Calling the Pope's edict against Catholics becoming Freemasons "a thing of the past," Father Rosario Francesco Esposito, age 85, took his Masonic obligations recently at the Masonic headquarters at Piazza del Gesu in Rome.
The Italian Paulist priest, along with Father Giovanni Caprile, SJ, was once commissioned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known by the name the Holy Inquisition until the early 20th century) to study the Church's teaching on Freemasonry. In 1983 the prefect of the Congregation, then-Cardinal now-Pope Joseph Ratzinger, made a public announcement that the teaching of the Church had not changed. Earlier this month, the Burning Taper reported that Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University, reiterated via a Q & A in the Zenit News Agency that a Catholic who joins a Masonic lodge should be given a[n unnamed] "just penalty," and one promoting Freemasonry or in a leadership role should be punished by interdict, an ecclesiastical penalty that deprives the person of the right to celebrate or receive the sacraments but is less harsh than excommunication.
Father, er, I mean Brother Esposito having joined a Masonic lodge must have rankled some Powers That Be in Rome, because the article about him becoming a Master Mason appeared today in Catholic World News. Apparently, it's not yet really a "thing of the past," at least not to his bosses or the Catholic press.
As I write this, there is only one comment on this story on the Catholic World News site, but it's a doozy: "This is one that needs to be slapped down, hard and fast. Freemasons continue to swear blood oaths, and profess belief in a Deist God. That merits roundly the excommunication latae sententiae acknowledged by Bishop Bruskewietz. This priest needs to be suspended fast."
Let's hope the Catholics don't burn him at the stake, and that the Masons don't hang him from a bridge.
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