Friday, November 17, 2023


By Tim Rohr

Pope Francis remains firm - at least on some things, and one of those things is the Catholic Church's firm, unwavering teaching (for now) on Freemasonry.

It's weird, given that Francis appears to be at the root of changing church teaching on everything from blessing same-sex unions to ordaining women-priests. 

And it's even weirder given that the following re-affirmation condemning Freemasonry came through the newly appointed Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith - a known "softie" if not an outright anti-anything traditional.

Yet, here is what Pope (make a mess) Francis has solidly declared via his newly-appointed "softie" Prefect:

Vatican confirms Catholics still forbidden to join Masonic lodges

Responding to a question from a Filipino Bishop, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, reaffirms the incompatibility between the Catholic Faith and joining Masonic lodges.

By Vatican News

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a document signed by the Prefect, Cardinal Victor Fernandéz, and approved by Pope Francis, has reaffirmed that Catholics are forbidden from joining Freemasonry.

The Dicastery responded on Wednesday to a question from Bishop Julito Cortes, Bishop of Dumanguete in the Philippines.

“After explaining with concern the situation in his diocese, due to the continuous increase in the number of members of Freemasonry, [Bishop Cortes] asked for suggestions on how to adequately deal with this reality from a pastoral point of view, while also taking into account the doctrinal implications” of the situation.

The dicastery’s response makes clear the importance of involving the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “notifying them that it would be necessary to implement a coordinated strategy among the individual bishops that would involve two approaches.”

The first approach addresses the question on the doctrinal level: the dicastery reiterates that “active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is prohibited, because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry (cf. the 1983 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Masonic Associations), and the Guidelines published by the Bishops’ Conference in 2003.”

Therefore, the note explains, “those who formally and knowingly are members of Masonic lodges and have embraced Masonic principles fall under the provisions of the above-mentioned Declaration. These measures also apply to any clerics enrolled in Freemasonry.”

The second approach concerns the pastoral response: the dicastery suggests that the Philippine bishops undertake “a popular catechesis in all parishes on the reasons for the irreconcilability between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry.” The bishops of the Philippines are also asked to consider whether they should make a public pronouncement on this topic.

The November 1983 declaration was published shortly before the new Code of Canon Law entered into force. The 1983 CIC replaced the Code of Canon Law published in 1917; among the new features noted – by some with satisfaction, by others with concern – was the absence of an explicit condemnation of Freemasonry and excommunication for those affiliated with it. Both had been present in the earlier Code. The Declaration, signed by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and the Secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop Jérôme Hamer, and approved by John Paul II, reiterated that Catholics affiliated with Masonic lodges are “in a state of grave sin.” 


  1. Well and good about for forbidding the faithful from being Freemasons, but the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and the Grand Imama of Al-Azhar has an eggregious example of indifferentism in it. Arguably Masonic.

    1. Yes. Thus the Francis Conundrum: say two different things at the same time. However, the referenced document is a direct descendant of Vatican II"s Dignitas Humanae (aka "I'm okay, you're okay").

    2. He's not really acting like the 'rock' on which we should all be unified and find stability. No matter if he still says and does a few good things every now and then, these past ten years have been crazy. I doubt Vatican I foresaw a pontificate like this, otherwise why place so much emphasis on the papacy vs. local bishops? Food for thought.