Friday, September 07, 2007

Freemasonry is 'perilous to the Catholic faith'

The Holy Roman Catholic Church has once again climbed up on its ecclesiastical high horse to ride roughshod over Freemasonry.

In today's issue of The Pilot: The official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, several prominent Catholic theologians were quoted regarding Freemasonry.

Father Edward McNamara, a professor at Regina Apostolorum University, has said, "Masonry requires that its members adhere to a minimal belief in a supreme architect of the universe and leave aside all other pretensions of truth, even revealed truth. This basically means that Masonry requires members to renounce truths such as Christ’s divinity and the Trinitarian nature of God. A Catholic cannot ignore the fundamental principles behind an organization, no matter how innocuous its activities appear to be."

Franciscan Father Zbigniew Suchecki chimed in with: "Whoever is inscribed in an association that plots against the Church must be punished with a just penalty; whoever promotes or directs that association, must be banned."

And of course they reprinted an excerpt from the declaration of Cardinal Ratzinger, once head of the Holy Roman Inquisition and now known as Pope Benedict XVI, "The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive holy Communion."

In 1996, Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz forbade Catholics to belong to Freemasonry and 11 other groups whose goals were "perilous to the Catholic faith." He gave members a month to renounce their memberships and seek "reconciliation." Those who refused were excommunicated.

Do Catholics take this stuff seriously? Do Catholics who are also Masons care what the official church dogma is about Freemasonry?

| | | | | |


  1. I'm not a Catholic, but I've seen both sides:
    A DeMolay Brother was very strictly Catholic, and refused to join Lodge.
    I also have run into a few Catholic masons, and indeed, we have a fairly successful lodge in an Iowan city that is predominantly Catholic. The city, not the lodge, although a few Catholics do belong to the lodge.


  2. Our Lodge is 50% Catholic, as is the Lodge assisting us with the upcoming mega-MM at Dousman, WI. Neither they, nor their pastors, see any problem with it. In fact, former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote us a very nice letter thanking us for our support on various community safety improvement projects (Defibrillators in public places, dyslexia literacy schools, hearing-impaired education programs, etc.). Archbishop Dolan is a friend of our Brother Gary Beier, as was Pope John Paul II. Neither one saw any problem with Gary being a Mason. I would think that the jury is heavily split within the Catholic hierarchy but since the Pope's word is law, dissenting votes seem to be few.

  3. Does it matter what religion you are? Isn't the point of what we do basically: Put aside, religion (Besides acknowledging that there is a God), race, creed, etc and come together for the benefit of the human race? Tolerance even?? The world could actually learn something from the Fraternity.

  4. I am amazed that the American Catholic Church believes it has any moral high ground remaining to it from which it can spout its dogma. Father Sucheck seems to be hinting that revving up the Inquisition might be a good idea, and indeed, he may be right from that perspective because they desperately need to turn attention from their own wrong doings.

    I am not Catholic myself, but I was raised in a good Catholic family, and to answer your question WS, I've always found that most Catholics have a healthy, flexible relationship to church dogma -- as do most people practicing dogmatic faiths, of course. I know plenty of Catholics on birth control, just as I know Muslims who like a glass of good scotch now and then. That's reality. The dusty old men in robes can make all the pronouncements they like, but the more reasonable of us know the difference between dogma and the kind of sin that destroys the soul.

    The ongoing war between Freemasonry and the Catholic church is fascinating. I think the two institutions mirror one another in interesting ways --which in a mythic terms makes them great antagonists.

    I liked the "Christ Follower" videos that preceded this post. If we admire the teachings of Christ, we should emulate him in our behavior, and as far as I know, Christ never lived in a gilded palace. In a similar way, I don't think Freemasonry should be made up of crystalized ritual and pompous speeches, but quick on its feet, honest and straight from the heart.

  5. With the hundreds of millions of dollars Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have paid to settle sex abuse claims against priests, you'd think these bishops would have more serious concerns than Masonry.

  6. Poppycock!

    As a Catholoic and Mason, I have no problem with being both. To correct a post above, the Pope's word alone is not law, only when he speaks ex cathedra (from the throne). That being said, even official pronouncements by the Pope have often been refuted, eg, the matter of indulgences in the Middle Ages. I think most intelligent Catholics would, when pressed, deny that the Pope is truly infallible though that is dogma itself.

    Let's examine what was said by the first guy you quoted. He commits a non sequitur in saying that Masons must believe in a supreme being then saying that such belief necessarily denies the divinity and trinity. Hold on! No it doesn't! Something was missing between those statements. Surprising for a priest who presumably was educated in rhetoric and logic in seminary.

