[Square & Compasses]

Relations with the Roman Catholic Church

English Translation of a Latin Document ("Quaesitum est")

[Received from the Masonic Service Association of N.A. "The MIC receives many inquiries as to the relationship between Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church. The following statement was published in the Vatican Bulletin and remains in effect at the present time."]

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Declaration on Masonic Associations

It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church's decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous code.

This sacred congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.

Therefore, the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles 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.

It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the declaration of this sacred congregation issued Feb. 17,1981. (cf. AAS 73 (1981) pp. 240-241) [MSA Editor's note: Published in English language edition of L'Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981.]

In an audience granted to the undersigned cardinal prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this sacred congregation.

Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Nov. 26, 1983

Joseph (Cardinal) Ratzinger, Prefect
Father Jerome Hamer, O.P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium, Secretary

(This statement was prepared while Cardinal Razinger was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and prior to his elevation as the new Pope. However the statement does remain in effect and represents the official position of the Roman Catholic Church toward Freemasonry.)


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