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Our readers asked:

Can I Be a Catholic and a Freemason?

Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:

Question: I’ve heard it said fairly often that if someone joins the Freemasons, they can be excommunicated from the Church. Is that true? Why is Freemasonry such a bad thing in the Church’s eyes? I am a Catholic, and I love the Church, but I’ve also thought about joining the Freemasons, until I heard this.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that traces its origins to the loose organization of medieval stonemasonry. Today, in the United States, the Fraternity is divided between fifty-one Grand Lodges (one for each State, plus Washington DC), which taken together have a total membership of just under two million.

Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it is neither a religion nor a substitute for one. “There is no separate Masonic God”, nor a separate proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry.

Regular Freemasonry requires that its candidates believe in a Supreme Being, but the interpretation of this term is subject to the conscience of the candidate. Consequently, Freemasonry accepts men from across the range of world religions.

Although members of various faiths cite objections, certain Christian denominations have had high profile negative attitudes to Masonry, banning or discouraging their members from being Freemasons.

The Roman Catholic Church has the longest history of objection to Freemasonry. The objections raised are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine.

What is Deism? Deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge. Deism gained prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of the Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and America—among intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in one god, but found fault with organized religion and could not believe in supernatural events such as miracles, the inerrancy of Scriptures, or the Trinity.

A number of Papal pronouncements have been issued against Freemasonry. The first was Pope Clement XII’s in 1738; the most recent was by Pope Leo in 1890. The 1917 Cole of Canon Law explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication and also forbade books friendly to Freemasonry.

In 1983, the Church issued a new Code of Canon Law. Unlike its predecessor, it did not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies. This omission of Masonic orders caused both Catholics and Freemasons to believe that the ban on Catholics becoming Freemasons may have been lifted. However, the matter was clarified in November 1983 when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which states:

“… the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.”

In 1996 the Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, published a list of organizations in which membership by Catholics was forbidden. The Freemasons were on that list, and the Vatican backed the issuance of the list.

There was also a six-year study of Masonry by the German bishops and a study of American Masonry by Professor William Whalen, who was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pastoral Research and Practices Committee. Both studies arrived at a similar conclusion: That the principles and basic rituals of Masonry embody a naturalistic religion in which active participation was judged to be incompatible with Christian faith and practice.
Thus, from a Catholic perspective, there is still a ban on Catholics joining Masonic Lodges. Are Catholics alone in this among Christians? No, but in contrast to Catholic allegations of rationalism and naturalism, Protestant objections are more likely to be based on allegations of mysticism and occultism.

In 1933, the Orthodox Church of Greece officially declared that being a Freemason constitutes an act of apostasy and thus, until he repents, the person involved with Freemasonry cannot partake of the Eucharist. This has been generally affirmed throughout the whole Orthodox Church. The Orthodox critique of Freemasonry agrees with both the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions: “Freemasonry cannot be at all compatible with Christianity as far as it is a secret organization, acting and teaching in mystery and secret and deifying rationalism.”
Regular Freemasonry has traditionally not responded to these claims. In recent years, however, this has begun to change, with some Masonic websites and publications addressing these criticisms. In this era of dialogue, perhaps it’s time for a new one between Freemasonry and the Christian churches.

The Author : Thomas Ryan, CSP
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, D.C.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • aburgess

    One simple question, Is the history of masonery as open and out there as the history of the Catholic Church is? We have all learned about some of the Catholic Church’s Contributions to history both good and bad in school but on the other hand are masons whether good or bad really mentioned much?

  • aburgess

    Your statement clearly shows your ignorance of what the Catholic Church teachs. It has been said the 10′s of thousands of people hate the Church for what they believe she teaches but fewer than a 100 people hate the Church for what she truly teaches. It is sad how true that statement is and sad how few Catholics truly know what their Church teaches.

  • kevin

    Two Words “Do Good” .

  • Susan Anne

    It’s patently false to claim the Catholic church states “if you cannot convert another person you are not to associate with them.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you want to know what the Catholic church really believes, go to the real teaching documents. It is the fact, sadly, that most Catholics have little accuracy in explaining what Catholics believe. Every Catholic is required to learn and understand (and be able to give a reason for) what Catholics believe….but few do this. So be careful about making presumptions based on something you heard somebody who is “catholic” say, or something you read about Catholicism from facebook newsfeeds, flash news sites, or other anti-Catholic sites, etc.

