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Ghana Bishop: Catholics cannot join the Free Masons

Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC)

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Catholics cannot join the Free Masons

March 22, 2013

Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, freemasons, freemasonry

Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference
“Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), has reiterated the Church’s position on Catholics joining the Free Masons, saying it goes with an interdict spelt out in the Canon Law. That is, Catholics who join Masonic societies are:

• Not allowed to receive Holy Communion and other Sacraments (cf. Canon 1332);

• Prohibited to act as sponsor in Baptism and Confirmation;

• Not to be admitted as a member of Parish or Diocesan structures;

• To be denied funeral rites, unless he shows some signs of repentance before death (Canon 1184 & 1, no. 3) and

• Where funeral rites are allowed by the Bishop, no Masonic service shall be allowed in the Church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites In order to avoid public scandal (cf. Canon 1184 & 1, no. 3 and Canon 1374).

He said this when he addressed the first Public Lecture organized by the Catholic Knighthood Forum at the Christ the king Parish Hall at Cantonments in Accra on the topic:

Can a Catholic Join Masonic Society? The Knighthood Forum is made up of the leadership of Knights of St. John International and their Ladies Auxiliary and Knights and Ladies of Marshall. Bishop Osei-Bonsu, who is Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese, said “any Catholic who is a member of any Masonic Association and participates in its programmes, or promotes its views, or holds an office therein, and refuses to renounce such membership despite at least one warning (cf. Canon 1347) is to be punished with an interdict (cf. Canon 1374). He said the ‘Freemasonry was a religion in its own right, with doctrines that were irreconcilable with Christian doctrines, adding that what it teaches cannot be reconciled with Christian beliefs. “For this reason one cannot simultaneously be a Catholic and a Freemason. One will have to make a choice between Catholicism and Freemasonry”, he added.

Bishop Osei-Bonsu said many people regard Freemasonry as a benevolent and charitable organization, somehow similar to the Rotary and Lions clubs, the Knights of Marshall, the Knights of St. John International or the Knights of Columbus.

Undoubtedly, it was for this reason that some Catholics join this fraternity. “Nevertheless, Catholics are forbidden to become Freemasons”. He said the Catholic Church had opposed the lodge (Freemasonry) since the birth of modern Freemasonry in 1717. The lodge has been explicitly condemned by eleven Popes.

Bishop Osei-Bonsu said it was possible that some Catholics joined Freemasonry without knowing it was forbidden to Catholics, “such people are advised to see their Priests or Bishops who will assist them to renounce Freemasonry and avoid incurring the sanctions that will be imposed on them if they do not renounce Freemasonry”.

Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle. Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and Guest of Honour at the function, urged Catholics to be proud of their faith, adding that though the Church was often criticized, it was because the world was looking for a spiritual leadership from the Church. He said because the world expected much from the Church, it comes under heavy criticism for some of its weaknesses.

(source: Ghana Web,

. Comments .

Anthony Nunziato

Bunch of crap! I'm Catholic and the Master of my Lodge. We do God's work. I find it in poor taste that the Catholic church finds a benevolent society unworthy when we have similar concepts to help, aid and assist all mankind and our fellow creatures.

Reply · 7 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 8:55pm

Jim Grennan · Halifax, Nova Scotia

Do you not have to be Catholic to receive the degree of "Knight Templar"?

Reply · Like

· April 18 at 10:02am .

. . Ruairi Gaynor · Dublin, Ireland

As a E.A. I have just begun to see the good works of the Freemasons in Ireland. None of which do they ask or expect recognition for. As I am Irish, I live in a predominately Roman Catholic country which was ruled with an iron fist by the Catholic Priests up until recently. Today 22/03/2013 on the Irish main news broadcasting network RTE, three of the thirty featured news reports were about on going sexual abuse by Catholic Priests. Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu should spend more time dealing with his own organisation and the countless amount of abuse they have caused over the last 1600 years and he should refrain from attacking those whom make "good men better".

Reply · 5 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 6:10pm

Ebook Curì?y · Owner/ President at Godloventerprises,inc

Aye! So mote it be!!!

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 6:34pm .

. . Joe Crociata · Founding Partner at Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

Whatever the reason for the position of the Roman Church, this has been and remained its "de Jure" position since Ratzinger took over the Curia's doctrinal commission (the SCDF) after Antonio Cardinal Saper passed. I say "de jure" because I have observed that the prohibition is observed in the United States with all the fidelity as the one applied to birth control. Nevertheless, they can set the rule wherever they see fit - however misguided they may be.

Reply · 4 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 12:36pm

Jerold J. Samet · Editor at The Eastern Star Journal

We didn't go along with them killing the Popes.

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 12:44pm .

Kyle Simmons

That is interesting. I spoke to a Priest in DC and he said that they dont observe that in America. Bro. Neil Simmons - what do you think?

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 12:53pm .

Joe Crociata · Founding Partner at Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

A wonderful plan - when it comes to determining with the Roman Church holds at any given moment (and it has changed from time to time over the years), ask a Priest. Not a Freemason.

