A Conciliar Pope with the Odour of Masonry

While there is little indication that Paul VI was a formal Mason, there is no doubt that his programme of reform was completely in line with the agenda of Freemasons to create an ape of the Church.

Anonymous Catholic

FROM: Society of Saint Pius X

Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment

On December 20, 2012, Benedict XVI authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree recognizing the “heroic virtues” of Paul VI, pope from 1963 to 1978. Now only a miracle obtained through the intercession of Paul VI is necessary to proceed to his beatification. Apparently the postulator for his cause, Fr. Antonio Marrazzo, has already chosen a case to present to the medical commission, the cure of an unborn child diagnosed with severe malformation. According to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, the beatification could take place in 2013.

Paul VI is the pope who closed the Second Vatican Council, opened by his predecessor John XXIII. It was during Paul VI’s pontificate that the Novus Ordo Missae was developed. He wrote unhesitatingly to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1976, “The Second Vatican Council is no less authoritative than the Council of Nicea, and is even more important in some respects.”

Archbishop Lefebvre, who was suspended a divinis during Paul VI’s pontificate, gave his opinion of Paul VI to the seminarians of Econe in the lecture series he gave on the Magisterium that provided the material for his book They Have Uncrowned Him (Angelus Press, 1994).

Chapter 31, “Paul VI, a Liberal Pope,” provides a strong indication of what the Society of St. Pius X’s founder would have said about the pending beatification. DICI has introduced headings in the form of questions into Archbishop Lefebvre’s text, the better to follow his analysis.

How will Paul VI be judged by the Church of the future?

Obviously, the Church will one day judge this council and these popes. How will Paul VI, in particular, fare? Some call him heretic, schismatic, and apostate; others believe themselves to have proved that he could not have acted for the good of the Church, and that therefore he was not in fact pope—the theory held by sedevacantists. I do not deny that these opinions have some arguments in their favor. Perhaps, you will say, in 30 years secrets will have been revealed, or elements that should have been obvious to contemporary observers will stand out, statements made by this pope in complete contradiction to the traditions of the Church, etc. Perhaps. But I do not believe that such hypotheses are necessary; in fact, I think it would be a mistake to espouse them.

Others think, simplistically, that there were two popes: one, the true pope, imprisoned in the cellars of the Vatican, and the other, an imposter, his double, seated on the throne of Peter, working for the destruction of the Church. Books have been published about the two popes, based on the ‘revelations’ of a possessed person and on supposedly scientific arguments that state, for instance, that the double’s voice is not the same as that of the real Paul VI…!

What is your own explanation of Paul VI’s pontificate?

The real solution seems entirely different to me, much more complex, more difficult, and more painful. It is given us by a friend of Paul VI, Cardinal Danielou. In his Memoirs, published by a member of his family, the cardinal clearly states, “It is clear that Paul VI is a liberal pope.”

Such is the solution that seems the most historically likely, because this pope was himself a fruit of liberalism. His whole life was permeated with the influence of the men he chose to surround him or to rule him, and they were liberals.

Paul VI did not hide his liberal leanings; at the Council, the men he chose as moderators to replace the presidents appointed by John XXIII, were Cardinal Agagianian, a cardinal of colorless personality from the Curia, and Cardinals Lercaro, Suenens and Dopfner, all three liberals and the pope’s friends. The presidents were sidelined at the head table, and these three liberals directed the conciliar debates. In the same way, Paul VI supported the liberal faction that opposed the tradition of the Church throughout the entire Council. This is a recognized fact. Paul VI repeated—I quoted it to you—the exact words of Lammenais at the end of the Council: “L’Eglise ne demande que la liberte” – the Church only seeks freedom—a doctrine condemned by Gregory XVI and Pius IX.

Paul VI was undeniably very strongly influenced by liberalism. This explains the historic evolution experienced by the Church over the last few decades, and it describes Paul VI’s personal behavior very well. The liberal, as I have told you, is a man who lives in constant contradiction. He states the principles, and does the opposite; he is perpetually incoherent.

