  [EHEM... the Bishop should have done that without having been requested... but let that pass for now...]

Membership in Masonic societies has long been condemned by the Catholic Church. This condemnation was repeated in a 1983 document from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which said Masonic principles “have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church.”

The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion,” [Get that?] the congregation said in a declaration signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.

The disciplinary action against Fr. Vesin followed the priest’s refusal to renounce Freemasonry. [!]

The priest told Le Figaro that he did not choose to place Freemasonry against the Church. He said his action is “the expression of my absolute freedom of conscience within the Catholic institution.”  [Oh YAH?]

The diocese said that the priest’s suspension is not final and can be lifted. It described it as a “medicinal” penalty intended to encourage the priest’s return to Catholic practice.

The Catholic Church has opposed Freemasonry on account of its secret nature, its religious indifferentism and its history of conspiring against the Church.

A 1985 letter to the U.S. bishops by then-Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law criticized Freemasonry’s dedication to a form of “naturalistic” religion that is “incompatible with Christian faith and practice.”

It seems to me that some aspects are worse than “naturalistic”.

So… NO!  You may NOT be a Freemason.

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52 Responses to “NO! You may NOT do that!”

  1. yatzer says:

    Some of my relatives (Protestant or nothing) have been Masons. As a teen I had friends and relatives in Rainbow Girls and DeMolay. It seemed to be harmless, although I get the “secret nature” and know it has some alarming past political associations in other countries. I’m not getting the “naturalistic religion” part. Perhaps a reader who knows about this could elaborate a bit? Not arguing with Holy Mother Church, but would like to understand.

  2. Maltese says:

    I come from a long-line of 33 degree free-masons, and alcoholics (they go together). Brilliant men: mostly lawyers. But, you know what, they were all train wrecks, and died bad deaths.

    I’m the first Catholic convert/member in many generations; and my sanctimonious protestant family members hate me for it! They can’t stop goading me for it.

  3. wmeyer says:

    I recall a year or so ago reading the comments from someone in Vancouver who declared himself both a “good Catholic” and a Freemason. He was quite insistent there was no conflict. It is difficult to imagine how these people come to believe they can mix the two.

  4. Pingback: If You are Catholic You may NOT be a Mason | Fr Stephen Smuts

  5. Matt R says:

    Father, in my diocese every year the Shriners and the Knights of Columbus have a charity dinner together. Also, the Shriners also made a donation to one of the local Catholic universities, and the new college will be named for the group (Kosair College of Natural Sciences and Health or something like that). My father is a 4th degree Knight, and was dismayed to see that. It seems that people are not aware that ALL Shriners must be Master Masons, or they separate Freemasonry from the ‘good work’ that the Shriners perform.
    Also, yes Father, some aspects are much, much worse than naturalistic. Demonic, actually. I have seen this unravel personally with a close friend of ours (and the man was not a Mason himself and had come back to the Faith), and that’s all I will say for privacy reasons and to keep the Evil One at bay…

  6. Imrahil says:

    Perhaps also a reader who does not know about this?

    I figure that Masons, following their “Omnipotent Buildmaster” lines (which, however, somewhere including France seems to have been officially dropped in favor of including atheists, no idea at all how far this goes in feeling or so), have some theoretical affinity to Natural Religion in the philosophic sense, with special focus on self-improvement. (“Noble be the man, helpful and good”, one of the most boring and uninspiring poems Goethe, Freemason, ever wrote.)

    What do I mean with this “Natural Religion in the philosophic sense”? Not the thousands of rites, aberrations and, perhaps, reflections of Revelation which we find in Heathenism and sometimes dub “natural religion”, but the religion which would theoretically been there if man had both been spared from error and withheld Revelation. The mere title of Immanuel Kant’s “Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason”* would seem to point to such a thing, fine enough as a point of theoretical study if really studied, but not so fine if some would attach an actual cult to it among us who have been given Revelation. Worse still, of course, this book of Kant’s does not give what it title says, but is a mere rant against Christianity (which a real Natural Religion would never do); or so it is said, I did not read it himself.