Reply · 1 · Like

· March 22 at 12:54pm .

. . Argel Rodriguez

freemasonry is not a religion... a member must believe in GOD before he would be admitted to the group... in our area, the prestigious edifices of roman catholic church were donated by distinguish freemason.

Reply · 3 · Like

· Follow Post · March 25 at 6:17pm

. . Prelate Shawn Bell · Top Commenter · Big Bear Lake, California

Hmm. You'd think that a Bishop would be up to speed on what Canon Law actually says. 1374 certainly doesn't say what HE says is says. Then again, what do I know? I'm just a Catholic Freemason.

(I DO know how to read, and can certainly point out the differences between Canon 1374 and 2335. This guy is mixing and matching his Canons in a most unseemly fashion.)

Reply · 2 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 3:15pm

Joe Crociata · Founding Partner at Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

You might want to note that with a "cf." citation, he's not saying that the text of that Canon is precisely what he states. It's legal shorthand for "compare."

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 9:02pm .

Prelate Shawn Bell · Top Commenter · Big Bear Lake, California


I understand that you don't know the postion of the Catholic Church, and I respect that you don't know the position of Freemasonry either.

When it comes to what the position of church regarding Freemasonry, it's probably best to ask a Freemason ... or a minister ... or a Catholic ... or a chaplain ... or someone who knows Canon law. Oh, look: I fit every one of those qualifications!

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· March 23 at 8:07am .

Joe Crociata · Founding Partner at Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

So, having declared your expertise, am I to understand that you maintain the Roman Church has no prohibition of any kind in place where Masonic membership is concerned?

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· March 30 at 10:40am .

. . Ebook Curì?y · Owner/ President at Godloventerprises,inc

Unenlightened ignorance! Freemasonry is not a religion, makes no claims to be a religion, and in fact explicitly states to prospective new members it is not a religion. It is is a fraternity...plain and simple!

Reply · 2 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 3:33am

Jes Flores · Schurr High

... a frat where in order to progress one needs show "clarity & understanding" of their rites, symbols, way of thinking... thus see things like-minded without contraversy. Wait that's exactly what religion expects... hmm.

Reply ·

Like · March 22 at 6:42am .

Jes Flores · Schurr High

For not being a religion, why would a non-religious group have "G" and his (her) all-seeing eye as the center core of beliefs? Any brother within knows its importance and necessity; no atheists allowed in the frat just might be another "thumb in your eye" clue as to being religious without being a religion (oxymoron).

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 6:48am .

Jim Osborne · Camby, Indiana The G stands for both a Supreme Being (God) and also Geometry. The "G" is pnly used in the US lodges. The "no atheists" point is that the obligations we take are made to God and would not necessarily be binding on an athiest. Our fraternity does not ask a member to change his faith to join, only that he have one. If you are really interested I recommend Freemasonry for Dummies by Chris Hodapp.

Reply · 2 · Like

· March 22 at 7:32am .

View 1 more.

. . Jb Cabrera · · University of the Visayas


Reply · 2 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 12:52am

. . Steve Soroka · American University

I think these are the same people that said the world is flat and if you venture too far you will fall off and that will be God's will.

Reply · 1 · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 10:09am

. . Alfonso Serrano · DeWitt Clinton High School

A priest organized the Grand Lodge of Costa Rica

Reply · Like

· Follow Post · April 4 at 2:51pm

. . Dan Bristol · · Top Commenter · Author/Sculptor at BookSurge

Sounds like another one of those "Mail Order Bishops". He needs to upgrade is theology instead of going with what he gets from

Reply · Like

· Follow Post · March 30 at 9:38am

. . Edo Irikefe Abraham · · Technical officer 2 (Welding Inspector) at NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF WELDING

there is no main reason why this sanction, is the church hiding some thing about Freemasonry that they don't want us to know or hear? then what is the main reason behind catholics been sanctioned from its membership? or can catholics be members of skulls n bones, illuminati, etc?

Reply · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 4:23am

Martin Ene Edah · · Principal Partner at Martin Ene Edah & Co., Legal Practitioners · 213 subscribers

Is it a sanction? Are you a catholic and a mason?

Reply · Like

· March 22 at 8:49pm . . .

Sebastien Acut · Works at Pine Hills Hotel, Malaybalay, Bukidnon

it is his ferogative 2 join any groups or orders\m/..,

Reply · Like

· Follow Post · March 22 at 10:59am

. . Wilfredo R. Meléndez Parra · · Teatro itinerante de Venezuela · 127 subscribers

In 1935, as Archbishop of Mesembria and delegate Vatican diplomat, traveled to Turkey Angelo Roscalli, better known as Pope John XXIII. Turkey is in the Masonic Lodge. The documents show his initiation into this lodge which apparently never denied, were published in the book "The Prophecies of John XXIII" Pier Carpi (editions Martínez Roca, Spain).

Further Reading:

Freemasonry in Ghana