Could you provide some examples in support of your analysis?

Here are a few examples of the thesis-antithesis conundrums that Paul VI loved to present as so many insoluble problems, mirroring his anxious and conflicted mind. The encyclical Ecclesiam suam, (August 6, 1964), provides an illustration:

If, as We said, the Church realizes what is God’s will in its regard, it will gain for itself a great store of energy, and in addition will conceive the need for pouring out this energy in the service of all men. It will have a clear awareness of a mission received from God, of a message to be spread far and wide. Here lies the source of our evangelical duty, our mandate to teach all nations, and our apostolic endeavor to strive for the eternal salvation of all men. (…) The very nature of the gifts which Christ has given the Church demands that they be extended to others and shared with others. This must be obvious from the words: ‘Going, therefore, teach ye all nations,’ Christ’s final command to His apostles. The word apostle implies a mission from which there is no escaping.” 

That is the thesis, and the antithesis follows immediately:

To this internal drive of charity which seeks expression in the external gift of charity, We will apply the word ‘dialogue.’ The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make.” 

And finally he attempts a synthesis, which only reinforces the antithesis:

Before we can convert the world—as the very condition of converting the world—we must approach it and speak to it.”[1] 

Have you another example?

Of greater gravity are the words with which Paul VI suppressed Latin in the liturgy after the Council, and they are even more characteristic of his liberal psychology. After restating all the advantages of Latin: a sacred language, an unchanging language, a universal language, he calls, in the name of adaptation, for the “sacrifice” of Latin, admitting at the same time that it will be a great loss for the Church. Here are his very words, reported by Louis Salleron in his book La nouvelle messe [The New Mass] (Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2nd ed., 1976, p. 83)

On March 7, 1965, he said to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s square: 

‘It is a sacrifice that the Church makes in renouncing Latin, a sacred language, beautiful, expressive, and elegant. The Church sacrifices centuries of tradition and unity of language in the name of an ever-growing desire for universality’.” 

The ‘sacrifice’ of which he spoke became a reality with the Instruction Tres abhinc annos (May 4, 1967) which established the use of the vernacular for reciting the Canon of the Mass aloud.

This ‘sacrifice,’ in Paul VI’s mind, seems to have been final. He explained it once again on November 26, 1969, when he presented the new rite of the Mass:

The principal language of the Mass will no longer be Latin, but the vernacular. For anyone familiar with the beauty and power of Latin, its aptness for expression of the sacred, it will certainly be a great sacrifice to see it replaced by the vernacular. We are losing the language of centuries of Christianity, we become as intruders, reduced to the profane in the literary domain of expressing the sacred. We lose, too, the greater part of the admirable, incomparable wealth of art and spirituality contained in Gregorian chant. It is with good reason, then, that we experience regret and even distress.” 

Everything therefore should have dissuaded Paul VI from imposing this ‘sacrifice’ and persuaded him to maintain the use of Latin. On the contrary, deriving a singularly masochistic pleasure from his ‘distress,’ he chose to act against the principles he had just set forth, and decreed the ‘sacrifice’ in the name of promoting understanding of prayer, a specious argument that was only a modernist pretext.

Never has liturgical Latin been an obstacle to the conversion of infidels or to their education as Christians. Quite the opposite: the simple peoples of Africa and Asia loved Gregorian chant and the one sacred language, the sign of their affiliation to Catholicism. And experience shows that where Latin was not imposed by missionaries of the Latin Church, there the seeds of future schism were planted.

Paul VI followed these remarks with this contradictory pronouncement:

The solution seems banal and prosaic, but it is good, because it is human and apostolic. The understanding of prayer is more precious than the dilapidated silks in which it has been royally clad.  More precious is the participation of the people, the people of today who want us to speak clearly, intelligibly, in words that can be translated into their secular tongue. If the noble Latin language cuts us off from children, from youth, from the world of work and business, if it is an opaque screen instead of a transparent crystal, would we fishers of men do well to maintain its exclusive use in the language of prayer and religion?” 

