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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 28 Jan 2002

Freemasons -- Current Status QUESTION from . Bro. Ignatius November 7, 2000 Dear Suzanne:
Just a followup on the status of the Freemasons (Masons) in the Church:
The anti-Catholicism of the Freemasons in the past century moved the Church to codify in the 1917 Code of Canon Law a prohibition against Catholics joining the Masons because the Masons were not only anti-Catholic, but specifically plotted against the Church.
At the time of the revision of the Code of Canon Law in 1983 many Bishops, especially in Germany, wanted to maintain a specific mention of Masons in Canon Law, but this was rejected because the problem was not perceived to be a universal one needing a general universal provision. (Including this in Canon Law would make it a global statute, when it was perceived that this problem was no longer global, but regional).
Thus, while the Code of Canon Law of 1983 (canon 1374) still prohibits Catholics from joining anti-Catholic groups plotting against the Church, the Freemasons are no longer specifically mentioned.
The lack of specific mention allows the Church to more spontaneously make a ruling on the issue from time to time as conditions warrant and local bishops to determine the state of the situation in their diocese.
Given the lack of mention of Masons in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took steps to make it clear that this lack of mention in Canon Law did not change the Church's view about Masonry. Thus on November 26, 1983 the Congregation issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations.
This declaration stated that the Church's position on the Masons had not changed. Catholic membership in Masonic lodges is therefore still prohibited.
It stated that any Catholic who joins the Masons is involved in serious sin and is therefore barred from the Eucharist.
The reason for this declaration is that even if the Masons were no longer plotting against the Catholic Church, the very nature and beliefs of the Masons are irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine.
The issues involving the Masons have not been definitively concluded and will likely develop further. The traditional principles of moral theology, of course, still apply here as to the mortalness of a Catholic joining the Masons.
But it is certainly clear that the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who is in charge of protecting us Catholics against those things contrary to the Faith, has strongly asserted that membership in the Masons is irreconcilable with being a Catholic.
Even apart from this, any Catholic with half a brain and with eyes open should be able to discern the irreconcilable nature of Masonic teaching with that of Catholic doctrine. But then again, the Masons are good at subtlety. Interestingly, in the initiation ceremony for joining Masons is the principle of hoodwinking (place a hood over the candidate until such time he is allowed to be exposed to the light). What a coincidence. Masons hoodwink people -- blind them to the TRUTH and initiate them to a false truth whereby only with commitment to a false truth may the hood be removed.
Personally, as a soldier in Spiritual Warfare, I consider the Masons to be the most dangerous cult on the planet. Why? Because of their great subtlety. Satan is far more dangerous when he acts covertly and subtlety than when he boldly gets in your face.
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on November 7, 2000 Dear Bro. Ignatius
Thank you so much for your information and words of wisdom.
God Bless, Suzanne Fortin
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