The Vatican has confirmed the ban on Roman Catholics from membership in Masonic lodges. The statement comes in response to a question from the Philippine Roman Catholic bishop, who is seeking advice on how to deal with the increasing number of his parishioners who are members of Masonic lodges.
In its November 13 response, the Vatican responded that Roman Catholic Christians, lay and clerical, are prohibited from membership in Masonic lodges. It refers to the last official ruling from 1983, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (and finally Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013), which said that Roman Catholic Freemasons were “in a state of grave sin” and therefore not may receive communion. The reason is that the principles of Freemasonry are “inconsistent with church teaching” and their “practices and rituals”.
In the Philippines Freemasonry among Roman Catholic Christians is becoming fashionable. Christian Masons assist the priests in administering communion, and several high-ranking members of the local synod are also members of a Masonic lodge.
The Vatican advises Philippine bishops to “carry out a catechesis accessible to the population on the causes of incompatibility between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry” in all parishes. They should also consider a public statement on the matter, said the letter, signed by Prefect of the Faith Victor Fernandez and countersigned by Pope Francis.