Alas, what mental confusion. Who prevents me from praying in my own tongue? But liturgical prayer is not private prayer; it is the prayer of the whole Church.  Moreover, another lamentable lack of distinction is present: the liturgy is not a teaching addressed to the faithful, but the worship the Christian people address to God. Catechism is one thing, and the liturgy is another. The point is not that we “speak clearly” to the people assembled in the church, but rather that these people may praise God in the most beautiful, most sacred, and most solemn manner possible. “Praying to God with beauty” was St. Pius X’s liturgical maxim. How right he was!

How would you describe a liberal?

You see, the liberal mind is conflicted and confused, anguished and contradictory. Such a mind was Paul VI’s. Louis Salleron explained it very well when he described Paul VI’s physical countenance, saying “he was two-faced.” Not duplicitous—this word expresses a malicious intent to deceive which was not present in Paul VI. No, he had a double personality, and the contrast between the sides of face expressed this: traditionalist in words, then modernist in action; Catholic in his premises and principles, and then progressive in his conclusions; not condemning what he should have, and then condemning what he ought to have preserved.

This psychological weakness afforded an ideal opportunity for the enemies of the Church. While maintaining a Catholic face (or half-face, if you like) he contradicted tradition without hesitation, he encouraged change, baptized mutation and progress, and followed the lead of the enemies of the Church, who egged him on.

Did not the Izvestia, official newspaper of the Communist Soviet party, demand from Paul VI my condemnation and that of Econe in the name of Vatican II? And the Italian Communist paper L’Unita followed suit after the sermon I gave in Lille on August 29, 1976; furious because of my attack on Communism, they devoted an entire page to their demand. “Be aware,” they wrote, addressing Paul VI, “be aware of the danger Lefebvre represents, and continue the magnificent approach initiated through the ecumenism of Vatican II.” With friends like these, who needs enemies? This is a sad illustration of a rule we have already established: liberalism leads from compromise to treason.

How should priests and faithful who are attached to tradition act under a liberal pope?

The psychology of a liberal pope is easy enough to imagine, but difficult to bear! Indeed, such a leader—be it Paul VI or John Paul II—puts us in a very delicate position.

In practice, our attitude must base itself on a preliminary distinction, made necessary by the extraordinary circumstances of a pope won over by liberalism.  This is the distinction we must make: when the pope says something in keeping with tradition, we follow him; when he opposes the Faith, or encourages opposition of the Faith, or allows something to be done that attacks the Faith, then we cannot follow him. The fundamental reason for this is that the Church, the pope, and the hierarchy must serve the Faith. They do not make the Faith, they must serve it. The Faith cannot be made; it is immutable, and must be transmitted.

This is why papal teachings intended to validate actions opposed to tradition cannot be followed. In following, we would participate in the self-destruction of the Church, in the destruction of our Faith.

It is clear that what is unceasingly demanded of us—complete submission to the pope, complete submission to the Council, acceptance of the entire liturgical reform—is in opposition to tradition, in the sense that the pope, the Council and the reforms lead us far from tradition, as the facts show more overwhelmingly every year. Therefore, to demand these things is to require us to participate in the downfall of the Faith. Impossible! The martyrs died to defend the Faith; we have the example of Christians imprisoned, tortured, sent to concentration camps for the Faith. One grain of incense offered to an idol, and their lives would have been safe. I was advised once, “Sign, sign saying you accept everything, and then you can continue as before!” No! One does not play games with the Faith.


Footnote

1 English translation taken from the Vatican’s website, consulted Jan. 29, 2013.


Translated from Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Ils l’ont decouronne, Clovis, 3rd ed., 2008; pp. 253-260. Available in English translation at Angelus Press as They Have Uncrowned Him (1994).