    As Joshua Armstrong said, there are many Masons who are also Catholic like I am. We see no intrinsic problem with being both. As Sis. Kelly said, the institutions are great antagonists. As I've said earlier, the two institutions are tied at the hip because of intersecting histories, similar rituals and the fact that the Church commissioned the cathedrals our "non-speculative" brothers supposedly constructed. So, in essence, the Church was responsible for the rise of Masonry. Wonder if our Baptist brethren would admit to that!

    So mote it be!

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

    PS: I don't go around broadcasting I belong to either institution. These are things better left in the mind and behavior.

  7. I've met some extremely devout catholic brothers in the few lodges I've been to since joining, and this is in Massachusetts. Make of that what you will.

  8. I chose the Lodge over the Church and have been removed from the rolls as a member.


  9. And here I thought the Catholic Church had as it's main goal to subdugate women into being constantly "barefoot and pregnant."

    Well let's just get that whole inquistion thing going again and get rid of a few of these uppity women and some of those pesky Freemasons while we are at it!

    Kelley. I liked your "war between Freemasonery and the Catholic mythic terms makes them great antagonists." True.

    But in reality, they are both organizations and by definition are bloated, mired in bureaucracy, conformity, rules and rituals.

    To be "quick on its(ones) feet, honest, and straight from the heart" falls to the indivdual drawing the best of the truth and teachings of their respective organizations.

    I beleive any spirtual organization has as a base a core truth, goodness, a light that sometimes get lost in the pomp, the ritual, the infinite interpretations and misinterpretations, as many interpretations as there are people in the organiztion. If you can reach down through the muck, grab that truth, extract it, leave the crap behind, hold that truth and internalize it... It gives you power and peace, nirvana I guess.
    I never had the time to study in depth all the nuances, I just had to forge ahead.

    My beliefs are very personal and powerful to me, thank you for allowing me share them.



  10. it's amazing the catholic church can still have such audacity in having such a ridiculous stance against something that has absolutely nothing to do with it, considering how many thousands of people have died at the catholic's sword throughout the decades.

    i mean seriously, are we such a huge threat? is it really the pope's urge to eradicate all opposition to the law and dogma of the church?

    i just find pretty much all branches of christianity in the modern age frustratingly bizarre.

    peace and blessed be,


  11. I used to go to a nondemoninational christian school, pretty liberal for a Christian school. I went to a Catholic Student group and eventually it got around that I was a Rainbow Girl and that that kept me from being Catholic (aside: in some churches, some don't think Rainbow girls count). Now, the members of this group had no idea why masons weren't "allowed" so I explained why, which, as I understand it, is that because masons keep secrets from their priests they are in a state of grave sin and since they intentionally do so this is seen as very, very bad for a supposed Catholic. They asked what the secrets were. I said that I didn't know but that in Rainbow girls it was really just a bunch of silly handshakes.

    Then came the best words in my life... "Well that's a dumb move on the part of the Pope!"

    Eh, maybe it was just this youth, but I like to think that a lot of today's youth (in masonry, in Catholicism, in evangelicism, in science, in politics) than the annoying old foggies that we've supposedly gotta wait out of their power.

  12. Also, after reading the some of the comments, I would hope that some people would learn why this ruling is being made

    Pop Benedict XVI doesn't seem to have anything against masons in my eyes, he seems to have something against people taking communion in grave sin. He's a very letter by the law. PJP was very laid back, lovie dovie. But he left the rusing about masons on the books because he knew that in the catholic religion, that's "right" to them.

    Here's how a local priest explained it to me. I went into short explination before but here's the long of it.

    If you are Catholic, you are not allowed to keep secrets from you priest. If the priest asks you, "So whay did you do last night?" and you say "Oh nothing." and you were having an affair, that's very, very bad. You can trust the priest, he's not going to tell you wife, just encourage you to do that and he's going to try to help you work though this. But by keeping it from him, you prevent yourself from making yourself better.

    Also, to catholics, priests can help you talk to God. This is why protestantism came along because people didn't like tasking to priests to get to God. (so let's not debate whether it's true or not, it just is). So by keeping it from a priest, you are partially keeping it from God. Sure, you can tell him in prayer, but if you really are telling God, and you really believe in the church, why can't you tell the priest?

    So, we're getting around to the fact that not telling a priest means you are partially attempting to keep the masonic secrets from God and from you Church (remember the Church in VERY important ta catholics).

    Keeping secrets like this counts as a grave sin. You are not allowed to recieve communion in grave sin until you "fix it."

    People who are in grave sin, know they are in grave sin, and dont fix it are, in the Churches eye, giving the big Super Fu to God and the Church. Because, in that way, you know you have a way that someone is telling you "this will bring you closer to God than you already are" and you are saying you don't want it (remember, hell in dintance from God). Thus, you're excommunicated.

