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Leo XIII Describes & Condemns Freemasonry

Given the new general approach of the Conciliar Church toward Freemasonry since Vatican II, and especially the abolition of the automatic excommunication of those who join it or similar anti-Catholic secret societies, there are strange notions being wrongly spread about the real aim of these associations. To clarify what the Catholic position is on this topic, today we bring to our Readers excerpts from an important document by Pope Leo XIII. He spoke out strongly against those secret societies, pointing out their ultimate aim of Naturalism.
He was repeating the warnings of previous Popes – Clement XII in 1738, Benedict XIV in 1751, Pius VII in 1821, Leo XII in 1826, Pius VIII in 1829, Gregory XVI in 1832 and Pius IX in 1846 and 1865 and on four other occasions. After Leo XIII St. Pius X in 1911 confirmed this condemnation. Altogether, Leo XIII spoke out five different times against Freemasonry, but especially in the Encyclical Humanum genus. All these Popes say that a Catholic cannot be Mason.


’A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor a bad tree produce good fruit.’(Mt 7:18) Now, the Masonic sect produces fruits that are pernicious and of the bitterest savor. For, from what We have above most clearly shown, their ultimate purpose forces itself into view - namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which Catholic teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere Naturalism. (n.10) ...

What, therefore, the sect of the Freemasons is, and what course it pursues, appears sufficiently from the summary We have briefly given. Their chief dogmas are so greatly and manifestly at variance with reason that nothing can be more perverse. To wish to destroy the religion and the Church which God Himself has established and whose perpetuity He insures by His protection, and to bring back after a lapse of eighteen centuries the manners and customs of the pagans, is signal folly and audacious impiety. Neither is it less horrible nor more tolerable that they should repudiate the benefits which Jesus Christ so mercifully obtained, not only for individuals, but also for the family and for civil society, benefits which, even according to the judgment and testimony of enemies of Christianity, are very great.

In this insane and wicked endeavor we can see the implacable hatred and spirit of revenge with which Satan himself is inflamed against Jesus Christ. So also the studious endeavor of the Freemasons to destroy the chief foundations of justice and honesty and to co-operate with those who would wish, as if they were mere animals, to do what they please, tends only to the ignominious and disgraceful ruin of the human race." (n. 24)

Therefore, We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is; and by sermons and pastoral letters to instruct the people as to the artifices used by societies of this kind in seducing men and enticing them into their ranks, and as to the depravity of their opinions and the wickedness of their acts. ….

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. Let no one be deceived by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these men or in any way help them cannot be lawful. (n. 31) …

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