ASK FATHER: Can a Catholic help children with dyslexia through a Masonic organization?

From a priest…


I have a parishioner who wants to help children with dyslexia and has found an opportunity with the Children’s Dyslexia Center in ___.

It is affiliated with the Scottish Rite Freemasons. My parishioner wants to know if he, a Catholic, is permitted to affiliate with Freemasonry in this way. He’s not joining them, but I am uncertain on how I should guide him. Please help.

Catholics cannot be Freemasons.  Period.

Freemasonry is not just an organization of civic minded gentlemen (and ladies, these days) who wear cute outfits and do nice things for the community.

While many Freemason groups (especially in North America) do indeed do good things for the community, the organization as a whole is ordered against orthodox Christian belief, and against the Catholic Church in particular.  Freemasonry in it’s most serious form is an enemy of the Catholic Church.

Now many good and reasonable non-Catholic folks join the Freemasons without ascribing to (or even understanding) the profoundly anti-Christian, anti-Catholic basis of Freemasonry itself. They remain good people, with generally good hearts.

In many places in North America, where Freemasonry doesn’t usually manifest in its more virulent forms (as it does in Europe), the Masons do many laudable things, things that might even cause a Catholic to wish to support.

Catholics, while forbidden to join the Freemasons, are not forbidden by Church law to associate with Freemasons. One may have Freemason neighbors. One may invite them to dinner and go over to their houses for dinner. If the Freemasons are helping to build a neighbor’s barn, one may even cooperate closely by handing the mason nails, holding up a post, or providing delicious lemonade to the thirsty mason builders.  Prudence is needed.

There are many hospitals and other care facilities, as well as schools and educational institutions founded and operated by Freemasons. The “Shriners” are a type of Freemasonry.  They have excellent children’s hospitals.  That said, all things being equal, if there are also available a similar Catholic facilities, a Catholic should be inclined to support “our own”.  Right?

That not being the case in this situation, one can – prudently – work with the Freemasons on a good work, such as assisting children with dyslexia.

The intention is to help children, not to help Masonry.

It is good, before doing so, that this person has consulted his pastor. I encourage that conversation to continue. If, while working for the Freemasonic charity, there begins to be evidence of pressure to join the Masons, or any dastardly events, one’s cooperation with the Freemasons should be reconsidered.  It would be a good idea constantly to review the content of the Faith by using a good catechism in order to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, etc.  Prudence is needed.

Wearing a scapular, a Miraculous Medal, or St. Benedict Medal whilst engaged in work with the Masons would also be a good idea.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Mike Morrow says:

    That is excellent and very reasonable advice, in my opinion. It counsels a path that is optimal for all parties involved.

  2. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    President Reagan was a Freemason, and he was probably the most pro-Catholic president, in my opinion, since Harry Truman.

    Let’s play “Would You Rather?”

    Would you rather read the National Catholic Reporter, or attend a civic meeting held at a local Masonic temple?

    Would you prefer that your daughter brought home a Mason or a contributor to Commonweal magazine?

  3. Br. Augustine of Nubia says:


    Neither on both counts.
    Find this book and read it.

    Reagan was added to this sect several years into his presidency. I think he was made an honorary member. The book does mention it in the conclusion.

    My family’s land, Mexico has been oppressed by this sect for many ages now. They never apologize

  4. yatzer says:

    I am reasonably sure I know the program under discussion. The Masons just provide financial support and a place to work with the students. The analogy with a hospital works rather well, on a smaller level of course. There are several thoroughly Catholic people who work in the program and they reached the same conclusion. The Masons do provide support, but do not directly operate the program. I hope that helps.

  5. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Br. Augustine, I am familiar with the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico under President Calles, a Freemason and atheist. (Is anyone surprised that by the end of his life, he became a fascist and spiritualist?)

    However, at least in the United States today, I don’t believe that most rank-and-file Freemasons pose any threat to Catholics.

Comments are closed.