Part 4: Freemasonry, Order of Illuminati, and other Secret Societies condemned by the Roman Catholic Church
- Freemasonry, Order of Illuminati, and other Secret Societies condemned by the Roman Catholic Church
- Secret Societies condemned by the Catholic Church
- Freemasonry Condemned by the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts
- Return to Part 1: History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry
- Return to Part 2: Origin of Freemasonry
- Return to Part 3: Origin of the Order of Illuminati
- Go to Part 5: Documents Show Freemasons and Illuminati as Igniators of Wars and Revolutions
- Go to Part 6: Freemasons and Illuminati Set up Apparatus for the Establishment of the One-World Government
Freemasonry, Order of Illuminati, and other Secret Societies condemned by the Roman Catholic Church
1. Secret Societies condemned by The Catholic Church
Reactions by the Catholic Church were swift following the revival of the ancient Masonry in the new Freemasonry in England in 1717.
- On April 28, 1738, Pope Clement XII in his Pontifical Constitution "In Eminenti" condemned Freemasonry as being Counter-Church and Counter-State. Thus said Pope Clement XII:
- "Let us meditate upon the serious evils which are usually the result of those kinds of Societies or centers, not only concerning the peace of temporal States, but still more as regards the salvation of souls. Those Societies are not in agreement with the civil and economic laws of the States.
- "In order to close the widely open road to iniquities; which might be committed with impunity and also for other reasons, just and reasonable, that have come to our knowledge . . . We have resolved and decreed to condemn and forbid such Societies, assemblies, reunions, aggregations or meetings called either Freemasonic or known under some other denomination. WE CONDEMN AND FORBID THEM BY THIS, OUR PRESENT CONSTITUTION, WHICH IS TO BE CONSIDERED VALID FOR EVER."
- Pope Clement XII also extended the penalty of excommunication to any of the faithful who joined Masonry:
- "WE COMMAND TO THE FAITHFUL TO ABSTAIN FROM INTERCOURSE WITH THOSE SOCIETIES . . . IN ORDER TO AVOID EXCOMMUNICATION, WHICH WILL BE THE PENALTY IMPOSED UPON ALL THOSE CONTRAVENING TO THIS, OUR ORDER. NONE, EXCEPT AT THE POINT OF DEATH, COULD BE ABSOLVED OF THIS SIN EXCEPT BY US OR THE THEN EXISTING ROMAN PONTIFF."
- Pope Benedict XIV in 1751 affirmed in his Pontifical Constitution "Providas" that the condemnation of Freemasonry was IRREVOCABLE and was to be applied to the FUTURE as well as to the PRESENT."
- Pope Pius VII in his Encyclical "Ecclesiam a Jesu-Cristo" in 1821 reiterated against the Freemasons the condemnations pronounced by Clement XII and Benedict XIV.
- Pope Leo XII published his Encyclical "Quo Graviora" on March 13, 1825 condemning the society called Freemasonry, as well as all other Secret Societies.
- Pope Pius VIII in his Encyclical "Traditi", published at the time of his advent on May 21, 1829 renewed all the condemnations of his predecessors, repeating that all Masonic Sects are issued from the "WELL OF PERDITION."
- Pope Pius IX renewed the condemnation in the following terms:
- We hereby confirm before you the Constitutions of Our Predecessors and in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority we hold up to reprobation and We condemn this Masonic Society and ALL OTHER SOCIETIES of the SAME ORDER which, although different in appearance, but pursuing the same aim against the Church or legitimate Civil Power are constantly being formed. It is Our order that all Christians of any standing whatsoever, of any rank or high appointment and OVER ALL THE EARTH should be informed that the said Societies are forbidden and reproved by US, and incur the same sentences and condemnations as those that are specified in the former CONSTITUTIONS of our Predecessors."
- Pope Leo XIII published his magnificent Encyclical "Humanum Genus" on April 20, 1884. He writes:
- "Today evil doers all seem allied in a tremendous effort inspired by and with the help of a society powerfully organized and widely spread over the world, it is the Society of Freemasons. In fact those people no longer even try to dissimulate their intentions, but they actually challenge each other's audacity in order to assail God's August Majesty.
- "It is now publicly and overtly that they undertake to ruin the Holy Church, so as to succeed, if it is possible, in the complete dispossession of Christian nations of all the gifts they owe to Our Savior Jesus Christ.
- "As a result, in the space of a century and a half, the sect of the Freemasons has made incredible progress. Making use at the same time of audacity and cunning, Masonry has invaded all the ranks of social hierarchy, and in the modern States it has begun to seize a power which is almost equivalent to Sovereignty.
- "This peril was denounced for the first time by Pope Clement XII in 1738, and the Constitution promulgated by that Pope was renewed and confirmed by Benedict XIV; Pius VII followed in the footsteps of those Pontiffs, and Pope Leo XII including in his Apostolical Constitution 'Quo Graviora' all the deeds and decrees of the preceding Popes on that subject, RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED THEM FOR EVER. Popes Pius VIII, Gregory XVI and on several occasions Pope Pius IX spoke in the same manner."
- Pope Pius X (1903-1914), Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922), and Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) continued affirming the condemnation of Masonry. Pope Pius XII made one specific reference to Freemasonry and Illuminism in his address to the Seventh Week Pastoral Adaptation Conference on May 23, 1958. He said, "the roots of modern apostasy lay in scientific atheism, dialectical materialism, rationalism, Illuminism, laicism, and Freemasonry -- which is the mother of them all . . . " (Quoted in Paul A. Fisher , Their God is the Devil, American Research Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland, p. 53.)
- The successors of Pius XII approved the Code of Canon Law of 1917 which explicitly condemned the Masons: "All those who enroll their names in the sect of Freemasons or similar associations which plot against the Church or the legitimate civil authorities incur by this very fact the penalty of excommunication, absolution from which is reserved simply to the Holy See." (Canon 2335).
- The revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 stipulates: "One who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or moderates such an association, however, is to be punished with an interdict." (Canon 1374).
- Pope John Paul II promulgated the 1983 Code of Canon Law on January 25, 1983. On November 26, 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied to an inquiry whether the Church's position regarding Masonic organizations has been altered, especially since no explicit mention is made of them in the New Code of Canon Law , as there was in the Old Code . The Congregation stated that organizations were omitted in the New Code due to a different criterion adopted in drafting the code. They were included in broader categories. [See Canon 1374.] The Congregation did not, however, specify the categories it had in mind (it might have been thinking of such canons as Canon 1364), but it insisted that the Church is still opposed to Masonic associations, since their principles are irreconcilable with the Church's doctrine and that it would be seriously wrong to join them.
- [Note: Canon 1364 of 1983 Code states:
- §1. With due regard for canon 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication and if a cleric, he can also be punished by the penalties mentioned in canon 1336, §1. nn. 1, 2 and 3.
- §2. If long lasting contumacy or the seriousness of scandal warrants it, other penalties can be added including dismissal from the clerical state.]
2. Freemasonry Condemned by the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts
- Paul A. Fisher  reports in his book Their God is the Devil that between 1829 and 1836 the legislatures of the States of New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts investigated Freemasonry and found it to be "a moral evil -- a distinct independent government within our own government, and beyond the control of the laws of the land by means of its secrecy, and the oaths and regulations which its subjects are bound to obey, under penalties of death" (p. 18.)