  • Gregory Bellarmine+

    “secret organization, acting and teaching in mystery and secret and deifying rationalism”

    How many lies in one sentence. Breathtaking and terrifying.

    I ask only – How do you hate so much and so blindly? Why? In this 21st century of so much sectarian violence can we not see how exaggeration can incite many to acts of cruelty to one’s neighbors?

    How can you not recognise your vitriol? Does the poison not make you question if this is the best way for one to exist in this ephemeral little life of ours?

    You are basing your critique on total fabrications, so why do you persist in requiring a scapegoat to attack?

    You must strive to come up with a more sophisticated way to explain the dynamics of the world and the state of your church within it. To blame what are in the main middle aged men muddling along to old age for all the ails the world is a juvenile viewpoint not worthy of any serious theological academic.

    Given that all ritual is available for scrutiny in many libraries and online, Masonry is in no way secret. Nor are its membership rolls kept secret – stored centrally yes but hardly locked away in Fort Knox!

    As for defying rationalism, that could not be further from the truth. By its encouraging striving for human equality and to delve into the riches scientific exploration alongside living by one’s moral creed.

    And yes structurally it isn’t authoritarian but democratic and helped ideologically inspire modern democracies around the world. (You’re welcome by the way)

    But please, how dare you false characterize as “evil” a benevolent organisation that gives millions to charities, hospitals etc and inspires the pursuit of human dignity for all wherever lodges may be permitted to flourish.

    You sir are out of order. And if you truly believe that masonry is a religion (which it is not) then you are committing a heinous act of religious discrimination and supporting others on the effort to join you in your hate-filled cause.

    May God forgive you sir.

    • MidclassTaxpayr

      It says, “…deifying rationalism,” NOT “defying rationalism.” There’s a vast difference in the meaning. The first instance means to equate rationalism with God. The second means to defy rationalism, or be irrational.

    • powersystems1961

      Well said! brother

  • Denis Saint Paris

    >>>”In this era of dialogue, perhaps it’s time for a new one between Freemasonry and the Christian churches.”<<<
    Perhaps it's time for Fr. Ryan to remain faithful to what the Church has already declared! The Bride of Christ stands no chance of losing Her memory!

  • Mike

    Freemasons worship Satan. what do you think?

    • powersystems1961

      NOPE! They don’t. Sorry if that upsets your confused lack of logic.

  • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

    Jeff this article might help you. I spent 10 years in Freemasonry. http://www.davidlgray.info/blog/2010/09/catholicism-and-freemasonry-a-match-not-made-in-heaven/

  • Roger Hemond

    Critical For Christian Masons, I implore you to read and share.
    (most masons are good men but have not committed to reading much of the older, core literature, and consequently go along unaware of core Masonic beliefs like those shown below).

    The Masonic view on God, lucifer and Christ, from their own

    The definition of “Demiurge” on page 119 of Macoy’s A
    Dictionary of Freemasonry (Macoy, 1866, transcribed by me personally from my own authentic copy of the book, capitalizations used for emphasis)

    “The name given in the cosmogony of the Gnostics to the
    creator or former of the world of sense. He was conceived as the archon or
    chief of the lowest order of the spirits or aeons of the pleroma (spiritual
    world); MINGLING WITH CHAOS, he formed in it a corporeal animated world. He
    created man but could impart to him only his own weak principle, the psyche or
    sensuous soul; THEREFORE, THE HIGHEST, THE REALLY GOOD GOD, added the divine, rational soul or pneuma. But the power of evil in the material body, and the hostile influence of the merely sensuous demiurge, prevented the development of that higher element. The demiurge, holding himself to be the highest God, could not bring his creatures to the knowledge of the true godhead; AS THE JEHOVAH OFTHE JEWS, he gave them the imperfect law of Moses, which promised merely a sensuous happiness, and even that not attainable; and against the spirits of the hyle, or world of matter, HE SENT ONLY A PSYCHICAL and THEREFORE POWERLESS MESSIAH.”

    In Summary:
    Masonry is admittedly among the Hermetic Occult practices. This definition is indistinguishably consistent with the Hermetic Occult view of YHVH/God and Lucifer.

