Pope Francis: ‘Masonic Lobbies … This Is The Most Serious Problem for Me’

Michael W. Chapman | August 2, 2013 | 6:06pm EDT
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Pope Francis speaks with reporters on his return flight to Rome, July 28, 2013. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – In his recent comments about homosexual clergy, Pope Francis said the problem was not a gay person of good will seeking God but a “gay lobby” pushing an agenda, adding that a political lobby or a Masonic lobby constituted “the most serious problem” for him.

On his July 28 flight from Rio to Rome, Pope Francis spoke with reporters for 80 minutes. When asked about an apparent “gay lobby” of clergy at the Vatican, the Pope said, “In these situations, it's important to distinguish between a gay person and a gay lobby, because having a lobby is never good. If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Church explains this very beautifully. It outlines that gays should not be marginalized.”

Pope Francis then said, “The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for this question. Thank you very much!”

Having a homosexual orientation is not the problem if the person with that tendency is doing the morally right thing and seeking to follow God’s will in accordance with Church teachings, according to the Pope. The problem is with those who push or lobby for a pro-gay agenda in the same way that lobbies may press a political issue or when Freemasons lobby their agenda.

The traditional symbol of Freemasonry, the Square and Compass.

Catholics are forbidden from joining Masonic organizations and, for those who do, they are subsequently in a “state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” As Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) explained in 1983, Masonic “principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden.”

The Catholic Church and numerous Popes have criticized Freemasonry since at least 1738. In his encyclical letter Humanum Genus in 1884, Pope Leo XIII said, “As Our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the Masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them.”

In 1917, the Code of Canon Law, the law of the Church, Section 2335, said, “Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur ipso facto an excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.”

When the Code of Canon Law was updated in 1983, Section 1374, in place of the older 2335, said, “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.”

Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) in November 1981. (AP)

Because the word “Masonic” had been dropped in the 1983 code there was some confusion about whether the canon law still applied to such groups. In response, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations.

Issued on Nov. 26, 1983, it states, “Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association 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 enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.”

The Declaration further says, “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.”

At the time, Card. Ratzinger served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II.

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