Does Freemasonry accept Catholics?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Blake Bowden, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Jraiford

    Jraiford Registered User

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    I was raised Baptist, and the Baptist preacher does not mind one bit doing a Masonic funeral. The Methodist preacher at the church i go to buy ribs from our fundraiser every time we have one.. It is a very small congregation and there are a few of my lodge brothers there. However, in a really small town where they compete for members, he will not step on any toes. My thoughts are if the church does not accept masonry, i will find another church
     
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  2. ess1113

    ess1113 Premium Member

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    Brother Jraiford,
    I wish it was that simple.
     
  3. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    As an Episcopalian, there are lots of brothers in any Episcopal church you might visit, and have never known an Episcopal Priest who would have a problem with members of the Vestry or the congregation being Freemasons. I know Roman Catholic Freemasons. They tend to keep it quiet. We Episcopalians, on the other hand, will wear blue lodge rings and lapel pins to the Eucharist on Sundays.
     
  4. Jraiford

    Jraiford Registered User

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    We all find God in different ways. Otherwise, there would only be one church. There is only 1 catholic church here (in this county) and i dont know who all goes there. I guess when people are searching for a church home, they find the one they feel comfortable in, the one they feel welcome in, and one that fits their thoughts and beliefs. That said, I can understand how someone would choose Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and so on. It isnt that easy to some, but even easier to others.
    I guess my point is, our beliefs are passed down from our parents and even our closest friends. We dont understand why we are who we are, we just accept it.
    And i guess if a man wanted to join the lodge, what right (even tho they disagree with it) does the church have to tell me how to worship, or how to spend my free time?
    I heard a story of a Brother Mason who went to the Assembly of God church here. He was told they didnt allow masons, and if he was a mason and still wanted to attend, he had to keep it a secret. He told them that wasnt the church home he was looking for and moved on.
    Im sorry my point wavers all over the place, and sometimes never hits where i want it too. But i think you get the picture. (maybe)
     
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  5. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    I am one of several Episcopalians in my lodge and others are American Baptists, UCC, one is Roman Catholic, (also in Chapter) and other denominations. We don't talk about church or politics, because the Constitution of our Grand Lodge, like all others, forbid it.

    My father describes himself as a "Deist", which several Masons and Founding Fathers of this country did in the 18th Century. I am a fifth generation Master Mason. I have no problem with that even if I'm an Episcopalian. My father's, or any other Mason's belief is none of my business as long as he believes in a being higher than himself and is willing to take his oaths and obligations in Lodge.

    Fun anecdote: we only said "grace" at table in my family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. As a kid, my grandfather said grace (he was a Mason) and he said "Amen" at the end and the other generations of men who were Masons replied "So Mote it Be". I'll never forget that.

    My grandfather was nominally Anglican/Episcopalian, but far from devout. He was, however, a great Freemason.
     
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  6. NY.Light

    NY.Light Registered User

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    You have to keep in mind that, for Catholics (in my own experience), we trust in the teaching of the Magisterium and the Holy Father. They are direct links to the first apostles, and ultimately to Christ, through Apostolic Succession. Also, a point of correction. There is 1 Catholic Church, and her members are beyond the United States. The Roman Church is catholic (which means universal) in our beliefs and practices, and this goes beyond any man-made political borders, or even geographical borders. The Church, clergy and laity, constitutes the mystical body. It is not particular to the United States or any other country.
     
  7. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    I am both a Master Mason (and a Royal Arch Mason, and a Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret) and also an Anglican. Within Anglicanism, I am also a member of lay associate of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Apostolic succession means something to Anglo-Catholics ("High Church" Episcopalians). Many monks, Priests, Deacons, and Bishops that I know in the worldwide Anglican Communion (the third largest body of Christians in the world, of which I am a member beyond my membership in my Blue Lodge, Consistory, and Holy Royal Arch Chapter) are also Freemasons. No Roman Catholic of upstanding character would ever be denied membership in the Masonic bodies where I belong.
     
  8. NY.Light

    NY.Light Registered User

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    Essentially, the issue arises not from the POV of the lodge, but rather from the POV of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. In another thread, I have laid out an argument for why I think Catholicism and Freemasonry are compatible.
     
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  9. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Actually, there is more than one Catholic Church; the question is regarding the Roman Catholic Church.
    Carry on...
     