    To Them:
    - The Jehovah of the Jews (YHVH/God) is a lowly demiurge whose creation comes from chaos and leaves much need for improvement.

    - He is only incorrectly “holding himself to be the highest God” as his “hostile influence” prevents the “higher element” intended from the “Highest, The Really Good God” (Lucifer in Hermeticism).

    - He imparts to man, only his own “weak principal”.

    - Happiness is unattainable by YHVH.

    - AND MOST CRITICALLY, the Messiah YHVH sent is only “psychical” (not physical) and “POWERLESS”. That sentence right there ought to sum it up for Masons who think Masonic “orders” (bringing order out of chaos, Ordo Ab Chao) can be compatible with being a Christian.

    Hopeful and Prayerful that this reaches those who would hear it, in Love in Christ our Lord.


  • Bill Green

    I have to say, in my time as a Freemason, I never observed anything or was asked to do anything that seemed in opposition to my Christian beliefs – not once. Nevertheless, I know now, I only joined because I was trying to fill my life with belonging (also, as an Historian it had a certain appeal). However, once I learned to pray The Rosary and heard God calling me to the Roman Catholic faith, I abandoned Freemasonry and have never looked back. I know there are a number of good Christian men in the Masons. But, I have faith in the Church’s teachings, and therefore, if the Church is opposed to Freemasonry I’ll have nothing to do with it.

  • Jeff Kunkle

    Freemasonry and religion

    Our purpose as freemasons is not that of a religion. Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion. Freemasonry is not a religion nor is it a substitute for religion. Freemasonry advocates no sectarian faith or practise.

    We seek no converts.

    We solicit no new members.

    We raise no money for religious purposes.

    We have no dogma or theology. Religious discussion is forbidden in a masonic lodge thereby eliminating the chance for any masonic dogma to form.

    It offers no sacraments and does not claim to lead to salvation by works, by secret knowledge, or by any other means. The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with the modes of recognition only and not with the means of salvation.

    By any definition of religion accepted by our critics, we cannot qualify as a religion.

    Freemasonry supports religion. Freemasonry is far from indifferent to religion. Without interfering in religious practise, it expects each member to follow his own faith.

    A man does not subscribe to a new religion, much less to an anti-Christian religion when he becomes a freemason, any more than when he joins any political party or community association. There is nothing in Freemasonry that is opposed to the religion he brings with him into the masonic lodge. Freemasonry does not assert nor does it teach that one religion is as good as another. Freemasonry admits men of all religions. Freemasons believe in religious freedom and that the relationship between the individual and his God is personal, private and sacred.

    We do not apply a theological test to a candidate. We do ask a man if he believes in God and that is the only religious test. Belief in God is faith; belief about God is theology. As freemasons we are interested in faith only and not in theology. Religion is not permitted to be discussed at masonic meetings.

    Freemasonry is a completely tolerant organization. When Freemasonry accepts a Christian, or a Jew, or a Buddhist, or a Mohammedan, it does not accept him as such, but accepts him as a man, worthy to be received into the masonic fraternity.

    Freemasonry stands for the values that are supreme in the life of the church and expects each member to follow his own faith and to place his duty to God above all other duties. We are sure that a member who is true to the principles he learns in Freemasonry will be a better church member because of it.

    • meugene

      Once again, one only needs to research the tenets and teachings of Freemasonry to find out it is full of contradictions intended to confuse and deceive. Freemasonry embodies the religion of Antichrist (antichristianity) as evidenced in this quote from Manly P. Hall in “The Secret Teachings of All Ages”:

      “The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth….”

      Clearly, this gnostic (New Age) doctrine is wholly incompatible with the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, by whose name alone we are saved by faith, and not that of works, lest any man should boast.

      Freemasonry, on the other hand, is a system of works. Like the Apostle Paul, true Christians need only know Christ crucified, and nothing else.

  • George

    You tell me what they teach you, and I can tell you whether it is in conflict with your relationship with God. Any idol worship as you know would be a sin. I’m not familiar with freemasonry practices, since they are supposed to be secret.
    I usually stay away from anything like freemasonry or the like. It just carries too much of a spiritual overtone, and God is the only one who you can follow.

