Rorate Caeli

Church and Loggia

From the blog of L'Espresso's Vaticanist, Sandro Magister:

At the annual "Lodge meeting" of the Grand Lodge of Italy, assembled at the Palacongressi [Convention Hall] of Rimini, from March 31 to April 2, a distinguished presence among the orators was that of the South-Tyrolese [altoatesino] priest Paul Renner, director of the Institute of Religious Sciences of the Diocese of Bolzano since 1984.

During the occasion, the Grand Lodge edited and published a CD with music of Freemason Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And, in the website of the Grand Lodge, the presentation of the CD is written and signed by Giovanni Carli Ballola, a well-known music critic, but who also is a deacon incardinated in the Diocese of Rome, in [actual] service to a Parish.

Not only that. In the April issue of the "Jesus" magazine, Carli Ballola publishes a Letter to the Editor in which, "as an observant Catholic", he expresses his "conviction that reciprocal incomprehensions and prejudices between the Catholic world and the Masonic environment shall, sooner or later, arrive at honest clarifications".

Carli Ballola writes that he has "very dear friends, estimable in every level" among Masons. And he defines the rituals of the Grand Lodge as "deeply touching for the expressions of inner peace, efforts for moral and material assistence, fraternal love which is expressed in tangible signs such as the triple embrace".

According to him, the God worshipped by the Freemasons "is not deistic or theistic, but rooted upon the Judeo-Christian faith, as it is noticed by the open Bible in the center of the Lodge, left open on the beginning on the Gospel of John".

This is not all, though. In the April 14 issue of Avvenire [the semi-official daily of the Italian Episcopal Conference], among the Letters to the Editor, there is a "signed letter" which, while criticizing the secularism of the current Great Master [of the Grand Lodge of Italy], Gustavo Raffi, affirms that "a considerable amount of Masons live in suffering this separation from the Church." As a comforting [example], he mentions "the precious words by don Renner at his Rimini intervention". And he adds that "Freemasonry works under the light of the Gospel of Saint John, Masons were for centuries exclusively Catholic and many still are."


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 Feb. 17,1981.

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, November 26, 1983

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect
Father Jerome Hamer, O.P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium, Secretary


Tony La Rosa said...

I wish Pope Benedict XVI would issue a formal statement condemning any association a Catholic thinks he may have with Freemasonry. We know that Freemasons run this world and are the malignant cancer that must be removed from the hierarchy of the Church.

Hebdomadary said...

So what else is new. This much I can tell you. If I ever have the displeasure of meeting a Roman Catholic priest who admits to involvement in Freemasonry, I will personally slap his face so hard he won't have another cheek to turn. So, so sickening, and disheartening, that the Christ's church should be so debased. Can there be any question that it is riven with Freemasonry from top to bottom?

Jeff said...

I hold no brief for the Masons at all. And this Fr. Whatsisname is an idiot.

But I'm surprised that no conspiracy theorists have latched on to the fact that Pope Benedict's favorite composer really IS Mozart. And Mozart really WAS a Mason. And a Catholic. Or at least, he tried to be both, in the typical contradictory fashion of so many confused and sinful people. May God have mercy on his soul and on all of us.

New Catholic said...

Yes, one of my favorite composers is also Mozart, as you may remember (search "Mozart" in the blog); that is not the point.

Jeff said...

Sorry, New Catholic: I was making a RELATED--but less important--point of my own.

I get your point. And I applaud it!

New Catholic said...

It is not MY point; it is not Al Trovato's point, either. It is Magister's. If anyone has a problem with the report, mail L'Espresso's Magister.

Deo volente said...

This site is indispensable for anyone wishing information on Masons:

I also refer anyone who seeks information to the Ignatius Book website and the book on Masons by Whalen which is comprehensive and marvelous.

Finally, I would point out that when St. Maximilian Kolbe and his confreres began the Militia of the Immaculata, Mason were marching on Rome. His "association" required a consecration to the Blessed Mother, modeled after that written by St. Louis de Montfort (whose feast is today!). After the renewal of the consecration each day, all M.I.'s prayed this prayer:

"Oh Mary Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and to all those who do not have recourse to thee and especially for the Freemasons." Only recently has this been modified a bit to mitigate the Masonic reference.

