Pope Leo XIII on Freemasonry and the Sacred Congregation on Catholics becoming Masons. Concerning their attitude toward the Freemasons, we may turn to a summation in Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical on Freemasonry (Humanum Genus). Below is the 1981 document on the Status of Catholics becoming Freemasons in the Church from the Office of the Sacred Congregation in Rome.
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
DECLARATION CONCERNING STATUS OF CATHOLICS BECOMING FREEMASONS
On 19 July 1974 this Congregation wrote to some Episcopal Conferences a private letter concerning the interpretation of can 2335 of the Code of Canon Law which forbids Catholics, under the penalty of excommunication, to enroll in Masonic or other similar associations. Since the said letter has become public and has given rise to erroneous and tendentious interpretations, this Congregation, without prejudice to the eventual norms of the new Code, issues the following confirmation and clarification: 1) the present canonical discipline remains in full force and has not been modified in any way; 2) consequently, neither the excommunication nor the other penalties envisaged have been abrogated; 3) what was said in the aforesaid letter as regards the interpretation to be given to the canon in question should be understood – as the Congregation intended – merely as a reminder of the general principles of interpretation of penal laws for the solution of the cases of individual persons which may be submitted to the judgment of ordinaries. It was not, however, the intention of the Congregation to permit Episcopal Conferences to issue public pronouncements by way of a judgment of a general character on the nature of Masonic associations, which would imply a derogation from the aforesaid norms.
Rome, from the Office of the S. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 17 February 1981.
Franjo Cardinal Seper Prefect
Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium Secretary
Danny Wilten narrates Humanum Genus, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Freemasonry
“PAGANISM, MASONRY, and THEOLOGY — such is the historical trinity now ruling the world sub rosa. Shall we close with a Masonic greeting and say:—
Illustrious officers of Hiram Abif, Initiates, and “Widow’s sons.” The Kingdom of Darkness and ignorance is fast dispelling, but there are regions still untouched by the hand of the scholar, and as black as the night of Egypt. Fratres, sobrii estote et vigilate!” (The Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry, Lucifer, Vol. IV, Nos. 19 and 21, March, 1889, pp. 32-44)
Helena Blavatsky argued, that the rites of the proto-Catholic Church derived ultimately from an Ancient Masonry, or Ancient GNOSTICISM. Concerning Freemasonry, she refers to it as a once True Ecclesia, further stating that the:
“…Churches and Masonry have widely diverged since the days when both were one. If asked how a profane can know it, the answer comes: ancient and modern Freemasonry are an obligatory study with every Eastern Occultist.
Masonry, its paraphernalia and modern innovations (the Biblical Spirit in it especially) notwithstanding, does good both on the moral and physical planes — or did so, hardly ten years ago, at any rate. It was a true ecclesia in the sense of fraternal union and mutual help, the only religion in the world, if we regard the term as derived from the word religare, “to bind” together, as it made all men belonging to it “brothers” — regardless of race and faith. Whether with the enormous wealth at its command it could not do far more than it does now, is no business of ours. We see no visible, crying evil from this institution, and no one yet, save the Roman Church, has ever been found to show that it did any harm. Can Church Christianity say as much? Let ecclesiastical and profane history answer the question. For one, it has divided the whole mankind into Cains and Abels; it has slaughtered millions in the name of her God — the Lord of Hosts, truly, the ferocious Jehovah Sabbaoth — and instead of giving an impetus to civilization, the favorite boast of her followers — it has retarded it during the long and weary Mediæval ages. It is only under the relentless assaults of science and the revolt of men trying to free themselves, that it began to lose ground and could no longer arrest enlightenment. Yet has it not softened, as claimed, the “barbarous spirit of Heathendom”? We say no, most emphatically. It is Churchianity with its odium theologicum, since it could no longer repress human progress, which infused its lethal spirit of intolerance, its ferocious selfishness, greediness, and cruelty into modern civilization under the mask of cant and meek Christianity. When were the Pagan Cæsars more bloodthirsty or more coolly cruel than are the modern Potentates and their armies? When did the millions of the Proletariat starve as they do now? When has mankind shed more tears and suffered than at present?” (Helena Blavatsky, The Roots of Ritualism, LUCIFER, Vol. 4, pg. 37)