Freemasons and their craft: What Catholics should know

To see why the Catholic Church has strongly and repeatedly condemned membership in Freemasonry or any of its allied movements requires a glance at Masonic teachings and history.

Left: The Masonic Square and Compasses (us.fotolia.com/Serj Siz`kov); right: Pope Leo XIII, who denounced the Masonic Lodge as “a deceitful and crafty enemy" (Wikipedia).

Many Catholics view Freemasonry as a dangerous—even Satanic—conspiracy founded to destroy the Faith. On the other hand, the Craft likes to present itself as “an ancient Order dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.” Some of the “Brethren” may take that description seriously, depending on which room of the Masonic edifice they inhabit. But the Lodge has many suites, annexes, and outbuildings whose inmates are not necessarily fraternal towards each other, much less filial towards God.

The basic unit of “regular” Freemasonry is the Blue (or Craft) Lodge, which “works” (imparts) the three traditional degrees—Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master. Initiation is the main business of a local Masonic Temple. Members learn grips, signs, and rituals. They re-enact their central myth, the death and resurrection of Hiram Abiff, legendary builder of Solomon’s Temple. With one exception, American local Lodges are grouped in state Grand Lodges that are recognized by the Mother Lodge in London. Master Mason’s wives can join the Order of the Eastern Star, their daughters Job’s Daughters or the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and their sons the Order of the De Molay.

A fervent minority of Anglo-American Masons acquire additional degrees teaching more sophisticated symbolism in separate organizations called Appendant Bodies that are not controlled by the Mother Lodge.  These are the York Rite (10 more grades) and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (30 more grades) which is subdivided into Northern and Southern Jurisdictions. Holders of the highest degrees in either Rite are eligible to join the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) for philanthropy and fun.

Origins and early history

The Craft originated in the British Isles and the overwhelming majority of its members still live in English-speaking countries. According to the Masonic Service Association, there are about 1.2 million Freemasons in the United States, down from a high of 4 million in 1958. Far fewer men in Latin countries belong to the separate Grand Orient system, whose components are not usually recognized by the Mother Lodge. Many fewer still practice forms of “fringe Masonry” such as Co-Masonry, which enrolls both men and women. Prince Hall Lodges, originally for black men, are generally considered “irregular” by American Masons.

To see why the Catholic Church has strongly and repeatedly condemned membership in Freemasonry or any of its allied movements requires a glance at Masonic teachings and history. Freemasons pretend to preserve ancient secrets handed down from Solomon’s builders and pagan mystery cults via the medieval Knights Templar. Some have even identified Adam, Noah, and St. John the Evangelist as Brother Masons.  The Craft claims to offer “Light” unobtainable elsewhere that will perfect the initiate and improve society. Their foremost modern commentator, Henry Wilson Coil, describes Freemasonry as “a system of morality and social ethics, a primitive religion, and a philosophy of life.”

But the real origin of the Craft, as Masonic historians now admit, lies in Renaissance esotericism, injected into the guild traditions developed by medieval stoneworkers. Spurred by interest in the symbolic possibilities of architecture, men who were not professional stonemasons (“non-operatives”) began joining workmen’s lodges in Scotland in the 1590s. These fellowships had just been turned into permanent organizations by the king’s chief builder, a Catholic named William Schaw. Professor David Stevenson has amply documented this transformation in The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s century 1590-1710 (Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Lodges of “nonoperative” Freemasons appeared in England in the 1640s, attracting gentry and intellectuals of varying religions to the Craft. In 1717, four London Lodges united as the Grand Lodge of England, which issued constitutions in 1723 and became the Mother Lodge of all regular Masons. Spreading throughout the world, Freemasonry reached the Continent by 1721 and America by 1730. Exiled Scottish supporters of the Catholic Stuarts brought the Craft to France, where it proved especially popular among aristocrats and men receptive to the Enlightenment.

The Lodge’s initial appeal was as a place for men of different faiths to socialize and speculate in peace, for discussing religion and politics was forbidden. Haydn, Mozart, and many other luminaries joined. But avoiding sectarian disputes inevitably pushed Freemasonry towards mere Deism. Its seldom-mentioned God was the Great Architect of the Universe, reachable by reason alone. Belief in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul was all that was required of eighteenth-century regular Freemasons.

