Today: Catholicism and Freemasonry

Pope at present time, Pope Benedict XVI   In the late 1730s, the Pope issued a papal bull, In Emenenti Specula, criticizing the Freemasons and condemning members of the church that enrolled in Masonic associations. Set forth in this bull was the consequence for such activity; excommunication. In 1917, the Code of Canon Law maintained that a member of the church that joined the Freemasons were to be excommunicated from the church.

   In 1983, the revised Code of Canon Law indicated that any members of the church that enrolled in Masonic associations were “in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion”. This caused question as to whether or not a member who joined the Freemasons were still subject to excommunication.

   Quaestium est clarified the confusion. It made clear that “the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden.” 

   The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal society, was founded in 1882 as an alternative to freemasonry by Father Michael J. McGivney, a Catholic Priest in New Haven, Connecticut. He believed that by founding this society, it would serve as a venue for men to show and maintian pride in their American-Catholic heritage.

Symbol of the Free and Accepted Masons (Freemasons)   The Free and Accepted Masons will allow Catholic men to join if they so desire. The Freemasons have never restricted the membership by banning Catholics to join. In France, Masonic organizations have organized and voiced opposition to the role of the Catholic church in politics.

   Some who are familiar with the rocky relationship between the Catholic church and the Freemasons say the dilemma is largely due to political precursors and has little to do with the teachings of the Free and Accepted Masons and the doctrine of the Catholic church.

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