Catholicism and Freemasonry: Why are the two incompatible?

“There is quite a lot written by our Holy Church regarding Freemasonry… So that you understand where the Holy Catholic Church is coming from in condemning Masonry, a general statement is in order. The Catholic Church exists to assist Jesus in saving our souls and getting us to heaven. Holy Church does not make a habit of condemning people or organizations. Holy Church will only admonish a person or an organization that is involved in mortal sin for the purpose of helping the individual(s) involved to repent and convert.”

"Therefore the Church’s negative judgement in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principals have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion."[1]
[1] Declaration on Masonic Associations, (11/26/1983), Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI
(Quoted from report prepared on August 2, 2005 by Ronald Smith, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, e-mail:

The Catholic Church has a clear teaching that "Catholics cannot be Freemasons". 12 popes through 23 documents have banned Freemasonry. I have listed them all at the end of this article. The Code of Canon Law continues to hold that Catholics cannot associate with this organization. I even checked with the present Vicar General of our Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore, Rev. Fr. Dr. S. J. Antonyswamy and he confirmed the same: joining Freemasonry puts a soul in grave risk and is not allowed for Catholics. There was some confusion among Catholics whether the Church had changed its stand when the New Canon Law was promulgated in 1983. That’s why, in the very same year, the Holy Church issued a declaration (cited above), clarifying that the Church continues to ban Catholics from enrolling in Freemasonry.
The paragraphs below give explanations in greater detail.

The Roman Catholic Church presently operates under the new Code of Canon Law which was promulgated in 1983. This new Code revised Canon 2335 of the 1917 Code, and incorporated it into the new Canon 1734, which reads as follows:
"One who joins an association which plots against the church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or moderates such an association, however, is to be punished with an interdict." As can be seen, no longer does the Canon impose excommunication on Catholic Masons, or even mention Masons directly.
One interesting feature of the 1983 Code is that it appears to differentiate between simple lodge membership, the punishment for which is a "just penalty", and promoting or holding office in such a society, the punishment for which is an "interdict". An "interdict" is a punishment or vindictive penalty by which the Roman Catholic faithful, remaining in communion with the church, are forbidden certain sacraments and are prohibited from participation in certain sacred acts. It is a censure. Those bound by a personal interdict are forbidden to celebrate or assist at divine services, and are denied ecclesiastical burial. It appears, therefore, that where Masonic groups are determined to have plotted against the church, Catholic officers of those lodges will be subject to a stiffer penalty than will regular members who are Catholic.

As a consequence of the new Code of Canon Law and Cardinal Franjo Seper’s, then prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1974 letter, the church was faced with answering the question “since the new Code does not prescribe a punishment for belonging to a Masonic organization, does that mean that the church approves of such membership as long as no plotting against the Roman Catholic Church occurs?” In other words, has there been a rapprochement between Masonry and Roman Catholicism? Numerous persons have, since the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, set out to answer that question. The question has been answered conclusively in the negative.

On 26 November 1983, the same year that the church adopted the new Canon of Church Law, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement declaring that "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...Catholics enrolled in masonic associations are involved in serious sin and may not approach holy communion."

Sadly, many Catholics are deceived into believing that Freemasonry is okay and are members of the organization.
Now, members of the Catholic Societies can become aware of the incompatibility of Freemasonry with Catholicism and the mortal danger to those souls who associate with Freemasonry.

Based on my research on the topic, here are the reasons why our Holy Mother Church so wisely and strongly refuses to condone membership of the Freemasonic Society for Catholics. 

1) Freemasonry requires its members to believe in Indifferentism which holds that all religions are the same and all lead to God. This is against the Catholic belief and teaching that Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. If one calls oneself Catholic, then one has to live and demonstrate this belief through one's life. Association with Freemasonry indicates that one doesn't believe in the dogmatic truths of Catholic faith.
In its effort to bring together people of different provenances, Masonry requires that its members adhere to a minimal belief in a supreme architect of the universe and leave aside all other pretensions of truth, even revealed truth.
It is thus basically a relativistic doctrine,
 and no Catholic, nor indeed any convinced Christian, may ever adhere to a group that would require him, even as a mere intellectual exercise, to renounce the affirmation of such truths as Christ's divinity and the Trinitarian nature of God.
Of course, for many people active in Masonic lodges, the conversations and activities are more social in nature and rarely veer toward the realm of philosophical speculation. A Catholic, however, cannot ignore the fundamental principles behind an organization, no matter how innocuous its activities appear to be.  
"If the candidate for Masonry is not required to abjure his religion, this is not done out of reverence for religion, but to teach the great modern error that religion is a matter of indifference and that all religions are alike. Naturalism denies the existence of God, the spirituality and immortality of the human soul, truths which may be learned by the light of reason alone. Following this error, Masonry allows its votaries to accept the existence of God or to reject it. The Supreme Architect of the universe, the Masonic term for God, may mean anything or nothing. With this basic truth of God’s existence weakened, all other truths that human reason can arrive at soon disappear; namely that God created all things, that His Providence rules the universe, that the soul does not die but is destined for an eternal life. With the vanishing of these truths, private and public morality disappear. For they are the foundation on which all morality rests. Remove God from human life and there is no motive for right living, no meaning to justice or injustice."[2]
[2] Humanum Genus – Encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII on Freemasonry, (04/20/1884), Tan Books & Publishers, Rockford, ILL., printed 1978, page 26

