Questions surface from time-to-time about a Catholic being a Mason. Most people see Masonry in the USA as a benevolent society of men helping the elderly and sick children. There’s more to the Masons than this. The question of Catholics holding membership in the Masons must be asked. The answer is a short, No. The Masons are heretical in the technical sense of the word, and this is not mere sentiment.
To be clear, the teaching of the Catholic Church never changed but the matter was clouded by the fact that it wasn’t as clearly spelled out in the 1983 Code of Canon Law as it was in the 1917 Code. To compare the Codes:
The 1917 Code of Canon Law: “Persons joining associations of the Masonic sect or any others of the same kind which plot against the Church and legitimate civil authorities contract ipso facto excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See.”
The 1983 Code of Canon Law: “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” (1374).
For more than 300 years the Catholic Church has formally declared that Catholics who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. Theologically, masonry is against the Christian dogma of the Trinity, a personal God encountered in the person Jesus, the authority of sacred Scripture and Tradition, ecclesial authority, that we adhere to Jesus Christ as Savior and don’t believe that salvation is found elsewhere. When it comes down to it, either you believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, or He is not. There is no middle ground. Hence, we believe the teachings of the Masonic Lodge have been and continue to be contrary to Catholic faith and morals. One should note that historically Masonic lodges have actively worked against the truth of Catholicism theologically and socially. They have tried to divide the Church.
With matters of faith and truth Catholics can’t adopt the attitude of ignoring the problem with the hope it will go away by attrition. Right thinking, right worshiping, right living are part of a package: this is a matter of salvation.
On Sunday, April 19, Father Tim Finnigan, an English priest and blogger (The Hermenuetic of Continuity) posted a piece on the republication of an older work on Masonic ceremonies and rites; plus, Father Tim adds the 1983 CDF teaching on Catholics and Masons. The matter is worth knowing about.