English and Northern European Freemasonry retained these vague beliefs and functioned as a lowest-common-denominator religion “in which all men agree.” They even displayed the Bible during their rituals as the “Volume of the Sacred Law.” They were staunch supporters of the prevailing social establishment. Until recently, they dominated politics, the professions, the military, finance, and even the police. Prior to Prince Charles, many English royals were keen Masons as were some Anglican bishops. Martin Short’s Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons is a good survey of their influence in the United Kingdom.

During the American Revolution, more Masons were Loyalists than Patriots but these did include such Founding Fathers as Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, and Monroe. (John Adams, however, denounced the Craft.) Surprisingly, Freemasonry also enrolled Daniel Carroll, one of only two Catholics at the Constitutional Convention, brother of America’s first bishop, Archbishop  John Carroll of Baltimore, and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence. In the Carrolls’ defense, papal condemnations of Freemasonry had not yet been officially proclaimed in America.

The 1826 disappearance of a New York man who had revealed the Crafts’s secrets sparked a brief outburst of anti-Masonic feeling but the Lodges were soon popular again. Over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American Catholics suffered from the Craft’s hostility as American Freemasons turned Nativist and anti-Catholic. They were conspicuous in both the original and the revived Ku Klux Klan. The Knights of Columbus, founded by Fr. Michael J. McGivney in 1882, offered Catholics an alternative to the Lodge.

American Masons came to hold disproportionate power at all levels of government, including the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court. They led the fight against parochial schools and demanded absolute separation of Church and State. Networks of influence among Masons stifled competition from outsiders in business and the professions. Lodge membership became a badge of middle-class Protestant respectability at the peak of Freemasonry’s popularity, 1920-1960.

Freemasonry and anti-Catholicism

Meanwhile, the Grand Orient Lodges of France, Iberia, and Latin America were building a far grimmer anti-Catholic edifice. They attracted men hostile to both Church and State who found Masonic structures and secrecy useful for political subversion. Masons were prominent in the French Revolution and the Irish rising of 1798. They helped lead the South American revolts against Spain as well as the unification of Italy. Discarding even the pretense of Deism, Grand Orient Lodges ceased to revere the Bible or any Volume of Sacred Law. They dominated the bitterly anti-clerical French Third Republic (1870-1940) that confiscated all Church property in France. They persecuted and slaughtered Catholics after the Mexican Revolution and during the Spanish Civil War. Even in today’s European Union, Masons favor radical secularization.

Outraged by these activities, conspiracy-minded Catholics have claimed that they are all part of a vast “Judeo-Masonic plot” that also created Communism. Works by the prolific Irish priest, Fr. Denis Fahey, such as The Kingdom of Christ and Organized Naturalism (1943) are typical of such material. They argue that Old Testament references and Hebrew words in Lodge rituals prove Jewish origins of the Craft. But the founders of Freemasonry were Christians Scots and its Constitutions were prepared by a Protestant clergyman. Not only is Marxism an entirely different entity, Communist regimes have always suppressed Masonry, as did Hitler and Mussolini. The Craft, however, could be criticized as an influence or template for Theosophy, some themes in New Age thought, and Wicca as developed by Gerald Gardner.

Fear of “Judeo-Masonry” and its ilk clouds analysis of the Craft’s intrinsic and irremediable flaws: Relativism and Naturalism. Blue Lodge Freemasonry treats all religions alike but inferior to the “Light” it offers to its select Brethren. They trust reason alone, not supernatural revelation. But Christians know that salvation comes from the real Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, not the dubious legend of Hiram Abiff.

