Declaration On Masonic Associations

Issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on November 26, 1983.

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 in as much 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 on February 17, 1981 (cf. AAS 73 [1981] pp. 240-241).

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, November 26, 1983.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect

Jerome Hamer, OP, Titular Archbishop of Loria, Secretary


For Further Study

Freemasons (Free)
Books - Christianity and American Freemasonry by William J Whalen and Why Catholics Cannot be Masons by John Salza


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