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Fr. Z's Blog: Masons in the Sanctuary - 118 Responses

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Fr. Z's Blog


5 January 2011

by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

From a reader:

There is a Freemason in my parish [AIYEEE!??] – yes he is Catholic. [Say it ain't so!] He is known as a Freemason to many people and he, despite the Church’s clear teachings on the subject, does not feel it is wrong for him to be both a Freemason and a Catholic. He feels his local lodge is not anti-Catholic so he is comfortable with his club of “old men”. Several of my friends and I have discussed this with him on a couple of occasions, even in front of the pastor in an informal setting. The pastor of our parish knows that he is a Freemason, and he continues to let him serve often as a Sacristan, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and he partakes of the Holy Eucharist. What, if anything, should be done about this situation when it seems that the pastor does not care if he is a Freemason or not. [Maybe heeeeeees one tooooo....]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document called “Declaration on Masonic Associations“.

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. [Get that?]

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). [Bishops and pastors can't decide to the contrary.]

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

If this fellow is a Mason, and if he is publicly known to be a mason, and if the pastor has been told, and if, indeed, he is acting in liturgical roles, and if he is receiving Holy Communion, then the bishop must be informed.

I suggest writing to the bishop with a copy to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

I very much doubt it will be ignored.

In the meantime, make sure he hasn’t hidden secret manuscripts under the altar. Look for secret signs scratched around the base. If necessary, for a fee and the promise of a few car chases, I should be able to help locate the missing clues. I am, after all, a certified symbologist.


Further Reading:

Freemasonry in the Vatican