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Freemasonry / Secret Societies



Freemasonry / Secret Societies

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"[T]hat group called the Masonic sect, which, strong in manpower and resources, is the leader in a war against anything sacred." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"They wish to win over the clergy by cajolery; once the novelties have confused them, they will withdraw their obedience to legitimate authority." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"Can. 1374 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." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"We pray and beseech you, venerable brethren, to join your efforts with Ours, and earnestly to strive for the extirpation of this foul plague [of Freemasonry], which is creeping through the veins of the body politic." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"Can. 2335 Those giving their name to Masonic sects or other associations of this sort that machinate against he Church or legitimate civil powers contract by that fact excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[T]he Masonic sect, with all its boast of a spirit of beneficence and philanthropy, can only exercise an evil influence - an influence which is evil because it attacks and endeavors to destroy the religion of Christ, the true benefactress of mankind." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890)

"But, in fine, every secret stamped with the seal of Satan." (Fr. Delaporte)

"They believe that the Church does not possess the nature and essence of a true society, that the State has priority over it, and that civil authority takes precedence over sacred authority. This false and destructive doctrine has been frequently condemned by the Holy See." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"Women should not join philanthropic societies whose nature and purpose are not well-known without first seeking advice from wise and experienced people. That talkative philanthropy which is opposed to Christian charity with such pomp is often the passport for Masonic business." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"It is needless now to put the Masonic sects upon trial. They are already judged; their ends, their means, their doctrines, and their action, are all known with indisputable certainty. Possessed by the spirit of Satan, whose instrument they are, they burn like him with a deadly and implacable hatred of Jesus Christ and of His work; and they endeavor by every means to overthrow and fetter it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890)

"Indeed, fearing nothing and yielding to no one, the Masonic sect proceeds with greater boldness day by day: with its poisonous infection it pervades entire communities and strives to entangle itself in all the institutions of our country in its conspiracy to forcefully deprive the Italian people of their Catholic faith, the origin and source of their greatest blessings." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"Those who, by some supreme misfortune, have given their name to one of these societies of perdition should know that they are strictly bound to separate themselves from it. Otherwise they must remain separated from Christian communion and lose their soul now and for eternity. Parents, teachers, godparents, and whoever has care of others should also know that a rigorous duty binds them to keep their wards from this guilty sect or to draw them from it if they have already entered." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"That these doctrines are equally acceptable to the Freemasons, and that they would wish to constitute States according to this example and model, is too well known to require proof. For some time past they have openly endeavored to bring this about with all their strength and resources; and in this they prepare the way for not a few bolder men who are hurrying on even to worse things, in their endeavor to obtain equality and community of all goods by the destruction of every distinction of rank and property." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"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 to help them cannot be lawful." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"May this struggle between good and evil extend to everything, and may good prevail. Masonry holds frequent meetings to plan new ways to combat the Church, and you should hold them frequently to better agree on the means and order of defense. It multiplies its lodges, so that you should multiply Catholic clubs and parochial groups, promote charitable associations and prayer organizations, and maintain and increase the splendor of the temple of God. The sect, having nothing to fear, today shows its face to the light of day." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"By a long and persevering labor, [Freemasons] endeavor to bring about this result - namely, that the teaching office and authority of the Church may become of no account in the civil State; and for this same reason they declare to the people and contend that Church and State ought to be altogether disunited. By this means they reject from the laws and from the commonwealth the wholesome influence of the Catholic religion; and they consequently imagine that States ought to be constituted without any regard for the laws and precepts of the Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"Let Us then show you masonry as an enemy of God, Church, and country. Recognize it as such once and for all, and with all the weapons which reason, conscience, and faith put in your hands, defend yourselves from such a proud foe. Let no one be taken in by its attractive appearance or allured by its promises; do not be seduced by its enticements or frightened by its threats. Remember that Christianity and masonry are essentially irreconcilable, such that to join one is to divorce the other. You can no longer ignore such incompatibility between Catholic and mason, beloved children: you have been warned openly by Our predecessors, and We have loudly repeated the warning." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"What compounds this harmful situation, however, and causes Us deep anxiety is that far too many of our compatriots, driven by hope of their personal advantage or by perverse ambition, have given their names or support to the sect. This being so, We commend first and foremost to your efforts the eternal salvation of those whom we have just mentioned: may your zeal never waver in constantly and insistently recalling them from their error and certain destruction. To be sure, the task of extricating those who have fallen into the snares of the Masons is laborious, and its outcome is doubtful, if we consider the cleverness of the sect: still the recovery of no one should ever be despaired of since the force of apostolic charity is truly marvelous." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"In a matter of such importance and where the seduction is so easy in these times, it is urgent that the Christian watch himself from the beginning. He should fear the least danger, avoid every occasion, and take the greatest precautions. Use all the prudence of the serpent, while keeping in your heart the simplicity of the dove, according to the evangelical counsel. Fathers and mothers should be wary of inviting strangers into their homes or admitting them to domestic intimacy, at least insofar as their faith is not sufficiently known. They should try to first ascertain that an astute recruiter of the sect does not hide himself in the guise of a friend, teacher, doctor or other benefactor. Oh, in how many families has the wolf penetrated in sheep's clothing!" (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892)

