Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
November 26, 1983
THE QUESTION has been raised whether the Church's position on Masonic associations has been altered, especially since no explicit mention is made of them in the new Code of Canon Law, as there was in the old code.
This sacred congregation is able to reply that circumstance is to be attributed to a criterion adopted in drafting. This criterion was observed also in regard to other associations which were likewise passed over in silence, because they were included in broader categories.
The Church's negative position on Masonic associations therefore remains unaltered, since their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church's doctrine. Hence joining them remains prohibited by the Church. Catholics enrolled in Masonic associations are involved in serious sin and may not approach Holy Communion.
Local ecclesiastical authorities do not have the faculty to pronounce a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which might include a diminution of the above-mentioned judgment, in accordance with the intention of this congregation's declaration delivered on February 17, 1981 (cf. AAS 73 , pp. 240-241).
The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved this declaration, deliberated at an ordinary meeting of this sacred congregation, and ordered it to become part of public law.
Rome. From the office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 26, 1983.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Archbishop of Loria