(Source: DICI no. 269, 2-1-2013)

Australian Bishops’ Conference Officially Sanctions Freemasonry

This article appeared in December of 2019 – there doesn’t seem to have been any action taken by the Australian Bishops. What does that tell us?

Anonymous Catholic

From Family Life International:

Back in July, I wrote an article for The Remnant on a Queensland priest who publicly admits to having been a Freemason for more than a decade. While that is shocking enough, the most disturbing part of this story was that the priest claims to have a letter from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, giving permission for Catholics to become Masons. This permission was said to be based on the erroneous conclusion that ‘Australian’ Freemasonry is somehow different from any other form of Freemasonry.

As my previous article explained, the communications officer for the ACBC Secretariat  responded to my query with this statement:

“The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has exchanged private correspondence with officials from the Freemasons in recent years. Fr. Costigan’s writings do not accurately reflect the contents of that private correspondence nor any policy of the Conference.”

As will become clear, that statement might be technically true, but in no way explains the reality of the correspondence’s contents.

Hiding in plain sight

Multiple phone calls and emails to Archdioceses over several months rendered little fruit – only independent Catholic news sites and the Freemasons themselves seemed interested in Fr. Costigan’s conflicting loyalties. However, a careless social media post led to the discovery of the letter online, along with the letter from the Freemasons which originally sparked the ACBC’s response.

That letter was written by the former Grand Master of Northern Territory/South Australia, Stephen Michalak to Fr. Stephen Hackett, the ACBC Secretary, in 2016. In it, Mr. Michalak sought to clarify the Catholic Church’s position on its members becoming Freemasons.

Mr. Michalak is himself a Catholic, as were the Grand Masters of Queensland and Western Australia at that time.  In his letter, Mr. Michalak expounds on the supposed virtues of Masonry, while also admitting that the Church maintains its ban on Catholics being members. He speaks of his ‘long-standing friendship’ with a former Vicar-General of Adelaide, who advised him to contact then Vicar-General, Fr. Philip Marshall.

Fr. Marshall advised him to obtain the agreement of all of the Australian Grand Masters before contacting the Church, and suggested to Michalak that he then write to the ACBC ‘seeking pastoral resolution to the present challenges as well as outlining a pathway for Catholics who are Freemasons to full participation in the sacramental life of the Church.’

Mr Michalak concluded his letter by stating his hope that Roman Catholic Freemasons will eventually be allowed to receive the sacraments without being in a state of sin.

Fr. Hackett’s response

The response from Fr Hackett is dated July 2017, exactly one year after Mr Michalak sent his enquiry. This time was needed, he writes, in order to consult with the Bishops Commission for Canon Law, the Bishops Commission for Doctrine and Morals and the Bishops Conference itself.

Without any explanation other than an acknowledgement of Mr Michalak’s glowing report of Masonry, Fr. Hackett expresses his satisfaction that ‘Australian’ Freemasonry’ is not hostile to Catholicism. However, if this is truly the case, then it is reasonable to ask why this assessment has never been made public or revealed to be the official stance of the ACBC – even though, as Fr. Hackett alleges below, the Bishops Conference came to that conclusion in 1984. Surely, if a thorough investigation involving multiple apparatus of the ACBC and which took a year to complete had actually taken place, then it would behove the Secretary to publicly disclose this fact, and to allow the mysterious 1984 directive to be promulgated.

But there is more.

Fr. Hackett goes on to imagine the Church and the Masons working in a ‘spirit of harmony’ which would be ‘informed by circumstance, need and opportunity.’ He then makes the following alarming and frankly, false, statement:

“Perhaps most importantly for Catholic members of Freemasonry, I can reiterate a directive first made by the Bishops Conference in 1984 and affirmed this year. No penalty attaches to Catholic membership of the Masonic order. The involvement of Catholics in Freemasonry is foremost a moral matter which should normally be dealt with personally and pastorally in the local parish. I suggest that where a local pastoral response is not consistent with this expectation and liturgical-sacramental participation is made difficult or refused, that this might be referred to the local vicar general or to me.