  • alpha omega


    The Church does not prohibit membership in the Masons at this time. The relevant Canon is Canon 1374 which states “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty.” Unlike the 1917 Code, Canon 1374 does not “explicitly condemn the Masons.” Canon Law Society of America, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (John P. Beal, et al eds. 2000) (hereinafter “Commentary”). According to the Commentary “if [Masons] actively plot against the Church, this canon is possibly relevant.” The Commentary also states that “somewhat surprisingly, just before the code took effect, a CDF declaration which did not technically have the force of law, indicated that Catholic Masons are involved in serious sin and are barred from the Eucharist.” The Commentary further states “[t]his position seems somewhat contrary to earlier CDF pronouncements apparently open to recognizing the difference in various Masonic associations” and “[t]he complex implications of this issue have promoted different canonical opinions.”

    The truth of the matter is that the Church does not prohibit membership in all Masonic associations, only those that plot against the Church. Finally, there is no automatic excommunication of those who join Masonic organizations. You are a representative example of a person who tries to speak for the Magisterium without the requisite knowledge or understanding of the issue. A practice which is, unfortunately, only too common today, especially on the internet.

    • Andy Grey

      Eric, I am not a Catholic but I am a Christain and I am a Freemason and I can tell you that you will be excommunicated (kicked out), or as some would say shunned by the Catholic Church if they find out you joined the Freemasons. ie..CATHOLICISM VS. FREEMASONRY—IRRECONCILABLE FOREVER
      Following the promulgation of the new Code, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a new declaration: (1) the new Canon 1374 has the same essential import as the old Canon 2335, and the fact that the “Masonic sect” is no longer explicitly named is irrelevant; (2) the Church’s negative judgment on Masonry remains unchanged, because the Masonic principles are irreconcilable with the Church’s teaching (“earum principia semper iconciliabilia habita sunt cum Ecclesiae doctrina”); (3) Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion and (4) no local ecclesiastical authority has competence to derogate from these judgments of the Sacred Congregation.

      • alpha omega


        Brother, you said that I will be excommunicated if “they find out” I am a Mason. I have told a priest at my parish and called the diocese telling them I am a Mason. Their response was that it is a matter for my own conscience whether I think Masonry is incompatible with Church doctrine. There may be some priests and bishops who will “kick out” a catholic Mason but not all will.

      • Graham

        There is no misunderstanding. The fact is, Freemasonry does not advocate an exclusive claim to the Truth, religious doctrine or theology. This is incompatible with Roman Catholic theology and scriptural claim on salvation. Also, various Masonic lodges also disagree with one another as to what they really teaches. Not giving the “Supreme Being of Freemasonry” a definitive name is incompatible with the Catholic dogma on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as the physical face of God.

        Yes yes Freemasonry teaches brotherly love but it also treats all religions and deities on an equal footing. That will never be compatible with The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. To devout Catholics, Jesus Christ is never on an equal footing with other deities.

        That’s the fact and no amount of secret rituals and ceremonies can further delusion those clear differences. Stop trying to force Masonry to compatible with Catholicism. Popes have rejected that for centuries; it is better to be truthful rather than unite people in pretentious error.

        If your priest or parish does not implement Canon Law or apply the judgment and discernment of the Church to you as an admitted Freemason; that would be considered a grave failing of heterodoxy on their part; as such, the Church in Rome looks at that as pretentious, weak and flaccid in exercising the teachings of the Catholic faith.

  • alpha omega

    I am a Catholic and a Freemason. Based on my personal experience, I don’t think there is any conflict between catholicism and freemasonry. I think being a mason has made me a better Catholic. The opposition to Freemasonry is based on misunderstanding and false information about our Order.

    • Eric

      It doesn’t matter what you think. The injunction against Catholics who join freemasonry remains in effect. A misunderstanding on the part of the magisterium is beside the point (which I will address in a moment) because even if there is a misunderstanding all Catholics are still bound by obedience. You have two choices @disqus_Kly9vqtj7A:disqus. The first and preferable choice is to leave the masons and remain in good standing with the church. The second is to incur the penalty of excommunication if you decide to remain in masonry. You can not be a mason and a Catholic because one of those organizations excludes the other even if the other does not. By saying you are a Catholic and a mason, while you do not exclude yourself from masonry, you do exclude yourself from Catholicism. It’s cut and dry.
      As far as there being some benign misunderstanding on the part of the Catholic Church you’ll forgive me for being incredulous. Am I to believe a man who has lived less than one lifetime is more of an expert than an organization that is over 2000 years old and has dealt with masonry from masonry’s beginnings?

