Is A Reconciliation Between The Catholic Church And Freemasonry Possible?

 I was prompted to contemplate a thawing in Catholic-Masonic relations upon reading this Associated Press article today titled Pope insists conscience, not rules, must lead faithful

Here we read:

Pope Francis said Friday that Catholics should look to their own consciences more than Vatican rules to negotiate the complexities of sex, marriage and family life, demanding the church shift its emphasis from doctrine to mercy in confronting some of the thorniest issues facing the faithful.”

He said the church must no longer sit in judgment and “throw stones” at those who fail to live up to the Gospel’s ideals of marriage and family life.”

“On thorny issues such as contraception, Francis stressed that a couple’s individual conscience — not dogmatic rules imposed on them across the board — must guide their decisions and the church’s pastoral practice.”

“We have been called to form consciences, not replace to them,” he said.

“He insisted the church’s aim is to reintegrate and welcome all its members. He called for a new language to help Catholic families cope with today’s problems. And he said pastors must take into account mitigating factors — fear, ignorance, habits and duress — in counseling Catholics who simply aren’t perfect.”

“It can no longer simply be said that all those in any irregular situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace,” he wrote. Even those in an “objective situation of sin” can be in a state of grace, and can even be more pleasing to God by trying to improve, he said.

Could it be that the many changes that Pope Francis has made to the Catholic Church pave the way for a reconsideration of its opposition to Freemasonry?

Ever since 1738 the Catholic Church has prohibited membership in Freemasonry. For a complete overview of the historical rulings by the Church see The Catholic Church and Freemasonry

Posted by Greg Stewart on Freemason Information.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Looking at a Pope who has not been in office for a great length of time, you can see some far reaching reforms and adjustments that have already been made. Would it be a fantasy to surmise that somewhere down the line this Pope might relax the ban against the Craft?

The Atlantic in an article titled Will Pope Francis Break the Church? offers these observations on the pontiff.

The Church is not yet in the grip of a revolution. The limits, theological and practical, on papal power are still present, and the man who was Jorge Bergoglio has not done anything that explicitly puts them to the test. But his moves and choices (and the media coverage thereof) have generated a revolutionary atmosphere around Catholicism. For the moment, at least, there is a sense that a new springtime has arrived for the Church’s progressives. And among some conservative Catholics, there is a feeling of uncertainty absent since the often-chaotic aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, in the 1960s and ’70s.”

“That unease has coexisted with a tendency to deny that anything has really changed since the former cardinal and archbishop of Buenos Aires became pope. From the first unscripted shocker—his “Who am I to judge?” in response to a reporter’s question about gay priests—many conservative Catholics have argued that the press is seeing what it wants to see in the new pontiff.”

“Francis is clearly a less systematic thinker than either of his predecessors, and especially than the academic-minded Benedict. Whereas the previous pope defended popular piety against liberal critiques, Francis embodies a certain style of populist Catholicism—one that’s suspicious of overly academic faith in any form. He seems to have an affinity for the kind of Catholic culture in which Mass attendance might be spotty but the local saint’s processions are packed—a style of faith that’s fervent and supernaturalist but not particularly doctrinal. He also remains a Jesuit-formed leader, and Jesuits have traditionally combined missionary zeal with a certain conscious flexibility about doctrinal details that might impede their proselytizing work.”

pope, papal logo, catholic church

Emblem of the Papacy

“But there are times when Francis himself seems to desire something more than just a change in emphasis. Even as he has officially reaffirmed Church teachings on sex and marriage, he has shown a persistent impatience—populist, Jesuit, or both—with the obstacles these teachings present to bringing some lapsed Catholics back to the Church. His frustration has emerged most clearly on the issue of divorce and remarriage: he has repeatedly shown what seems to be tacit support for the idea, long endorsed by Walter Kasper and other liberal cardinals, to allow Catholics in a second marriage to receive Communion even if their first marriage is still considered valid—that is, even if they are living in what the Church considers an adulterous relationship.”

“The problem for Francis is that Kasper’s argument is not particularly persuasive. Describing Communion for the remarried as merely a pastoral change ignores its inevitable doctrinal implications. If people who are living as adulterers can receive Communion, if the Church can recognize their state of life as nonideal but somehow tolerable, then either the Church’s sacramental theology or its definition of sin has been effectively rewritten. And the ramifications of such a change are potentially sweeping. If ongoing adultery is forgivable, then why not other forms of loving, long-standing sexual commitment?”

“This, then, is the place where Francis’s quest for balance could, through his own initiative, ultimately fall apart, bringing the very culture war he’s downplayed back to center stage. And it’s the place where his pontificate could become genuinely revolutionary. His other moves are changing the Church, but in gradual and reversible ways, leaving lines of conflict blurry and tensions bridgeable. But altering a teaching on sex and marriage that the Church has spent centuries insisting it simply cannot alter—a teaching on a question addressed directly (as, say, homosexuality is not) by Jesus himself—is a very different thing. It would suggest to the world, and to many Catholics, that Catholicism was formally capitulating to the sexual revolution. It would grant the Church’s progressives reasonable grounds for demanding room for further experiments. And it would make it impossible for many conservatives, lay and clerical, to avoid some kind of public opposition to the pope.