    Worse than naturalistic? You bet.

    *Kant surprisingly enough does not seem to have been a Freemason, yet a quick google research prompted an apparently Freemason-run wiki-lexicon where they cite with approval quotes to the effect that he was “in his deepest being a Freemason”, etc.

    One of the specific ideologies of Freemasonry seems to be relativism, or rather, the abominable religion-must-keep-out-of-decent-society thing. Worse than naturalistic? You bet.

    And then, of course, the Freemasons are both reported to organize a secret fight against the Catholic Church, and not to let into their higher degrees any practicing Catholics, by their own discretion. Here, though, I do not know much; though I’m not inclined to treat everything as a conspiracy theory, especially not such things the Freemasons confess themselves to. Worse than naturalistic? You bet.

  7. Eraser says:

    One of my college friends was very active in DeMolay and he was a good guy. Of course back then, I knew nothing about the Masons except for the fact that some of our American founding fathers belonged. Years later, I had to work at a function that was held in the big Masonic Hall in Pittsburgh (it was completely unrelated to Masonry, just rented the hall). The main hall was fairly nondescript but the non-public areas were scary. In hindsight & particularly in light of Matt R’s comment, I would say that there was a definite sense of the demonic in that place.

  8. Midwest St. Michael says:

    I was at a retreat once with a Fathers of Mercy priest (South Union, Ky.). Suring the “Q&A” session on Saturday evening a concerned woman asked the priest why we (Catholics) never hear about the dangers of Freemasonry and why Catholics cannot be a part of this “organization”(?).

    He replied, “For Goodness’ sake! We can’t even get our bishops and priests to preach on the Ten Commandments let alone Freemasonry.” LOL!

    In other words, one step at a time or “brick by brick” as Fr. Z says. :)

    MSM

  9. Imrahil says:

    Interestingly enough, another Freemason was a certain American called Joseph Smith, who at that time was already notable for spinning some yarn about having had angelic visions and Our Lord taking a jump to America after His Ascension or great apostasies or anti-monotheism or all that sort of abstruse nonsense.

    So much for their enlightenment.

  10. Midwest St. Michael says:

    During, not ‘Suring the “Q&A” ‘.

    Apologies.

    MSM

  11. Robbie says:

    Maybe my interpretation is wrong, but I think this priest’s brazenness speaks to a larger concern. He felt it was ok to join the Freemasons and even said “he did not choose to place Freemasonry against the Church”. Moreover, he saw his membership as “the expression of my absolute freedom of conscience within the Catholic institution”. In other words, he knew better than the Church.

    I think this view speaks to a broader and more troubling issue for the Church. Some who are in the priesthood believe they know better than the mean old Cardinals in the Vatican. As such, they act and preach according to their more “enlightened” views. What’s most troubling about this is they seem to operate without any fear or concern from their higher authorities.

    Now I don’t want to paint with a broad brush because, by in large, the vast majority of priests don’t operate in this manner, but it’s frustrating and disappointing to think the atmosphere leads priests like this one to believe they can operate outside the rules of the Church without any concerns.

  12. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    Bishop David O’Connell, C.M. of Trenton, NJ on how “Freemasonry and Christianity are Incompatible”, a message from just last week.

    http://www.trentonmonitor.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=36&ArticleID=5358

    God give us more good and holy bishops.

  13. James Joseph says:

    It seems for some, the church is a mere institutional thing.

    While for others She is Our Mother.

    I heard Dr. Kreeft say those who approve of divorce believe in a radically different god than He.

  14. Deo volente says:

    There is an excellent book (one of several) on Masonry called “Christianity and American Freemasonry”; Ignatius Press; William J. Whalen; 1998.” The book is an excellent introduction to the Craft, and explains its origins and degrees. It is one of several I’ve read, and it is quite enlightening. The advertisement for the book bears the following:

    “What is it about Freemasonry that would cause churches to forbid or openly discourage seventy million Americans from membership? Why have eight popes condemned the Lodge? Why has the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Masonic order been strained for centuries? Christianity and American Freemasonry answers these and many other questions and describes why Christianity and Freemasonry are incompatible.