      • veritas

        Right. In it’s 2000 years of history the Catholic Church has been without blemish and always acted in everyone’s best interest, no inquisitions, “examination by torture”, “confession by examination”, “death by examination” no selling of indulgences…etc. Therefore you should obey everything they say.
        You my friend are a candidate for blind kool-aid drinking. You believe you should “please check your brain at the door”, and give up the greatest gift God has given you, your own intelligence and reasoning. Blind following the blind.

      • Eric

        Au contraire, mon ami. I do not drink the church’s Kool-aid as the church doesn’t have any Kool-aid to drink. Certain movements and causes taken up by church members have kool-aid to drink but I try hard not to sip (and we’re all sipping from some one’s Kool-aid because we’re all blind in some way). Pop culture history most definitely has plenty of “anti-catholic” Kool-aid to drink, for instance the kind that makes you unable to separate actions of members from the organization. I never said that members of the church are with out blemish. The church herself, the one that consists of its dogma, is without blemish.
        Also, the Catholic Church as an organization is THE expert on all things anthropological including world religions and world movements. She’s buried them all and analyzed them all.
        The first part of my comment is indisputable. You can not be a Catholic and Freemason. I don’t understand how that is drinking Kool-aid. One organization says that if you belong to the other you don’t belong to the first organization. Them’s the rules right or wrong. It’s a simple statement of fact.
        My second assertion that I would rather believe what the Catholic Church says about Freemasons is not ONLY based on said organizations long history and ample experience with world movements, but also based on Freemason literature itself which claims to be a system of morality and claims that Freemasonry is a system of belief complete with rituals.
        I’ll entertain your Kool-aid paradigm for a moment and say this – I’d rather drink the Catholic Church’s Kool-aid when it comes to deciding whether or not I can be a Catholic and Freemason than drink the Freemason’s Kool-aid. Fair enough?

      • veritas

        Thanks for your feedback. Of course my reference to Kool-aid Drinker implies a blind obedience follower. I do agree that an organization has the right to establish any guidelines they feel necessary as membership into that organization. My questions would be motives for a particular guideline such as their claims against Freemasonry. I would then look at the history of both organizations and any notoriety associated with them. Personally, from my point of view, the Catholic is Not without blemish. Many negative historical campaigns associated with them came from it’s highest authority, The Pope, and was agreed by the majority. She, The Church, has definitely buried, or attempted too, most things not aligning with Her mission. Let me not digress on a plethora of historical references or the hiding of biblical knowledge unless one was fluent in Latin or clergy. On the other hand, Freemasonry is filled with highly respectable figures and notable good works throughout it’s history. There is also alot of anti-Freemasonry opinions out in the public as well. From a perspective of not wanting to be a blind follower of anything, my question would be, why would the Church, any church or organization, not agree to such a membership? The lack of indisputable evidence made readily available to support their stance is not acceptable. It’s either, follow me blindly or don’t follow me at all, hence the Kool-aid drinking reference. This is not just for Freemasonry, it’s for anything that is banned, without sufficient justification for such a stance, if not clearly visible. I have personally lived too long and see too much abuse from orthodox religion to take their word at face value. Both organizations to me seem to present value as a whole. If the Church wants to ban the masons “just because” it’s their right to do so however unjustifiable it may be.

      • Eric

        Please read my comments to Harry below, specifically the one that cites a masonic website with a self definition of masonry. That comment answers you generally. Also, I find your comment, “Let me not digress on a plethora of historical references or the hiding of biblical knowledge unless one was fluent in Latin or clergy. On the other hand, Freemasonry is filled with highly respectable figures and notable good works throughout it’s history.”
        The Church is also filled with highly respectable figures and notable good works and masonry also filled with villains. That the church used Latin to “hide” biblical truths is laughable at best. The church used Latin for the same reason that the medical community uses Latin – not for minimal availability of information but for maximum availability of information. It’s the closest thing we have to a universal language as a holdover from the Roman empire and it no longer develops making it a prime candidate for communicating ideas you don’t want lost in translation. The Catholic Church is also responsible for the university and encouraging people to read and write. Her liturgies are mostly comprised of biblical texts from both the old and new testaments. There are reasons for the things the Catholic Church does just as I’m sure there are reasons the masons do what they do. The reason the Catholic Church bans its members from masonry is not an overarching conspiracy (though in the past the masons’ interests and the church’s interests have collided like during the French Revolution) but due to incompatible beliefs which I document in my comment to Harry below, that cites a masonic website. Please read that.