"You already know well, venerable brothers, the other portentous errors and deceits by which the sons of this world try most bitterly to attack the Catholic religion and the divine authority of the Church and its laws. They would even trample underfoot the rights both of the sacred and of the civil power. For this is the goal of the lawless activities against this Roman See in which Christ placed the impregnable foundation of His Church. This is the goal of those secret sects who have come forth from the darkness to destroy and desolate both the sacred and the civil commonwealth. These have been condemned with repeated anathema in the Apostolic letters of the Roman Pontiffs who preceded Us We now confirm these with the fullness of Our Apostolic power and command that they be most carefully observed." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)

"[T]he sect of Freemasons grew with a rapidity beyond conception in the course of a century and a half, until it came to be able, by means of fraud or of audacity, to gain such entrance into every rank of the State as to seem to be almost its ruling power. This swift and formidable advance has brought upon the Church, upon the power of princes, upon the public well-being, precisely that grievous harm which Our predecessors had long before foreseen. Such a condition has been reached that henceforth there will be grave reason to fear, not indeed for the Church - for her foundation is much too firm to be overturned by the effort of men - but for those States in which prevails the power, either of the sect of which we are speaking or of other sects not dissimilar which lend themselves to it as disciples and subordinates." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Lamenting these evils, We are constrained by the charity which urges Our heart to cry out often to God: 'For lo, Thy enemies have made a noise; and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. They have taken a malicious counsel against Thy people, and they have consulted against Thy saints. They have said, 'come, and let us destroy them, so that they be not a nation.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884) 

"Whatever the future may be, in this grave and widespread evil it is Our duty, venerable brethren, to endeavor to find a remedy. And because We know that Our best and firmest hope of a remedy is in the power of that divine religion which the Freemasons hate in proportion to their fear of it, We think it to be of chief importance to call that most saving power to Our aid against the common enemy. Therefore, whatsoever the Roman Pontiffs Our predecessors have decreed for the purpose of opposing the undertakings and endeavors of the Masonic sect, and whatsoever they have enacted to enter or withdraw men from societies of this kind, We ratify and confirm it all by our apostolic authority: and trusting greatly to the good will of Christians, We pray and beseech each one, for the sake of his eternal salvation, to be most conscientiously careful not in the least to depart from what the apostolic see has commanded in this matter." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"...eradicate those secret societies of factious men who, completely opposed to God and to princes, are wholly dedicated to bringing about the fall of the Church, the destruction of kingdoms, and disorder in the whole world. Having cast off the restraints of true religion, they prepare the way for shameful crimes. Indeed, because they concealed their societies, they aroused suspicion of their evil intent. Afterwards this evil intention broke forth, about to assail the sacred and the civil orders. Hence the supreme pontiffs, Our predecessors, Clement XII, Benedict XIV, Pius VII, Leo XII, repeatedly condemned with anathema that kind of secret society. Our predecessors condemned them in apostolic letters; We confirm those commands and order that they be observed exactly. In this matter We shall be diligent lest the Church and the state suffer harm from the machinations of such sects. With your help We strenuously take up the mission of destroying the strongholds which the putrid impiety of evil men sets up." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829)

