How to politely decline invitations from Masons (or others)

Recently I’ve been in conversations with friends of mine who belong to the same organization I do. While our club isn’t at all associated with Freemasonry, many members are also Masons. I’ve been casually asked twice now if I would be interested in becoming one, and my stock response is, “My membership in another organization precludes my membership in yours.” Thankfully I haven’t been pressed for more details, but I’m anticipating the day when someone isn’t satisfied with that answer.

In the spirt of evangelization, I would never want to belittle anyone’s life, even if what they’re doing is explicitly wrong (you catch more flies with honey, etc). What I wonder is if anyone here has experience with gently declining these invitations without necessarily getting into a history lesson about the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. I’m just looking for a simply an effective way to both decline the invitation in a way that is both clear and effective but also not overly aggressive or confrontational. Agree to disagree, in other words.

Thank you for your responses, and before you do, please understand I’m neither ignorant nor conflicted with the view of the Church on the subject of Freemasonry. Rather I’m looking for a lesson in etiquette.

It is necessary to say anything beyond “thank you for asking but I can’t.” “But why not?” “I’m afraid I just can’t.”

“Can’t” could include any kind of reason from being too busy with other things to a complete lack of interest. It’s not necessary to explain or to make up excuses.

Same way I do when someone invites me to church. “I really appreciate you thinking of me, and I’m sure that your group is lovely, but it isn’t right for me”. Usually they appreciate the politeness and drop it.

On occasion I get something like “But why not? Church is for everyone” and them I go a little further with “I’m sorry, but that conflicts with my personal values and morals. But thank you anyway”.

So far no one has pressed further, but if they did the third time would probably be less polite and something like “I’m sorry, but I said no. I believe that _______ is wrong factually and morally and I will not be a part of it”.

“No Thank you”

Actually, I agree, you are correct with that one. :wink:

Peace bw/u

Freemasons are not allowed to solicit membership.

True! But as a Mason, I’ve seen this violated too many times.

To the OP: Simply saying that “I appreciate the good work that you do, but my church doesn’t allow for us to be Masons.” would be more than quite polite.

(Yes… I’m aware that Lutherans are prohibited from being Masons. I have permission from my pastor with many strings attached.)

There is always the reply attributed to Mark Twain: “I would never belong to an organization that would have me as a member.”

Is there some reason you don’t want just say that as a Catholic you can’t be a member? I wouldn’t open with that, but if someone presses you I don’t see why an issue with stating it.

Tell him you are a member of Opus Dei or the Knights of Columbus and that they might frown on that :D. Or just tell them you aren’t a joiner, that your free time is all taken up with the family, church, etc. But smile when you do it :).

Linus2nd .

Then they have broken their oath.

Thanks all for your advice.

To clarify, I can’t say I’m not a joiner because I am, but I can pull the KofC card as a result. As far as just saying I’m Catholic, I used to say this and think that would suffice as an answer, but each time I did, I get “I know Catholics who are very dedicated Masons” as a reply. To the Catholic I know who mentioned he was an active Mason, I injudiciously and probably with some tone of irritation told him in no uncertain terms this was impossible. That was not a very effective mode of communication, and to this day this nice old man, who seemed completely unaware of the prohibition, holds me at arm’s length.

Also to clarify, I have not ever been actively recruited by a Mason, but there have definitely been winks, nudges, and overtures. The thing is, these are people with whom I share common interests and sensibilities, and though I would never, ever join the Masons under any circumstances, I want to ensure our friendships don’t suffer from my saying something offensive or off putting. It’s all about the evangelization, right? It’s hard to do that with people you’ve offended.

How about just “No thank you, I’m not interested.”

“How about just “No thank you, I’m not interested.””

That, to me, seems unnecessarily curt and a bit frosty. These are my friends, mind you. That just seems too abrupt.

Just say: “No Thank You”

If they insist: “I’m being polite and would like to remain that way, Would you please stop asking? Thank you.”

FWIW, my lodge has several Catholics in it - other than being Masons, they are darn good Catholics. The prohibition against Catholics being Masons are very real, and I encourage Catholics to obey them, but please keep in mind that while there are certainly things about that Freemasonry would give anybody pause, as it is now and as I’ve experienced it, it’s a bunch of old men doing good works and putting on silly plays in weird hats.

If you do run into a Catholic who is also a Mason, gently remind them of the difficulty, but also there generally isn’t something horribly deficient in them usually - just a bit of defiance now and then. I’m in the same situation, I’m not supposed to be in Masonry, but do have my pastors permission after he gave me good council.

I will point out that Jack Chick has both anti Catholic and anti Mason tracts, so perhaps think of the person you met as the anti-Jack Chick. :slight_smile:

You’re doing great, lot’s of good answers.It’s great to be cautious with our tongue.

However, if friendships were the key to evangelization, we would have seen Jesus act differently when educating, as many early followers walked away at various times of his seminars, up to and including while he was hanging on a cross.

They even did more than just walk away, spitting at him and kicking him while he was walking to his upright death bed.

His message never changed.

The listener’s reaction to a message is not the communicator’s responsibility, as we see with Jesus.

A man of principle in truth always has a friend, even when it seems there are none.

No, not if you say it gently and with a smile. And it avoids getting into the “but I know perfectly good Catholics who are Masons” discussions.

It’s up to you, of course, it was just a suggestion.

If they are your friends, then they above all other people should respect your wishes.

There is a saying in Spanish that I’m not sure how to translate:

“Cuentas claras, conservan amistades”. Basically it means, being clear helps to preserve friendships.

I understand them wanting to share things with you but you both need to be respectful of each other.

That’s true, but even so they make it very plain your request to join would be favorably entertained.

My response always is that I’m Catholic and can’t. They ask why. I tell them it’s because of their absolute oath of secrecy (which is true) which a Catholic cannot take. They have rejoinders “But the K of C does”. Response: “No it doesn’t. It’s conditional only, subject to the duties of citizenship and the faith.”

“but it’s really more social and charitable”. Response: “And that’s to be admired. But I can’t be a member, even so.”

“Lots of Catholics are…” Response: “That’s their decision to make. For me it is not an option.”

Those responses will end the “non-invitation invitation”.

Masons are virtually all protestants, and being protestants they are obliged to accept the validity of even subjective beliefs. “you go to your church and I’ll go to mine, and we’ll all get together in heaven” is an old Protestant song.

They can’t directly attack faith-based beliefs, even about joining an organization, without tossing their main tenet overboard.

There is no need to go into the Deism that really is the “faith” of the Masonic “quasi-religion”. Deism is, at its fundamental core, the religion of non-believers who don’t want to admit they are non-believers. You can’t say that to them without offense because most of them are nominal churchgoers of one sort or another.

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