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  10. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Indeed, and Anglo-Catholics consider themselves to be in Apostolic Sucession and many of our Priests and Deacons and lay members also happen to be Freemasons,
    and I'll add that we also tend to worship the Blessed Mother, Our Lady, as well.
     
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  11. NY.Light

    NY.Light Registered User

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    The Roman and Orthodox hold that the Anglican communion broke Apostolic Succession when they ordained women. I realize many call themselves catholic. I only meant that when most people think of the Catholic (Capital "C") Church, they are referring to the Roman Church.

    Also there are many Catholic masons. Some are just more open about it than others.
     
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  12. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Apostolic Succession cannot be broken by ordaining women. Anglicanism is NOT Freemasonry. Freemasonry is NOT Anglicanism. That said, the third largest body of Christians in the world are Anglicans. They are not Southern Baptists, or Methodists, or Disciples of Christ but Anglicans, many of which are also Masons including members of the House of Windsor.
     
  13. NY.Light

    NY.Light Registered User

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    Yes. However, from the perspective of the Magisterium of the Roman Church, ordained women do not have valid orders, because for the RCC and Orthodox only a man can be ordained. So from their perspective, anyone ordained woman in the Anglican Communion, and anyone that a female bishop ordains, has invalid orders. Thereby, apostolic succession in the view of the largest two branches of Christianity (Catholicism and Orthodoxy, 1st and 2nd, respectively) is not present any longer within the Anglican Communion.
     
  14. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    From the perspective of the Roman Church Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Christians in valid orders do not have validity. It would pain me to suggest the condemnation you suggest. I would go further and suggest it might be unmasonic.
     
  15. NY.Light

    NY.Light Registered User

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    Listen, this is not my personal opinion. That of the Magisterium of the Roman Church and the Orthodox Patriarch is that Anglican Christians do not have valid orders. It is not unmasonic to state this fact of the official view. If you like, I can provide documentation for these claims. This was not a slight against you, Anglican Christians, or any other Christian sect.
     
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  16. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Ick. Just Ick. I would like to see what you have to say about the Baptists. Just ick.
    Furthermore, I have no interest in what the Holy See has to say about me or any of my brothers. Icky.
     
  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It is if you are in any tiled meeting. No discussion of sectarian religion in any tiled meeting. This landmark is expanded to a tradition of no discussion of sectarian religion in our buildings or at scheduled but not tiled events. Our assemblies are sanctuaries from such topics.

    This forum does not fit any of those criteria so such discussion is allowed. Asserting that it is not unMasonic is a bit much even in this forum. The reactions here show exactly why our landmark is in place. Even when treading lightly the topic of religion is a mine field and quoting one sect's official policies is treading heavily.
     
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  18. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed, We do not even ask anyone in my lodge what church a member attends or even whether or not he attends a church whether in tiled lodge or the meal before the tiled meeting.
     
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  19. jwardl

    jwardl Registered User

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    Absolutely. No man is turned away because of his faith -- so long as he has one.
     
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  20. drw72

    drw72 Premium Member

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    I was raised Catholic, am still active in the Catholic Church and even send my daughter to Catholic School.
    After much searching, studying, and praying I made my decision to become a Freemason last year. In my quest I found a lot of conflicting and confusing information on the Catholic Church and Freemasonry but here is what I got out of it.

    First the Papal Bulls:

    “Papal Bull: As for the binding force of these documents it is generally admitted that the mere fact that the pope should have given to any of his utterances the form of an encyclical or bull does not necessarily constitute it an ex-cathedra pronouncement and invest it with infallible authority.” (Bulls and Briefs. In The Catholic Encyclopedia)

    In 1736, the Inquisition investigated a Masonic Lodge in Florence, Italy, which it condemned in June 1737.

    This investigation led, in 1738, to Pope Clement XII, himself Florentine, issuing ‘In eminenti apostolatus’, the original papal prohibition on Freemasonry. The reasons for the prohibition were stated as:

    “Now it has come to Our ears, and common gossip has made clear, that certain Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles called in the popular tongue Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons or by other names according to the various languages, are spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength; and men of any Religion or sect, satisfied with the appearance of natural probity, are joined together, according to their laws and the statutes laid down for them, by a strict and unbreakable bond which obliges them, both by an oath upon the Holy Bible and by a host of grievous punishment, to an inviolable silence about all that they do in secret together. But it is in the nature of crime to betray itself and to show itself by its attendant clamor. Thus these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light. Indeed, this rumor has grown to such proportions that in several countries these societies have been forbidden by the civil authorities as being against the public security, and for some time past have appeared to be prudently eliminated.”