    Today over two million American men belong to the Masonic order, the largest and oldest secret fraternal society. In earlier history the Freemasons boasted a prestigious membership, including fourteen American presidents and such founding fathers as Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and Alexander Hamilton. This is the most complete reference book available on the subject. Chapters discuss the rituals and oaths, the Scottish and York rites, allied organizations such as the Shriners, and the historic antagonism of Christianity toward Masonry. It is thoroughly documented with facts from:

    1. the three most noted experts on Masonry in America
    2. Masonic ritual books, encyclopedias, and histories
    3. three former Masons, now active Catholics, who contributed firsthand knowledge of Masonic ritual and structure.

    William Whalen is a nationally known expert on comparative religion, and an author of 15 books and numerous magazine articles.

    D.v.

  15. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Thank you, Father, on two counts.

    1) The most important word in a dad’s or mom’s vocabulary is “no”. That’s not meant to hurt, but to keep the child from harm and to prepare in him some character other than appetites run amok.

    2) Masonry is incompatible with the Catholic Faith. Any group which claims that all religions are basically equal (because necessary for public order, and because equally true) must be incompatible with the one which proclaims herself to have been created by the One True God.

    To be provocative, for a moment: every four years some bright spark in the media or in political pressure groups claims that such-and-such a candidate isn’t really a good American because he’s Catholic; since our country was founded on Masonic principles, is it possible – from the Catholic side of the ledger – to be both a good Catholic and a loyal American?

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    While many think almost as a habit that it is worth going to see what the old Catholic Encyclopedia (as found at New Advent) has to say on a subject, I would particularly commend Hermann Gruber’s huge, clear, thoughtful, detailed 1910 article “Masonry (Freemasonry)” (though I have not read every word of it, yet).

    One thing that struck me was the concordance of Gruber’s analysis when he says, “In general it appears that the founders of Masonry intended to follow the same methods for their social purposes which were chosen by the Royal Society for its scientific researches”, with that of Bishop Paprocki in his recent talk.

  17. DavidJ says:

    “my absolute freedom of conscience within the Catholic institution”
    There is not a big enough “Smack My Head” for this

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky asks provocatively, “is it possible – from the Catholic side of the ledger – to be both a good Catholic and a loyal American?”

    Hermann Gruber observed, “Curiously enough, the first sovereign to join and protect Freemasonry was the Catholic German Emperor Francis I, the founder of the actually reigning line of Austria [written in 1908, Nihil obstat, 1910], while the first measures against Freemasonry were taken by Protestant Governments”, and also, “It is merely through inconsistency that some Grand Lodges of North America insist on belief in the Divine inspiration of the Bible as a necessary qualification and that not a few Masons in America and Germany declare Masonry an essentially “Christian institution”.

    Gruber also notes, “Masonic symbols can be and are interpreted in different senses. By orthodox Anglican ecclesiastics the whole symbolism of the Old and New Testament connected with the symbolism of the Temple of Solomon was treated as Masonic symbolism and Masonry as the ‘handmaid of religion’ which, ‘in almost every part of every degree refers distinctly and plainly to a crucified Saviour’.”

    I would be surprised if many did not so understand Freemasonry (in whatever sense incorrectly!) in ways that do not eradicate the way in which they “honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal”, “lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour”, “are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ”, and ” also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities” (to quote Lumen gentium, 15).

    Similarly, to paraphrase Gruber, ‘Being a “loyal American” can be and is interpreted in different senses’, surely in senses compatible with being a “good Catholic”.

    To be provocative in turn, if being a “loyal American” is properly understood, can that be in any sense incompatible with being a “good Catholic”?

