For those of you who still might think Freemasonry is just some harmless boys club with funny hats, think again. No organization has been condemned by the Catholic Church more than the Masonic Lodge. The Catholic Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on all Catholics who become Freemasons (or members of the Masonic Lodge). This penalty of excommunication for joining the Lodge was explicit in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (canon 2335), and it remains implicit in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (canon 1374). If you think that the new Code of Canon Law allows Catholics to be Freemasons, read this….
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
DECLARATION ON MASONIC ASSOCIATIONS
It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code.
This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore 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.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981).
In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.Joseph Card. RATZINGER
Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium
There it is. CATHOLICS CANNOT BE FREEMASONS and canon law has not changed. If you’re a Catholic who is enrolled in the Masonic Lodge, you are in a state of grave sin that is putting your immortal soul in danger of hellfire, and you cannot lawfully receive communion because you have been automatically excommunicated. That’s right, you’ve been excommunicated. You are outside of the Catholic Church. Even if it’s not official, because the right people may not know about it, the fact remains. You are excommunicated. Every time you receive communion in this state of grave sin, so long as you remain a member of the Lodge, you are damning your soul to hell. You MUST leave the Masonic Lodge, formally withdraw your membership (in writing), and seek out a priest for prayers of exorcism, as well as to formally have the penalty of excommunication lifted so you can receive communion again. A priest is the only one with the authority to release you from the oaths you took in the Lodge, and a priest can help you deal with the legalities with your bishop.
If some priest, or even a bishop, told you that it was “okay” for you to join the Masonic Lodge, he LIED to you. Yes, I wrote it, and you read it right. He LIED to you. That priest, or bishop, is a LIAR and is probably a Freemason himself. The Vatican CDF statement above is crystal clear, which is the solemn will of TWO POPES, both Pope St. John Paul II, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who would eventually become Pope Benedict XVI. There is no way, whatsoever, that any priest or bishop could be ignorant of this proclamation. Any member of the clergy who tells you it’s “okay” for you to be a Freemason, is a LIAR who is also a subversive and traitor to the Catholic Church, to Rome, to the Papacy and is probably a crypto-Mason himself. If any member of the clergy tells you it’s “okay” for you to be a Freemason, you must abandon him entirely, ignore everything he says, and find another priest or bishop who is not a liar and a traitor.
Of course, the most common question I get from Catholics when I tell them this is “why?” Why does the Church condemn Freemasonry?
The answer is simple. Freemasonry puts all religions on equal footing. It makes no distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism, or between Christianity and Islam, or any monotheistic religion for that matter. All monotheistic religions are of equal value under Freemasonry, and no one religion is superior to another. This is diametrically opposed to the faith that all Catholics are REQUIRED to believe, which is that the Catholic Church is the one, true religion, revealed by Jesus Christ, who is God himself in the flesh. No other religion or philosophy can be considered “equal” to the Catholic Church. If you say all religions are equal, you deny the one and only claim that makes you Catholic. You are in a state of public heresy, whether you realize it or not, and you’re not a Catholic in good standing at all. This is why Masons are automatically excommunicated, and cannot lawfully receive communion in the Catholic Church. If you’ve got a problem with what I have written here, don’t bother commenting below or sending me a nasty email. I didn’t invent this. Take it up with Rome.
Here are some more reasons why Freemasonry is incompatible with Catholicism, and why therefore the Catholic Church rejects Freemasonry as a heresy that cannot be tolerated within the Church…
- Catholicism teaches that God’s grace, obtained through the merits of Jesus Christ, is what makes men holy and sanctified. In contrast, Freemasonry teaches that God’s grace is not needed, but rather one can attain enlightenment and betterment by implementing the principles of Masonry in his life. This is, in effect, a divergent way of salvation or “another gospel” apart from Jesus Christ, from a Catholic point of view.
- Catholicism teaches that there is only one God, and that he is a Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). There can be no other God but this one. In contrast, Freemasonry teaches that there is a god, a “Grand Architect of the Universe,” but that this god is known by many names. To Christians he is Jesus. To Jews he is Yahweh. To Muslims he is Allah, to Zoroasters he is Yazad. To the Bahá’í he is called Bahá. This is a type of syncretism, which asserts that all religions essentially worship the same god, and that this god is truthfully represented by these religions. This is heresy by Catholic definition.
- Catholicism teaches that there is no other name given by which we must be saved. That name is Jesus Christ, and we should call upon his name at all times, most especially in prayer and worship. In contrast, Freemasonry forbids the use of the name “Jesus Christ” while in prayer within the Lodge.
- The Catholic Church offers itself as the one and only organization, which was founded by God himself (Jesus Christ), to bring all men together in true unity with God and each other. In contrast, Freemasonry offers the Masonic Lodge as the one and only organization by which all men may be united. These two claims are mutually exclusive and cannot be reconciled.
Now we all know that Masons and Shriners do many good works for the betterment of others. Nobody is denying this. No one is calling into question the motivation for such good works, certainly not me. That’s not the point. The point is the organization itself is founded on principles that are irreconcilable with Catholicism, and this is why the Catholic Church forbids her members from taking part in the Masonic Lodge.
Anglo American Masonry has been fairly docile in comparison to its European and Latino American counterparts, especially in its relation to the Catholic Church. For the most part, Anglo American Masons usually harbor no significant animosity toward the Catholic Church, her institutions, and certainly not her members. The same cannot be said of European and Latino American Masonry. Masons were prominent in the French Revolution and the Irish uprising. Both events were violently anti-Catholic. Masonry also lead the South American revolts against Spain as well as the unification of Italy. Again, these were militantly anti-Catholic events. Masons dominated the anti-clerical French Third Republic (1870-1940) that confiscated all Church property in France. Masons persecuted and even killed Catholics after the Mexican Revolution and during the Spanish Civil War as well. Today, Masons within the European Union favor radical secularization, and the removal of all Catholic influence from the public realm. While Anglo American Masonry wasn’t directly involved in these things, there is still an association. All Masons are brothers, and if push comes to shove, loyalty to brother Masons trumps loyalty to one’s Church or religious institution. This is yet another reason why the Catholic Church forbids her members from joining the Masonic Lodge.
There is a tendency in some Catholic circles to connect Freemasonry with Judaism, in what many call a Judeo-Masonic cabal. This is inaccurate. While Jews are, of course, welcome in the Masonic Lodge due to their strong monotheist beliefs, Masonry is itself a Protestant creation, not a Jewish one. It sprang forth during the Age of Enlightenment, following the upheaval of the Protestant Revolution. Dare we say that without the fracturing that occurred in Christianity during that time, there would have never been the need for a Masonic Lodge to unite men in fraternal brotherhood? Christians already had that under the Catholic Church, but with the Catholic Church removed, and the splintering of Protestant denominations and sects, Northern Europe was made fertile for the birth of Freemasonry. Thus, the Masonic Lodge is a Protestant invention, made necessary by division among Protestants following the Protestant Revolution. It serves as a kind of “glue” holding Protestants together, in a quasi-religious unity, in spite of their denominational differences. It’s Protestant origin and characteristics are yet one more reason why Catholics are not permitted to be Freemasons.
If you’re a Catholic, and a member of the Masonic Lodge, the time has come to question where your real loyalties are. Are your loyalties really to the Catholic Church? Or are they to the Masonic Lodge? One requires the exclusion of the other, while the other doesn’t care. The Catholic Church requires all Catholics to leave the Lodge, while the Lodge doesn’t care if Catholics leave or stay. So which is it? Where are your true loyalties?
If you choose the Lodge, then you remain excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and you’ll have to work that out in your own conscience. The Catholic Church, by a de facto decree of Canon Law, has already kicked you out? So, are you going to continue living a lie? Are you going to go on with Church membership hoping the wrong people don’t figure out your little secret? That secret being that you’ve been excommunicated and your entire parish life is a lie. Of course, you could try a hint of honesty for a change. If you won’t leave the Lodge then most Protestant churches will welcome you with open arms. The Anglican churches offer all the smells and bells of Catholicism, but without the trappings of the Pope, Canon Law and its prohibition against Freemasonry. You could wear your Masonic ring publicly there, and even put a Masonic compass pin on your lapel. Nobody would bother you about it at all.
On the other hand, if you decide that your loyalties are with the Catholic Church, then you must get out of the Lodge. You must seek the aid of a good priest who will help you. Because many diocesan priests have been influenced by Masonry within the mainstream Catholic Church, you may have trouble finding one willing to help you. If this happens, you may be better off seeking the help of a Latin Mass priest, or a priest from one of the Ordinariates of Anglican Patrimony. Your withdraw from the Lodge should consist of a written letter both to your Lodge with a copy sent to your bishop. Then a priest must assist you with prayers of exorcism to release you from the oaths you took in the Lodge. This priest should also help you with the letter of resignation from the Lodge, and how to approach the local bishop to have the excommunication lifted. I highly recommend you seek the assistance of a priest first, and remember, if he tells you it’s “okay” to be a Mason, he’s a liar and he’s probably a member of the Lodge himself.
Shane Schaetzel is an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism and was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. Shane’s articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. Shane is an author of Catholic books, which can be read here.