[quote="MattofTexas, post:1, topic:323830"]
I'm a Protestant coming closer and closer to deciding to convert to Catholicism after having seen the Bibical and historical evidence for apostolic succession, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, some strong (albeit perhaps not completely air-tight) arguments for the Papacy, etc. There is however something that I still find odd about the RCC, and that is her prohibition of her members from joining Masonic Lodges.
While at various times in history Christians have almost universally denounced Freemasonry in more modern times (perhaps as more about the Masons became known and/or more Christians joined the Masons) many Protestants (especially Mainliners) see Masons as just a men's organization that is no more of threat to Christianity than the Boy Scouts. I know many Christian Masons including my own grandfather who was also a Shriner and my uncle. My home church as a plaque on the outside of the building commemorating the Masonic laying of the cornerstone for the building. Today in my college town church one of our members commented that his father-in-law was receiving his 70 year pin for service to his Lodge. So why do Catholics maintain that one cannot truly be both a Mason and a Christian? Why do so many Catholics hold to an almost "Dan Brown"-esq view of Freemasons, and the Church officially teach that Masonry is another religion or sect when Masons state for themselves:
In fact the only reason I posted this question in this category is because I know Catholics view Masonry as a religion, but to Masons themselves the Craft is not a religion, but rather something that should make each man a more devout follower of his own Faith (and following his Faith should make him a better Mason). I'm just struggling to see how belonging to a Masonic Lodge is fundamentally different than belonging to Scouting, Elks, or any other civic organization. It seems to me that the only reason being a Mason makes someone unable to follow the Catholic Faith is that the Church has forbidden it, and if she would simply "unforbid" it, there would no longer be a conflict.
In addition to this question I have another: does the Church's ban on membership in the Masons extend to other Masonic organizations such as the Knights Templar, Order of the Eastern Star, DeMolay, and Rainbow Girls?
Thanks and God bless,
Many Masons might view belonging to the Masons as no different from belonging to any civic improvement organization; but the Church has a longer memory and real experience of what Masonry is. In the early '80s the Vatican Bank was embroiled in a scandal linked to the most prominent Masonic lodge in Europe.
Masonry was distinctly founded as an antagonist to the Church; just as there are Muslims who are far from antagonistic to the Church or to other Christians, Islam itself is fundamentally at odds with Christianity. It's especially problematic with Masonry because the protests from Masons that disown Masonic origins either proceed from genuine ignorance of their origins, which the leadership deliberately play down or conceal, or from a lack of interest in the actual history of the organization.
The Church's teachers have too much to do to find things to prohibit; when they speak God's prohibition on something, they do so out of obligation & necessity.