Furthermore, the higher degrees of Masonry’s Appendant Bodies are frankly blasphemous. The Royal Arch Degree of the York Rite reveals that the true name of God is JAH-BUL-ON, a fusion of the Hebrew Jaweh (Yaweh) with the names of pagan gods Baal and Osiris. The Scottish Rite’s eighteenth degree (Rose Croix) reinterprets the Cross and its I.N.R.I inscription as pagan symbols. A candidate for the thirtieth degree (Knight Kadosh) must trample the papal tiara crying: “Down with Imposture!” He vows to propagate light and overthrow “superstition, fanaticism, imposture, and intolerance,” qualities implicitly identified with Christianity, especially Catholic Christianity.  The best Catholic apologetics work against the Lodge is Christianity and American Freemasonry(Ignatius Press) by William J. Whalen.

From the time Freemasonry penetrated Europe, the Catholic Church has watched and warned against it. In 1738, Pope Clement XII condemned the Craft for its reliance on mere natural virtue while ignoring Christ’s unique role as Savior. Pope Clement also denounced the rash, blood-curdling oaths demanded of members to protect trivial Lodge secrets. Ironically, those precious secrets are anything but secret. All the details have been revealed numerous times, for example in ex-Mason Walton Hannah’s Darkness Visible: A Christian Appraisal of Freemasonry.

Pope Clement decreed that Catholics who joined the Masons were excommunicated with reconciliation reserved to the pope. Unfortunately, this had little effect because the rule was not published in every country, nor was it taken seriously where it was published. Eight subsequent popes had to repeat the message, most forcefully Leo XIII in his 1884 encyclical, Humanum genus. Denouncing the Lodge as “a deceitful and crafty enemy,” Pope Leo declared: “Let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them.” This stern prohibition was included in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

After the Second Vatican Council, however, the long antagonism between the Church and the Lodge seemed to be easing.  A reinterpretation of the anti-Masonic canons in 1974 led some Catholics to think that only Masonic groups actively plotting against the Church were forbidden to them.

This liberalization was sadly ill-timed. Some notable Freemasons had been conspiring against the Vatican through its bank. In March of 1981, two of Pope Paul VI’s top financial advisors—known all along as Masons—were unmasked as members of a secret Lodge called Propaganda Due (P2) that was preparing a fascist takeover of Italy. Both men later died mysteriously, probably murdered. The Vatican lost 240 million dollars with the collapse of its bank.

The P2 Lodge, which was a scam on Italian Grand Orient Masonry as well as the Church, enrolled 953 members including high ranking figures in government, the military, security services, academe, business, law, media, and finance. None were churchmen. Although an argument from silence does not completely debunk the existence of Ecclesiastical Masonry, a bugaboo so dear to Italians and Radical Traditionalists, the evidence is suggestive.

Coincidentally or otherwise, Rome had already been having second thoughts. Just before the P2 scandal broke, local bishops had been warned in 1981 that they had no authority to judge the character of local Masonic associations and relax the old strictures. Although the new Code of Canon Law issued in 1983 did not mention the Craft or similar groups by name, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith firmly reiterated the old ban on 26 November, 1983: “The Church’s negative position on Masonic associations therefore remains unaltered since their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church’s doctrine.” Pope John Paul II ordered this rule incorporated in Church law. The bishops of the United States reported the same conclusion in 1985: one cannot be both a Catholic and a Freemason.

Numerous other Christian bodies also condemn Freemasonry, including many Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists, and Orthodox followers of the Holy Synod of Greece. Even the Mormons, originally influenced by Masonry, condemn the Craft.

The Catholic Church and the Lodge can never be reconciled. Freemasonry teaches a rival religion of Naturalism, whether it plots, persecutes, blasphemes, engages in philanthropy, or behaves politely. It treats all religions as equal but inferior to its own Gnostic wisdom. Alas, the vaunted profundity on offer never manifests itself from the shadows of secrecy. Even after a man has taken every degree known in the Masonic mansion, he will be no more enlightened than when he began, but considerably farther from the true Light. The Great Architect the Universe of Deism and Freemasonry is not the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—of Christians.

(Editor’s note: The final sentence of this article was revised on February 8th for clarification. This article appeared in somewhat different form in The Catholic Answer, July/August, 2006.)