"The first warning of the danger was given by Clement XII in the year 1738, and his constitution was confirmed and renewed by Benedict XIV. Pius VII followed the same path; and Leo XII, by his apostolic constitution, Quo Graviora, put together the acts and decrees of former Pontiffs on this subject, and ratified and confirmed them forever. In the same sense spoke Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and, many times over, Pius IX. For as soon as the constitution and the spirit of the Masonic sect were clearly discovered by manifest signs of its actions, by the investigation of its causes, by publication of its laws, and of its rites and commentaries, with the addition often of the personal testimony of those who were in the sect, this apostolic see denounced the sect of the Freemasons, and publicly declared its constitution, as contrary to law and right, to be pernicious no less to Christendom than to the State; and it forbade any one to enter the society, under the penalties which the Church is wont to inflict upon exceptionally guilty persons." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"From the laws, and from the whole of official life, every religious inspiration and idea is systematically banished, when not directly assailed. Every public manifestation of faith and of Catholic piety is either forbidden or, under vain pretenses, in a thousand ways impeded. From the family are taken away its foundation and religious constitution by the proclaiming of civil marriage, as it is called; and also by the entirely lay education which is now demanded, from the first elements to the higher teaching of the universities, so that the rising generations, as far as this can be effected by the State, have to grow up without any idea of religion, and without the first essential notions of their duties towards God. This is to put the axe to the root. No more universal and efficacious means could be imagined of withdrawing society, and families, and individuals, from the influence of the Church and of the faith. To lay clericalism (or Catholicism) waste in its foundations and in its very sources of life, namely, in the school and in the family: such is the authentic declaration of Masonic writers." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890)

"But against the apostolic see and the Roman Pontiff the contention of these enemies [Freemasons] has been for a long time directed. The Pontiff was first, for specious reasons, thrust out from the bulwark of his liberty and of his right, the civil princedom; soon, he was unjustly driven into a condition which was unbearable because of the difficulties raised on all sides; and now the time has come when the partisans of the sects openly declare, what in secret among themselves they have for a long time plotted, that the sacred power of the Pontiffs must be abolished, and that the papacy itself, founded by divine right, must be utterly destroyed. If other proofs were wanting, this fact would be sufficiently disclosed by the testimony of men well informed, of whom some at other times, and others again recently, have declared it to be true of the Freemasons that they especially desire to assail the Church with irreconcilable hostility, and that they will never rest until they have destroyed whatever the supreme Pontiffs have established for the sake of religion." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"It is likewise necessary to strengthen those who fall because of ignorance. By this we mean those, not few in number, who, deceived by appearances and allured by various enticements, allow themselves without understanding it to be enrolled in the Masonic order. In these cases We hope that with divine inspiration they will be able some day to repudiate their error and perceive the truth, especially if you try to remove the false outward appearance of the sect and reveal its hidden designs. Indeed these can no longer be considered hidden since their very accomplices have themselves disclosed them in many ways. Why, within the last few months, the designs of the Masons have been publicly proclaimed throughout Italy, even to the point of ostentation! They wish to see the religion founded by God repudiated and all affairs, private as well as public, regulated by the principles of naturalism alone; this is what, in their impiety and stupidity, they call the restoration of civil society. And yet the State will plunge headlong into ruin if Christians are not willing to be vigilant and not willing to labor to support its well-being!" (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892)

"Lest there be any place for error when decision will have to be made as to what the opinions of these pernicious sects are, which are under such prohibition, it is especially certain that Freemasonry and other sects of this kind which plot against the Church and lawful powers, whether they do this secretly or openly, whether or not they exact from their followers an oath to preserve secrecy, are condemned by automatic excommunication... Besides these there are also other sects which are prohibited and must be avoided under pain of grave sin, among which are to be reckoned especially all those which bind their followers under oath to a secret to be divulged to no one, and exact absolute obedience to be offered to secret leaders. It is to be noted, furthermore, that there are some societies which, although it cannot be determined with certainty whether or not they belong to these which we have mentioned, are nevertheless doubtful and full of danger not only because of the doctrines which they profess, but also because of the philosophy of action which those follow under whose leadership they have developed and are governed." (Instruction of the Holy Office, May 10, 1884 A.D.)