I will raise issue of Catholics and Freemasonry during the annual meeting of Archdiocesan Vicars General, next due to be held in May 2018, to ensure that they are familiar with the preferred approach of the Bishops Conference.”

Fr Hackett’s excuse – that the secrecy is necessary in case there are some Australian lodges which are hostile to the Church – does not hold water, since he provides no criteria by which to judge ‘hostility’ and given that the Church condemns all Masonry in any case.

“No local authority has the competence to derogate from these judgements”

In case there is any doubt as to the Church’s constant teaching on Freemasonry’s incompatibility with the Faith, a summary of the most recent Vatican directive on Masonry is given below. This was the 1983 Directive on Masonic Associations from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and it was issued after the Code of Canon Law was changed in that same year, omitting the charge that Catholic Freemasons incur ex-communication. That revision had caused confusion amongst Catholics who in some cases assumed that there was no longer any penalty attached to their holding Masonic membership. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger felt compelled to issue the Directive in order to dispel confusion about Freemasonry. According to the 1983 Directive:

1.    The Church’s negative judgment on Masonry remains unchanged, because the Masonic principles are irreconcilable with the Church’s teaching.

2.    Catholics who join the Masons are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

3.    No local ecclesiastical authority has the competence to derogate from these judgments of the Sacred Congregation.”

That last point, regarding a prohibition on local authorities to promulgate an alternative teaching on Masonry is very pertinent in this case. For in suggesting that the Australian Bishops Conference can administer a bespoke interpretation of the relationship between Masonry and the Church, Fr. Hackett is in clear violation of the CDF’s directive. Obviously, he has also violated the first point by suggesting that so-called ‘Australian Freemasonry’ can be reconciled with the Church, and the second by failing to advise Catholics who remain Masons that they are not to receive Holy Communion.

Fr. Hackett’s claim that the ACBC directive of 1984 approved Freemasonry after the CDF’s definitive proclamation hints at an arrogance that defies belief.

Freemasonry is an “instrument of Satan”

Fr. Hackett’s assessment of Freemasonry, in addition to violating the 1983 Directive, stands in contrast with that of the many popes, bishops and laymen who have denounced Masonry since its inception four hundred years ago. In fact, there have been more than twenty encyclicals and papal bulls written on this matter by the popes alone.

The most famous of these, Humanum Genus, was written by Pope St. Leo XIII in 1884. In it, Pope Leo wrote,

“We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is; and by sermons and pastoral letters to instruct the people as to the artifices used by societies of this kind in seducing men and enticing them into its ranks, and as to the depravity of their opinions and the wickedness of their acts.

As our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them.”

In 1985, American Cardinal Law specifically debunked the idea that Masonry could be acceptable even if ostensibly not hostile to the faith, when he said: “And even though Masonic organizations may not in particular cases plot against the faith, it would still be wrong to join them because their basic principles are irreconcilable with those of the Catholic faith.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in a December 2016 talk, referred to Freemasonry as the ‘Instrument of Satan,’ reminding Catholics that St Maximilian Kolbe founded his Knighthood of the Immaculata in direct response to threats from the Italian Freemasons of his day. As Bishop Schneider pointed out, reiterating the Church’s constant teaching, Freemasonry’’s goal is “to eliminate the entire doctrine of God, especially Catholic doctrine.”

Former 32nd degree Mason, layman John Salza, is just as blunt. He states that “Freemasonry is a religion that is opposed to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. That’s the bottom line.”

The Bishops respond

FLI contacted Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Vice-President of the ACBC and Archbishop Julian Porteous for a response to our queries:

Archbishop Fisher stated via his private secretary that:

 … he has no recollection of this being discussed at the Bishops Conference. The 1983 Declaration on Masonic Associations from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes clear that Catholics who enrol in Masonic activities are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. Furthermore, the Declaration expressly says it is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to derogate from this.