About Sandra Miesel 14 Articles
Sandra Miesel is an American medievalist and writer. She is the author of hundreds of articles on history and art, among other subjects, and has written several books, including The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code, which she co-authored with Carl E. Olson.

37 Comments

  1. I am astonished, I am a convinced Catholic, and whilst I am also a Mason and back in 1983 I became Worshipful Master of my Mother Lodge, in the Republic of Ireland, there was never anything within the Ritual, which suggested incompatibility with Christ’s teachings. I would suggest that Irish Masonry, which has its own Constitution, was used as a social meeting point for Protestants, where they could relax and at least once a month fraternise socially with their co-religonists in a colonised and subjugated country. The Great Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, and activist for Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s, and a member of the British Parlaiment, was a Free Mason. Irish Masonry, as are Scottish and English Masonry, totally unrelated to the Anti-Clericalism of the Jacobin Clubs of Continental Masonry, especially France.

    france

    • I believe that the Bible is the Truth that will settle your discussion. 1st Commandment. Though shall have no other God’s before thee. If you pledge allegiance or honor anything before Christ you are breaking that commandment. Worshiping anything represents an idol and the Bible is full of scriptures against idolotry, worshiping money, self, other gods etc.

      • I have been a mason for fourteen years.I have joined what call Chapter, I have also Joined the Red Cross of Constantine. This is a Christian degree as the name might reflect. There has never been any attempt or words spoken that suggest that God and Jesus are not the true God. But other than the Red Cross there is no real promotion of Jesus. This allows good men and women to meet without offending each other over their own belief. I believe in Jesus but I accept that others may not. I would like them to follow Jesus but respect that they do not wish to. We will all meet our God oneway I hope, maybe it is one God portrayed differently by different religions. But I know for sure that although I am not best friends with every mason I meet I respect their religious and Political beliefs by not discussing it or mentioning mine.

    • I am also a Mason (32nd Degree Scottish Rite, 10th Degree York Rite). So you know, you cannot be a Mason unless you believe in a single God (ie. you can be a Christian, Muslim, or Jew). To suggest that Masonry spread secularization is absolutely absurd. What it did, however, it fight the Catholic Church on points of freedom. Because of that, they were labelled as heretics and executed.

      Also, you missed the starting point of Masonry by several hundred years. Masonry dates back to at least the Crusades. Originally, the Freemasons were the Knights Templar, who worked for the Catholic Church. This was until the King of France, Philip IV, and Pope Clement V conspired to try to take power away from the growing regime by force, and steal all the gold they had acquired when excavating the old Jewish Temple at the same time. They invited the heads of the Masons and Crusaders to a banquet to lure them in, and then immediately imprisoned them. After torturing them under false accusations, they burned the leader, Jacques de Molay, at the stake on Friday the 13th. As he burned, he cursed both the Pope and the King, that they would die horrible deaths within a year – and they both did. This was used by the Catholic church to demonize Masons, and they did their very best to hunt them down – but many escaped, and the lodges lived on.
      History:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trials_of_the_Knights_Templar#Charges_against_the_Templars

      I should mention that when Pope Clement V died, the chapel his body was in was struck by lightning, and the building burned down. Not only that, but what they recovered of his body was unrecognizable. This was not a man of God, it was Satan incarnate.

  2. David Heaney, As you have noted, there is a big difference between American Freemasonry and the Grand Lodge of the Orient.

      • You must not be a Mason! You’ve no idea what you are speaking about! I am a Christian and I have never heard or seen and thing that would refer to the death burial or resurrection of my savior Jesus Christ!

      • Wow you really sound informed. Try spelling the man’s name correctly next time you decide to grace us with your endless knowledge.

        • “Try spelling the man’s name correctly”

          Since the man is a complete figment of the imagination, the spelling of his name isn’t exactly relevant.

  3. Keep in mind any of the “Grand Orient” lodges are considered Co-Masonry and NOT compatable with Regular Masons. Membership within one of the Grand Orient lodges is grounds for expulsion. Much of the basis of this article for vilifying Freemasons is based upon the actions of those irregular lodges. Much of this article is inaccurate.

