The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has reiterated the long-standing prohibition against Catholics joining Masonic lodges in response to a query from a Filipino prelate.
Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete in the Philippines had expressed concern about the growing number of Freemasonry members in his diocese and sought guidance on addressing the issue pastorally, taking into account doctrinal implications.
In a letter signed by the prefect, Cardinal Victor Fernandéz, the dicastery emphasized the need for coordinated action among the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, indicating a two-fold approach.
On a doctrinal level, it underscored the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry, referencing the 1983 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Masonic Associations and the 2003 Guidelines published by the Bishops’ Conference.
“Active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is prohibited because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry,” said the dicastery.
“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,” it added.
The dicastery recommended a pastoral response, proposing that the Philippine bishops conduct a widespread catechesis in all parishes on the reasons for the irreconcilability between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry.
The bishops were urged to consider making a public pronouncement on this issue.
The 1983 Declaration, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and approved by Pope John Paul II, declared that Catholics affiliated with Masonic lodges are “in a state of grave sin”.
This reaffirmation comes amid the ongoing efforts of the Catholic Church to address challenges posed by various ideological and philosophical movements. – with reports from Vatican News