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Freemasons and Their Craft: What Catholics Should Know

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Many Catholics view Freemasonry as a dangerous—even Satanic—conspiracy founded to destroy the Faith. On the other hand, the Craft likes to present itself as “an ancient Order dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.” Some of the “Brethren” may take that description seriously, depending on which room of the Masonic edifice they inhabit. But the Lodge has many suites, annexes, and outbuildings whose inmates are not necessarily fraternal towards each other, much less filial towards God.

The basic unit of “regular” Freemasonry is the Blue (or Craft) Lodge, which “works” (imparts) the three traditional degrees—Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master. Initiation is the main business of a local Masonic Temple. Members learn grips, signs, and rituals. They re-enact their central myth, the death and resurrection of Hiram Abiff, legendary builder of Solomon’s Temple. With one exception, American local Lodges are grouped in state Grand Lodges that are recognized by the Mother Lodge in London. Master Mason’s wives can join the Order of the Eastern Star, their daughters Job’s Daughters or the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and their sons the Order of the De Molay.

A fervent minority of Anglo-American Masons acquire additional degrees teaching more sophisticated symbolism in separate organizations called Appendant Bodies that are not controlled by the Mother Lodge.  These are the York Rite (10 more grades) and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (30 more grades) which is subdivided into Northern and Southern Jurisdictions. Holders of the highest degrees in either Rite are eligible to join the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) for philanthropy and fun.

Origins and early history

The Craft originated in the British Isles and the overwhelming majority of its members still live in English-speaking countries. According to the Masonic Service Association, there are about 1.2 million Freemasons in the United States, down from a high of 4 million in 1958. Far fewer men in Latin countries belong to the separate Grand Orient system, whose components are not usually recognized by the Mother Lodge. Many fewer still practice forms of “fringe Masonry” such as Co-Masonry, which enrolls both men and women. Prince Hall Lodges, originally for black men, are generally considered “irregular” by American Masons.

To see why the Catholic Church has strongly and repeatedly condemned membership in Freemasonry or any of its allied movements requires a glance at Masonic teachings and history. Freemasons pretend to preserve ancient secrets handed down from Solomon’s builders and pagan mystery cults via the medieval Knights Templar. Some have even identified Adam, Noah, and St. John the Evangelist as Brother Masons.  The Craft claims to offer “Light” unobtainable elsewhere that will perfect the initiate and improve society. Their foremost modern commentator, Henry Wilson Coil, describes Freemasonry as “a system of morality and social ethics, a primitive religion, and a philosophy of life.”

But the real origin of the Craft, as Masonic historians now admit, lies in Renaissance esotericism, injected into the guild traditions developed by medieval stoneworkers. Spurred by interest in the symbolic possibilities of architecture, men who were not professional stonemasons (“non-operatives”) began joining workmen’s lodges in Scotland in the 1590s. These fellowships had just been turned into permanent organizations by the king’s chief builder, a Catholic named William Schaw. Professor David Stevenson has amply documented this transformation in The Origins of Freemasonry:Scotland’s century 1590-1710 (Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Lodges of “nonoperative” Freemasons appeared in England in the 1640s, attracting gentry and intellectuals of varying religions to the Craft. In 1717, four London Lodges united as the Grand Lodge of England, which issued constitutions in 1723 and became the Mother Lodge of all regular Masons. Spreading throughout the world, Freemasonry reached the Continent by 1721 and America by 1730. Exiled Scottish supporters of the Catholic Stuarts brought the Craft to France, where it proved especially popular among aristocrats and men receptive to the Enlightenment.

The Lodge’s initial appeal was as a place for men of different faiths to socialize and speculate in peace, for discussing religion and politics was forbidden. Haydn, Mozart, and many other luminaries joined. But avoiding sectarian disputes inevitably pushed Freemasonry towards mere Deism. Its seldom-mentioned God was the Great Architect of the Universe, reachable by reason alone. Belief in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul was all that was required of eighteenth-century regular Freemasons.

English and Northern European Freemasonry retained these vague beliefs and functioned as a lowest-common-denominator religion “in which all men agree.” They even displayed the Bible during their rituals as the “Volume of the Sacred Law.” They were staunch supporters of the prevailing social establishment. Until recently, they dominated politics, the professions, the military, finance, and even the police. Prior to Prince Charles, many English royals were keen Masons as were some Anglican bishops. Martin Short’s Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons is a good survey of their influence in the United Kingdom.

During the American Revolution, more Masons were Loyalists than Patriots but these did include such Founding Fathers as Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, and Monroe. (John Adams, however, denounced the Craft.) Surprisingly, Freemasonry also enrolled Daniel Carroll, one of only two Catholics at the Constitutional Convention, brother of America’s first bishop, Archbishop  John Carroll of Baltimore, and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence. In the Carrolls’ defense, papal condemnations of Freemasonry had not yet been officially proclaimed in America.

The 1826 disappearance of a New York man who had revealed the Crafts’s secrets sparked a brief outburst of anti-Masonic feeling but the Lodges were soon popular again. Over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American Catholics suffered from the Craft’s hostility as American Freemasons turned Nativist and anti-Catholic. They were conspicuous in both the original and the revived Ku Klux Klan. The Knights of Columbus, founded by Fr. Michael J. McGivney in 1882, offered Catholics an alternative to the Lodge.

American Masons came to hold disproportionate power at all levels of government, including the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court. They led the fight against parochial schools and demanded absolute separation of Church and State. Networks of influence among Masons stifled competition from outsiders in business and the professions. Lodge membership became a badge of middle-class Protestant respectability at the peak of Freemasonry’s popularity, 1920-1960.

Freemasonry and anti-Catholicism

Meanwhile, the Grand Orient Lodges of France, Iberia, and Latin America were building a far grimmer anti-Catholic edifice. They attracted men hostile to both Church and State who found Masonic structures and secrecy useful for political subversion. Masons were prominent in the French Revolution and the Irish rising of 1798. They helped lead the South American revolts against Spain as well as the unification of Italy. Discarding even the pretense of Deism, Grand Orient Lodges ceased to revere the Bible or any Volume of Sacred Law. They dominated the bitterly anti-clerical French Third Republic (1870-1940) that confiscated all Church property in France. They persecuted and slaughtered Catholics after the Mexican Revolution and during the Spanish Civil War. Even in today’s European Union, Masons favor radical secularization.

Outraged by these activities, conspiracy-minded Catholics have claimed that they are all part of a vast “Judeo-Masonic plot” that also created Communism. Works by the prolific Irish priest, Fr. Denis Fahey, such as The Kingdom of Christ and Organized Naturalism (1943) are typical of such material. They argue that Old Testament references and Hebrew words in Lodge rituals prove Jewish origins of the Craft. But the founders of Freemasonry were Christians Scots and its Constitutions were prepared by a Protestant clergyman. Not only is Marxism an entirely different entity, Communist regimes have always suppressed Masonry, as did Hitler and Mussolini. The Craft, however, could be criticized as an influence or template for Theosophy, some themes in New Age thought, and Wicca as developed by Gerald Gardner.

Fear of “Judeo-Masonry” and its ilk clouds analysis of the Craft’s intrinsic and irremediable flaws: Relativism and Naturalism. Blue Lodge Freemasonry treats all religions alike but inferior to the “Light” it offers to its select Brethren. They trust reason alone, not supernatural revelation. But Christians know that salvation comes from the real Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, not the dubious legend of Hiram Abiff.

Furthermore, the higher degrees of Masonry’s Appendant Bodies are frankly blasphemous. The Royal Arch Degree of the York Rite reveals that the true name of God is JAH-BUL-ON, a fusion of the Hebrew Jaweh (Yaweh) with the names of pagan gods Baal and Osiris. The Scottish Rite’s eighteenth degree (Rose Croix) reinterprets the Cross and its I.N.R.I inscription as pagan symbols. A candidate for the thirtieth degree (Knight Kadosh) must trample the papal tiara crying: “Down with Imposture!” He vows to propagate light and overthrow “superstition, fanaticism, imposture, and intolerance,” qualities implicitly identified with Christianity, especially Catholic Christianity.  The best Catholic apologetics work against the Lodge is Christianity and American Freemasonry(Ignatius Press) by William J. Whalen.

From the time Freemasonry penetrated Europe, the Catholic Church has watched and warned against it. In 1738, Pope Clement XII condemned the Craft for its reliance on mere natural virtue while ignoring Christ’s unique role as Savior. Pope Clement also denounced the rash, blood-curdling oaths demanded of members to protect trivial Lodge secrets. Ironically, those precious secrets are anything but secret. All the details have been revealed numerous times, for example in ex-Mason Walton Hannah’s Darkness Visible: A Christian Appraisal of Freemasonry.

Pope Clement decreed that Catholics who joined the Masons were excommunicated with reconciliation reserved to the pope. Unfortunately, this had little effect because the rule was not published in every country, nor was it taken seriously where it was published.

Eight subsequent popes had to repeat the message, most forcefully Leo XIII in his 1884 encyclical, Humanum genus. Denouncing the Lodge as “a deceitful and crafty enemy,” Pope Leo declared: “Let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them.” This stern prohibition was included in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

After the Second Vatican Council, however, the long antagonism between the Church and the Lodge seemed to be easing.  A reinterpretation of the anti-Masonic canons in 1974 led some Catholics to think that only Masonic groups actively plotting against the Church were forbidden to them.

This liberalization was sadly ill-timed. Some notable Freemasons had been conspiring against the Vatican through its bank. In March of 1981, two of Pope Paul VI’s top financial advisors—known all along as Masons—were unmasked as members of a secret Lodge called Propaganda Due (P2) that was preparing a fascist takeover of Italy. Both men later died mysteriously, probably murdered. The Vatican lost 240 million dollars with the collapse of its bank.

The P2 Lodge, which was a scam on Italian Grand Orient Masonry as well as the Church, enrolled 953 members including high ranking figures in government, the military, security services, academe, business, law, media, and finance. None were churchmen. Although an argument from silence does not completely debunk the existence of Ecclesiastical Masonry, a bugaboo so dear to Italians and Radical Traditionalists, the evidence is suggestive.

Coincidentally or otherwise, Rome had already been having second thoughts. Just before the P2 scandal broke, local bishops had been warned in 1981 that they had no authority to judge the character of local Masonic associations and relax the old strictures. Although the new Code of Canon Law issued in 1983 did not mention the Craft or similar groups by name, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith firmly reiterated the old ban on 26 November, 1983: “The Church’s negative position on Masonic associations therefore remains unaltered since their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church’s doctrine.” Pope John Paul II ordered this rule incorporated in Church law. The bishops of the United States reported the same conclusion in 1985: one cannot be both a Catholic and a Freemason.

Numerous other Christian bodies also condemn Freemasonry, including many Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists, and Orthodox followers of the Holy Synod of Greece. Even the Mormons, originally influenced by Masonry, condemn the Craft.

The Catholic Church and the Lodge can never be reconciled. Freemasonry teaches a rival religion of Naturalism, whether it plots, persecutes, blasphemes, engages in philanthropy, or behaves politely. It treats all religions as equal but inferior to its own Gnostic wisdom. Alas, the vaunted profundity on offer never manifests itself from the shadows of secrecy. Even after a man has taken every degree known in the Masonic mansion, he will be no more enlightened than when he began, but considerably farther from the true Light. The Great Architect the Universe of Deism and Freemasonry is not the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—of Christians.





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    Total 8 comments
    • tonyw

      Pot , Kettle difference they are both on the dark side steering away from true faith..both offer earthly beings (saints ?? ) in whatever form in the true path to salvation..start praying to saints and you are away from true path to salvation (have no other GOD but me) all these saints are just a smokescreen to get you away from where you should be putting your Jesus the Savior..GODS chosen one to bear your sins

    • Synickel

      Incomplete understanding in this article. The roman church was originally against freemasonry, but it was because it was a rival to their pagan interpretation of truth. After the templars and illuminati were supposedly disbanded/destroyed, they merely were absorbed into the roman church, just like every other pagan and occult religion had been. Now they are one of the vatican’s spiderweb societies, just like most of the other secret societies, which all lead back to the jesuits and luciferian worship.

    • betru2yrfaith

      The article is a good one and I would highly recommend Fr Fahey, any of his books. Sorry to my evangelical friends but the Catholic Church is the true church of Christ whether you want to believe that or not. You folks don’t have the truth, you are decieved. If you did have the truth the Masons would be coming after your little 2bit church down the street but their not, only to bring you in so you too will go up against the Catholics. You need to convert and come into the true church that Christ founded and don’t believe all the deceptive propaganda you’ve been fed.

    • Anonymous

      Masons are not trying to be a religion, and they do not stand in your way to practice your own religion. The light in Masonry is the Holy Bible, not some higher being. The Great Architect of the Universe is acknowledged as the true God, but, since they are not trying to be a particular religion, they are not specific as to God’s form or name. The legend of Hiram Abif is not about resurrection, it is about faith and loyalty. In the legend, he is murdered for not revealing certain information, and his dead body is eventually recovered and buried in a place of honor… not unlike the Catholics finding the remains of a martyred saint and re-burying it inside a church. During the Bible ceremony, they hand you a KJV bible and tell you that the blueprint to a moral life is contained within its pages, and it is up to you to find it for yourself.

    • insane2bme


    • HypothesisFree

      “There is a visible, obvious, verifiable occult connection between nearly all major religions today, especially with Freemasonry”

      Lucifer is the god of Freemasonry

      Freemasonry [a branch of Jewish Luciferianism] Conceals Its Diabolical Secret from Members

      “Freemasonry is a Jewish establishment, whose history, grades, official appointments, passwords and explanations are Jewish from beginning to end. ” – Rabbi Isaac Wis

      Zionists/Luciferians have “completely infiltrated the Christian church” – Ex Occultist Reveals The Truth! [AMAZING and will leave a lasting impression on you – Who better than an ex-Luciferian to recognize Luciferianism in today’s churches – it is no longer safe to bring your children to church!]

      “Your churches will be used to teach the Jew’s religion and in less than two hundred years, the whole nation will be working for divine world government. That government that they believe to be divine will be the British Empire. All religions will be permeated with Judaism without even being noticed by the masses, and they will all be under the invisible all-seeing eye of the grand Architect of Freemasonry.” [until mind control could be accomplished through a false religion] – General Cornwallis, 1781.

      Rabbi Finkelstein amazingly gives honest answers about world Jewry’s control of banking, media and governments, their creation of communism, their founding of the Jesuits (to infiltrate the churches), their holocaust hoax, their human sacrifice rituals and many more jaw-dropping subjects.

    • HypothesisFree


      I am now the proud author of three BeforeItsNews reports which have been Censored from showing up in their “TOP 50 ARTICLES” list. The common denominator is that they DO NOT want you to know that Zionist Jews/Serpent/viper blood-line are the worlds NUMBER ONE ENEMY in control of your governments and actively genociding/trafficking ANY-AND-ALL NON-JEWS/Reptilians!:


      I currently have 3 articles being blocked from showing up in the TOP 50 ARTICLES list. I do not know if I should be PROUD or FURIOUS! The common denominator is that they DO NOT want you to know that Zionist Jews/Serpent/viper blood-line are the worlds NUMBER ONE ENEMY in control of your governments and actively genociding/trafficking ANY-AND-ALL NON-JEWS/Reptilians!:

      1) Sextortion World Order – Is Epstein Pedophile Operation A Mossad Front? [This one was censored from the VERY MOMENT it was published, and then 30 days later was allowed to show in the TOP 50 ARTICLES list for 2 days after which it has since been blocked again]
      - /v3/new-world-order/2019/8539.html

      2) Trump/Kushner Plans to Behead Christians in the Name of Peace! – Censored from displaying on the TOP 50 ARTICLES list within 24 hours of adding the FOLLOWING UPDATE:
      - /v3/christian-news/2019/2580229.html

      UPDATE [August 18, 2019] Hollywood Jews Made An EXPLICIT Movie About Hunting Down Christians! [Jump to the 34 minute mark and then watch til end] This presentation ALONE proves beyond reasonable doubt that Trump/Kushner along with many other Zionist Jew Leaders plan to GENOCIDE CHRISTIANS between the years of 2020 and 2025, after which TWO-THIRDS of the United States population [including non-Christians] will have been GENOCIDED!!

      3) Nuclear Strikes Within USA Coming – Zionist Timeline Leaked [After several months of being censored it surpizingly started showing up again]
      - /v3/new-world-order/2019/8453.html

      Please SHARE THESE far and wide with all of your loved ones WHILE YOU STILL CAN! ALL OF THIS is VERY IMPORTANT information for SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!

    • YellowRoseTx51

      Obvious no real history makes its way to the news contributors.
      The Catholic church was the First Temple dedicated to “SET, whom common man calls “Satan” ” under the new law of “Free Will”. With that law Humanity was allowed to choose the Left Hand Path of SET which is the Underworld’s (Reptiles “owls” and El’s) path, which was denied them before. Humanity is the offspring branch of the Right Hand Path which is Heavens Path, and why your “Rights” are “Inalienable”. They could not separate Humans from the Branch of Man who originates from Heaven’s side.
      Freemasons and Illuminati originated at the same time. Freemasons were the “owls” Coven under the Royals, Illuminati was the catholic’s coven. “Illi” “Illumi” were the babylon names of the Elohiem. Els and owls fought for control over us, here.
      Actual Common Law: “The Covens of Azazel are legally defined, as The Papal, The Royal, and the Federal (Covens of Selene)”; All Freemasons are told they are part of the Covens of Azazel, at the 33rd degree ritual, which is the point of entry into our domain, for the el. Look at the 33rd degree on any map, and notice the horrors that fall on that line, including the numbers of prisons built. At the 19th degree ritual they are told that Satan is ‘god’. Canon Law : C.A. In Latin Root word formations is “Coven Azazel”. “C.I.A.” is Coven Of Azazel, “I” in latin root word formations means “Of”.

      The claims otherwise, are disinformation to make it appear they do not work together. They do. Vatican is Top, Royals are secondary and follow orders from the Coven Council (Vatican) No one is crowned or issued any titles or money, anywhere, without the authorization of the Vatican. The Vatican is the head of the Family, and origin of the word “Mafia”. It is a company store system, called The Babylon slave system. (“Vatter” “I” “Kan” is the break down of “VATICAN” which is a germanic, latin word formation and means “Father of the Kin” > of SET)
      ALL of them sacrifice Human Children, to “Satan”. Disbelieve? Ask anyone wearing that ring from the 33rd rite to give you the ring. They will not. It is given when they make the blood pact by sacrificing a child; and its like a passover ring. They offered their families and kids, all their kin, as human sacrifice so they can get wealthy etc. With the ring removed, they are no longer protected in their homes & when the demonic entities come to feed on the family members, they’d be included.
      Freemasons are the Federals, and they have “Divine Rights” granted by Charter from the Vatican, to run the money system as well as the JUDICIAL Branch. They rule the courts, and this is why no bankers in England are ever arrested. And few pedo’s are ever tried, and certainly none of the coven members are ever jailed. All the ‘Secret Societies’ are simply chartered chapters of the CA.

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