Vatican Reaffirms Ban on Catholic Participation in Freemasonry
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The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by Prefect Cardinal Victor Fernandez and approved by Pope Francis, has issued a reaffirmation that Catholics are strictly prohibited from joining Freemasonry. This statement comes in response to a query from Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete in the Philippines, who expressed concerns about the increasing number of Freemasonry members in his diocese.
Image credit: Jim Robinson
The dicastery's response emphasizes the need for a coordinated strategy among the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines to address this situation both doctrinally and pastorally. On the doctrinal level, the dicastery restates that active membership in Freemasonry is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, citing the 1983 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Masonic Associations and guidelines published by the Bishops' Conference in 2003. The declaration specifies that individuals knowingly affiliated with Masonic lodges and embracing Masonic principles are in violation of Catholic doctrine, including clerics enrolled in Freemasonry.
On the pastoral front, the dicastery proposes a popular catechesis in all parishes in the Philippines to educate the faithful about the irreconcilability between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry. Additionally, it suggests that the bishops consider making a public pronouncement on this topic to reinforce the Church's stance.
The 1983 declaration, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Jerome Hamer, and approved by Pope John Paul II, marked a significant moment in Catholic doctrine regarding Freemasonry. Published just before the implementation of the new Code of Canon Law, it clarified that Catholics affiliated with Masonic lodges are considered to be "in a state of grave sin," reaffirming the Church's position on the matter.
As the Vatican takes a firm stance against Catholic participation in Freemasonry, the Philippine bishops are urged to implement a comprehensive strategy that addresses both the doctrinal and pastoral aspects of this issue, reflecting the ongoing commitment to uphold Catholic principles.
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