    • Confusion mixing some truth with lies is the part of the luceferian deception of freemasonry. There may be some truth in what you say bill but dont be decieved freemasonry is witchcraft and no practicer of witchcraft shall inherit the kingdom of heaven repent while you are still alive before its to late

    • Correct, and without exception.
      What is the truth is I am a Freemason in California and ny adult daughter, most recently after being a member of the Eastern Star for sometime decided she wanted to become a Catholic , unfortunately she is being treated for “anxiety” as she has likely destroyed her mind when in years earlier was a heavy user of methamphetamine. Now, after going through “Catholic instruction” she claims Masons are devil worshipers and their symbols are pentagrams. Also, she now says I am evil, and I’m “reading her”, my eyes glow red and making other delusional statements. I am a Christian, attend church regularly, and most certainly do not look down on others. The history of Catholic church includes contracting with the Knights Templar, to carry out the Christian Crusades, who were giving license to pillage and to bring their booty to the Vatican. The Templars became early-on were speculative members Masons as the “church” in it’s attempt to separate from the brutality of the Templars, denounced them and put any whuch could be identified to death. So in the Templars defense, they were taken in by the Freemasons, and therefore able to travel freely from country to country, to work as stone masons. The twisted rationale is obviously a deflection of the truth and continues today. Now it is destroying my family.

    • Nobody asks or commands you to serve anyone in Freemasonry. Yes, there is a man in charge, referred to as the Worshipful Master, but the word Master refers to the head of the Lodge and in fact he represents King Solomon but more practically, as in operative Masonry, the Master of the works on the site. He is not “worshipped”, because the word “Worshipful” in this context, means “worthy of respect” as if addressing a man as “Your Worship” when speaking to a man who is a Judge or a Mayor.

      Indeed as a Mason, it is expected that you continue to WORSHIP whichever God you worshipped before you joined Masonry. If you are a Jew who then joins Masonry, you are expected to be Jewish.. if you are Sikh, you are expected to remain a Sikh, if you are Muslim, you are expected to remain a Muslim. In fact, I have been to Masonic meetings all over the world where men from completely opposing factions.. yes even Arabs and Jews sit as brothers and friends. Now that has GOT to be a good thing!

      The problem with the Catholic Church, is that there are far too many people in it who simply want to swell the numbers through complete and utter devotion. Not for the salvation of the soul, but more numbers = more control = more “charitable donations” made to the Church from people who can usually ill afford them. And because Freemasonry is secular with no reference to what religion you are… indeed the discussion of religion and politics are forbidden at a meeting…the Catholic Church sees it as an enemy.

      I guarantee you, there is NO Masonic religion. There is no mention of a particular God…. just a generic word or two for whichever God you believe in. We have men of all faiths meeting together, so to use a specific word which one religion uses for it’s Supreme Being, would exclude others who hold a different faith. We are about unity, not division. No anti-church talk (remember, I said no talk of religion or politics) but it seems to me that millions of Catholics are taking as read, the directions of whichever Pope it may be without THINKING FOR THEMSELVES! This guy (whoever it may be) CANNOT know what Freemasonry is about… he can GUESS, certainly but unless he joins he can never know. Anyone that gives direction as serious as excommunication from the Church without KNOWING what Freemasonry is,is simply insulting the billions of followers of the Catholic faith around the world and should be ASHAMED of himself.

      • You’re an enemy of the catholic church

        Your own words convict you…
        “The problem with the Catholic Church, is that there are far too many people in it who simply want to swell the numbers through complete and utter devotion.”

        A lie with a half truth or distinction without a difference.
        Not for the salvation of the soul, but more numbers = more control = more “charitable donations” made to the Church from people who can usually ill afford them.

        A lie a And complete ignorance.
        “because Freemasonry is secular with no reference to what religion you are… indeed the discussion of religion and politics are forbidden at a meeting…the Catholic Church sees it as an enemy.” lie gaotu is your god; you call your place a masonic temple, you have an altar, vestments and rituals…..

      • Very good read brother. I myself was interested due to the unity and the brotherhood. I advise lodge 500 for a visit. It’s the 2nd oldest lodge in the world and one I gladly visit monthly. God bless.

