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 is 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 associations 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, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73  pp. 240-241).
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.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.
JOSEPH Card. RATZINGER+ Fr. JEROME HAMER, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium
It is clear even to the bleary-eyed that you cannot be a Catholic in a state of grace and a Mason.
The book Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge by John Salza helps one to more clearly understand Freemasonry, and the related 'brotherhood' of the 'Shriners'. The book is at times very disjointed and I found myself wishing the author had simply used bullet points to dispense much of the information. However, the method of compilation does not take away from the importance of the vast amount of information about the Masons and Shriners shared. Mr. Salza draws from Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and proves beyond any question that Freemasonry is totally contrary to the beliefs of Christianity.
In the book, the author (Catholic and former Mason himself) shares the rituals involved in Freemasonry. It becomes clear how alluring it may be to men who do not understand fully the gravity of Freemasonry when contrasted with Christianity. Full of symbols, unfamiliar words and names, brotherhood, secretive rituals and oaths - Freemasonry is certainly has been a tempting lure for millions of men for hundreds of years.
Some highlights of the book include:
Did you know???
- Freemasonry views all gods as equal to Christ and the Lodge views all religious writings as equal to the Bible.
- It doesn't matter to the Mason that the Bible affirms the divinity of Christ while the Koran denies His divinity. Both books are said to express the 'will of God'.
- Christian Masons are asked to place Christ alongside -- not above -- other gods. (Mt 6:24; 1st Commandment)
- Freemasons refer to God as GAOTU, or Great Architect of the Universe among other titles. In group prayer, Christ is omitted yet the Church teaches that "there is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ. Whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father only if we pray 'in the name' of Jesus" (CCC 2664)
- Masons are required to make secret signs of self-mutilation with their arms and hands. These signs evoke the penalties for breaking the Masonic oaths. If a man is physically or psychologically unable to make such signs, he is not allowed to be a Freemason.
- Most of the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan were Freemasons.
- Catholic candidates to Freemasonry are told that they are no longer forbidden to become a Freemason. They are also told that many Cardinals and even the Swiss Guard are Masons.
- The new Mason is told that he must die to his former life and be reborn into the new life of the Lodge. He is told this while blindfolded, wearing only his underwear and with a sharp implement being pressed into his bare chest.
- The apprentice Mason takes grisly oaths, promising that he will have his throat cut and tongue torn out should he share any secrets. Read Matthew 5:34 and following verses about taking oaths.
- 'Shriners', is a separate order where 32nd degree Masons who wish to join take their oaths with their hand placed upon a Koran. The real name of 'Shriners' is AAONMS or the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. (NOT IN THE BOOK: The money from the circus doesn't all make it to the Shriner hospital, by the way. In "2006, the organization's total unrestricted net assets (minus the portion that consists of land, building and equipment) were $7,504,675,000, or 11 times the charity's total 2007 budgeted expenses of $655,000,000." Source - Better Business Bureau)
Consider the following: in John:6, Christ tells us "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." A Catholic who is unable to receive communion has no life in him or her.
More sources of information on Freemasonry: