Why can't Catholics be Free Masons?

Just curious. I’m really even sure what Masons do, but I know Catholics shouldn’t join their club. Could someone clarify? Thanks!

Because the Masons are an Anti-Catholic organization. Their stated purpose is to destroy the Catholic Church.


What is your source???

“Because the Masons are an Anti-Catholic organization. Their stated purpose is to destroy the Catholic Church.”

:confused: What is your source for basing this statement???

That’s why we’ve got the Knights of Columbus : so that Catholic men can join a fraternal organization without getting involved with Freemasonry.


There is also a CDF document from 2000? That reafirms this and re-states the prohibition for Catholics to be in any way associated with them.

Unlike most religious groups, Masons will accept practising Catholics as members. Therefore Rome has to judge whether the society is one which Catholics can be allowed to join.

The answer is no, largely because Masons believe that humans are perfectible by their own efforts. Or, as they put it, they aim to make good men better men. It is not an obviously stupid or evil idea, but it does strike at the root of what the Church teaches about salvation.

Thank you for those answers!
My brother tells me that the encyclical condemnation was rescinded by the Vatican in the 1960’s. Is this true?

Ask him for the specific documentation stating that this happend. It seems to me that the burden of proof is on him in this case.

"The Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on Catholics who become Freemasons. The penalty of excommunication for joining the Masonic Lodge was explicit in the 1917 code of canon law (canon 2335), and it is implicit in the 1983 code (canon 1374).

Because the revised code of canon law is not explicit on this point, some drew the mistaken conclusion that the Church’s prohibition of Freemasonry had been dropped. As a result of this confusion, shortly before the 1983 code was promulgated, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement indicating that the penalty was still in force. This statement was dated November 26, 1983 and may be found in 13/27 (Nov. 15, 1983), 450."

See here from Catholic Answers on EWTN web site.

Historically many “progressive” secular movements in Europe and Mexico have been backed by Freemanson groups. St. Maximilain Kolbe was a first hand witness to this.

I’m no expert but I believe the book WHY CATHOLICS CANNO’T BE MASONS
will answer your questions. The author was a Mason and now understands.


didn’t anyone watch the “Abundant Life” last night on EWTN??? Free Masons is a mockery of Christianity and has its own “god”, allows you to deny the trinity among other things.

I know this is not the question on the thread, but my instinctive response is to answer a question with a question: Why would you want to (join)?

Speaking of answering a question with a question :wink: , I do know a Jew who is also a freemason. Although he comes from a practicing Jewish family he feels has nothing to lose by belonging, and his mother has told me he enjoys the kind of cultist, clandestine, “clubby” aspects of it. (Rituals.) Heck, if he wants rituals, he should be joining the Catholic Church! (jk) Apparently, according to her, there is something in his personality that is attracted to various kinds of ritualistic, clandestine, “secret-handshake” kinds of organizations. In that regard, I can see why the Church would be opposed to it, even without any overtly contrary teaching, because such cultist atmospheres are breeding grounds for apostasy and are intoxicating and binding by their nature.

I just don’t see any point in getting derailed with alternative philosophical/quasi-religious messages.

(tobinator, I caught the tail end of “Abundant Life” last night, but missed the explanation unfortunately.)

John Salza, the author of “Why Catholics Cannot Be Masons” was the guest on EWTNs “Abundant Life” last night. He spent many years climbing the ranks of Freemasonry, reaching level 32 (I believe that’s what he said anyways).

He mentioned that the Church has reiterated its prohibition against Catholics joining Masonic organization no less than 23 times, and as recently as 2007.

Would you accept a description of Catholicism you found on a site opposed to Catholicism ?

If not - why accept the Pope’s description of Freemasonry ? He was not writing from personal experience; he was not a disinterested but a hostile witness; he makws no distinction between the Rites & degrees of Freemasonry; that means that his remarks are made without discrimination. Would such features be tolerable if they appeared in an account of Catholicism ? :frowning:

Chinese Rites, condemned in 1704 (34 years before the first papal condemnation of Freemasonry) & de-condemned in 1939, centred on the question of whether certain practices could be practiced by converts to Catholicism provided the motive was not religious but was instead mere civil courtesy. (The Jesuits stood for the principle that they could be so paid by converts, the Dominicans being on the contrary side of the argument.) An example was the lawfulness of paying respect to Confucius.

The relevance of the Chinese Rites controversy is that, if it is possible morally & theologically & pastorally & dogmatically for Catholics to pay a mere civil respect to Confucius, even though non-Christians were honouring him from religious or quasi-religious motives, even despite a tradition of Church teaching to the contrary of over 200 years: what is there to make it impossible for Catholics to become Masons ? People mention the Knights of Columbus - which is fine for Catholics in the US: the KoC are a bit thin on the ground in Europe, so we don’t have the means to join them. And are there any differences in principle between Chinese Rites when forbidden, and Freemasonry ? If so - what is it, or what are they ?

