I was once a freemason. Freemasonry was something I became interested in when I wasn’t taking my faith seriously. It offered something I had been looking for such as friendship, a social life, and of course the teachings were interesting. However, when I started taking the faith seriously, I realized that freemasonry just is not compatible with the Catholic faith.
Freemasonry has Always Been Banned by the Church
The first known grand lodge was established in England in 1717. Since 1738 the church has made 53 pronouncements against it.
Shortly thereafter, in 1738, Pope Clement XII wrote the papal bull In Eminenti. This bull banned Catholics from joining the masonic organization under pain of excommunication. Pope clement the XII wrote,
This is serious stuff.
Didn’t the Church Change its Standing
This is a common misconception. In fact, I met a former Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus who is very involved in various masonic orders. He stated that he took advantage of the change of opinion in 1983 to join the order. Section 2335 of the 1917 Code of Canon law states,
“Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur ipso facto an excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.”
Pretty clear. In the 1983 code the penalty of excommunication remains, but freemasonry is removed. This is the misunderstanding. A more general theme of joining an order that conspired against the church was inserted. To clarify the stance of the church Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, wrote this when head of the Congregation For The Doctrine Of Faith,
Catholics Cannot be Freemasons
The position of the church remains unchanged. Furthermore, in the Scottish rite degrees, the 30th degree is called the Knight of Kadosh. In that degree a papal tiara is stomped on and declared to be a sign of tyranny and despotism.
In the interview below I interview theologian and historian David L. Gray about Freemasonry and why it is against church teaching.
Be sure to visit David’s website at http://www.davidlgray.info and listen to his great radio show on Guadalupe radio every Wednesday at 4pm CST.