Michael Heinrich Weninger was born in 1951, in Wiener Neustadt . He entered the diplomatic service of the Republic of Austria and in 1993 became head of the Austrian embassy in Belgrade. This appointment lasted until 1997. From 2008-2009, he worked in Sarajevo, again as head of the Austrian embassy. That year, his wife died and he left the diplomatic corps.
It is most likely that Weninger was already a Freemason by this time. He has said that his path crossed with many Masons from the early 2000’s and this continued after he became a priest. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Vienna in 2011 by the dissident Cardinal Christoph Schonborn. Schonborn is known for his open support for gays and hosts sacrilegious pro-sodomy events in his Cathedral annually.
In 2012, Fr Weninger became a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, working under Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Two years later, it became known that Fr Weninger was a Freemason, as his role as chaplain for three Mark Masons Lodges was published on a Masonic website. The same article related that he consecrated the new lodge of the Mark Masons no. 1954 in 2014.
When the rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University learned that Fr. Weninger was planning a book on the compatibility of Freemasonry and Catholicism, he invited the priest to study under him and write a dissertation on that topic. Fr. Weninger’s doctoral dissertation was completed in 2019: he successfully defended it, and was awarded the maximum grade of 10.0 summ cum laude.
The thesis title was Über die Aussöhnung von Katholischer Kirche und regulärer Freimaurerei (On the Reconciliation of the Catholic Church and Regular Freemasonry). It was published as a book in February of 2020 under the title of “Lodge and Altar.”
In order to prove the compatibility of Masonry with the Catholic Faith, Fr. Weninger relies on a false distinction between “regular” and “irregular’ lodges. However, Pope Pius IX, in his encyclical Etsi Multa made it very clear that there is no difference between the various forms of lodges.
One commentator points out that Fr. Weninger is wrong on another score: he writes that although Fr Weninger claims that Freemasonry is not a religion, “the fact that he published his doctoral thesis at the Institute of Spirituality (and not at the Institute of History) suggests that Freemasonry is after all a form of spirituality.”
In his book, Weninger reveals his flawed understanding of the Catholic Faith. He writes that the Church uses magic in Her rituals such as blessings and exorcisms: “The Catholic Church knows legitimate acts of magical-mysterious and thus magically effective acts”, p. 113. He further states that “magic was not and is not condemned by the Catholic Church” (p 113),thereby suggesting that the “hermetic thinking” (p 110) and magic inherent in Masonic rituals are acceptable to the Church.
While perhaps not the most reliable of sources, the occultist Leo Zagami ties the release of this book to a request from Queen Elizabeth and the United Grand Lodge of England to the Vatican to review its prohibition on Freemasonry.
Far from receiving any censure from the Vatican for his allegiance to Freemasonry, Fr Weninger’s career has continued to blossom., for example, he was a speaker at the G20 Interfaith Forum in October last year.
Like the Australian priests Fr. Stephen Hackett and Fr. Costigan, Fr. Weninger promulgates the dangerous and erroneous message that no penalty applies any longer to Catholics who are Masons. The fact that he freely spreads this heresy, and is not only not chastised but is promoted, shows that profound hold that Freemasonry has on the Roman Curia.
There, freemasons were not mentioned anymore: excommunication was no more inflicted upon them. This meant a final reconciliation: it was made crystal-clear that freemasonry was not fighting against Catholicism, but they were cooperating instead. Had they become members of a lodge, Catholics would not have been ousted from the ‘assembly’: no one would have asked them to renounce their faith. Common effort has ever since replaced infighting. Nowadays, many bishops and prelates told me that, as freemasons, they are doing a wonderful job for both their believers and themselves! With irregular freemasonry, of course, it is different…
Fr Weningen, in an interview for MadamaLouise.com, reproduced at Freemason Wiki