Al Trovato said...


To tell you the truth, I don't know if and what point Magister is trying to make. I believe he was just reporting.

I was trying to show that in Rome "anything goes". The only rule that Rome seems to want to enforce at any cost is the banishment of the Traditional Rite.

It's interesting you have "no brief" with them, but you always seem less tolerant with the SSPX.

I guess you win, because you and Rome seem to be agreeing on that.

Screwtape said...

A question a little off the major track:

From internal evidence (The Magic Flute) there are reasons to conclude that Mozart belonged to the Masonic Order.

Is there any real proof? If so, what degree was he?

I can't imagine he was serious in the way most high degree Freemasons are: I get the impression from a lot of his other music that he was a fairly devout Catholic - for his age (in both senses).

I love Mozart, especially the operas, but it happens that Papa Haydn was a better composer all things considered, and probably a much better Catholic.

Jeff said...

Al Trovato and New Catholic:

I don't really get what's going on here. Let me make some things clear:

1. I am totally opposed to Freemasonry. Freemasons are totally bad news. Of course, some people may be Freemasons without knowing what it's really all about, but it's still a big, bad, no-no. This priest is a bad guy doing bad stuff.
I am totally against what the priest is saying and doing. If he were stripped of his priesthood and/or excommunicated, I wouldn't cry a tear. I ASSUME the outrageousness of the priest's actions are the reason for the post--its "point", if you like. I assume that's why Magister covered it. I assume that's why Al Trovato posted it here. I assume that's what New Catholic thinks is the point. I assume New Catholic agrees with that point. So do I.

2. There is no comparison between Freemasonry and the SSPX. Freemasons are secular humanists who only believe in God in some vague, deistic sense. Moreover, they are utterly against what the Church stands for and are out to destroy it, root and branch, doctrine and discipline. There may be some silly people, again, who don't know what it's all about and think it's like the Shriners or the Elks Club. But the organization is Very Bad News.

Even assuming the Arguable Worst Case that a "Neo-Cath" can argue; even assuming they are in schism, etc., etc., the SSPXers are closer to even everything any orthodox "Neo-Cath" could believe is necessary doctrinally than even the most sympathetic of the Eastern Orthodox. They are closer than the most Roman of the Anglicans (who don't have a valid priesthood.) There is little or nothing that divides us doctrinally that I can see. I can even imagine, if faced with the choice of some completely heretical parish that was formally in communion with Rome and an SSPX chapel, attending the chapel--if they'd have me ;-) .

That's why I support lifting the excommunications unilaterally. That's one among the many reasons why I support freeing the old Mass. That's why I have said that the wider Church badly NEEDS the SSPX and I hope they will consider healing the breach because they would do an awful lot of good for the rest of us if they regularized their situation with Rome.

It's true that I have some very serious differences with them. But they shrink to nothing compared with my "differences" with the Freemasons. I TALK about those differences here because the issue comes UP here for obvious reasons; that's why they are highlighted, not because I think the problems with the SSPX are somehow "worse" than any others, let alone Freemasonry. A serious, committed Freemason would be so distant from me that it would hardly be worth arguing with him.

So, I don't know why anyone should think I have any complaints about this post or Magister's piece or anything like that. Or why they should think I'm "tough" on the SSPX in comparison with Freemasons or any other utterly unCatholic organization.

All I did was point out that Mozart was a Freemason and also some kind of Catholic (how he understood that in his head I can't guess; people are weird and contradictory sometimes), that Benedict loved Mozart best and that this would be fine grist for the mill of some of the loonier fringe conspiracy theorists. It was a light, offhand remark that SOMEHOW--I still don't see how--seems to have been taken in some odd way that wasn't intended.

Is it all clear now?

Al Trovato said...


All clear now.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...


To answer your question about the Masons and Mozart, which is a good one: before the 19th century, the agenda of the Masons was very secret and unknown by nearly all the members, including Mozart; only after the Papal condemnations of the 1820's and thereafter, was their agenda made manifest.

Mozart, and I believe the Archbishop of Salzburg, his patron, had no knowledge of this; and thus his membership had nothing to do with their agenda; even if they use the fact today to promote it.

As regards your other statements, I am very much impressed by your position.