In my last blog mention of Freemasonry in May 2010, I wrote
When Baronius brought out a book on Freemasonry a while back, we joked that you’re not really a traditionalist publishing house until you have a book on your list about the evils of Freemasonry. This despite Masonic plots not being high on the list of things most people, even traditionalists, worry about these days.
Now a Catholic prelate is talking about Freemasonry again. This time because of the anglican ordinariates. In an address at an “Ordinariate Information Day”, Bishop Peter Elliott, Auxiliary of Melbourne mentioned two specific obstacles that might keep Anglicans out of an Australian ordinariate. He said, “Again I need to raise a delicate but unavoidable issue. I urge Ordinariate-bound Anglicans who have remarried after divorce to take your situation to a diocesan marriage tribunal so that your reconciliation in the Ordinariate will in no way be impeded next year.” This problem has been widely discussed. But the followup paragraph was a bit of a surprise
Another question is membership of a Masonic lodge. In spite of what you might hear from time to time, Catholics are not permitted to be Freemasons. Men seeking to enter the Ordinariate will need to resign from the lodge. This raises the spiritual challenge, whether commitment to Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and membership of his Church takes priority in your life.
Don’t be mislead, the Catholic Church hadn’t ever relaxed its stance on Masonry (as Cardinal Ratzinger reiterated in 1983), but it’s not something you’ve heard prelates talking about since at least Bishop Bruskewitz’s excommunication of Freemasons (along with SSPX members, Call to Action members, and Planned Parenthood supporters among other groups) in 1996 (confirmed in 2006).
There’s actually been a blowup over freemasonry in the Church of England as a result of the ordinariates.
It turns out that the man appointed as the new Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet (the previous holder of the office, the now Msgr. Andrew Burnham, resigned to become a Roman Catholic), the Rev. Jonathan Baker, was a Freemason and indeed a national chaplain for the organization in England. It didn’t stop his appointment, though the Archbishop of Canterbury apparently asked him to consider resigning his membership, which the Bishop-elect has now done.
Back in 2003, Rowan Williams apologized to Freemasons after making harshly critical comments about “The Craft”.