"But the naturalists and Freemasons, having no faith in those things which we have learned by the revelation of God, deny that our first parents sinned, and consequently think that free will is not at all weakened and inclined to evil. On the contrary, exaggerating rather the power and the excellence of nature, and placing therein alone the principle and rule of justice, they cannot even imagine that there is any need at all of a constant struggle and a perfect steadfastness to overcome the violence and rule of our passions. Wherefore we see that men are publicly tempted by the many allurements of pleasure; that there are journals and pamphlets with neither moderation nor shame; that stage-plays are remarkable for license; that designs for works of art are shamelessly sought in the laws of a so called verism; that the contrivances of a soft and delicate life are most carefully devised; and that all the blandishments of pleasure are diligently sought out by which virtue may be lulled to sleep. Wickedly, also, but at the same time quite consistently, do those act who do away with the expectation of the joys of heaven, and bring down all happiness to the level of mortality, and, as it were, sink it in the earth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884) 

"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 in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories. 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. 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" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration On Masonic Associations, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, and approved by Pope John Paul II, 1983)

"[F]ly these secret societies. The most peaceable of them, Freemasonry, has, even in our own day, driven from Portugal the daughters of Charity; formed, in Belgium, associations for the extirpation of Christian habits, and, in France, testified in a striking manner its hatred for the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See...; what must be thought of the others? Some writers state that, in the inner circles of some, Satan has been, and still is, directly and personally adored. It is very natural that the occult sciences should be practiced in the darkness of occult societies; what is certain from all that has transpired of their machinations, and the solemn decisions of the Church, is, that they are the instruments of the infernal powers in their struggle against Christ and His faithful people; that they are the synagogue of Satan, the earthly army of anti-Christianity, hateful, hypocritical, murderous. The secret societies are the central focus of revolution, and 'Revolution (said Pius IX in his Encyclical of December 8, 1853) is inspired by Satan himself. Its object is to destroy from top to bottom the edifice of Christianity, and to reconstruct on its ruins, the social order of Paganism.' Paganism, is the public reign of the evil spirits substituted for that of God." (Fr. Delaporte)

"Now, with regard to entering societies, extreme care should be taken not to be ensnared by error. And We wish to be understood as referring in a special manner to the working classes, who assuredly have the right to unite in associations for the promotion of their interests; a right acknowledged by the Church and unopposed by nature. But it is very important to take heed with whom they are to associate, lest whilst seeking aid for the improvement of their condition they may be imperiling far weightier interests. The most effectual precaution against this peril is to determine with themselves at no time or in any matter to be parties to the violation of justice. Any society, therefore, which is ruled by and servilely obeys persons who are not steadfast for the right and friendly to religion is capable of being extremely prejudicial to the interests as well of individuals as of the community; beneficial it cannot be. Let this conclusion, therefore, remain firm - to shun not only those associations which have been openly condemned by the judgment of the Church, but those also which, in the opinion of intelligent men, and especially of the bishops, are regarded as suspicious and dangerous." (Pope Leo XIII, "Longinqua", 1895)

