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Jean Santoro wrote:

Hi Mike,

I tried looking on Catholic web sites for information about the Masons but did not find much.

  • Do you know much about them?
  • What has the Church said about them in our day?

My son's friend is inquiring into the organization and thinking about signing up. My son also thought it might be a good idea for him. I told him I thought the Church was against the Masons but wasn't sure.

  • Do you know where I could get accurate information on them?



  { What has the Church said about Masonry and where I can get accurate information on them? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jean,

You are correct, they are a bad apple to stay away from. In an article about Lincoln, Nebraska's new bishop: Fabian Bruskewitz, which I found on, by Karl Keating, he said:

As reported in this issue's Dragnet column, Bishop Bruskewitz has declared that Catholics can't participate in certain organizations. Membership in them is incompatible with membership in the Catholic Church. Among the off-limits groups are, on the left side of the spectrum:

  • Call to Action
  • Catholics for a Free Choice
  • Planned Parenthood, and
  • the Hemlock Society.

Call to Action, which has been mentioned in "Dragnet" repeatedly, rejects Catholic sexual standards, lobbies for priestesses, and encourages do-it-yourself liturgical innovations. It's probably fair to say that the organization is not identifiably Christian, let alone Catholic.

Catholics for a Free Choice is a minuscule pro-abortion group funded by big
pro-abortion and anti-Catholic foundations. The word Catholic in its name is misapplied, of course.

Planned Parenthood, in many of it chapters, features nominal Catholics in positions of leadership. While claiming to promote responsible parenthood through sex education and contraceptives, Planned Parenthood is really one of the largest abortion providers and referrers in the country.

The Hemlock Society advocates euthanasia and so is to the end of life what Planned Parenthood and Catholics for a Free Choice are to the start of life.

These were not the only groups mentioned by Bishop Bruskewitz. He also listed one group on the right end of the spectrum:

  • the Society of St. Pius X, and
  • its St. Michael the Archangel Chapel.

The SSPX is an independent order established by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated for ordaining bishops without papal approval. Many people who adhere to the SSPX reject all aspects of Vatican II; some even doubt the validity of the current papacy.

Bishop Bruskewitz also forbade membership in Freemasonry and its men's, women's, and young people's auxiliaries, including:

  • De Molay
  • Rainbow Girls
  • Eastern Star, and
  • Job's Daughters.

For two centuries popes have written that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity because Freemasonry is itself a kind of religion that undermines the faith. You can be a Freemason or a Catholic, the popes have said, but you can't be both.

And under quick questions I found:

Question: What is the Catholic Church's official position on Freemasonry?
Are Catholics free to become Freemasons?

Answer: Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic faith. Freemasonry teaches a naturalistic religion that espouses indifferentism, the position that a person can be equally pleasing to God while remaining in any religion.

Masonry is a parallel religion to Christianity. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states:

"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 or punishment in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiation and burial rites" (Volume 6, p. 137).

Masonry is also a secret society. Its initiates subscribe to secret blood oaths that are contrary to Christian morals. The prospective Mason swears that if he ever reveals the secrets of Masonry - secrets which are trivial and already well-known - he wills to be subject to self-mutilation or to gruesome execution. (Most Masons, admittedly, never would dream of carrying out these punishments on themselves or on an errant member).

Historically, one of Masonry's primary objectives has been the destruction of the Catholic Church; this is especially true of Freemasonry as it has existed in certain European countries. In the United States, Freemasonry is often little more than a social club, but it still espouses a naturalistic religion that contradicts orthodox Christianity. (Those interested in joining a men's club should consider the Knights of Columbus instead.)

The Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on Catholics who become Freemasons. The penalty of excommunication for joining the Masonic Lodge was explicit in the 1917 code of canon law (canon 2335), and it is implicit in the 1983 code (canon 1374).

Because the revised code of canon law is not explicit on this point, some drew the mistaken conclusion that the Church's prohibition of Freemasonry had been dropped. As a result of this confusion, shortly before the 1983 code was promulgated, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement indicating that the penalty was still in force. This statement was dated November 26, 1983 and may be found in Origins 13/27 (November 15, 1983), 450.

As the Catholic Answers article suggested, for any Catholic thinking of joining the Masons or who is currently a Mason but wishes to be one with the Catholic Church, we believe the Church would recommend leaving the Masons and joining the Knights of Columbus, a great organization.

Hope this helps,


Vic Halpin commented:


There are requirements of Freemasonry that are anti-Christian and therefore anti-Catholic.

Our local radio station, Sacred Heart radio, recently answered call-in questions on the Masons and stated that the Church has a prohibition against Masonry.

Unfortunately, I don't have chapter and verse about where the restrictions are found.
I do remember that the commentator said the Vatican web site had the information.

I've usually had trouble finding stuff on the Vatican web site; too much stuff.


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