Category Archives: Theology

Catholics can’t be Masons

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.

Canon 915: its full, objective application

A recent interview with His Excellency, Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (The Pope’s Chief Justice) regarding the application of Canon 915 is online here. Nothing new is presented but he states the truth of Catholic teaching.

 

Canon 915 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law reads: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

 

I think he’s clear on the thinking of the Church on its application, don’t you? Is there debate?

Benedict’s interpretative lens of Vatican II, according to Edward Oakes

Jesuit Father Edward T. Oakes, a Mundelein Seminary Theology professor explains Pope Benedict’s VERY clear reasons for putting to bed the ex communications of the SSPX bishops while delving into the acceptance of (or not) “Vatican II theology.” What Vatican II said is a bone of contention of many, for a very long time….

You’ve got to read the article, Benedict’s Vatican II Hermeneutic in First Things!

The Beauty of the Church

From outside she [the Church] looks like an establishment, like one organization among others. From within she is the medium, one might almost say the magic, whereby God is able to be all in all within his creation, without suppressing the creature he has made free.

 

(Hans Urs Von Balthasar, In the Fullness of Faith)

The reassuring presence of angels

Today [March 1st] is the First Sunday of Lent, and the Gospel, with the sober and concise style of St. Mark, introduces us to the climate of this liturgical season: “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for 40 days, tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:12). In the Holy Land, west of the Jordan and the oasis of Jericho, there is the desert of Judah, which ascends to a height of over 1,000 meters through rocky valleys, stretching all the way to Jerusalem.

 


Christ tempted by Satan.jpgAfter having received baptism from John, Jesus enters that empty place, led by the Holy Spirit himself, which had descended upon him, consecrating him and revealing him as the Son of God. In the desert, the place of trial — as the experience of the people of Israel shows — there appears the dramatic reality of the “kenosis,” the emptying of Christ, who is stripped of the form of God (cf. Philippians 2:6-7). He, who did not sin and cannot sin, submits himself to trial and thus can have compassion for our infirmities (cf. Hebrews 4:15). He lets himself be tempted by Satan, the adversary, who had opposed himself to God’s salvific plan for men from the very beginning.

 

In the brevity of the account, in the face of this obscure and darksome figure who dares to
Angel1.jpgtempt the Lord, the angels, luminous and mysterious figures, fleetingly appear. The Gospel says that the angels “serve” Jesus (Mark 1:13); they are the counterpoint to Satan. “Angel” means “one who is sent.” We find these figures throughout the Old Testament who help and guide men in the name of God. Just consider the Book of Tobit, in which the figure of the angel Raphael appears to assist the protagonist through many vicissitudes. The reassuring presence of the angel of the Lord accompanies the people of Israel through every event, good and bad. On the threshold of the New Testament, Gabriel is sent to announce to Zachariah and Mary the joyous happenings that are the beginnings of our salvation; and an angel, whose name is not mentioned, warns Joseph, directing him in that moment of uncertainty. A chorus of angels reports the glad tidings of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, as the glad tidings of his resurrection will also be announced by angels to the women. At the end of time the angels will accompany Jesus in his glorious return (cf. Matthew 25:31).

 

The angels serve Jesus, who is certainly superior to them, and this dignity of his is proclaimed in a clear though discreet way here in the Gospel. Indeed, even in the situation of extreme poverty and humility, when he is tempted by Satan, he remains the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord.

 


OL Queen of Angels.jpgDear brothers and sisters, we would take away a significant part of the Gospel if we left aside these beings sent by God to announce his presence among us and be a sign of that presence. Let us call upon them often, that they sustain us in the task of following Jesus to the point of identifying ourselves with him. Let us ask them, especially today, to watch over me and my co-workers in the Roman Curia as we begin our retreat this week, as we do every year. Mary, Queen of Angels, pray for us!

 

Pope Benedict XVI

1 March 2009, First Sunday of Lent

St Peter’s Square

 

PS: You may want to read the booklet, “All About Angels” published by the Catholic Information Service.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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