The Vatican solidified its stance against Freemasonry, reaffirming the ban on Catholics joining the centuries-old secretive society. The Catholic Church, historically hostile towards Freemasonry, highlighted the irreconcilable differences between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry, declaring it prohibited for faithful Catholics to be active members.
“Incompatibility between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry prohibits active membership by the faithful,” stated the Vatican’s doctrinal office in a letter published by Vatican media on Wednesday, a viewpoint endorsed by Pope Francis himself.
This declaration was prompted by a concerned bishop from the Philippines, alarmed by the rising number of Freemasons in his country. It aligns with a previous stance by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which recently permitted transgender individuals to partake in certain Catholic sacraments.
The Vatican referenced a 1983 declaration signed by the late Pope Benedict XVI, condemning Catholics involved in Masonic associations as being in a state of grave sin, thereby restricting them from receiving Holy Communion.
Freemasonry, typically restricted to male-only lodges, is associated with enigmatic symbols and rituals, occasionally linked to conspiracy theories suggesting undue influence in global affairs.
While the United Grand Lodge of England portrays modern Freemasonry as one of the world’s oldest social and charitable organisations, rooted in mediaeval stonemason traditions, it counts approximately 180,000 male members. Additionally, it acknowledges the presence of two parallel female lodges in England with another 5,000 members. Globally, Freemasonry is estimated to encompass around six million individuals.
The organisation lists several historical figures among its famous members, including Prince Philip, Winston Churchill, Peter Sellers, Alf Ramsey, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan Doyle.