    So Pope Clement XII, as stated in his own Bull, that his information was based on common gossip, suspicion, and rumor. On top of that, a Papal Bull is not “infallible”.

    The ban of In eminenti was reiterated and expanded upon by Benedict XIV (1751), Pius VII (1821), Leo XII (1826), Pius VIII (1829), Gregory XVI (1832), Pius IX (1846, 1849, 1864, 1865, 1869, 1873), and notably Pope Leo XIII in the encyclical Humanum genus (1884).

    Several of these Bulls and encyclicals also condemned Protestantism as “as dangerous for the souls of the faithful”; salvation only comes from the Catholic Church, and the supremacy of the Papacy. All of which the Church has changed its stance on. It now recognizes Trinity based Protestant denominations and teaches that they are paths to salvation (so you won’t go to hell if you are not Catholic). They also don’t preach the supremacy of the Catholic Church but instead teach that it is merely the only one with the “fullness” of the Christ’s church.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Then we have “Canon Law”:

    The Corpus Juris Canonici (lit. ‘Body of Canon Law’) is the collection of significant sources of Canon Law of the Catholic Church that was applicable to the universal Church or specifically to Churches of the Latin Rite or Eastern Rites. It was replaced by the 1917 Code of Canon Law which went into effect in 1918.

    The 1917 Code of Canon Law explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication. The 1917 Code of Canon Law also forbade books promoting Freemasonry.

    In 1983 the Church revised the Code of Canon Law. Unlike its predecessor, however, Canon 1374 does not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies it condemns. It states:

    “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.”

    Many people, including many Catholic scholars, took this to mean that it was now OK for Catholics to become Masons. And many Catholics did – especially in the United States—where the Church itself was already more liberal.

    To “remove the confusion” in the wording, in November of 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith issued a declaration stating that the prohibition was still in force.

    Prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which reiterated the Church’s previous objections to Freemasonry. The Declaration states:

    “The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion….” and “…the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association(s) remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden.”

    Here is the catch; The Doctrine of Faith is not Canon Law, and cannot overturn Canon Law. Many Catholic scholars saw the response as an attempt by right wing elements in the Church to use “interpretation” to put laws back in that had been taken out. To quote one scholar, “It would have been very simple to have kept the word Freemasonry in the Code. It was taken out. It really isn’t something that needs interpretation.”

    At this point, the Catholic Church in America has been somewhat indifferent about the whole thing. For example:

    On September 15, 2000, the Reverend Thomas Anslow, Judicial Vicar of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to David Patterson, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Bureau of Los Angeles. In reply to the question “whether a practicing Catholic may join a Masonic Lodge” Father Anslow said that “at least for Catholics in the United States, I believe the answer is probably yes”.

    Of course when his superiors found out about it the letter was publicly retracted by Father Anslow on with the explanation that his analysis was faulty. He said that Freemasonry fostered a “supraconfessional humanitarian” conception of the divine “that neutralizes or replaces the faith dimension of our relationship with God.”

    Then there is Bro. Danny Thomas, possibly one of the more famous Masons of my generation and founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A devout Maronite Catholic, Thomas was named a Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre by Pope Paul VI in recognition of his services to the church and the community. After which he became a Mason and Shriner…did the Pope ever revoke his Knighthood? No, in fact a lot of Catholic ‘authorities’ claim the Freemasons are lying about him being a Mason/Shriner.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So here is my reasoning.

    I see the Catholic Church as not really being able to make up its mind and even being hypocritical when it comes to Freemasonry. Heck, it openly condemns contraception in Cannon Law, in writing, in Church teaching and yet turns a blind eye to the *98% of Catholics who use it (*2012 poll). It gives communion and/or does nothing about big name Catholics who openly support abortion and homosexual marriage (Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Brown) yet harasses and/or denies communion to Catholic freemasons.

    I do not see any infallible Catholic doctrine or cannon law that puts me in a condition of sin by being a Mason, only a long history of Church opinions that are ultimately based on suspicion, rumor, and gossip.

    Every man must join Freemasonry by his own free will. I did not feel I was going against my beliefs or Church law to join, or that I am sinning by remaining a member.

    I have never known anyone personally who has had an issue, and I know many Catholic Masons.

    Again, this is my opinion only. Freemasonry does not hold an opinion on this matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
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