    It's not hatred against masons, it's just how catechism works. This is why everyone wade a big fuss over JFK... would he tell national sercets to any priest that asked from any country?

    So, I hope this helped you. I don't believe in it, but do remember that it is ignorance that brings hate, and we are not here to hate anyone. I havent wet a catholic that hated me or a mason, and I hope all of you do the same in return.

    To all Catholic masons who are having troubles: I invite you to visit you local Episcopal church. We welcome you. :)

  13. My graduate and undergraduate education specialized in Roman Catholic Monasticism. Many, perhaps most, Catholic Priests I met were amazingly uninformed about other religions and organizations. Priests of the generation of the current Pope were educated in a system that insulated young men (many from the age of 12) from outside influences.
    Until Vatican II, The Catholic Church had no "theology." It had doctrine. Nothing speculative was encouraged, so even in this area, insulation has been the norm. The current Pope was in charge of making speculative folks shut up.
    It's the same about Masonry, Mormonism, or even Presbyterianism. They just ain't exposed to it.
    All that said, So What? I'm not Catholic. Why do I care what the head of a sect that my sect is in protest against says about Masons or anyone or anything else?
    Catholic positions on Freemasony may in a very small way impact membership growth, but I bet it's a small number that leave or are discouraged from joining.

  14. nemo said...

    With the hundreds of millions of dollars Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have paid to settle sex abuse claims against priests, you'd think these bishops would have more serious concerns than Masonry.

    I said...

    Yes that is called trying to change the subject and make them think about something else

  15. To Daynah:

    The fist Papal document to condemn the Fraternity was "In Eminenti" by Pope Clement XII. In which is written:

    "Thus these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light."

    So it started with a "suspicion", and a disturst of secrecy and the idea that "if they can't do it in public it must be wrong". The fraternity was condemned through opinion and hearsay evidence. Pope Clement XII did not have any direct experience with Masonry.

    Also, try doing a Google search on "Humanum Genus" and read the entire text.

    Be Well,

    Traveling Man

  16. Screw the pope!

    Oh the other hand he may like......

  17. Dear Daynah,

    to be honest, your commentary left me a bit puzzled. Do you really think your priest's explanation is logical?

    "Also, to catholics, priests can help you talk to God. [...] So by keeping [your "sin"] from a priest, you are partially keeping it from God. Sure, you can tell him in prayer, but if you really are telling God, and you really believe in the church, why can't you tell the priest?"

    The not-so-subtle difference between telling God and telling God via a priest is: God is God and a priest is a human being, and sometimes a *very* human being in addition -- as is stressed by the catholic church itself as soon as, e.g., a priest is found to have broken his vow of celibacy. It is not the business of the priest, or "the church" (whoever that is supposed to be) to know what I have done. If I seek advice in things theological, and tell a pastor in whose strength of character I trust some of my problems *voluntarily*, that's a different story. But not being allowed to take communion (and thus not being part of the Body of Christ in catholic understanding) as long as one hasn't told one's "secrets" to some priest is just abominably overbearing in my eyes. It is God's business to decide whether I am 'worthy of belonging to his flock', not the church's or the pope's. This all follows from the early bishops of Rome arrogating for themselves the post of God's deputy on earth. With this kind of disputable presumption as the basis of her claim to power, no wonder the Roman church had to become an organization of control freaks.

    Daynah, you asked "if you really are telling God, and you really believe in the church, why can't you tell the priest?" Well, why after telling God on your own tell it somebody else? Why take a flight via San Francisco if you can get from NYC to Newark by bus? And besides, do you really believe you can keep a secret from God, however "partially"? If yes, you, your local priest, and I clearly don't have the same idea about God. And thanks to God we haven't.



  18. I went to two different catholic all boy high schools, and one was ran by the Brothers of the Holy Cross, the other a jesuit school.

    It was a natural understanding of mine that NEW something was wrong when any individual chose celibacy to have to do Gods work. It made no sense to a young man, why would God have his servants be celibate?
    Is it not the NATURAL order of things for man to want to be with a woman? If that is the way we keep our race moving forward, man needs to be with woman, that was Gods plan, but his workers need to go aganst His Natural Law?

    If I put all my eggs in that basket, I guess I would be F-ed up in the head too, that I guess explains the obession with little boys behinds!

