Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII’s great encyclical warning against Freemasonry, was promulgated in 1884. In it, the Pope condemned Masonry and other secret societies in the most direct and unambiguous way. The scathing nature of his reprisal can be evaluated by the response from Masons of that time.
From the Bulletin of the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge:
Freemasonry cannont help but thank the Supreme Pontiff of the last encyclical. Leo XIII, with unquestionable authority, and wth great luxury of evidence has demonstrated once again that there is an unbridgeable gulf between the Church of which he is the representative, and the Revolution, of which Freemasonry is the right arm. It is good that the skeptics cease to entertain vain hopes. All must get used to the new order which does not recognise any other foundation than that of science and human reason, in the spirit of authority and spirit of liberty.Enrico Delassus, “Il problema dell’ora presente”, Desclèe e C. Tipografi-Editori 1907, vol. 1, p 39. (Via Fr Villa.)
Contrast this appraisal with laudatory comments from the Masons in our present day. The following is a press release from Italy’s Grand Lodge, made after the election of Jorge Bergoglio in 2013.
The Catholic Church has chosen as Pope the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio who assumed the name of Francis. A clear-cut choice, away from the logic of the Roman Curia and of the temporal power. From the first moment on, Pope Francis, a man who comes “nearly from the end of the world,” rejecting the ermine robe and gold cross and replacing it with an iron cross, made his first tangible act. In his first words of greeting he fostered a desire for dialogue with the world and with mankind, nurturing the vivid hope for laymen and nonbelievers that change is underway. Maybe this is really what the world expects and what it expected. A new Church that knows how to reconnect love with truth in a confrontation among institutions not entrenched in the defense of their own power. It is that same hope for which the world — and especially Latin America, where the Masons Simon Bolivar, Salvador Allende and the same Giuseppe Garibaldi [especially while in Brazil] among the many who have given liberty to those peoples — has always longed for.
A message that Freemasonry itself perceives a sharp break with the past and one which is turned now to listening to the poor, the marginalized and the weakest. To the new Pontiff we send our best wishes for his good work for years to come.
Luciano Nistri, Grand Master GLVDI(As found at OnePeterFive)