I asked this question in the Ask an Apologist forum, but I thought I might ask here for some quicker, general thoughts on the dilemma
I’m a young Catholic preparing to graduate from high school and go to college. One of the history teachers at my school, a Mason, wants to nominate me for his district’s Masonic Excellence in Youth Award. I know in the past there have been warnings against JOINING the Masons, but what about accepting an award from them? He is nominating me because of my community service involvement, school participation and the advocacy projects I have taken on. I read that the most recent version of the Canon doesn’t list the Masons as a condemned secret society.
Would it be immoral to accept the nomination. And if I did have to deny the nomination, how would I go about doing so? He is a great guy, a great teacher and I really respect him.
A prompt response is desirable. He asked me today and the deadline for the nomination is this Saturday.
Forget about the award. Freemasonry and Catholicism are incompatible and it remains a grave sin for a catholic to become a Freemason.
The official Church position:
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
DECLARATION ON MASONIC ASSOCIATIONS
It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code.
This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore 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 faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981).
In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.
Joseph Card. RATZINGER
Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium
I’m not becoming a Mason… my teacher is nominating me for an award that is sponsored by the Masons.
I know I will never be a Mason, which is all your proof forbids. Would it be immoral to accept the nomination from a group that presents itself as a social fraternity in the community that raises money for sick children and food pantries is my question.
I can recall my Dad, a 4th Degree in the K of C, describing to me how his council and assembly in the Knights were working along with the local Masons on a number of local community projects, and to good effect. There was, according to their chaplain, the local parish priest, nothing wrong with this kind of cooperation.
I therefore wonder, so long as there is no chance of there being any reasonable prospect of it being taken as an endorsement, what would be the problem here?
Maybe the Parish Priest could be a useful source of guidance, because this is probably a situation that cannot be well interpreted without reference to the local and particular context.
I recall a scene in the TV version of Leon Uris’s book “QB-VII”. A witness from (then) communist Poland was being cross examined, and had harsh words for another communist. When the lawyer pointed out that he was denigrating the testimony of a communist, the witness replied, “Not all communists are good, just as not all capitalists are bad.” Maybe specific information is needed here, too?
I also know a lot of Masons who’s charitable works rival that of the KCs! None of the ones I know want to bring down the Church, no matter what Rome says…I don’t join as I will obey, but I think they are overblowing this issue just a tad.
I simply don’t know of any evidence for today’s Masonic orders continuing in some secret plan to destroy the Church. At other times in history this was the case, but I think today they focus on civic/charitable activity, and not dark conspiracies.
I agree with not becoming a Mason, because the oaths they are required to take and their “spiritual” views are at odds with Catholicism, but I don’t see a problem with accepting an award from them in recognition of academic achievement.
Talk to your priest and get his input. If the priest says it’s OK, then don’t sweat it. If he says not a good idea or if you still feel uncomfortable, politely decline the award and state “personal reasons” so as not to hurt your teacher’s feelings.
Well, there was on avoiding the situation today when I ran into him at a water fountain. I couldnt get a hold of my priest before the meeting, but I did wake up my Youth Minister and his wife that morning and asked them. He called his father to see what his father thought.
I thanked him over and over again for considering me for the award, but I declined the nomination. I told him that it was nothing personal, and that all of the things he has done for the community with the masons (he has completed several triathalons to raise money for children with specific diseases among other things) are incredibly honorable and I really respect him for that, but, as a Catholic, I felt somewhat uncomfortable accepting the nomination. I then told him to noinate my best friend Ty, a non-denominational Christian.