(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 15.11.2023).- Recently, Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete, the Philippines, expressed his concern about the situation in his diocese, regarding the constant increase in the number of faithful adhering to Freemasonry, and requested suggestions as to how best to address this reality from a pastoral point of view, taking into account as well the doctrinal implications regarding this phenomenon.
Membership in Freemasonry is very significant in the Philippines, not only among those formally registered in Masonic Lodges, but more generally among a great number of sympathisers and associates who are personally convinced that there is no opposition between membership in the Catholic Church and membership in Masonic Lodges.
To address this question appropriately, it was decided to involve the Philippine Episcopal Conference itself, notifying it that it would be necessary to initiate a coordinated strategy among the different Bishops, which included two approaches.
a)On the doctrinal plane, it is important to recall that active membership in Freemasonry by a faithful is prohibited due to the irreconcilability between Catholic Doctrine and Freemasonry (cf. 1983 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the same Guidelines published by th Episcopal Conference in 2003). Hence those that formally and consciously affiliate themselves to Freemason Lodges and embrace Masonic principles fall under the dispositions oof the Declaration mentioned earlier. These measures apply also to priests registered in Freemasonry.
b) On the pastoral plane, the Dicastery proposes to the Philippine Bishops to carry out a popular catechesis in all the parishes, on the reason for the irreconcilability of the Catholic Faith and Freemasonry.
Finally, the Philippine Bishops are invited to consider if they should pronounce themselves publicly on the matter.
Sheet of Audience with the Holy Father (November 13, 2023)