Two possible counter-objections:
]“Masonry plots against the Church” - the same might be said of several Christian bodies; but this has not stopped ecumenical co-operation with them. So why can there not be co-operation with Freemasons ?
]“Masonry is naturalistic” - if Catholics join for charitable reasons, or for others that do not necssarily imply a naturalistic outlook, what objection is there to their doing so, other than the positive law of the Church ? Is the PL of the Church in fact the only objection ?
* If*** so - maybe it is worth re-examining.
[/LIST]BTW - I’m very suprised you didn’t post the same Pope’s Encyclical Humanum Genus, on Freemasonry :slight_smile:

That may very well be so; but even so that is not, as it stands, an objection to either Freemasonry or to whatever Masons supported. The US supported the spread of Freemasonry in Mexico - is that a reason for US Catholics to throw off all connection with their country ? If Freemasons supported - say - the extension of the franchise, does that make the extension of the franchise bad, immoral, hateful ? Maybe they supported all sorts of things that Catholics would approve of - if so, we ought to be told, otherwise Freemasonry is being treated in a very one-sided fashion. Conversely: does it follow that because Catholics favour X, X is right, good, or moral ? The fact that Catholics (or others) & Masons don’t see eye-to-eye on A or B or C does not by itself tell us more than they disagreed; it tells us nothing about the rights & wrongs, the wisdom or unwisdom, of the issue in dispute.

Things have to be judged on their merits - it doesn’t follow that as Entity X supports Entity Y, the supposed nastiness of either contaminates the other. And it needs to be shown that something objectionable in one respect is evidence that what supports it is objectionable in many or all respects. Otherwise, we’re left with condemnation by association. And the unreasonableness of that is clear from its use against Catholics. And if it is unreasonable when used against Catholics, how is it reasonable when used against other group ? Reason doesn’t have beliefs or a POV - it’s reasonable, or it is not.

If not - why accept the Pope’s description of Freemasonry ? He was not writing from personal experience;

The Pope condemns Freemasonry based off of its own documents, which were discovered in 1785. (These documents are still available for viewing in Munich.) They reveal that one of the main goals of masonry is to destroy all religions.

There are two major reasons why Catholics cannot become freemasons.

They believe **all gods to be equal expressions of the same God **and they administer oaths on matters of faith, morals and religion even though the authority to do so was explicitly granted by Jesus Christ to the Catholic Church alone.

Freemasons’ are universalists. They believe that there are many ways to God. Freemasons believe the God’s of all relgions to be equal expressions of the “Grand Architechect of the Universe” and use the term GAU as an umbrella to describe the god of any particular relgion. The god of Islam is seen as equal to the God of Abraham, and all gods are seen as equal eqpressions of the same generic Grand Architect. This is in direct contrast to Jesus Christ who stated “No one comes to the Father except through me” and to his establishment of the Catholic Church as God’s authority on earth.

The other reason is that Freemasons are required to swear oaths on matters of faith, morals and religion. Jesus clearly taught about oaths and that we are to render to Cesar that which is Cesar’s and render to God that which is God’s. The legitimate authority on matters of faith, morals and religion is the Catholic Church and therefor only the Catholic Church has authority to ask anyone to swear an oath on a matter of faith, morals or religion. All sacraments are based on oaths. Even our baptism is an oath of allegiance to God in which we swear to renouce Satan.

Authority to administer oaths, and sacraments, has been granted by Christ to his Church alone and the freemasons have no authority to administer oaths on matters of faith, morals and religion. It would be as if we set up our own court system in our living room and started swearing in witnesses - the legitimate authority to do so is the civil and criminal court system and so we have no authority to administer an oath to a witness in a matter of civil or criminal law. In administerig oaths on matters which pertain to faith, morals or religion, Fremasonry has set themselves up as God’s authority on earth, which they are not.

Both of these should be reason enough for any Catholic not to want to become involved with freemasonry.

I’m not saying that freemason’s are evil or that they are bad people. My father was Grand Master of a Masonic Temple - he was a good man, former US Marine and former Catholic, and he did many good works as a Freemason, but he was misguided and I pray for him every day.

Freemasonry however, is simply incompatible with Catholicism.


My father was a freemason, a Christian and an active member of the Methodist Church during the time he was Grand Master of the local Masonic Temple. He certainly did not want to destroy all religions.

But the freemasons believe that all gods are equal expressoins of the same “Grand Architect of the Universe.” That’s universalism, and it is not compatible with Christianity or Catholicism.


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