"Wherefore, not without cause do We use this occasion to state again what We have stated elsewhere, namely, that the Third Order of St. Francis, whose discipline We a little while ago prudently mitigated, should be studiously promoted and sustained; for the whole object of this Order, as constituted by its founder, is to invite men to an imitation of Jesus Christ, to a love of the Church, and to the observance of all Christian virtues; and therefore it ought to be of great influence in suppressing the contagion of wicked societies. Let, therefore, this holy sodality be strengthened by a daily increase. Amongst the many benefits to be expected from it will be the great benefit of drawing the minds of men to liberty, fraternity, and equality of right; not such as the Freemasons absurdly imagine, but such as Jesus Christ obtained for the human race and St. Francis aspired to: the liberty, We mean, of sons of God, through which we may be free from slavery to Satan or to our passions, both of them most wicked masters; the fraternity whose origin is in God, the common Creator and Father of all; the equality which, founded on justice and charity, does not take away all distinctions among men, but, out of the varieties of life, of duties, and of pursuits, forms that union and that harmony which naturally tend to the benefit and dignity of society." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"The sect of the Freemasons shows itself insolent and proud of its success, and seems as if it would put no bounds to its pertinacity. Its followers, joined together by a wicked compact and by secret counsels, give help one to another, and excite one another to an audacity for evil things. So vehement an attack demands an equal defense - namely, that all good men should form the widest possible association of action and of prayer. We beseech them, therefore, with united hearts, to stand together and unmoved against the advancing force of the sects; and in mourning and supplication to stretch out their hands to God, praying that the Christian name may flourish and prosper, that the Church may enjoy its needed liberty, that those who have gone astray may return to a right mind, that error at length may give place to truth, and vice to virtue. Let us take our helper and intercessor the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so that she, who from the moment of her conception overcame Satan may show her power over these evil sects, in which is revived the contumacious spirit of the demon, together with his unsubdued perfidy and deceit. Let us beseech Michael, the prince of the heavenly angels, who drove out the infernal foe; and Joseph, the spouse of the most holy Virgin, and heavenly patron of the Catholic Church; and the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, the fathers and victorious champions of the Christian faith. By their patronage, and by perseverance in united prayer, we hope that God will mercifully and opportunely succor the human race, which is encompassed by so many dangers." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"Wherefore, We admonish severely and in virtue of holy obedience each and every faithful of Jesus Christ, of any state, grade, condition, order, dignity, and pre-eminence whatever, be it laity, or clerics, both secular and regular, likewise those worthy of specific and individual mention and expression, that anyone under whatever pretext or special condition may not dare or presume to enter or to propagate, or foster, and thus to receive and hide them in their dwellings or homes or anywhere else, the aforementioned societies de' Liberi Muratori or Francs-Macons, or otherwise named, to be enrolled in, to adhere to, or to take part in them, or to give opportunity or convenience that may allow them to convene in any place, to furnish them with anything, or otherwise offer counsel, aid or good will, openly or secretly, directly or indirectly, per se or through others in any way whatever. Likewise no one may dare or presume to exhort, induce, provoke, or persuade others to be inscribed in, to be reckoned as part of or be among these societies of whatever kind, or to help and support them in any way whatever. On the contrary, they are by all means obliged to abstain totally from those very societies, assembles, meetings, gatherings, fellowships, or associations under pain of excommunication to be incurred ipso facto without any declaration by all those offending as above, from which no one is able to obtain the favor of absolution except through Us, or the Roman Pontiff reigning at the particular time, save one who has been determined to be at the point of death." (Pope Clement XII)

"There is likewise a great danger threatening unity on the part of that association which goes by the name of the society of Freemasons, whose fatal influence for a long time past oppresses Catholic nations in particular. Favored by the agitations of the times, and waxing insolent in its power and resources and success, it strains every nerve to consolidate its sway and enlarge it sphere. It has already sallied forth from its hiding-places, where it hatched its plots, into the throng of cities, and as if to defy the Almighty, has set up its throne in this very city of Rome, the capitol of the Catholic world. But what is most disastrous is, that wherever it has set its foot it penetrates into all ranks and departments of the commonwealth, in the hope of obtaining at last supreme control. This is, indeed, a great calamity: for its depraved principles and iniquitous designs are well known. Under the pretence of vindicating the rights of man and of reconstituting society, it attacks Christianity; it rejects revealed doctrine, denounces practices of piety, the divine sacraments, and every sacred thing as superstition; it strives to eliminate the Christian character from marriage and the family and the education of youth, and from every form of instruction, whether public or private, and to root out from the minds of men all respect for authority, whether human or divine. On its own part, it preaches the worship of nature, and maintains that the principles of nature are truth and probity and justice to be measured and regulated. In this way, as is quite evident, man is being driven to adopt customs and habits of like akin to those of the heathen, only more corrupt in proportion as the incentives to sin are more numerous." (Pope Leo XIII, "Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae", 1894)

