What does the Church say about Freemasonry, Can Catholics Join?

What does the Church say about Freemasonry, Can Catholics Join?

Full Question

What is the Catholic Church’s official position on Freemasonry? Are Catholics free to become Freemasons?


No. Catholics may not become freemasons for many reasons.

Firstly, Freemasonry is not in any way compatible with the Catholic Faith. They teach that a person can be equally pleasing to God no matter the religion. This naturalistic religious view, rooted in indifferentism, is rejected by the Catholic Church. Freemasonry is parallel to Christianity.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says:

“Freemasonry displays all the elements of religion, and as such, it becomes a rival to the religion of the Gospel. It includes temples and altars, prayers, a moral code, worship, vestments, feast days, the promise of reward or punishment in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiation and burial rites.”

Secondly, Freemasonry is a secret society that initiates its members by a secret blood oath. These are contrary to Christian morality. From what is known, the prospective Mason has to swear never to reveal the freemasons’ secrets (albeit usually trivial and already well-known) at the pain of self-mutilation or execution.

The primary objective of this secret society has been the destruction of the Catholic Church. Especially those that have existed in certain countries in Europe. In the United States, it is a bit more of a social club; however, since they espouse the same naturistic religion, they still contradict orthodox Christianity. 

In the Code of Canon Law of 1917 there was an explicit penalty of excommunication on anyone who joined the freemasons. However, many have taken the implicit nature of this matter in the more recent Code of canon to mean the Church has dropped this penalty. Because of this, the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of Fatih issued a statement indicating that the penalty is still in force.

Find the full text below:

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 is 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 enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

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).

What does the Church say about Freemasonry, Can Catholics Join?

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  1. I think some of the Masons posting here need to find out what type of an organization they are in. Freemasonry started about 1390 in London. The organization has been traced back to the decedents of the Knights Templar who declined and were persecuted for Heresy, and blasphemy in 1312. Prior to the Jacques de Molay the Grand Master of the Knights Templar being burned at the stake 18 ships with holy relics sailed from France on Knight Templar Ships.
    The most obvious points though include some of the higher degrees of Masonary. In one of those degrees they take the Papal Miter which is a sacred symbol of our Faith, caste it to the ground, and stop on it. In another degree they vow vengeance on the decedents of those who allowed Jacques de Molay to be burned at the stake.
    However even from the first degree on taking secret blood oaths are contrary to Christian morals.

    1. Dennis, you are beyond ignorant in your remarks. Rather than categorically list your erroneous statements, I ask you to list your sources for your “inner knowledge” of the Masonic degres and rituals contained therein.
      I will correct you in one aspect: we do not take a “blood oath” as you call it. We take an obligation, which is vastly different.
      Historically, you are wrong, both in the origins and the events. Theologically you are wrong and ignorant of your own faith.
      A hint: know your subject prior to engaging in discourse with those who are much more well versed in both subject and content.

    2. Dennis, I thought maybe you would tie in UFOs and space invaders in your libelous screed against masons.
      Modern day Freemasonry started in 1717 in London. So your date of 1390 is false.
      Your conspiracy theory about Knights Templar is entertaining but pure conjecture on your part and can be found on numerous conspiracy and anti-masonic websites, but you have no actual knowledge as to the truth, since you are just parroting what someone else has said. But frankly who cares what happened in 1312. It certainly has no bearing on what I or any other mason does in 2016. None, Zero. Zilch.
      I am not aware of what degree you are referring to about the Papal Miter, but since you are not a mason, I am assuming you read this on some tinfoil hat website. But since we teach tolerance to men of all religiion, I doubt this is true. (As a suggestion, you should learn to tolerate other peoples beliefs. But I am sure you have heard this before.)
      Blood oaths require the actual spilling of blood, since no blood is spilled in any of the degrees of masonry, your statement is patently false.
      You might want to come down off your high horse to reality. I would remind you that the Catholic Church is only a group of people and they have made horrendous mistakes in the past. The inquisitions, burning people at the stake, coverup of child molestation, etc etc. Yet, I do not tar and feather you as a Catholic for the human failings of your church. Kindly show Masons the same courtesy.
      So let me restate, Freemasonry is simply a fraternity, just like the Knights of Columbus. They are not a religion, no more than the Kiwanis, Rotary or other charitable organizations. The Catholic Churchs real problem with the Masons is that they don’t take direction from the Pope. Plain and simple.
      There are several Catholic brothers in my lodge. They practice their Catholic faith just as the protestants in my lodge practice theirs. Masons offer no road to salvation. You must find that in your Church.
      So please stop talking about Masonry because it is obvious you have no real knowledge about the subject.

    3. >> The organization has been traced back to the decedents (I think you meant :descendants”) of the Knights Templar who declined and were persecuted for Heresy, and blasphemy in 1312. Prior to the Jacques de Molay the Grand Master of the Knights Templar being burned at the stake 18 ships with holy relics sailed from France on Knight Templar Ships.
      When Mason-bashing, it’s smart to check what the Pope thinks lately:

    4. Excellent point. Also interesting that the Catholic Church’s view of Freemasons is pretty much what they think of Protestants. Someday maybe the CC will stop being butt hurt by the reformation. 🙂

    1. No more secret than the Knights of Columbus.
      Also, on every masonic building you will find a sign, meeting times, etc. You will see us in the newspaper helping at charitable events or giving money to worthy causes. You will see the Shriners in parades, you will see masons in schools helping screen children for vision problems. You will see Scottish Rite Masons giving free speach pathology examinations and treatment. You will see literally millions of children healed by the Shriners Hospital. You will see Sabo Gratto members paying for dental work for special needs kids.
      My car has an emblem, my finger has a ring……
      Come to my lodge on any meeting night and you will be welcomed and treated to a great dinner and be received with open arms. You can ask any question you want to.
      So how are we secret again?

  2. There are a lot of comments from Masons who say they are Catholic. And they go on to defend themselves and say that there is no conflict. The problem is this. If you truly believe your Catholic faith, and understand that the Church is the mouthpiece of God (“He who hears you, hears me”). Then shoot. If the Church tells me to jump, I say how high. If the Church says not to be a Mason, and you refuse to comply, then there is a conflict for sure. Why try to justify yourself? The conflict is your lack of faith and trust. Obviously if an organization is so important to you that you wouldn’t leave it because the Catholic Church asks you to, then that organization is a threat to your faith for sure.
    Let’s say you are married, and you have a girlfriend. Your wife tells you that there is a conflict and it’s not right to have a girlfriend. You argue that there is no conflict because your relationship with the girl doesn’t conflict with your husband-ly duties. ha! See how far that flies. You can justify it all you want, but if you want to stay married, then you better let that girlfriend go, and then reconcile with your wife.

    1. So you are saying the Catholic Church never makes a mistake? Like maybe the numerous inquisitions weren’t a mistake? Your clergy are not infallible.

    2. Jake, sorry to break this to you but your clergy are not infallible. The objections to Freemasonry started in 1738 during the Florantine Inquisitions. The Catholic Church has made many errors along the way. This is simply an area were their logic is wrong from the beginning.

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