  19. JKnott says:

    I had an interesting experience growing up in a predominantly Masonic neighborhood. There were about a dozen girls of the same age and we all got along great, playing soft ball and other sporty things after school. Because most of the parents were unabashedly anti-Catholic, three of us who were Catholic were literally restricted from invitations to swim in their swimming pools. One morning after the girls were inducted into the ‘Rainbow Girls’ they came to the bus stop before school in a rather funny display of secrecy, whispering how they were so special. After Mass one Sunday on a walk I dropped my First Communion prayer book and later asked at a neighbor’s house if they had seen it; their little son said his mother had it but she wasn’t planning on returning it because I was “Catholic”. I believe St Anthony helped retrieve it when I went back and spoke to the parent.
    It never bothered me much, and I ended up going to a Catholic girls high school out of town, but it certainly was a good lesson in the anti-Catholicism of the Masons. Beats me how a Catholic priest could reconcile the two.

  20. Kat says:

    So what is a Catholic’s moral obligation, say, if they knew of a person who is an active mason and actively involved in parish life – even reading at Mass? Is it enough if the pastor is aware, even if he doesn’t act on it?

  21. LarryW2LJ says:

    I remember reading a news article a few years ago, where at some Freemason degree, someone died because a gun that was thought to be unloaded, was in fact loaded. I have no knowledge about the various Freemason degree initiations, but it would appear that they can be deleterious to your health.

  22. OrthodoxChick says:

    I have a more general question than Kat’s. What is one’s moral obligation toward a fellow Catholic who is also a freemason? I know someone who was recently, within the last few years, the grand poohbah-ess (don’t know the proper title of it, but whatever it is that they call the national grand leader of the women’s freemason group in the U.S.). I have tried to tell her that freemasonry is against Church teaching, but she poo-poo’s it. She tells me that that’s not what the freemasons say and she assures me that plenty of Knights of Columbus are also members of her husband’s lodge, and other Catholic women are members of her lodge/group (whatever). This lady and her husband, both, within the last 5-10 years have each risen to the highest possible freemasonry rank/degree within the U.S. This required each of them taking a year out of their lives to travel to lodges all around the U.S. The wife is Catholic, but I’m not sure about her husband. The wife is a dear friend of my deceased mother (and not the same friend that I wrote about in a comment here a month or so ago).

    My question is, other than inform her of the Church’s teaching (which she seems to already be aware of and openly disregards it) is there anything else that I am morally obligated to do out of Christian charity and concern for her soul? Am I supposed to buy her a book like the one mentioned above and send it to her? Bombard her email inbox with articles like this one? Is it O.K. to pray for her (and in so doing) be a little less in-your-face about evangelizing? Or does evangelization require me to be in-your-face in this instance?

  23. Mike says:

    I first say that I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Freemasons, nor am I attracted to it in any way whatsoever. I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus but have always had trouble with the “secret,” part of being a member of that organization. I have always felt it to be very much like, if not only in appearance, to the Masons… a ‘Catholic Masons’ if you will. Based on the description should perhaps the Knights of Columbus be full non-secretive in all of their membership activities? Additionally, names of offices and other things seem very much like Masonic things… symbols and ceremonies to be more specific. I am not in any way pointing a finger, but have always had reservations in the back of my mind as to the whole appearances of the KofC. I have been an active Knight in both 3rd and 4th degrees, having dropped my 4th degree membership and am not active in my local council and have seriously pondered simply dropping that membership altogether as well. These are just thoughts and I am a very orthodox Catholic with great devotion to my parish and to the TLM and the TLM community in my diocese.

  24. sisu says:

    Anyone wondering about the Masons should read about the diabolic Masonic-Socialist war on the Faith in Mexico, aka Cristero war, and then give this link below a read – it’s essentially a deliverance prayer recommended by Fr. Mark Baron of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception , for people with family Masonic history to renounce the oaths. Read to the end and you will not think it’s a benign or neutral social org.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=105783726111045&story_fbid=380612255294856

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7826

    [Lest we forget.]