"What refers to domestic life in the teaching of the naturalists is almost all contained in the following declarations: that marriage belongs to the genus of commercial contracts, which can rightly be revoked by the will of those who made them, and that the civil rulers of the State have power over the matrimonial bond; that in the education of youth nothing is to be taught in the matter of religion as of certain and fixed opinion; and each one must be left at liberty to follow, when he comes of age, whatever he may prefer. To these things the Freemasons fully assent; and not only assent, but have long endeavored to make them into a law and institution. For in many countries, and those nominally Catholic, it is enacted that no marriages shall be considered lawful except those contracted by the civil rite; in other places the law permits divorce; and in others every effort is used to make it lawful as soon as may be. Thus, the time is quickly coming when marriages will be turned into another kind of contract - that is into changeable and uncertain unions which fancy may join together, and which the same when changed may disunite. With the greatest unanimity the sect of the Freemasons also endeavors to take to itself the education of youth. They think that they can easily mold to their opinions that soft and pliant age, and bend it whither they will; and that nothing can be more fitted than this to enable them to bring up the youth of the State after their own plan. Therefore, in the education and instruction of children they allow no share, either of teaching or of discipline, to the ministers of the Church; and in many places they have procured that the education of youth shall be exclusively in the hands of laymen, and that nothing which treats of the most important and most holy duties of men to God shall be introduced into the instructions on morals." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"The action of the sects is at present directed to attain the following objects, according to the votes and resolutions passed in their most important assemblies - votes and resolutions inspired throughout by a deadly hatred of the Church: The abolition in the schools of every kind of religious instruction, and the founding of institutions in which even girls are to be withdrawn from all clerical influence whatever it may be - because the State, which ought to be absolutely atheistic, has the inalienable right and duty to form the heart and the spirit of its citizens, and no school should exist apart from its inspiration and control; The rigorous application of all laws now in force, which aim at securing the absolute independence of civil society from clerical influence; The strict observance of laws suppressing religious corporations, and the employment of means to make them effectual; The regulation of all ecclesiastical property, starting from the principle that its ownership belongs to the State, and its administration to the civil power; The exclusion of every Catholic or clerical element from all public administrations, from pious works, hospitals, and schools, from the councils which govern the destinies of the country, from academic and other unions, from companies, committees, and families - an exclusion from everything, everywhere, and forever. Instead, the Masonic influence is to make itself felt in all the circumstances of social life, and to become master and controller of everything. Hereby the way will be smoothed towards the abolition of the Papacy; Italy will thus be free from its implacable and deadly enemy; and Rome, which in the past was the center of universal Theocracy will in the future be the center of universal secularization, whence the Magna Charta of human liberty is to be proclaimed in the face of the whole world. Such are the authentic declarations, aspirations, and resolutions, of Freemasons or of their assemblies." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890)

"Likewise We look with solicitude, by Our special prayer and encouragements, upon you all, O beloved Sons, who profess the Catholic religion. Avoid entirely men who consider light darkness, and darkness light. For what utility worthy of the name can arise from agreement with men who think that no consideration for God, no consideration for the more sublime powers, is needing to be had, who through intrigues and secret assemblies try to declare war on those things, and who are such that they cry even in public and everywhere that they are the greatest lovers of the public good, of the Church, and of society; nevertheless they have already declared by all their deeds that they wish to throw all things into disorder and to overturn all things. These are indeed similar to those men to whom John commands in his second Epistle (v. 10) that neither hospitality must be given nor 'God speed' be said, and whom our Fathers do not hesitate to call the firstborn of the devil. Beware therefore of their flatteries and of their discourses sweetened with honey, by which they will seduce you to enroll in those sects to which they have been admitted. Have it for certain that no one can be a member of those sects, without being guilty of the most serious disgraceful act; and drive away from your ears the words of those who vigorously declare that you may assent to your election to the lower degrees of their sects, that nothing is admitted in those degrees which is opposed to reason, nothing which is opposed to religion, indeed that there is nothing proclaimed, nothing performed which is not holy, which is not right, which is not undefiled. Truly that abominable oath, which has already been mentioned, and which must be sworn even in that lower echelon, is sufficient for you to understand that it is contrary to divine law to be enlisted in those lower degrees, and to remain in them. In the next place, although they are not accustomed to commit those things which are more serious and more criminal to those who have not attained to the higher degrees, nevertheless it is plainly evident that the force and boldness of those most pernicious societies grow on account of the unanimity and the multitude of all who enroll in them. Therefore, even those who have not passed beyond the inferior degrees, must be considered sharers of their crimes." (Pope Leo XII, "Quo Graviora", 1826)

