In Eminenti Apostolatus

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In eminenti apostolatus specula was a Papal Bull issued by Pope Clement XII on 28 April 1738, banning Catholics from becoming Freemasons.

He noted that membership of Masonic Lodges, "spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength" was open to men of any religion or sect, who were sworn to secrecy. The logic at the heart of the Bull is expressed as follows:

'But it is in the nature of crime to betray itself and to show itself by its attendant clamor. Thus these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light."

The Bull goes on to note that the growing rumor had caused several governments which considered it a threat to their own security to cause such associations to be "prudently eliminated". An expressed danger was the private rules that bound members, "that they do not hold by either civil or canonical sanctions."

As a result, all Catholic participation in Masonry was prohibited, and bishops were to proceed against it "as well as inquisitors for heresy...calling upon the aid of the secular arm," as it was under suspicion of heresy, partly because of its already notorious secrecy.

That Catholics are still prohibited from joining Masonic organizations was confirmed in 1983 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his office of Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect. Declaration on Masonic Associations Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983. Accessed 2011-10-11. "Therefore the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic association[s] 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 enroll 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..."

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