    • If I were catholic I would worry more about the log in my own eye than than a popular fraternity, as I also agree one cannot serve two masters. So which is it? Do Catholics serve Jesus or the pope? Who is infallible again? Sounds like blasphemy to me.

      • We serve God, of course, and since He saw fit to establish the Church and appoint a Vicar, who was to be succeeded in an unbroken line, we aren’t so arrogant as to inform God that we don’t like His arrangements and therefore will disobey His Church and His Vicar.

    • That’s great that you do, Dave, because from long long experience, I can guarantee that the Catholic Church does not. I URGE you to think for yourself… and after thought, if you come down on the side of disagreeing with Freemasonry, then that’s absolutely fine. But at least you will have reached that conclusion yourself, rather than blindly following the directions of someone who cannot possibly know what on Earth he is talking about.

      I can’t REALLY blame him though..because if the Holy Father comes out and says “actually, it’s ok to be a Catholic and a Mason”, he will have undermined all the previous Popes who have banned it. The poor man is on a hiding to nothing here if you ask me. He would be saying that you cannot trust the word of all those before him who have condemned Freemasonry… so if you cannot trust them… why should you trust him now?

        • Thank you very much for that link. My husband’s father was very active in Freemasonary as is his mother now. I am convinced there is something very diabolical with this organization. They are secretive, like why does my mother in law have to vow to keep secrets of a “club” she bakes cookies for. Why is one of the initiation rites involve baring your left breast. Why is another initiation rite involve allowing a noose to be placed around your neck as you vow fealty to the organization. I also have read many accounts of generational curses regarding this organization. And both of their sons have had problems with health, alcohol, drugs, the law education and employment. Now my mother in law is involving my nephew and this alarms me. I also have questioned her that if this is so secular, why do they have alters, temples, have pagents involving biblical renderings. I don’t want anything masonic around me because in my judgement it’s cursed.

  4. It is saddening to see the continued promulgation of misunderstandings (and some falsehoods) related to the Masonic fraternity.

    “Prince Hall Lodges, originally for black men, are generally considered “irregular” by American Masons.”
    This is false. Forty-two states recognize Prince Hall Lodges, with the remaining eight in the Old Confederacy (and who have a tendency not to recognize anyone who recognizes African American Masons). So, generally speaking, Masons do recognize Prince Hall Lodges. Additionally, African Americans are free to join regular lodges in those 42 states.

    “Their foremost modern commentator, Henry Wilson Coil, describes Freemasonry as “a system of morality and social ethics, a primitive religion, and a philosophy of life.””
    It is worth noting that Henry Wilson Coil was a Brother himself, but more importantly, his words are only barely true. Freemasonry is not a religion, as we do not claim to provide a path for salvation, nor do we claim that our laws come from God himself. We only require that brothers believe in a Supreme Being, whether it is Jehovah, Allah, or God. That is the limit of our concern with regards to religion.

    “Its seldom-mentioned God was the Great Architect of the Universe, reachable by reason alone.”
    First off, lodge begins with prayer, ends with prayer, and each degree has prayer woven into it. God is mentioned throughout the meeting, but different religions are not. Additionally, we do not claim that God is “reachable by reason alone” since no religion is about reason. Faith is the foundation of religion. Moreover, we do not claim that God is reachable through Masonry (since we don’t preach a path to salvation). We seek to improve ourselves on Earth, with working tools and brotherhood completely independent of our respective religions. There are no laws that affect our personal salvation.

    “In March of 1981, two of Pope Paul VI’s top financial advisors—known all along as Masons—were unmasked as members of a secret Lodge called Propaganda Due (P2) that was preparing a fascist takeover of Italy.”
    If it was a “secret lodge”, then it is what regular Mason’s would refer to as “clandestine”. That means that it is not recognized by a Grand Lodge, and thus is not a Masonic lodge. Its just a bunch of jerks who wanted to masquerade as Masons.