  25. Praise God for the light being shed upon the grave dangers of Freemason membership. The question, “I am a 4th Degree in the Knights of Columbus and a Freemason, why is this a problem?” was put to “Unbound” author Neal Lozano, during Q&A at the Freedom on Christ Conference in Seattle recently. Lozano answered decisively that the two are not compatible. The man became argumentative, so Lozano re-directed the question to the priests in attendance ~ all of whom vehemently defended the Church teaching that Catholicism and Freemasons are contradictory. Perhaps the definitive answers given in the Q&A helped that man realize the occult connection and led him to the sacrament of confession. Let’s hope and pray for many conversions and great spiritual healing as the Light of Truth touches hearts today.

    Definitive answers are awesome ~ thank you, Father Z.
    Saint Barnabas, pray for us!

  26. Dave N. says:

    One thing we have learned from the sex abuse crisis is that a suspension can mean anything or nothing. For all we know this priest may have been “sentenced” to an unsupervised retirement on the diocesean payroll, especially since the bishop seemed to react only under pressure. Or, as we have also learned from the case of Cdnl. Mohoney, suspension from public duty doesn’t apparently forbid one from traveling around the archdiocese doing Confirmations.

    More specific to OrthodoxChick’s and Kat’s questions, if one knows of a priest who is also a mason, should he be reported? And if so, to whom? I think this is far more common than people realize, especially among elderly priests.

  27. Ellen says:

    I have a DEEP antipathy to any secret society. I’ve read extensively about the Masons and frankly, I find them silly. I have a friend who is in the Eastern Star and takes it very seriously. I looked it up and couldn’t believe how shallow it was.

  28. sirknight says:

    @Mike–
    As a Knight for over 18 years(PGK, PFN, FDD, member of the State Council staff in Tennessee and a 3rd Degree CO), you should remember that only the ceremonials of the Knights are “secret”-that is because the effectiveness of the lessons taught are reduced if the members know in advance of the ceremonial. Nothing is taught in our degrees contrary to the Faith. As far as our titles are concerned, most are derived from old maritime titles as a tribute to our patron, Christopher Columbus.
    I’d encourage you to become active in the life of your Council, I’ve found the active Knights and our families are an important part of the evangelization that we should all participate in as Catholics, and a visible sign of the masculinity that is needed in today’s Church.

  29. Giuseppe says:

    Why join the Masons when you can join the Stonecutters? (An early Simpsons classic.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZI_aEalijE

  30. RJHighland says:

    Just to let ya know I am a 4th degree Knight of Columbus but before I became Catholic I was in a TKE fraternity in college which was greatly influenced in tradition and ritual by the Masons so I have some understanding of the Mason’s. My Uncle who is a Baptist minister always warned me about the Mason’s that they were evil. I never joined the Mason’s but have done much research into the organization as well as the Skull and Bones group. I was on jury duty with a man that I had lunch with that had recently went through RCIA and came into full communion with the Church but was a Mason. He stated that the Mason’s were not a religious organization that there were members of all religions in the lodge. I told him he need to review some of the history of the Mason’s and the Church mainly the French and Mexican Revolutions and review Leo XIII’s writings on the subject. Then I posed a question. “If you say they are not a religious organiztion then why do they have a hierachal “priesthood”, they meet in “temples” and in the temples they have an altar. Now you have a priesthood, a temple and an altar, who are they offering sacrafice too? It is not the One, Most High, God of Abraham, Isaac , Jacob and the Catholic Church so who is it? If I were you I would seriously check into that. You will more than likely find out that they worship the God of Light and Wisdom who would be none other than Lucifer, who was the angel of light, is not a god but definitely has a desire to be worshiped, he even asked Jesus to kneel and worship him. Think about it!”

  31. Maltese says:

    Well I do like to see the Shriners race their silly little go-carts around; quite amusing!

  32. Facta Non Verba says:

    When I graduated from high school in my tiny home town many years ago, the local Masons awarded me an academic scholarship for college. This was a tiny town, so they had to know that I was a practicing Roman Catholic. I needed the money for college tuition, but I had no idea about the anti-Catholic nature of the Masons. I do remember my parents being less than enthusiastic about this scholarship, telling me that it was from the Masons, but not saying much else. I’d like to think that had I been fully informed at that time, I would have found a way to politely decline their money.