"What, therefore, 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 may almost 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 do what they please, tends only to the ignominious and disgraceful ruin of the human race. The evil, too, is increased by the dangers which threaten both domestic and civil society. As We have elsewhere shown, in marriage, according to the belief of almost every nation, there is something sacred and religious; and the law of God has determined that marriages shall not be dissolved. If they are deprived of their sacred character, and made dissoluble, trouble and confusion in the family will be the result, the wife being deprived of her dignity and the children left without protection as to their interests and well being. - To have in public matters no care for religion, and in the arrangement and administration of civil affairs to have no more regard for God than if He did not exist, is a rashness unknown to the very pagans; for in their heart and soul the notion of a divinity and the need of public religion were so firmly fixed that they would have thought it easier to have city without foundation than a city without God. Human society, indeed for which by nature we are formed, has been constituted by God the Author of nature; and from Him, as from their principle and source, flow in all their strength and permanence the countless benefits with which society abounds. As we are each of us admonished by the very voice of nature to worship God in piety and holiness, as the Giver unto us of life and of all that is good therein, so also and for the same reason, nations and States are bound to worship Him; and therefore it is clear that those who would absolve society from all religious duty act not only unjustly but also with ignorance and folly." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"We forbid forever under the same penalties which are contained in the Letters of Our predecessors already reported in this Our constitution, which Letters We expressly confirm, that all secret societies, those which now are and those which perhaps will afterwards sprout out, and which propose to themselves against the Church and against the highest civil powers those things which We have mentioned above, by whatever name they may finally be called. Wherefore We order strictly and in virtue of holy obedience each and every faithful of Christ of whatever state, grade, condition, order, dignity and pre-eminence, be they the laity or clerics, both seculars and regulars and even those worthy of specific and individual mention, that anyone, under whatever pretext or special condition, may not dare or presume to join or propagate, or to foster, the societies mentioned above, or by whatever name they may be called, and to admit and hide, in their dwellings, or their homes, or any other place, to be enrolled in, to adhere to or to take part in them, indeed to whatever degree of the same, or to give opportunity or convenience that they may be assembled in any place, to furnish the same with anything, or otherwise to offer counsel, aid or good will, openly or in secret, directly or indirectly, per se or through others in any way whatever. Likewise no one may dare or presume to exhort, induce, provoke or persuade others to be inscribed in, be reckoned as part of or be among societies of this kind, or any degree of the same, nor are they to help and thus support them in any way whatever. On the contrary they must absolutely abstain from the same societies and their assemblies, meetings, fellowships, or associations under pain of excommunication to be incurred ipso facto without any declaration by all those offending as above, from which no one is able to obtain the favor of absolution through anyone except Us, or the Roman Pontiff reigning at that time, save one determined to be at the point of death. Furthermore We order all under the same pain of excommunication reserved to Us and Our successors, the Roman Pontiffs, that they are held to declare to the Bishops, or to others whom it concerns, all those whom they know to have joined this society, or to have defiled themselves by any one of the crimes just mentioned above. In fact, We explicitly condemn and declare invalid particularly that clearly impious and accursed oath, by which they bind those who are received into these sects that they will reveal to no one those things which pertain to those sects, and that they will strike with death all those members who expose those things to their superiors, either ecclesiastics or laity. For what reason? Is not an oath, which must be sworn in justice, in order to establish, as it were, a contract by which someone obliges himself to an unjust murder, and in order to despise the authority of those, who, when they regulate either the Church or legitimate civil society, have the right of discerning those things in which the salvation of those societies consists, contrary to Divine Law? Isn't it the most unjust and the greatest indignity to call God as a witness and surety for crimes? Most recently the Fathers of the Lateran Council III have said (Can. 3): 'For they must not be called oaths, but rather perjuries, which are taken against ecclesiastical utility and the ordinances of the most Holy Fathers.'" (Pope Leo XII, "Quo Graviora", 1826)

Also See: Socialism | Communism | Freedom / Liberty | Religious Liberty | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Government [Pg.] | Against Religious Liberty (Coming Home Reflections) | Against Religious Indifferentism (Coming Home Reflections) | The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church (Coming Home) | Freemasonry / Secret Societies (Classic Encyclicals) | Errors / Modernism (Classic Encyclicals)

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