2) Freemasonry requires its members to believe in Naturalism i.e. God is only as much as we can perceive through our intellect and 5 senses. This is against the Catholic belief of super naturalism and mystery. Masons are of the belief that a person’s belief in God and obedience to Him is a 'personal option'; you can choose to believe or not believe. Hence the conflict that separates Masons from being Christians. 
"Masonry is founded on Naturalism. That means that human nature and human reason are supreme, and that there are no truths revealed by God that men are bound to believe. The Naturalist denies the authority of the Catholic Church as God’s Voice upon earth and against that Church the hatred of Naturalism is chiefly claimed. Following the tenets of Naturalism, Masonry advocates the complete exclusion of the Church from any civic influence, banns all cooperation between Church and State, and relegates religion and the Church to the realm of private and personal life."[3]
[3] Humanum Genus – Encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII on Freemasonry, (04/20/1884), Tan Books & Publishers, Rockford, ILL., printed 1978, page 25

3) Freemasonry is illogical. Catholicism and other religions have several contradictory beliefs. For example, Hinduism believes that we bear the consequences of our sin. Catholicism teaches that Jesus already bore the consequences of our sins. But, during the Freemasonic initiation rite, believers of the two religions are told that both their beliefs are right. Can you imagine the hypocrisy? Logically speaking, if A and B are contradictory statements, then there are only 3 possibilities:
a) A is right and B is wrong b) B is right and A is wrong c) Both A and B are wrong. Freemasonry is actually founded on an illogical idea that both A and B are right. This incidentally mocks their very own supposed principle of "reasoned" belief. Logic indicates that the basis of Freemasonry is absurd.

4) Freemasonry is deceptive. Beginning with its basic principle that all religious beliefs are "correct" right down to the secrecy it strives to keep up, Freemasonry operates on deception in the guise of charity and brotherhood (researchers found less than 2% of earnings are used for charity). It inducts new members without exposing them to the full truth about it. Prospective members are approached under the guise of professional networking and boys’ club.

But right from the initiation rite (where the new initiate takes the “oath” stripped down to his underwear, removing all religious sacramental symbols such a rosary, crucifix, wedding ring, scapular, blind-folded and with a noose tied around his neck), Freemasonry is actually attempting to replace the religious beliefs of its members under the guise of "enlightenment". A new initiate is actually asked “do you wish to enter the light (of freemasonic truth)”, as if Christ is not the true light of the world.

5) Freemasonry is a religion. Although publicly using a facade of charity/networking/boys’ club, Freemasonry has several religious elements. It has a "Masonic Bible", priests, vestments, sacrificial altar, feast days and several rites. Freemasonry is attempting to create a universal religion where the Yahweh of Christians is likened to Brahma, Allah and even the satanic idol Baal.
6) Church scholars and researchers and, in fact, former-Freemasons who reverted to Catholicism have studied Freemasonic documents and found that Freemasonry is working with a secret agenda to destroy the Catholic Church and establish a new world order. Freemasonry attempts to infiltrate the highest structures and offices in society and politics so as to sublimely mould social thinking towards Freemasonic ideologies. 9 signatories of the Declaration of Independence of USA were Freemasons. From then, till now, Freemason Presidents (Henry Truman, Bill Clinton etc.), Supreme Court judges, industrialists (Henry Ford, Rockefeller etc.), lobbying agencies (Council for Foreign Relations aka CFR) have successfully separated God from state. And now they are attempting to remove God altogether from the lives of people.

7) Freemasonry advocates exclusivity and secrecy. It’s not an open organization. Generally professionally successful and potentially influential persons are approached for membership. Also, it requires unilateral "yes" vote from all 12 members of the voting council for a prospective-member to be granted membership. A single black ball (which indicates No) can stop membership. Some members are even proud of this vainglory. Contrast this with Christ and His Church. He (Our Lord) has the power and style to call the unqualified and qualify them.

Below is the link to other articles and videos by advocate John Salza, who was a former 33rd degree Freemason, who converted to Catholicism:
You can also check out this video which clearly explains the history, agenda and dangers of Freemasonry.
Search for “FBI Freemasonry” on You-tube. Hit the first link that pops up.