  33. Unwilling says:

    French Freemasonry is clearly anti-Catholic and as compatible with Church membership as Planned Parenthood. But at this point North American Masonry is (like, sadly, many KOC Councils) not much more than a social club. Evil uses darkness: both Catholics and Masons at the lower levels may be ignorant of the incompatibilities.

  34. jaykay says:

    Facta non verba: that’s interesting. Did they ever try to follow up in any way and encourage you to join them, or “recruit” you? I realise this may be personal, but did you repay them or were you given gentle “hints” about membership or anything like that?

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Two books interesting (among other reasons) for their scholarly accounts of Adam Weishaupt’s successful ‘Illuminati’ infiltration and take over of Masonic lodges, where the ‘lower’ level and ‘outer’ ring members – like Mozart! – where very deliberately and successfully kept in the dark about the true heretical and revolutionary purposes, are Vernon Stauffer’s New England and the Bavarian Illuminati (1918) and John Roberts’s The Mythology of the Secret Societies (1972).

    Hermann Gruber’s 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article gives a good picture of how Masonic secrecy is conducive to such exploitation, and makes the case for some such duplicity by means of deliberate ambiguity being characteristic of Masonry.

  36. Gentillylace says:

    I was a Rainbow Girl, active from the age of 13 to about 16. I was also a Catholic at the time, though a rather lax one. I attended Sunday Mass sporadically, perhaps from twice a month to every six weeks depending on my mood. Neither my father, who was brought up Catholic, nor my mother, who was brought up Methodist and who had Masonic relatives, attended any religious services at all. I was vaguely aware that the Catholic Church disapproved of Freemasonry and affiliated organizations, but I did not know why and I did not care to find out.

    I enjoyed being a Rainbow Girl (in addition to the various community service projects that we did, it was nice to dress up regularly for each meeting in long dresses, some with hoop skirts!) and liked being an officer in the local assembly’s “bow stations”, which taught about various virtues associated with colors of the rainbow (for example, love is associated with the color red). Some of the rituals I thought were a little silly, but on the whole, I did not mind them. However, years later, I realized that the main reason I never became a “line officer” (which would include the Worthy Advisor, the equivalent to president of the local assembly) was because I am a Catholic. We Rainbow Girls attended religious services at the church of each of the four line officers — I want to say once a year, though it may have been more. I suspect that it may have been strange for the Mother Advisor and other higher-ups to countenance the thought of the Rainbow Girls in my local assembly going to Sunday Mass at my parish.

    I stopped being active in Rainbow Girls mostly because of increased academic pressure during my junior year of high school, though I also felt that my advancement in the organization had plateaued.

  37. Facta Non Verba says:

    jaykay: they followed up after my first year of college to send me another small gift. There was never any effort to recruit me. No hints to join, at least none that I noticed. And no, I did not repay them since this was a scholarship. Of course, now that I realize I accepted money from this organization, I’m dealing with some guilt.

  38. Gentillylace says:

    My memory needs to be corrected. There are five line officers in Rainbow Girls (Worthy Advisor, Worthy Associate Advisor, Charity, Hope and Faith): they served for four months. So we attended religious services at the church of the current Worthy Advisor, which meant that we went together as a group three times a year.

    Also, I was a poorly catechized Catholic, as one might expect from my family background (this was the early 1980s in Southern California, and my attendance in CCD classes was non-existent after I received First Holy Communion at the age of 12). If someone had told me that Masonic organizations were incompatible with Catholicism because “[it] claims that all religions are basically equal (because necessary for public order, and because equally true)”, I would have said, “Yeah? But I do believe that all religions are basically equal!” Needless to say, I no longer believe that.

  39. PatB says:

    Occult origins for the Masons have been documented…do a little digging and you’ll find lots on it. Sorry…no time to read all the posts or say more…this computer turns into a pumpkin in a couple minutes (library computer).

  40. William Tighe says:

    “Occult origins for the Masons have been documented…do a little digging and you’ll find lots on it.”

