by Bro. Will Read

* Part of a paper published by:
Volume 104 for the Year 1991
The volume is available at:
The Secretary, Q.C.C.C. Ltd., 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5BA UK

Bearing in mind all the documents and statements to which one has referred, and more particularly the absence of mention of Freemasonry in the 1983 codification of canon law, it would appear that the present position regarding a Catholic and membership of the Craft can be set out thus:

  1. The Catholic Church now recognizes that there are two distinct divisions within Freemasonry:

  2. Regular - those jurisdictions which require from their members a belief in a Supreme Being and which are not inimical to the Church of Rome or to civil authority.
    Irregular - those jurisdictions which require no profession of faith from their candidates, and which may also be anti-Christian or anti-civil authority, or both.
    It also recognizes that Freemasonry under the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland is in the regular category.
  3. A Catholic may join regular Freemasonry but ought to consult his Bishop, through his parish priest, not for permission to join but to ascertain the nature of the jurisdiction concerned.

  4. A Catholic hitherto has been, or now is, a member of a regular lodge, need no longer consider himself as excommunicate and therefore has no need of absolution.

  5. A Catholic who has in the past abandoned his faith to become a regular freemason is urged to seek reconciliation with his Church.

  6. Nowhere, seemingly, has it been stated that a Catholic who has been, is or may become a regular freemason is required to reveal in the confessional either his membership or what occurs in a freemasonic lodge ( on the grounds, presumably, that as a regular mason his membership is not sinful and therefore calls for neither confession nor absolution ).

  7. Clerics, those bound by monastic vows and members of secular institutions are still precluded from entering Freemasonry.

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