If you are a Catholic who is a member of the Freemasons, the church pleads with you to immediately offer your resignation at the Lodge and go for a good confession. If you have a spouse, parent, child, family or friend who is a Masonic member, please pray for their conversion. Here is a sample prayer:
Also, the intercession of our Lady through the Holy Rosary, is a powerful instrument for grace, reconciliation and the stripping of all deception.
"For hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, and tens of millions of Protestants, the choice is clear. They may follow the admonition of their churches and avoid the lodge, or they may join the Masonic lodge and thereby reject the spiritual direction of their Pope, bishops, or church leaders. If they follow the latter path, the churches recognize their divided allegiance by various penalties ranging from a reprimand to denial of full participation in the church to expulsion."[4]
[4] Christianity and American Freemasonry, ISBN: 0-87973-484-1, (1987), William J. Whalen, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN., P. 167

If any of the readers have dissenting argument/facts, kindly do write back. If one does not believe/trust in the One Holy Catholic Church then none of this can make sense. The church consists of weak, bumbling human beings like you and I who often misunderstand, make mistakes and paint a wrong picture of Church teachings. Remember that in spite of bad popes, bishops, priests and nuns, the actual teachings and doctrines of the Church were never altered. That’s because God protects His Church from error. If you need to know more about the truth of the Catholic teachings and doctrines you can look up the official Vatican website first hand. Don’t take anyone’s word for it but find it yourself. It’s all online.

You may know several "Catholic" lay church leaders and even priests and bishops themselves who are Freemasonic members in spite of the Church's clear stand against Freemasonry. They willfully choose to break God's command through His Church and so help them God, but that doesn't mean the Church's teaching is not correct or changed.
Finally, the Church doesn't have any secret service or police to stop wrongdoing. The church consists not just of Pope, Bishop, priests and nuns but also lay people like you and me. We are called to be true to Her teachings and uphold them. It takes a lot of courage and sacrifice to defend one's faith and stay true to them. But our reward lies in the joy and peace as well as salvation which only Christ can give. As individuals and a society, let’s have the courage to take the right and necessary actions to safeguard our souls and also that of our generations to come.

Declarations of the Church against Freemasonry:
February 23, 1985  

November 26, 1983

April 20, 1884
Humanum Genus, Leo XIII
The encyclical Humanum Genus is considered to contain one of the most vicious attacks on Freemasonry of any papal pronouncements. It states that "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor a bad tree produce good fruit...the Masonic sect produces fruits that are pernicious and of the bitterest savor." It goes on to say that Freemasonry's goal is the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church, and that Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church are adversaries. Pope Leo further stated that many Freemasons are unaware of the ultimate goals of Freemasonry and should not be considered partners in the criminal acts perpetrated by Freemasonry. He also condemns the naturalism of Freemasonry, by which is meant the belief that "human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide...they allow no dogma of religion or truth which cannot be understood by the human intelligence, nor any teacher who ought to be believed by reason of his authority." It is interesting to note that Albert Pike (a leading Freemason) stated that this encyclical was a "...declaration of war, and the signal for a crusade, against the rights of man...."

April 28, 1738
In Eminenti, Clement XII  
This constitution was the first public written attack by the papacy against Masonry. In In Eminenti the principal objections to Freemasonry given were: that it was open to men of all religions; that there were oaths taken; that Masons denied clerical authority, and that Masons met in secret.
Pope Clement forbade Masonic membership by Catholics and directed the "Inquisitors of Heretical Depravity" to take action against Catholics who became Masons or assisted Freemasonry in any way. He ordered excommunication as punishment for those who defied his ban.

May 18, 1751
Providas, Benedict XIV
This constitution confirmed In Eminenti and condemned Freemasonry on the grounds of its naturalism, demand for oaths, secrecy, religious indifferentism, possible threat to the church and state. It specifically forbids Roman Catholics from seeking membership in any Masonic group.

September 13, 1821
Ecclesiam A Jesu Christo, Pius VII
The constitution Ecclesiam specifies excommunication for Freemasons and gives as reason for the censure the oath bound secrecy of the society and their conspiracies against the church and state. It also links Freemasonry with the Society of the Carbonari, known as the "Charcoal Burners", who at that time were active in Italy and were believed to be a revolutionary group.

March 13, 1825
Quo Gravioria Mala, Leo XII
This constitution restated the Roman Catholic Church's objection to Freemasonry as a secret society, with oath-bound secrecy, which conspires against church and state.