    Occult interests, sure; occult origins, not so much. A lot of rubbish has been written on Freemasonic origins, both by its proponents and opponents, but virtually the only truly scholarly treatment is:

    *The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590 to 1710,* by David Stevenson. Cambridge University Press, 1988 (and reprinted numerous times since). Cheap copies can be had via Abebooks.com, Amazon.com, and other such online sites.

    Modern “speculative” Freemasonry seems to have originated around William Schaw (d. 1602), Master of the Works to James VI of Scotland, a crypto-Catholic with Neoplatonic philosophical interests, who began the practice of admitting well-placed individuals who were not “practicing” masons to his “lodge” at the Scottish royal court. After James VI succeeded to the English throne in 1603, it became a kind of “Scottish Club” in London, but its great “diversification” did not begin until the 1650s.

  41. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Facta Non Verba,

    be glad that the money, now no longer in Masonic possession but in yours, can no longer hurt anyone, and cut that guilt aside.

  42. Unwilling says:

    He said “no” because, after the Fall, we tend to hurt ourselves.

    Matthew 7:13-14 and Regula Benedicti vii.24 Cavendum ergo ideo malum desiderium quia “mors secus introitum delectationis posita est.”

    Failure to understand this is the primary blindness of our age. It is not a side fact, but somehow central to the web of errors we suffer from. Skepticism. Contempt. Paranoia. Disobedience. Ruin.

  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dr. Tighe,

    Hermann Gruber refers to injunctions “regulating the old lodges of ‘operative’ Masonry till and after 1747″ which “are uniformly summed up in the simple words: ‘The first charge is this that you be true to God and Holy Church and use no error or heresy’.” Would this (also) relate to the ‘Schavian’ Freemasonry you discuss?

  44. I assist at a weekly healing Mass at my parish, where a priest from another diocese (with the full permission of the bishops, of course) comes to pray over people for healing and deliverence. Masonic associations are one of the main impediments that he finds when praying with people. It is nefarious.

  45. veritasmeister says:

    In addition to not being a Mason, we also had separation of church and state authoritatively condemned in binding papal teaching on numerous occasions, But while the contemporary Magisterium says we still cannot be a Mason, we’re now, in effect, being told that separation of church and state is a proud Christian achievement. This doesn’t appear to be very coherent.

  46. Condemnation of secret societies dates back into the 1700s and the Church has never changed this teaching for very good reasons.

    Gentillylace: Thanks for the story and the illustration of antipathy of Masons for the Catholic Church.

    The modern American Mason frequently sees the organization as guys that drink beer together at the local lodge and do good deeds for those in need.

    Those with personal opinions on and loyalties to happy memories and good experiences as Freemasons, should read the over 90 [98?] Church documents on Freemasonry. The descriptions are succinct and based on firm facts. There is no doubt that Freemasons are pitted against the Catholic Church, even if the ‘storefront’ amiable Masons do not understand this.

    Consider that the Masonic-Catholics you know who persist in a seemingly lighthearted attitude towards their dedication to Masonic activities are hiding their true intent, and may be less dedicated Catholics than they let on. As ‘Catholics’ on the inside, infiltrators can do far more damage. I’d be careful around any Church-affiliated lay-person or religious who is soft on secret societies.

    Credible works [and there are many] revealing its evil by former Masons can be argued as false, other documents that advertise Masonry as harmless are evil effective propaganda. Read the documents of the Church first, the earliest dating back to 1783, Pope Clement XII’s Eminenti Apostolatus Specula. Providas Romanorum concerns automatic excommunication. Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo condemns the Carbonari, a Masonic organization. Quo Graviora condemns any secret society. Another condemnation of Masonry is Traditi Humilitati. Among others, also see Mirari Vos, Qui Pluribus.

    Anything pitted against the Catholic Church for centuries and with such dedication, secrecy, and variable success is demonic in origin. The Catholic Church is the only organization in the world that stands firm and unchangeable against evil in all its forms. The demonic uses any tactic to bring Her down.