    “The Catholic Church and the Lodge can never be reconciled. Freemasonry teaches a rival religion of Naturalism… It treats all religions as equal but inferior to its own Gnostic wisdom… The Great Architect the Universe of Deism and Freemasonry is not the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—of Christians.”

    This is, however, the greatest falsehood of all. We teach no religion, just as the Eagle Scouts teach no religion and college fraternities teach no religion. We regard no religion as inferior. Indeed, we are told to pray where we feel closest to God (which, for me, a baptized and confirmed Catholic, happens to be the Catholic Church). The Trinity is represented multiple times throughout the various degrees of Masonry AND its appendant organizations. The York Rite candidates pledge to defend the Christian Church in the higher degrees. The Catholic Church and Freemasonry have few differences to reconcile, since they do not address the same topics.

  5. As a historian I think I can safely say that more humanity has been prosecuted in the name of God than possibly by any other means; in this process the Catholic Church has had a leading role. The killed by all means is estimated from 50 million to 100 million. I don’t see how Free Masonry can complete with this record.

    Perhaps Free Masonry is not a threat to the Church; I understand the first requirement is that you must believe in God; to do so must require the dame basic beliefs.

    Since the Church has gradually throw out one by one the foundation principals of the original Catholic Faith who knows what is next; maybe the Pope is a Mason.

    • Killed “in the name of God” is a very vague and convenient category. Does that apply, say, to ancient Babylonians, Persians, and Assyrians? When it comes to the Catholic Church, the common example thrown out is the Spanish Inquisition; some still claim that “millions” were killed by the Inquisition. But we now know, due to the work of both secular and Christian scholars, that less than 10,000 (some say 3,000-5,000) people were executed during a three hundred year span during the Inquisition.

      In comparison, Communism alone (especially in the Soviet Union, Communist China, and Cambodia) is estimated to have killed between 75-100 million in just a few decades. Then there is National Socialism. Etc.

  6. I don’t see how you can be a Catholic and a Freemason, at some point the vows made will surely conflict. Also if I were a member of a secret society I’d wonder why it was secret, I make no secret of being a Catholic.

  7. The only secrets are the three modes of recognition. And that was carried on from the working masons. Masonry to my knowledge is to teach self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. And engaging in rituals or prayer is an act of Religio (re-connecting) Soul to Spirit. Personally I have Experienced the state of consciousness described by WT Stace as Extroverted Mystical Experience.I had joined the masons afterwards,and because the experience was not set in any form of dogma i thought the masons would be my best bet. I think Thomas Merton may have had simular motives.

  8. Yes I can understand how you can condemn Free Masonry, but I have a question how is this possible when there is a list of the Catholic Church leaders along with their photos attending Masonic meetings, with one Popes actual application to join Free Masonry, a listing of several felonywho were FreeMasons, a list containing approximately 700 names and titles of members of the Clergy including Bishops and Cardinals who all joined Masonry since 1972. Also the actual condemnation of FreeMasonry by Pope Pius IX who was a Mason until he committed a Felony in Tuscany after which he was expelled from Masonry “as no convicted Felon can be a Mason”. He within 1 year changed his condemnation to “No one plotting against the Catholic Church can be considered a Catholic. This information for anyone interested can be found by contacting the Vatican Library and requesting … Cephas Apologetic, I Banchieri di Dio, Unitatis Redintegration, Nostra Aetate, Verbum Traditionis, Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo. This is only a few of the documents related to Masonry that can be obtained directly from the Vatican Library and Vault with proper assistance.

    • Vincent, it would be easier to discuss your comment if it were written coherently; proofreading is your friend.

      As to that ridiculous canard about Pope Pius IX: it has been debunked repeatedly; including even in The Freemason’s Chronicle, January 16, 1892, p. 37.

      As to the documents you mention: what exactly are the points you are trying to make? For example, Nostra Aetate, which is one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, says nothing at all about Masonry. Ditto Unitatis Redintegration. “Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo” is the bull promulgated by Pope Pius VII in 1821 condemning Freemasonry. “I Banchieri di Dio” is a movie, not a document in the Vatican library. ” Cephas Apologetic” seems to be a catalogue put out by some anti-Catholic group. You’ve wadded together a jumble of things, most of which are not at all germane to the issue at hand, and presented them as if they were an argument in support of your position, whatever it is.