      • Harry

        Yawn, I grow tired of circular reasoning – especially something so ridiculous as membership in civic organizations. This is so silly this debate. And yet again it becomes “DOCTRINE” that cannot be questioned.

        To me it becomes another wedge that drives me further away from the church. It is why I often I roll my eyes when I hear “defenders of the faith” on such nonsensical topics. I originally spoke up since I know a lot of people involved in Masonry due to local charity events I was part of with many many other churches and civic organizations. I know those Free Masons make great contributions to their local parish too.

      • Eric

        Sorry, Harry. I’d written a response (the one I’d referred you to) but due to the fact that I included links, the moderator algorithm kicked in and it must be deleted or awaiting moderation. Anyways, I’ll try a workaround so you can read what masonry has to say about itself. How do you answer the fact that the masons identify themselves as being “religious in character”?

        “Freemasonry is a fraternal organization, religious in character, based on the principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man which does charitable work in the community through its members. In addition, its teachings and ceremonies seek to make good men better and thereby make the world a better place in which to live.” – From an article titled “What is Freemasonry1″ under the education section on Masonic world .c o m (had to separate it to get past algorithm). This is a site run by masons.

        Also from the site, same section (What is Freemasonry2?):

        “Veiled in Allegory: reminds us that the Hidden Mysteries of Freemasonry can only be found and understood when we search our rituals, dictionaries and Holy Bibles for greater depth and understanding in those things deemed secretive in Masonry.”

        Sounds just as “dogmatic” as the Catholic Church (not to mention that members are “not allowed” to discuss religion or politics in lodges). Which I don’t have a problem with. I like it when someone says “I’m right and you’re wrong”. But you don’t. I feel like you’re the pot that called the kettle black.

        Also this from another article titled, “What is Freemasonry?” in the same educational section on Masonic World:

        “In defining itself as a system of morality veiled in allegory Freemasonry takes itself seriously. There are no side issues involved as to benevolent aims or social objects. These, or other desirable methods of expression, are left to grow out of the more comprehensive definition quoted.”

        The aim is not primarily social, civil, or charitable (benevolent aims). Freemasonry views itself as a system of morality, complete with its own rituals and hierarchy, not as a charity. It seems that Freemasonry takes itself a bit more seriously than you take it, Harry.
        I think, Harry, that you dislike the Catholic Church because she claims the truth. You like Freemasonry because it says there are as many ways to believe in God (although their rituals are the only way to esoteric truth). This seems to you to be ‘nicer’. Just remember, Harry, that the devil is the nicest person in existence. He accepts everything… except the Truth. And he’d accept that too but for the fact that the Truth is exclusionary by nature (and pretty annoying for it too, wouldn’t you say?),

        Your argument is with the statement that the only way to God and the Truth is through Jesus Christ. You have to believe that to be Catholic. You can’t believe that if you are a Freemason because you have to believe that any religion is as good as another as long as it is a monotheistic one. You must also believe that Freemasonry’s rituals and practices are the way to esoteric truth. Catholicism or Freemasonry – one has to give way to the other in any given individual or the individual lives a contradiction. There’s no circular argument in that. Just honesty.
        I’m not saying Freemasonry is a conspiracy. I’m saying the two “systems of morality” are incompatible.

      • Harry

        Please don’t put words in my mouth – whether I like or dislike the church or “like” the free masons. You have no idea what I believe. I spoke up and said the ban is another example of silly dogma that makes no sense and drives me further from the church and to provide some information for those that are catholic and also happen to be free masons. I think catholics and free masons are compatible – that is all.

      • Eric

        Alright, Harry. Thanks for the dialogue. I’ll be praying for you.