  47. Imrahil says:

    Dear @veritasmeister, no, the Catholic Church doctrine as presently in force has not changed as far as separation of Church and State goes. It certainly is not a proud Christian achievement. The ideal is the Catholic state. The ideal is the crucifix in the secular classroom, and the mayor marching behind the Holy of Holies in a Corpus Christi procession. To be silent of a law both conforming to natural law and respecting the Sunday.

    What has changed is confined to the small room where the question “what shall we do with the unbeliever in a Catholic state?” is answered.

  48. veritasmeister says:

    Imrahil,

    You’ll have to take the matter up with our pope emeritus, as he is the one who has publicly proclaimed that separation of church and state is a Christian achievement and contribution to the world. There can be little doubt that this is the position of our recent popes, including the current one. Also, you will note that the traditional condemnation is wholly absent from the 1992 Catechism, which does address church/state/citizen matters. I doubt that’s an accidental oversight.

  49. Magash says:

    The Knights of Columbus make no secret about the fact that one reason Fr. McGivney founded the Knights was to give Catholic men an alternative to becoming involved with Masonry. Men then as now need a framework by which they can meet together in association for mutual support and through which they can perform works of corporal mercy.
    Masonry gives men the same outlets and advantages and in the United States at least, most low level members do not know or understand the reasons why Masonry as an organization is incompatible with Catholicism, indeed with Christianity itself, as members of both the Orthodox Churches and the Southern Baptist Conference would be glad to explain. IT is unfortunate that some Catholics also do not understand this.
    As explained very well by sirknight the Knights of Columbus only keep their rituals secret, and only for the purpose of making the lessons learned during the ritual more efficacious. What the Knight teach, that is their beliefs, are what the Church teaches. Unfortunately there are individual Knights and even individual local KofC organizations who dissent from Church teaching, as has been evidenced here by people talking about local groups cooperating with Masons (and even joining together to support presidential candidates for political parties who support intrinsic evil actions in heir platforms.) They are not representative of the Knights.
    The Knights of Columbus are not a secret organization and their membership is open to all practicing Catholic men over the age of 18. In many countries they are the backbone of the local parish, supporting the pastor, bishop and pope in all manner of ways both personal and financial.
    One of the only questions asked of a stranger prior to acceptance into their rank is if they are a Practical Catholic, that is, one who practices their faith, rather than a culture Catholic who does not. They also support Squire organizations for boys and have associated womens organizations.

  50. Imrahil says:

    Dear @veritasmeister,

    that’s why I so carefully (I hope) wrote “the Catholic teaching as presently in force”. Where there’s encyclical stuff to the contrary, I don’t, frankly, care about omissions, or even the explicit personal opinions of Popes.

    I do care, where the said teaching is fallible (as it, here, is), about formal abrogations, or explicit teachings to the contrary having enough of force. Which would be true about Conciliar decrees, encyclicals, or (well) an annunciation of a Pope which made clear that it intends to have this force. Not a papal personal opinion, nor even, generally, papal preaching, when he does not make it clear that he really intends to use his right to make the thing part of ordinary magisterium contrary to previous statements.

    Under these assumptions, not one iota has been changed from Pope Pius XI’s Quas primas, or similar magisterial statements. Dignitatis humanae, or anything else I’m aware of that has actual force, does not do that.

  51. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Taking up Tina in Ashburn’s fourth and sixth paragraphs (12 June, 11:31 a.m.), Hermann Gruber conveniently provides the reference details of 17 of “the most important” of the “papal pronouncements” (as of 1908) in his Catholic Encyclopedia article.

    He also includes a quotation from (I believe) Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Humanum genus”, 20 April, 1884, “What we say, must be understood of the Masonic sect in the universal acceptation of the term, as it comprises all kindred and associated societies, but not of their single members. There may be persons amongst these, and not a few, who, although not free from the guilt of having entangled themselves in such associations, yet are neither themselves partners in their criminal acts nor aware of the ultimate object which these associations are endeavouring to attain. Similarly some of the several bodies of the association may perhaps by no means approve of certain extreme conclusions, which they would consistently accept as necessarily following from the general principles common to all, were they not deterred by the vicious character of the conclusions.”