      I know you’re wrong because this information for anyone interested can be found by contacting the local public library and requesting… Archie Comics, Going My Way, Luctuosissimi Eventus, Inter Mirifica, Quo Graviora. This is only a few of the documents mostly unrelated to the topic at hand that can be obtained directly from, like, just about anybody, without assistance.

      Yes, I’m mocking you, but only because your post is so eminently mockable.

  9. I was raised in a Masonic family—parents and grandparents. My sister and I were in Rainbow and both of us received the highest award (Grand Cross of Color) and my brothers were in Demolay, one of which received the highest award granted (Chevalier). Three of us has continued onto Eastern Star and Masonry.
    What can be so wrong in promoting love, religion, nature, immortality, fidelity, patriotism and service—the teachings of Rainbow where a bible verse is recited for each characteristic? We were encouraged to be active in our church and learned how to provide for others not as well off as us.
    Eastern Star is about 5 women of the Bible—Adah (daughter), Ruth (widow who Naomi helps), Esther (wife who saved the Jewish race), Martha (sister of Lazarus), and the lady Elect (mother)—the woman asked to stomp on the cross by Roman soldiers but instead she held it to her buxom and cast her eyes upward, willing to give her life for the love of her Savior.
    My husband was a ‘cradle’ Catholic who became a Mason. When asked by his father about joining a ‘secret’ group, my husband asked his dad about the Knights of Columbus’ oath to which he was told that his dad couldn’t share what their oath as. My husband then asked about the KofC’s secret work only to be told it couldn’t be shared. So who is secret? Ask any collegiate fraternity or sorority and they have secret work. The Masonic organization, in my viewpoint, help teaches a man how to be a better man—love your god, your wife and your family.
    I feel that if the Masonic organization wasn’t so visible, society and Catholics would have to find something else to bash. Are you aware that to be a Shriner (the organization that supports those wonderful Shriner hospitals for children) you must be a Mason. For those events where a few men who have done ‘bad’, remember that we all have free will and that an irganization cannot be held to the wrongdoings of a few individuals, especially those that hide in those clandestine groups allowing others to believe that they are Masons when in fact they are not—these groups are cowards.
    And what of the Pope and French king that felt that the Knights Templar had too much power and the Knights Templars needed to be annillated? Why would a Pope agree to such horrendous acts—in the name of the Church?
    Face it—ignorance breeds fear and it is the fear that many religions use to control humankind.
    And by the way, I was raised Protestsnt and became Catholic 12 years ago; and, yes, I am still a member of the Eastern Star organization. I almost didn’t become Catholic when the Deacon of my Parish found out that my Catholic-raised husband had become a Mason—his replies made me think that maybe becoming Catholic wasn’t for me if they felt that my upbringing was so evil. I turned out a responsible adult with moral values, knowing what is right and what is wrong. I did become Catholic after finding out that there are other Catholics in Masonic groups. I understand the importance that the Pope represents, but I also know that he is a man and that he strives for perfection like the rest of us. We all have secrets that we have hidden for years, and being from a Masonic family is not one that will send me to Hell.

  10. Interestingly, a number of Protestants, including flaming anti-Catholic ones, share the same low opinion of Masonry. Websites all over the place!

  11. As written in the book “Fatima Mysteries” by Gazegorz Gorny, Ignatius Press:(Fr. Maximilian Kolbe…in Rome on Feb. 17, 1917) saw Masonic “demonstrators…carrying standards with an image of Lucifer and Michael the Archangel at his feet. They were shouting slogans, claiming that the devil would shortly begin to rule in the Vatican and that the Pope would serve him as a doorman.” So much for fraternal good will toward all. Masonic anti-Catholicism was behind the political persecution of Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco by the atheistic state. The Knights of Columbus may have some sort of “secret work [word?]” that can’t be shared but it has no history whatsoever of anything anti-Christ. Its very basis for being is to be a good Catholic.

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