Could this mean that Catholic Freemasons might be granted the right to receive communion and hold positions of lay leadership in the Church? Certainly Freemasonry does not seem to be on Pope Francis’ top ten list of changes yet to come. But if the mood, the emphasis away from doctrinal purity, persists then perhaps some sort of reconciliation can take place between the Church and Freemasonry. And if that comes to past we will be in a new day of peace and harmony.

Posted in Featured, The Bee Hive and tagged , .

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. My interest in this topic (and some related research) actually spun off from an exploration of the objections the Orthodox Church has to Masonic membership for its faithful. If anything, the Orthodox position (though not derived from so centralized an authority as Rome) is even more adamantly anti-masonic. Excommunication is still a real possibility, apparently, at least so far as the established policies of various national churches and hierarchs are concerned.

    Personally, I attribute much of the hostility, from both confessions, to Freemasonry’s tendency toward free-thinking and traditionally dim view of authoritarian government. Both the Catholic and Orthodox hierarchies have historically found themselves more or less ‘in bed’ with authoritarian/totalitarian regimes (Ottoman, Russian, Soviet, Austro-Hungarian…even, unfortunately, Nazi) in the fight for their own survival and the protection of their own interests and of their faithful. They are more or less blameworthy in this, depending upon specific circumstances, in terms of how complicit they might be seen in the excesses of the various regimes.

    Individual faithful (in both Catholic and Orthodox camps) will tell you that they have been taught that the ‘problem’ with Freemasonry is the matter of secrecy and the admonition not to be involved in anything that one could not divulge to a priest in the confessional. Masonic oaths, they say, create a ‘crisis of conscious’ for the believer that is best avoided; hence the Church’s hostility. Of course, our ritual assurance that a Brother will not be required anything contrary to “[his] God, [his] country, [his] neighbor or [him]self” is an absolute protection in this regard and should (from the perspective of the Lodge anyway) free a Catholic or Orthodox Brother of undue concern. Should Freemasonry ever require anything of a member contrary to the dictates of his faith (assuming that his sense of conscience is in sync with the dictates of his faith), he would–by virtue of the guarantee given on the occasion of his initiation–be absolutely free to confess it to his priest, the Lodge having broken the contract that compelled his secrecy. Short of such an outrage, a Catholic or Orthodox Brother would have nothing that he would ever be obliged to confess!

  2. I suspect there is too much anti-Masonic sentiment among the Cardinals. The Grand Orient de France remains deeply anti-clerical, and the Vatican distrusts them in particular. I have seen the occasional opinion from archbishops that make a distinction between “continental” Freemasonry vs. what we practice in the US, but they are still deeply at odds with the basics of the fraternity itself. They believe that we ape religious practices, with Bibles and altars and liturgy (as they see it). They see Masonry as Deistic and indifferent specifically to Christianity, and that we are simply religiously syncretic. They also believe that we offer a path to salvation via “good works”, vs. the profession of faith in Christ as savior.

    There is also a belief among some Cardinals that Masonry has somehow infiltrated the Church administration and is seeking to weaken the Pope’s position against us.

    So, it’s doubtful that the Vatican hierarchy will simply look beyond these criticisms, whether Francis privately sees it as a tempest in a teapot or not. I went to a Jesuit high school, and they are considered the “campus radicals” within the Church (which was what made Francis’ election such a surprise). They have long had an policy of adapting their public position to suit the society in which they are operating in order to ultimately make converts. So it’s not too surprising to hear him making thee kinds of public overtures of conciliation.

  3. “There is a no more Jewish Institution than Masonry”( Rabbi Stephen Wise). How can we reconcile with the Catholic Church if, Jewish religion was behind the Crucifixion of Christ and follows the Talmudic rules? There are plenty of things to be straightened before sincere approach can be reached. To be reminded the fact that an “authoritarian” like Stalin was a mason and an enemy of both, Catholic and Orthodox Churches and his own people exterminator.
    It was not the Catholic Church that first made the first steps against masonry, it is the other way around, Masonic nobility did it first when being part in European Courts did thrust royalty into decreeing the Jesuit expulsion from several nations, and it was then and only from then, that the Papacy condemned Masonry.
    Accurate and proper to remind that Masonry it´s the core thinking of Judaism and in consequence, fitting to the widespread French understanding that Masons are “Synthetic Jews”.

  4. From the earliest days of Freemasonry, a long stream of expose’s has precluded any true “Masonic secrets.” Save for “…. direct control,” by the Papacy, there is no conflict between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry. Freemasonry does meet the ‘test’ of one of the available definitions of the term “religion;” but NOT in terms of the ordinary context. Thus, there is no intelligent debate that Freemasonry is in any way competing with any religion. Amidst the debate, it should also be intelligently and responsibly noted that there is more than one “Masonic” institution; starting with “Prince Hall Masonry” (predominantly Black) and the “Co-masons” (predominantly female). Is it only ‘regular’ Freemasonry in the cross-hairs? If so; why?

  5. That’s a total smokescreen article, the Jesuits own and control the united states. They train all the leaders an stuff the cabinets of presidents with Catholics. All your presidents prostitute themselves to the Catholic Church and Jesuits. Al Smith, Red Mass, Blue Mass, White Mass. Justice Roberts serves the whore of Rome teaching in Malta.

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