May 24, 1829
Traditi Humilitati, Pius VIII
This encyclical is considered by some Roman Catholic authorities to be an anti-Masonic polemic.
It warned against a secret society whose "cunning purpose is to...lead the students along the path of Baal." It called for Catholics to "...eradicate those secret societies of factious men who, completely opposed to God and to princes, are wholly dedicated to bringing about the fall of the Church, the destruction of kingdoms, and disorder in the whole world." It also makes reference to the anti-Masonic pronouncements of previous popes.

March 25, 1830
Litteris Altero, Pius VIII
This apostolic letter reiterated earlier papal condemnations of Freemasonry. It specifically condemns the influence of Freemasonry in education.

August 15, 1832
Mirari Vos, Gregory XVI
This was an encyclical on liberalism and religious indifferentism. Religious indifferentism is defined as "... the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained." This encyclical does not mention Masonry, but religious indifferentism is one of the charges often leveled against Freemasonry in papal pronouncements.
Some Roman Catholic authorities identify this pronouncement as anti-Masonic.                                      

November 9, 1846
Qui Pluribus, Pius IX
This encyclical calls for Roman Catholics to fight against heresy. It decries those who put human reason above faith, and who believe in human progress. Strangely, it also attacks secret "sects" and "crafty" Bible societies who "force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible." This encyclical also calls "perverse" religious indifferentism. While not mentioning Masonry directly, it criticizes those it does not identify for those same faults that the previous papal pronouncements imputed to Freemasonry, and is regarded as an anti-Masonic pronouncement by some Catholic sources.

April 20, 1849
Quibus Quantisque Malis
This pronouncement is referred to by some authorities as anti-Masonic, but is unavailable in English translation.

December 8, 1864
Quanta Cura, Pius IX
This is an Encyclical condemning "current errors", including naturalism. It calls liberty of conscience and worship the "liberty of perdition". It attacks communism and socialism directly, but does not mention Freemasonry. Quanta Cura is referred to by some authorities as an encyclical dealing with Freemasonry.
An attack on naturalism is usually understood to be an attack on Freemasonry.

September 25, 1865
Multiplices Inter, Pius IX
This is an address made by Pope Pius IX condemning Freemasonry and other secret societies. In it, he accuses Masonic associations of conspiracy against the church, God and civil society. He further attributes revolutions and uprisings to Masonic activities, and denounces secret oaths, clandestine meetings and Masonic penalties.

October 12, 1869
Apostolicae Sedis Moderatoni
This is a constitution relating to Canon Law. It clarifies the procedure regarding censure in Canon Law, changes some Canons and establishes a new list of censures.
Some authorities state the document relates to Freemasonry, but it is unavailable in English translation.

November 21, 1873
Etsi Multa, Pius IX
In the encyclical Etsi Multa, Pope Pius condemned Masonry by stating that Masonic groups were among the "sects" from which "...the synagogue of Satan is formed..."

February 15, 1882
Etsi Nos, Leo XIII
This papal encyclical speaks about the conditions then prevalent in Italy and refers to a "pernicious sect" at war with Jesus Christ, which sect he blames for civil unrest in Italy.
Some Roman Catholic authorities identify this as a reference to Freemasonry.

December 22, 1887
Officio Sanctissimo, Leo XIII
This is an encyclical epistle concerning Bavaria and includes a warning against Freemasonry. It states that Freemasonry is a "contagion", and is a "sect of darkness".

October 15, 1890
Dall'Alto Dell'Apostolico Seggio, Leo XIII
This encyclical, also known as Ab Apostolici, dealt with Freemasonry in Italy. It condemned the contemporary course of public affairs in Italy as the realization of the "Masonic programme". This alleged "programme" was said to involve a "deadly hatred of the Church", the abolition of religious instruction in schools and the absolute independence of civil society from clerical influence.                                                                             

December 18, 1892
Inimica Vis, Leo XIII
This encyclical epistle to the bishops of Italy addresses Freemasonry in Italy. It reiterates the urgent necessity of combating the ends of Freemasonry, and entreats the bishops to work to convert victims of Freemasonry. It complains that some Roman Catholic clergy are entering into or cooperating with Freemasonry.

December 18, 1892
Custodi di Qualla Fede, Leo XIII
This is an encyclical epistle to the people of Italy attacking Freemasonry. It tells how to work against Freemasonry in ways such as guarding Catholic homes against infiltration, setting up Catholic schools and mutual aid societies, and establishing a Catholic press. It contains virulent criticism of Freemasonry.

June 20, 1894
Praeclara, Leo XIII
Praeclara is an apostolic letter to the rulers and nations of the world which calls for union with the Church of Rome, and which warns against Freemasonry.

March 18, 1902
Annum Ingressi, Leo XIII
Annum Ingressi is an apostolic epistle to the bishops of the world reviewing the 25 years of his pontificate. It also urges resistance to Freemasonry.