    Yes, pope, I agree Freemasonry is the problem with society, not you child molesting spiritual leaders.

    is the vatican trying to use the Jedi mind tricks on us?

    why do you think the poep wears that funny hat? It is a phallic symbol. The church is consumed with penis. Young adolescence penis....mmmmmmmmmmmmm

    father o'reilly wants his scotch and alter boy, pronto! Garsone

  19. I was raised as a Catholic, and attended Catholic schools from K-12th grade. As I went through high school I started having doubts about my faith and by the time I was in college I had stopped considering myself catholic. I've been teaching in catholic schools however for almost 10 years. I don't particularly believe in catholic education or care whether it succeeds, the job was available and I took it. The school I'm employed by-religion aside- is a good school with knowledgeable teachers good students and an administration who knows what they are doing and how to run a school. That being said, the Catholic church is the largest corporation in the world-probably the richest. They own more real estate than any other corporation. What has been happening in the past 10 years is that they have had to basically compete with the fundamental evangelical christian churches for parishioners. So they've become more fundamental. Catholics have been leaving and not attending for many reasons, but many have been looking for more conservative teachings in their church. Catholic churches have even started a tithing policy where they ask for their members to give up to 10% of their yearly income to the parish. So basically all of this anti-freemasonry talk while not new by any stretch is part of that strengthening of conservative doctrine from the upper echelons of the church. It's really a bunch of bullshit, because no matter what they do most of the lay people in the church pick and choose what they want to follow anyway. The church also tells it's people that they are in a state of grave sin if they skip mass one week and receive communion the next, but the official doctrine is that you only have to go once a year-it's called the Easter obligation.
    The church is full of shit, they know that they don't have the power they used to have, and now they're becoming fanatical. There's a saying I've always liked--Fanaticism exists after the goal is lost, when one redoubles their efforts. I don't know who said it, I first heard it from a teacher in high school actually. Anyway, I guess my point is who gives a shit what the catholic church says about freemasonry or any other group-it's ok for them to be anti-mason but not for us to be anti-catholic? Of course we aren't anti-catholic. and they really are just afraid that people will like the idea that they can share their faith in a God with someone of a different faith. Unitarian-Universalism invites people of all faiths and even atheists and agnostics to "worship" together every Sunday, but you don't see the catholic church writing edicts and articles about them. Freemasonry has and will be used as a scapegoat by people to point the finger because it's easy-we have secretive meetings and as long as Dan Brown is writing novels there's some suspicion.
    Hey, I'd like to see if the college of cardinals would let anyone in to their meeting, I doubt it.

    Pardon the anonymity, but I wouldn't want to get fired from my catholic school job. ;-)

  20. In response to one of the Anonymous posters above:

    The reason for priestly celibacy is twofold. One they cite that Jesus was unmarried, and second the Scripture quote that "a man cannot serve two masters".


  21. payzuip
    Whoa! I got a lot of criticism for saying Texas was flat. Now everybody is out to insult the Church!

    I will say, as both a Catholic and a Mason, that neither institution is the answer to the great philosophical questions, no matter how much faith you have or education you get in either.

    I am no longer a practicing Catholic and rarely go to Masonic meetings, though I believe and swore oath to the tenets of the latter and continue to "practice" Masonry in my behavior--somethings that more or less is concordant with the Church's demands for "good works".

    Karl Marx once said, "Religion is the opiate of the people." That was the one true statement he ever made. I buy into some of the Catholic criticism only when it is applied to religion as a whole.

    Who are other human beings--whether a stinking iman, a greedy rabbi, a molesting priest or a homosexual/fornicating evangelical--to tell me what I should believe in??? They are self-aggrandizing idiots, that's what they are. For that matter, these damned MWMs and WMs who think they are above the rest of their lodges are the central problem we face in Masonry today.

    Part of the appeal of Masonry is the do-it-yourself attitude toward mystical enlightenment. Of course, I could also become a Buddhist and be a bodhisattva. Same goal: Enlightenment. I guess all Masons should think about that one.

    By the way, let me correct the falsehood spread by an Episcopal poster above. There is no requirement to "tell a priest all of your secrets" in the Catholic faith. That is a huge misconception. Furthermore, the problem Catholics have with Masonry is primarily the egalitarianism which necessarily denies the supremacy of the Pope. The secrecy is abhorrent to the Church because it is thought that Masonry is quasi-religious and thus does not adhere to Church dogma, in part because it allows attention to be given to other religions.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

  22. Does anyone know where the Church of England stands in regards to Freemasonry?

  23. Do Catholics take this stuff seriously? Do Catholics who are also Masons care what the official church dogma is about Freemasonry?

    Are you seriously asking? After reading what the church has said for years, if they took the official Catholic dogma serious, they wouldnt be Mason's would they?

  24. I frequently have dinner with my local priest and he has no issues with me being a mason. I think that the times are changeing, and although the word comes from the pope, many of todays priests are of an age where they realise that the catholic church needs to change its veiws on the world. He accepts my faith and understands what it is to be a freemason, if his position did not bar him i would have invited him years ago.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.