      • Harry

        Here Eric – read about it on wikipedia en dot wikipedia dot org/wiki/Freemasonry. Not “just hearsay”. An overview and is as good as anything else found on the web. It contains all the stuff you and I discussed and perhaps someday you may open your eyes to how silly this conversation is regarding free masons and the church. :-)

      • Eric

        Also, enjoying the dialogue, Harry and veritas.

      • Eric

        I got your reply, Veritas, but the moderation algorithm won’t publish it with the link. I had the same problem earlier. Anyways, thanks for the dialogue. Agree to disagree that Catholicism and Freemasonry are incompatible systems of morality.

      • aburgess

        Who ever said the Catholic Church was with out its failings? Yes men in highest ranks of the Church at times have become corrupt, but the Church is not just these men but in fact every man, woman and child who is baptized comprized the Church who is nothing less than the bride of Christ. Unlike ever other religon out there the Church has never changed her Dogmas because not even the Pope himself has the power to change church dogma such as male priesthood, Christ himself founded the priest hood when he called 12 men. Just because the Catholic church has had corruption over the years does not make it a cult as you insinuate with your kool aide drinking comment, after all part of the defintion of a cult is a relgious group that denies the divinity of Christ, something which the many of the members of the Catholic Church over the years have died brather than deny Christ’s divinity.

      • alpha omega


        I responded to your comment. See the comment above.

      • Graham

        Wonderful. Your answer to the contradiction of Freemasonry to Catholic theology and dogma is crystal clear, cut and academic. Well done.

    • Andy Grey

      ***READ NUMBER (2)***
      Following the promulgation of the new Code, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a new declaration: (1) the new Canon 1374 has the same essential import as the old Canon 2335, and the fact that the “Masonic sect” is no longer explicitly named is irrelevant; (2) the Church’s negative judgment on Masonry remains unchanged, because the Masonic principles are irreconcilable with the Church’s teaching (“earum principia semper iconciliabilia habita sunt cum Ecclesiae doctrina”); (3) Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion and (4) no local ecclesiastical authority has competence to derogate from these judgments of the Sacred Congregation.

    • Graham

      The fact is, Freemasonry does not advocate an exclusive claim to the Truth, religious doctrine or theology. This is incompatible with Roman Catholic theology and scriptural claim on salvation.

      Yes yes Freemasonry teaches brotherly love but it also treats all religions and deities on am equal footing. That will never be compatible with The Roman Catholic Church. To devout Catholics, Jesus is never on an equal footing with other deities.

      That’s the fact and no amount of secret rituals and ceremonies can further delusion those clear differences.

    • JT

      You are in a state of grave sin being a catholic and a member of the Freemasons. You are forbidden from receiving communion. You must choose- Catholicism or freemasonry. Sorry, but that’s the truth as far as the church is concerned. You either believe in the church’s teachings or you don’t. Talk to your priest. Talk to the diocese. Read the church’s stance. They are fundamentally incompatible in the eyes of the church. The church says you can’t be both– it matters not what you say on the matter.

  • Harry

    When I read items like these they drive me more and more away from the church. It is so silly and so convoluted to get so trapped by silly dogma. The Free Masons are just a civic organization that do a lot of good in local communities. No different than a Kiwanis or Elks lodge member.

    • Eric

      Catholics are not allowed to belong to the Elks either. The Elks have rituals and are secretive by nature, though less so, it seems, than the masons. The Elks are also an offshoot of the masons though are far removed from them by time.
      The Kiwanis I am not well versed on but if they have a ritualistic slant, demand secrecy, and hold a naturalistic and rationalistic world view like the masons and Elks than a Catholic not join.
      Some Muslims do good for their communities, no? Yet you would never say that a Catholic can be both Catholic and Muslim. The same holds for masonry and similar organizations because they hold beliefs that are incompatible with Catholicism. This doesn’t mean that they don’t donate money to charity.

      • Harry

        You are comparing apples to oranges. Muslims are adherents to Islam like Christians are adherents to Christianity. You are comparing religious belief. Free Masonry is a civic fraternal organization – it is not a religion.

        As Pope Francis says too many in the church waste so much time on dogma – relax a little and focus not on the silly dogmatic things and rather focus on being a little more inclusive and not exclusive.

