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Perpetual Condemnation of Masonry

At the moment when Catholics in the United States are preparing themselves to see Benedict XVI come to our country to bless and promote the United Nations, which is the assembly that represents the Masonic ideals, it seems opportune to remember the solemn condemnation of Freemasonry made by Pope Clement XII, valid for all times. This very clear document, the papal apostolic letter In eminenti of April 28, 1738, sets the criterion for Catholics to evaluate the gravity of the coming event.

Clement XII

We consider it our duty to watch day and night, as a faithful servant of the household of the Lord, lest such men [Freemasons and other such groups] do not break into the house like thieves, and like foxes seek to destroy the vineyard, thereby perverting the hearts of the simple and piercing them with their poisoned arrows. To block that broad road that may be opened to unpunished sins committed, and for other just and reasonable causes known to Us from secure sources after mature deliberation and using our full power, We do hereby determine and decree the condemnation and prohibition of those societies called Freemasons or any other name they may go by, and do so by Our present Constitution, valid in perpetuity.

Wherefore We prohibit most strictly and in virtue of holy obedience each and all of the faithful of Jesus Christ of whatever state, degree, condition, rank, dignity and prominence, be they lay or clerical, secular or regular, even those who are entitled to special mention, to dare or presume under any pretext or reason to enter the aforesaid societies of the Freemasons or whatever name they are called, or to propagate, support or receive them in their homes or to give them shelter or hide them, be enrolled among them, joined to them, present with them, or give them power or the means to meet, or to help them in any way - advice, encouragement or support - either openly or secretly, directly or indirectly, personally or through intermediaries, by any manner whatsoever.

Nor may they urge, encourage, and provoke others, or persuade them to be enrolled in this sort of societies, to become members or be present or assist them in any way. We categorically command that they completely stay clear of those societies, assembles, meetings, gatherings or groups, under pain of incurring automatic excommunication for all transgressors, without further declaration being required; and from which no one can obtain the benefit of absolution, unless he be in danger of death, by anyone else except Ourselves or the Roman Pontiff of the time.

(Clement XII, In eminenti, April 28, 1738,
quoted by Leo XII, Quo graviora, March 13, 1826,
in Recueil des Allocutions Pontificales, Paris: Adrien Leclere, 1865, pp. 127-129)


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