Freemasonry and the Catholic Faith


Q): What is wrong with a Catholic being a Mason?
According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, "Freemasonry displays all the elements of religion, and as such it becomes a rival to the religion of the Gospel. It includes temples and altars, prayers, a moral code, worship, vestments, feast days, the promise of reward and punishment in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiative and burial rites" (vol. 6, p 137). Freemasonry in the United States is more or less a social gathering, however, there is a still a threat because it promotes a faith other than the orthodox Christianity. Most Masons are Christians and they display a Bible on their altar, however, all religious denominations (including non-Christian) are invited to join and may bring their own sacred scriptures.

(Q): What is the Catholic Church's official position on Freemasonry? Are Catholics free to become Freemasons?
In 1983, Canon 1374 clarified the misunderstandings that were presented with Vatican II. The Canon states that a person who joins an association that plots against the church is to be punished with an interdict (excommunication).

Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued a new declaration following this announcement of the new Code. 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;

1.      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" )

2.      Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion and,

3.      No local ecclesiastical authority has competence to derogate from these judgments of the Sacred Congregation.

("Quaesitum est," AAS 76 (1984) 300. (From <EV,> No. 553, pp. 482-87)


On 19, July 1974 this Congregation wrote to some of the Episcopal Conferences a private letter concerning the interpretation of canon 2335 of the Code of Canon Law which forbids Catholics, under the penalty of excommunication, to enroll in Masonic or other similar associations.

Since the said letter has become public and has given rise to erroneous and tendentious interpretations, this Congregation, without prejudice to the eventual norms of the new Code, issues the following confirmation and clarification:

1.      the present canonical discipline remains in full force and has not been modified in any way;

2.      consequently, neither the excommunication nor the other penalties envisaged have been abrogated;

3.      what was said in the aforesaid letter as regards the interpretation to be given to the canon in question should be understood--as the Congregation intended-merely as a reminder of the general principles of interpretation of penal laws for the solution of the cases of individual persons which may be submitted to the judgment of ordinaries. It was not, however, the intention of the Congregation to permit Episcopal Conferences to issue public pronouncements by way of a judgment of a general character on the nature of Masonic associations, which would imply a derogation from the aforesaid norms.

(Rome, from the Office of the S. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 17 February 1981.)

 Excommunication means not out of hate but out of love to know what are you going trough is not good for your eternal salvation.

Saint Charbel for Life
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