QUAERITUR: Can I hire a Mason to work on my house?

From a reader:

I need some repairs doing on my house. We found a man who seemed competent and honest, and his price is good. Unfortunately, I noticed he was wearing a masonic ring (a pentagram I think). Should I hire somebody who is almost certainly a Freemason to do work on my house?

The fact that he takes it seriously enough to wear a ring gives me pause; but on the other hand (pun not intended), I know Masons are not all wicked individuals.

Yes, it is okay to hire a mason to work on your house.  And I am not talking about your brickwork.

I can’t tell what continent you are on, but most masons in the USA are masons in the same way that some men are members of Rotary or subscribers to Sports Illustrated.

That said, when the work is done on the house, have your house blessed, room to room, thoroughly.  I suggest this not because of the mason in himself but because everyone should have their houses blessed.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Deo volente says:

    To take this one step further, is it advisable/permissible to hire a Mason to be Music Director of a Roman Catholic Parish? The man bears vanity state license plates of a Master Mason (3rd Degree) on his auto. I am not certain nor have direct evidence whether he IS a member of the “Craft”, but wonder if that is permissible in the eyes of the Church if he were a member in good standing?


    [Were I pastor of the parish, I would wonder first about scandal and also about entrusting the selection of music to one who was that committed to his masonic identity.]

  2. Philangelus says:

    I had a similar dilemma. The closest piercing parlor is highly rated for cleanliness and safety, but they have an occult symbol on their logo. I didn’t want someone putting something into my daughter’s skin under the auspices of the occult, so we drove 90 minutes to get to the next-closest piercing parlor with high health standards. (ie, autoclave, hollow needle, no piercing guns, etc.)

    [I am not sure how that is the same dilemma.]

  3. I am turning on moderation for this entry before this gets weird.

  4. beharvey says:

    Fr. Z:
    Re: Deo volente`s comment – is it even possible for a Freemason to be a “member in good standing”(catholic)? The current code of canon law doesn`t explicitly forbid membership in the masons, but I seem to remember a statement out of Rome(CDF?) clarifying it was still very much verboten. Has anything changed? If so, I just lost an argument with a deacon:)

  5. Jeannie_C says:

    I think this raises good questions concerning who we deal with professionally as well as who we associate with in our friendships. Our family physician, dentist and pharmacist are all practicing Catholics. We found it made a difference in the care we received, as an example, we used to have prescriptions filled at a chain pharmacy where the pharmacist, of another faith, routinely sold near to expiry date products and drugs. He refused to exchange a malfunctioning appliance, though handed items off the shelf to those from his own place of worship. I once worked for a doctor from this background who held Christians in low regard, so after a cross country relocation, searching for a new family physician, it was important that I find someone whose morals and ethics were in line with our faith.

    Good point, Fr. Z about having our homes blessed, have had this done, also.

  6. Tim Ferguson says:

    I know of no universal canon law that prohibits non-Catholics from assisting with the music at the Sacred Liturgy. Yet, the directorial position in Deo volente’s comments would ordinarily seem inconsistent with it being held by a non-Catholic. In my home parish, back in the wacky 70’s, we had an Anglican music director, who replaced a Catholic nun. The quality of our liturgical music went up considerably, only to decline again after Mr. Jimison moved on. Even so – and I’m sure there are many anecdotes of non-Catholic music directors who are head and shoulders above certain Catholic ones – I think it is something that should give pause.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is a real difference between a true Catholic music director and someone who treats the choir like a garage band.

    The Chicken

  8. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Tim Ferguson,

    I’m generally in favor of doing what the Law allows if you want to… and I’m not imposing my opinion on others.

    But here I am: I feel it is … odd… to have a non-Catholic non-Catechumen in any liturgical function besides attender, along-singer, and maybe choir-member, but the latter only in very limitted amounts and if it is about personal friends of other choir-members.

    For one thing, it’s the liturgy.

    For another, the money of the Church had better remain within the family.

  9. HyacinthClare says:

    SYMPATHY! I had a delightful new tax client this year … I’d met her when I did some work for her company, she was happy… new client! She showed up with all her information in a bag with Masonic symbols all over it. Let’s say she also thinks I’m a FAST CPA… I wanted that bag out of my house.

  10. Deo volente says:

    Fr. Z. (and other commenters),

    Thank you for the feedback! This individual recently replaced someone who retired after many years of service (and she was very, very orthodox in her musical liturgy). I’ll have to investigate this further as I am not certain that this man is an actual mason. Your comments have simply reinforced my 0wn concerns. This is not my primary Parish, but I do visit it on occasion.

    Pax vobiscum!

  11. MikeM says:

    Where it’s not relevant to the task at hand, I’m uncomfortable with making decisions about who to hire based on outside matters like this. Freemasons, Muslims, neo-pagans, homosexuals, avowed Democrats, etc., all have a right to work to feed themselves and their families. If my pipe leaks, I call a plumber, and I’ll judge him, as a plumber, by the work he does in my house. Whatever he does with the rest of his time just isn’t a factor. For one thing, I’m simply not in a position to investigate everyone I have transactions with. Any assessment I made of most of the people would be based on so little information that it would hardly be just. For another, it’s not like our viewpoints are always popular, guys. How would you feel if you started encountering people who didn’t want Catholics working around them? That seems like a dangerous path to tread.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    When Catholics hire non-Catholics to perform duties in Mass, it drastically weakens the Church’s long-standing position that it is not just ‘any other employer’, but rather that its employees are part of its ministry (c.f. Supreme Court decision Hosanna-Tabor). It is a very slippery slope – and getting slipperier every day – from hiring a non-Catholic music minister to then having to obey hiring/firing EEOC laws, to then having to provide birth control coverage for all of your employees.

    Hiring subcontractors to work on a building who are not Catholic is probably fine, although I agree with Imrahil that it is great, when one can, to keep the money within the parish if possible.

  13. rkingall says:

    I’m with MikeM. I think it’s great if we happen to hire a Catholic, but it’s not a requirement when looking for a repair man or lady.

    So, how does one get their house blessed? Do I ask one of the parish priests to come and do this?

  14. Bea says:

    I changed optometrists because I asked our old one about his ring and he said that was what he was most proud of. Third Degree or something like that. I figured I didn’t want to give him my money.

  15. Ellen says:

    We have had a music director in our parish for years. He was not a Catholic – not even religious, but last year he joined the Church. Something to think about.

  16. Jack Regan says:

    I’d love to have my flat blessed, but my local priests are exceptionally busy and I don’t feel it would be right to add yet another thing to their workloads.

    I may ask again though.

  17. JARay says:

    The question as to whether anything has changed regarding Catholics belonging to the Freemasons comes up from time to time. I cannot quote exactly but I am certain that the prohibition still stands even though there is no explicit detail in Canon Law.
    Catholics may not become Freemasons.
    Freemasonry upholds a Supreme Mason but this being is NOT God.
    Catholics simply may not believe in God AND another Supreme Being!

  18. Giuseppe says:

    Jack, you can always ask your priest to bless your house after you invite him over for a superb dinner, wine, spirits, and a take-home bag filled with leftovers. Take him on a walk through each room right before dessert.

  19. HeatherPA says:

    There are several Papal encyclicals regarding freemasonry and condemning it, just FYI for those who want the official word on it. Also Father John Hardon, S.J. wrote a nice little pamphlet about the heresy of freemasonry and why a Catholic cannot be a Freemason. Just google his name with Freemason. I wish this was brought up in the pulpit once in a while because there is so much rampant confusion regarding this.

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