Further, the Archbishop said that it is his understanding that while penalties have varied, the Church has never been in favour of Catholics joining any secret organisations with quasi-religious doctrines.”

Additionally, Archbishop Fisher’s secretary drew our attention to the 1937 Plenary Council for Australia which passed a decree that prohibited Catholics becoming members of the Freemasons.

Paul Hanrahan spoke to Archbishop Julian Porteous, FLI’s Patron, who would like to withhold any comment until he has had a reply to his letter to Father Stephen Hackett MSC, asking him for clarification, especially where he received the information he has quoted. He does however endorse the comments of Archbishop Anthony Fisher.

“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed”

It’s quite ironic that attempts by Catholic clergy to undermine the Church by embracing Freemasonry were undone by that ‘secret’ society advertising the fact on social media.

One day, as Jesus has promised us, all such secrets will be laid bare. But in the interim before that fearful day, there are sure to be many more betrayals revealed.

In light of the ACBC’s failure to adequately defend the Church’s teaching on a matter as fundamental as Catholicism’s incompatibility with Freemasonry, it should also be asked how any sane Catholic could expect the upcoming Plenary Council to fare any better.

Unless information to the contrary is made known by the bishops, Catholics could well conjecture that there exists in Australia a cabal of the clergy who are involved in Freemasonry, a number that is possibly not insignificant.  Knowing the sad state of the Catholic Education system, the widespread incidence of heterodoxy in Australian parishes, unfettered homo-clericalism and its attendant abuse scandal, as well as the continued failure of anyone in authority to censure Fr Costigan – a spiritual work of mercy that is the obligation of every bishop – those fears would not be unfounded.

The offices of the Bishops Commission for Canon Law, the Bishops Commission for Doctrine and Morals, the Vicars-General and the Bishops Conference itself might be a good place to start looking.

Cardinal Ravasi flatters the Masons

This 2016 article by Cardinal Ravasi calls for dialogue with Freemasons. The Cardinal disingenuously implies that the penalties cited in Canon Law no longer apply to that ideology which Pope Leo XIII called, “pernicious,” “perverse” and “evil.”

Anonymous Catholic

From Rorate Caeli :

A few days ago, we published a few excerpts of the article published by Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in the Italian paper Il Sole 24 Ore last Sunday, February 14, 2016, calling for dialogue with Freemasons. We now have the full text of the article — followed by a response given by the Cardinal to a reader who asked him for a clarification.
***

DEAR BROTHER MASONS

Over and above our different identities, there is no lack of common values: a sense of community, charitable works and the fight against materialismby Cardinal Gianfranco RavasiI read some time ago in an American magazine that the international bibliography on Freemasonry exceeds more than a 100,000 articles. Certainly contributing to this interest is its aura of secrecy and mystery, more or less with good reason, its different “obediences” and Masonic “rites” shrouded in a sort of murkiness, not to mention its origins, which, according to the English historian Frances Yates, “are one of the most discussed and questionable problems in the entire field of historical research” (curiously the scholar’s study was dedicated to the Rosicrucian Enlightment, translated by Einaudi in 1976).We obviously do not want to go into this archipelago of “lodges” “orients” “arts” “affiliations” and denominations of which history has often weaved – for better or for worse – into the politics of many nations (for example, I’m thinking here of Uruguay where I took part recently in various dialogues with proponents of traditional Masonic culture and society), just as it is not possible to trace the lines of demarcation between the authentic, the false, the degenerate, or para-masonry and the various esoteric or theosophical circles.
It is also arduous to illustrate a map of the ideology which holds such a fragmentary universe, which is why we can speak of a horizon and a method more than a codified doctrinal system. Inside this fluid setting some rather distinct crossroads meet, such as an anthropology based on freedom of conscience, intellect and equal rights, in addition to a deism that acknowledges the existence of God, allowing however, for flexible definitions on His identity. Anthropocentrism and spiritualism, are, therefore, two somewhat excavated paths within a very changeable and flexible map that we are not able to outline in any precise way.