      • Eric

        Unfortunately, Freemasonry is still religious in nature. I wish I could have a piano made out of unicorn horns. I bet it would sound magical. I also wish that things that are mutually exclusive could, at the same time, be mutually inclusive. Although if 1 were equal to 2 we could never get to 100 or $350,000 which means we could never afford a house (not that I ever will be able to anyways). So I’m pretty happy that things are mutually exclusive. If you’re not, Harry, then I suggest you find someway to change things. Unless of course you’re arguing that Freemasonry and Catholicism aren’t mutually exclusive but based on literature of both organizations it seems to me that they are. Even if Freemasonry, like you seem to (do you?), denies this.
        Concerning Pope Francis’ words – He has never advocated ‘including’ two mutually exclusive ideas in one’s head. He is, however, an advocate of being welcoming of sinners with out condoning their sin. Give up Freemasonry which holds ideas that are mutually exclusive of the Catholic Church as much as Islam and you are most welcome in the Catholic Church.

      • Harry

        Nope – it is not religious in nature – and no unicorns are killed in any rituals. It is a civic organization that raises money for charity.

        I sense the Pope is pushing people to move away from being self-righteous and damning others and rather be more welcoming and focus on those who need assistance. He is a welcome change – however, I’m still leery of dogmatic zealots I often find in the Catholic Church.

      • Eric

        See my comment to you above, Harry, in which I quote a masonic website that states that masonry is “religious in character.”

      • aburgess

        I submit to you Harry the definite of Dogma which is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. This is why Dogma cannot be changed these are teachings given to us by Christ himself, who is the Son of God, truly Man and Truly God.

      • aburgess

        Prehaps too much time is wasted on dogma but it is not silly ir is the very foundation of the Catholic Church. Also it is worth noting that dogmas within the Catholic Church are not changable as these would be things handed down from Christ himself such as the priest hood be for men only , after all it was Christ who called 12 men to be his apostles and of course the first Catholic priests.

    • Eric

      Also just an interesting side note. Free Masonry in the US is still split based on skin color. It’s segregated. How fraternal.

      • Harry

        Wrong! That is not the case today. Like anything in the US history there were a many segregated civic and religious institutions – and unfortunately you can still see examples in ANY organization. The catholic church itself was complicit in the south had segregated mass times and/or churches. In spirit of your reply – how christian is that?

      • Eric

        Good point about the churches in the South. However, most organizations have moved beyond segregation (which is NOT Christian, hence its fade out) and the masons have not. This is not necessarily due to current racism but it is a hold over from the racism of the past. And that is the case today unless you can show me somewhere that it is not. People of dark skin color join the Prince Hall branch of masonry and the whites join the York branch. At least that is what my research shows. If you can show me otherwise I’d be grateful for the correction.

      • Harry

        Eric, the masons have moved beyond segregation like many institutions and yes they have experienced all the ugly historical instances. It is hard to find many civic and religious institutions throughout the US that do not have ugly pasts. They have moved on just like the Catholic Church in the south moved “beyond” segregation.

        Someone from any race can join any lodge – Prince Hall or otherwise. Those are known as Blue Lodges. I know many good men AND women of multiple races who are active in freemasonry and were not required to pledge to one lodge or the other based on their skin color or national origin. The York rite is not exclusive to white only members nor is the Scottish rite or Prince Hall masons.

        Eric – I am not a free mason but I have taken the time to get to know about them since many of my friends have been active – and guess what – several were Catholic Masons too! In fact, that is how I learned about Free Masonry because I was under the impression Free Masons did not allow Catholics to become members and over time I learned otherwise.

        Most ultimately went on to become Shriners because essentially that is more of the party and fun group within the masonic groups. All their activity and work goes to charity.

        And finally, they are not a religious institution, nor a political institution nor a big conspiracy group bent on taking over the world – they are simply a civic organization that raises money.

        In my part of the country they raise money with most funds going towards financial assistance to children with speech, hearing, and vision problems. The Shriners are raising money for Shriners Children Hospitals.

      • Eric

        Please read my comment to you below. It seems, on segregation you’re right. Only some Lodges in the deep south it seems are strictly segregated (probably informally so).

  • LJK

    Which other organizations are on the banned list?

  • Veronica

    Thanks for this explanation! I myself have always wondered about the Church’s stance on the Freemasons. Your answer detailed that stance very clearly.

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