Catholic Elites Wage War on the Freemasons
In 1738, Pope Clement XII banned Catholics from becoming Freemasons, and in 1983 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger reminded Catholics that being a Freemason placed them “in a state of grave sin.” Now Rome is having another go at one of the world’s most famous brotherhoods. This comes as more Catholics are flocking to what is known as “the craft,” a term encompassing the ritual, principles, and teachings of the Freemasons.
While nobody is saying it, this story is about a modern act of “anti-Freemasonry,” a movement so old that it has its own Wikipedia page. Anti-Masonry is not a globally organised movement, and it consists of differing criticisms from political institutions and organized religions, that have elite members who despise Freemasonry.
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In this recent display of persecution of Freemasons, the Vatican has published a new document, signed by Pope Francis and DDF Prefect Cardinal Victor Fernández, in response to concerns raised by a bishop in the Philippines. The paranoid holy man warned Rome about increasing numbers of Catholics in his diocese enrolling in Freemasonry, and he asked for advice from the top of the Catholic hierarchy.
Pope Francis, seen here in 2014, has signed a document citing the “irreconcilability” between the Catholic faith and the Freemasons. (Korean Culture and Information Service / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Define The Enemy, Then Destroy the Enemy
An article on the Catholic News Agency website explains that the dicastery responded to the Philippines bishop on Nov. 13, suggesting “a coordinated strategy” to address the masonic menace. So dramatic was Rome’s response that they called for “all of the bishops” in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to “promote catechesis in all parishes regarding the reasons for the irreconcilability between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry.”
Read that last line again. It’s a modern witch hunt. Right? Rome is not asking its bishops for reports on the numbers of its members who are also Freemasons, but for reasons to support the predetermined notion that Catholicism is incompatible with it’s old rival, Freemasonry.
The traditional claim that Catholicism and Freemasonry are incompatible is a demonstrable farce. For if this was the case, why then are so many Catholics joining Freemasonry? The problem in this instance negates the problem!
Pope Clement XII, signed a Papal bull prohibiting Catholics from becoming Freemasons in 1738. (Public domain)
The Longest Cold War: The Catholic Church Vs Freemasons
In 1738, Pope Clement XII signed a Papal bull prohibiting Catholics from becoming Freemasons. The Vatican has dug out its provisions of the Catholic Church’s 1983 Declaration on Masonic Associations. Signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who served as a prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a nut shell this document decrees that clerics and congregation members who who enrol in Freemasonry “are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.”
The DDF document claims that Freemasonry “is very significant in the Philippines” and it appeals for bishops in the Philippines to consider making a public statement on the Church’s teaching on Freemasonry. It goes on to vilify not only Catholics who are also Masons, but anyone who sees “no opposition between membership in the Catholic Church and in Masonic Lodges.”
The Conjoined Paths of Freemasonry and Catholicism?
Contrary to what the History Channel might tell you, Freemasonry is not a secret society. If it was, we wouldn’t know of its existence. More accurately, it is a society with secrets. And while many Catholic scholars claim that the rituals of Freemasonry conflict with the Catholic faith, this is because they don’t know what Freemasons actually do.
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Freemasonry comprises members from “all religions,” and it does not demand adherence to any one holy book. Members take oaths on a “Volume of Sacred Law” (VSL) which is represented by different religious or philosophical texts, depending on the requirements of a Lodge meeting, or ritual. Moreover, Freemasonic rituals are essentially theatrical reenactments of “Biblical” stories, with members re-enacting key historical figures.
Therefore, rather than a bishop “preaching at” his members, the function of the Masonic ritual exposes candidate Freemasons to ideas, morals, principals and values, tools with which he first squares himself, like a building ashlar, so that he fits congruently within the temple of society. Thus, for Rome to claim Freemasonry is mal-aligned with Catholicism, is disrespectful to the perceived power of the Bible, that in reality binds religious and masonic paths.
Top image: Representational image of the anti-Freemasonic standoff between Catholic Elites and the Freemasons. A 1884 satirical cartoon of Pope Leo XIII at war with Freemasonry by Joseph Keppler. Source: Public domain
By Ashley Cowie