We are content, though, to indicate an interesting little volume which has a clearly distinct aim: that of defining the relationship between Freemasonry and the Catholic Church. Let’s be clear immediately though: it is not a historical analysis of this relationship, neither does it treat of possible contaminations between the two subjects. In fact, it is evident that Masonry has assumed Christian models – even liturgical ones. We must not forget, for instance, that in the 17th century many English lodges recruited members and maestros among the Anglican clergy and it is a fact that one of the first and fundamental Masonic “constitutions” was drawn up by the Presbyterian pastor, James Anderson who died in 1739. In it, among other things, it was affirmed, that an adherent ”will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine” even if the creed proposed was, in the end, the vaguest possible, “that of a religion which all men agree on”.


Now, the vacillations of contacts between the Church and Freemasonry have had many varied movements, reaching even manifest hostility, marked by anticlericalism on the one side and excommunication on the other. Indeed, on April 28th 1738, Pope Clement XII, the Florentine Lorenzo Corsini, promulgated the first explicit document on Freemasonry, the Apostolic Letter In eminenti apostulatus specula, in which he declared: “that these same Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations, or Conventicles of Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons, or whatever other name they may go by, are to be condemned and prohibited”. Condemnations reiterated by subsequent pontiffs, from Benedict XIV to Pius IX and Leo XIII, affirmed the incompatibility between membership in the Catholic Church and Masonic obedience. Concise was the 1917 code of Canon Law in which canon 2335 reads: “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.”


The new Code of 1983 tempered the formula, avoiding explicit reference to Freemasonry, conserving the substance of the punishment even if destined in the most generic sense “a person who joins an association which plots against the Church” (canon 1374). However the most articulated Church document on the irreconcilability between adhesion to the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is the Declaratio de associationibus massonicis issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Faith on November 26th 1983, signed by the then Prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It specified precisely the value of the new Code of Canon Law, reaffirming: “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 small volume to which we now return, is interesting since it attaches – along with an Introduction by the present Prefect for the Congregation, Cardinal Gerhard Muller – also two documents from two local Episcopates, the German Episcopal Conference (1980) and the Philippine one (2003). They are significant texts as they address the theoretical and practical reasons for the irreconcilability of masonry and Catholicism as concepts of truth, religion, God, man and the world, spirituality, ethics, rituality and tolerance. It is significant particularly for the method adopted by the Philippine Bishops, who articulate their discourse along three trajectories: the historical, the more explicitly doctrinal and the pastoral. All is examined along the lines of the question-answer type of catechesis. There are 47 question-answers and they go into details, such as the initiation ceremony, symbols, the use of the Bible, the relationship with other religions, the oath of brotherhood, the various levels of the hierarchy and so on. These various declarations on the incompatibility of the two memberships in the Church or in Freemasonry, do not impede, however, dialogue, as is explicitly stated in the German Bishops’ document which had already listed the specific areas for discussion, such as the communitarian dimension, works of charity, the fight against materialism, human dignity and reciprocal knowledge.


Further, we need to overcome that stance from certain Catholic integralist spheres, which – in order to hit out at some exponents even in the Church’s hierarchy who displease them – have recourse to accusing them apodictically of being members of Freemasonry. In conclusion, as the German Bishops wrote, we need to go beyond reciprocal “hostility, insults and prejudices” since “in comparison to past centuries the tone and way of manifesting [our]differences has improved and changed” even if these differences still remain in a clearly distinct way.

[Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]
***
After being contacted by a Rorate reader, Cardinal Ravasi sent the reader the following message:

Dear [X],
You are probably reacting mainly to the article’s title, which was added by the newspaper’s staff.
My article actually presented the 1983 document from the Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, and also the documents on the Masons from the German and Philippine Episcopal Conferences, with clear doctrinal precision as well as practical indications.
Sincere regards,

Gianfranco Card Ravasi

A Freemasonic Mass in Brazil

A Freemasonic newsletter published this account of a Mass offered for Amazonian Masons in the Archdiocese of Manaus cathedral in 2018

Anonymous Catholic

From El Oriente:

Mass for Masonry in Manaus 
 ” What unites us is much greater than what separates us .” That was the message of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manaus, Monsignor Sergio Castrini, during the celebration in the Sagrada Familia del Tarumã church for the expansion of the improvement orders  dependent on the Grand Orient of Brazil , in friendship with the Grand Lodge of Spain . “ God is love and the way of knowledge is love. Love is always a response, mainly to God who first loved us. The cross that you carry on your insignia is the sign of God’s love for humanity “, explained the archbishop who concluded his homily with a request to the freemasons present, of Christian condition: ” We hope that you will always continue to provide these services to society and mainly by being faithful to Christian principles and communion with the Church, because the Church may be different on the surface .”

More on the Archbishop’s sermon was found here:

Archdiocese of Manaus, May 6, 2018 –What unites us is much greater than what separates us. We are on the eve of Pentecost, whose theme is ‘In the power of the Spirit, we are all brothers and sisters’, which shows that what unites us is the Spirit of God. That was the message that the Metropolitan Archbishop of Manaus, Mgr Sergio Castrini, left during the celebration for the founding of the Templars and Priories of Malta of the Amazon Castelo de Tomar No. 61 and Rondonia Estrela de Porto Velho No. 62. The celebration took place on May 6 ppdo. in the Sagrada Familia del Tarumã church and was concelebrated by the parish priest, Fr. Charles Cunha, assisted by the deacon Messias Alencar.

” This day is a historical landmark that will remain in our hearts and makes it clear that we are Christians, we are Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ and that we are servants of God “, said Jurimar Collares Ipiranga, Secretary of Education and Culture of the Grand Orient of Brazil (GOB) Amazon.

After the proclamation of the Gospel by Deacon Messias, Bishop Castrini began his homily by emphasizing God’s love for humanity: “ God is love and the way of knowledge is love. Love is always a response, mainly to God who first loved us. The cross that you wear on your insignia is the sign of God’s love for humanity «. Bishop Castrini, who also took the opportunity to speak about the true vocation of the laity, stated: « The Catholic Church is celebrating the Year of the Laity and the vocation of the laity is that: to be Salt of the Earth and Light of the World, in the family, at work and above all being a good citizen «.

The Archbishop concluded the homily by speaking of the journey of the Clergy to the Holy Land at the beginning of the year, where they visited the churches built by the Templars at the time of the Crusades and concluded with a request to the Masons: “ In his first reading, Peter discovers that pagans were also called to follow God. He made this discovery at Cornelio’s house and was very excited. It was a fundamental fact in the history of Christianity and many took time to understand that, when we stopped being a Jewish sect, we became a universal church. We hope that you will always continue to render these services to society and mainly to be faithful to Christian principles and to communion with the Church, because the Church may be different on the surface, but we are all united in Christ«.

According to Armando Corrêa Junior, Grand Master of the GOB Amazonas, the celebration broke a great paradigm and now the idea is to try to make the solemnity an annual tradition in the State of Amazonas. “ Yesterday we founded the Preceptorium and the Castelo de Tomar Priory, and we wanted to celebrate a mass of gratitude to God for that moment reached by the Freemasonry of the Amazon. We are very happy with the presence of Bishop Sergio who came personally to preside over this Mass and I have no words to thank and express emotion for the importance of this moment in which we have overcome a great paradigm. We intend to repeat this act in the coming years, but we depend on the archbishop, since the respect for the authority of Monsignor Sergio is 100% “, commented the Grand Master.