The Faith vs Freemasonry

Freemasons

The above words were issued by the then head of the CDF Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, reaffirming the centuries old ban on Catholics being involved in Freemasonry. A good in-depth article on the topic can be found here.

Masonry is highly political: it is a fraternity that exercises a strong ‘in group preference’ with a large international network seeking to advance its members, and therefore strengthen the organisation- there is little wonder why so many Freemasons in high ranking positions.

While other Christian groups ban or discourage their members from being Freemasons, The Anglican Communion and other Continuing Anglican groups do not- indeed many senior clergymen are heavily involved. When doing research for this article I found this discussion on a Freemasonry forum if any other Mason on the forum was an Anglican -which I found quite enlightening.

Considering the naturalism and relativism at the heart of Freemasonry, this might go a long way to explaining the sorry state of the western sections of the Anglican Communion were Christian tradition and scripture are constantly disregarded almost to the point were anything goes.

Even ‘Continuing Anglican’ Anglo-Catholic groups like the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) haboured Freemasons. I regularly met with the TAC priest in Auckland, New Zealand, who swore he and all but one of the members of his parish were greatly excited to enter into union with Rome. I Googled him online and found he was a member of a Masonic Lodge; when I brought it up with him he said he would leave so he could be an Ordinariate priest- he ended up not coming over. From what I have been told many TAC clergy that were all for unity with Rome, when presented a choice between being Catholic or being a Freemason chose the latter.

I am personally from an Anglican family heavily involved in Freeasonry , so my conversion to Catholicism might not have been the most well received- but I am glad I have been able to return to my Anglican heritage in an Ordinariate and be able to join a Catholic fraternal order. I am aware that there are many mainstream ‘Roman’ Catholics who are involved with Freemasonry; willfully ignoring Church teaching for material advantage and to them I would say:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36.

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8 Responses to The Faith vs Freemasonry

  1. Mark C. says:

    There has been a longstanding debate about the compatibility of freemasonry and Christianity in the Church of England. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was notably tough on freemasons, preventing many freemasons from becoming bishops and urging Jonathan Baker, a leading Anglo-Catholic, to resign from the masonic lodge before becoming Bishop of Ebbsfleet (one of the “flying bishops” serving Anglo-Catholic parishes that do not accept the ordination of women). However, from my experience in North America, Freemasonry and High Anglicanism often go hand in hand, both appealing to the same sort of person who likes ritual and fancy dress. (Not that there is anything wrong with either, but as means, not as ends in themselves!) It is possible that Freemasonry, like irregular marriage situations, is one of the things that has prevented as many Anglicans and continuers from entering into the Ordinariates as one might have expected.

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  2. Matt C says:

    Perhaps the connection many have to Freemasonry truly is the reason above all others why many Episcopalians and Anglicans have not come into the Catholic Church?

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    • Rev22:17 says:

      It certainly could be a factor!

      However, I rather suspect that “irregular marriage situations” and intimidation associated with a lack of familiarity with the Catholic tribunal process for granting decrees of nullity also play a major role.

      Norm.

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  3. Rev22:17 says:

    There’s a very unfortunate history here. On the continent, Freemasonry has a virulent — and, in some situations, violent — anti-Catholic heritage that, at least in some quarters, both Catholic and Masonic, obviously has not been forgotten. Here in the States, on the other hand, masonic organizations are engaged in phenomenal works of charity that, in many cases, put the institutions operated by Catholic Church to shame. The Shriners, for example, are a Masonic organization — and their Shriners Hospitals for Children (originally founded as the Shriners Burns Hospitals with the mission of treating victims of severe burns) have provided very expensive medical care, often including sequences of major surgeries and custom prosthetics that get replaced as a child grows to larger sizes, for children with all sorts of injuries, deformities, and other debilitating conditions with their families never receiving a bill even for so much as an aspirin — the true epitome of Christian charity. What Catholic hospital has ever done that?

    Note, BTW, that the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which has the same policy of never billing its patients, is NOT a Catholic institution even though some sources describe its founder, Danny Thomas, as a “devout” Roman Catholic.

    More fundamentally, the question is whether Freemasonry actually constitutes a religion or whether it is simply an organization that promotes virtue. The explanation that I have heard from members of the organization is that members must profess a belief in God, but not necessarily the God of Judeo-Christian faith. Their rites of initiation and other ceremonies apparently do make mention of God, but I don’t know whether or not they actually view those rituals as acts of worship of some deity. It could well be a situation in which some Freemasons do and others do not. If viewed as a religion, however, Freemasonry is Syncretism rather than Christianity..

    Norm.

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    • Micah: 6 ; 8 says:

      I REMEMBER several years ago a very good friend of mine, who was a very committed Anglican, was enticed to join the Masonic Lodge in his town, which he did. He told me that after his very first meeting, he was so appalled with the organisation, that he went down into his back yard and burnt all of his Masonic regalia, and was NEVER to be associated with such an organisation again. His reason for such dramatic action:–The Masonic Lodge was NOT in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his Christian faith and principles. As a life long Catholic I have never been involved with Masonry

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      • Rev22:17 says:

        There are also some Protestant circles that deem membership in the Masons to be incompatible with Christianity for various reasons. However, we also need to remember that what your friend encountered in one Masonic lodge might not be typical of others.

        Norm.

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      • Matt says:

        I’m a Freemason and an Anglo-Catholic, so please allow me to reply to a couple of points, keeping in mind that I don’t speak for anyone or any organization. One, all along in my Masonic career I’ve been prepared to flee if I were ever presented with anything that conflicted with my faith. What I encountered was bland and tidy ecumenism wrapped around age-old lessons about how to be a good man. About as objectionable as the Boy Scouts.

        Two, Freemasons have always welcomed Catholics, and from what I’ve heard from Catholic Masons, most parish priests couldn’t care less about their membership in both. The lessons we learn in Masonry help us be better men in all of our endeavors, including church life. If you’re the priest and one of your members is industrious and pleasant and pious and responsible, you probably don’t care much about what he does on Tuesday nights that helps him be so, as long as he keeps doing it. Masons only require a belief in God and in life after death, and don’t care too much about which religious service you attend, if any.

        Three, I get that continental Freemasonry and the Catholic Church have been in conflict in the past, and perhaps the conflict continues to this day. Continental Masonry has long been a harbor for those holding strong anti-clerical and even atheistic opinion. But it’s worth pointing out that the grand lodges in Europe that permit atheists to join and are so virulently anti-Catholic are not considered regular Masons by us in the US or by the United Grand Lodge of England or any body in amity with them. So please don’t blame us for their considerable sins.

        Finally, I’ve come to see lodge and church as the two pillars that sustain me as I walk in faith through my life. While certainly church alone would suffice, Masonry reinforces what I hear from the pulpit and read in my prayer book and Bible, both through the moral instruction it offers and through the enduring bonds of fraternal love I have with my brothers. If forced to choose between church and lodge, I’d find a church that saw value in my membership in my lodge.

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