Recently at our weekly scripture study group the question arose “Are Catholics allowed to be affiliated with Masonic organizations” – None of us knowing the answer, each of us did a brief study during the week, and we traded notes at our next meeting.
While the information I originally came across indicated that Catholics should avoid association with Masonic organizations, others received quite different responses. One member stated that a Parish Priest claimed that the Church has softened it’s position on the Masons, and that membership in those organizations are not necessarily bad. Another statement was that our Chief of Police is Catholic AND the leader of the local chapter (?, order?, I’m not sure what each is called)
I investigated further and searched our Diocese web site (via their Google link) and found no documentation for or against association with the Masons. There was a (Google) link allowing me to shop online at a Freemason web site for discounted items (this did not seem good!). I checked the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and found nothing. Finally at the Vatican web-site I found a document from 1983 that states any involvement by a Catholic with Masonic organizations was “grave sin”. Seeing that there is no later document softening this view, I am assuming that this is still the Catholic Church’s position.
Please let me know if I am correct and how do I discuss this position with others in my Parish without appearing judgemental or righteous.