There freemason, as we know it today, has its origins in the early 18th century, although its roots and symbolic traditions claim a heritage that goes back to the masons’ guilds of the Middle Ages. These historical references are essentially allegorical, which illustrates the Masonic principles of brotherhood, skill and construction, both literal and metaphorical. Over time, Freemasonry became a fraternal organization with different rituals and symbols, which influenced various social and cultural aspects.
In the contemporary context, Freemasonry is recognized as a global network that defends values such as solidarity, philanthropy and the search for truth. It manifests itself in different ways around the world, provoking a variety of responses and interpretations, ranging from respect for its community involvement to suspicion about its secret activities.
The Church says neither
Despite its influence and reach, Freemasonry has long been in conflict with the Catholic Church. Recently, the vatican reiterated this historic position of disagreement. According to Vatican News, in a response approved by the Pope Francis and signed by the prefect Victor Fernandez of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, it has been stated that adherence to Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic faith. This statement follows a request from Bishop Julito Cortes in the Philippines, who expressed concern over the rise of Freemasonry in his diocese.
The Vatican’s response highlights the irreconciliation between the principles of Freemasonry and Catholic doctrine. Remember that membership in freemasonry is formally forbidden to Catholics, a position established since the declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1983. This declaration, already approved by John Paul II and signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, indicated that Catholic members of Masonic lodges were in a state of grave sin.
In addition to the doctrinal clarification, the dicastery proposed a pastoral approach for the bishops of the Philippines. This strategy includes the development of popular catechesis in parishes to inform the faithful of the reasons for this incompatibility. Bishops are also encouraged to speak publicly on the issue, highlighting the importance of this issue for the Church in the region.
This reaffirmation by the Vatican is part of a long tradition of mistrust between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry. He recalls the decision taken when the new Code of Canon Law was introduced in 1983, which, despite omitting the explicit excommunication of Freemasons, did not diminish the Church’s strict position regarding Freemasons. This recent development confirms the continuity of the Catholic Church in its firm and uncompromising position vis-à-vis Freemasonry, a position that continues to be the subject of debate and reflection in religious and Masonic circles.