I am Catholic and it's my understanding that
we cannot join
Is this true?
Can a Catholic join the [Masons|Freemasons]? }
Thanks for the question.
Yes, what you said is true. Masonic activities or events are completely inconsistent with Catholic teachings.
One cannot be a practicing Catholic and at the same time be a practicing Mason.
It's my opinion that there are many practicing Catholics who are unaware of rituals and oaths in the upper degrees of Masonry. For an open source view of the issues between Christianity and Freemasonry check out this Wikipedia article:
The Masons are not a Protestant sect that came about
as a result of the Reformation; rather they trace
their origins to Medieval Monks who were also Knights.
The group went into schism and claimed to have "secret
knowledge" about God. In other words, it was
nothing more than a rehash of the Gnostic heresy
that plagued the Church in the early centuries.
A great replacement group that is faithful to the Church is:
Let me add that Masonry is inconsistent
with all forms
of true Christianity, not just Catholicism.
While the works of charity performed
by many Masons are to be admired,
the belief (taught by Masonry) that
all religions are equal is pure heresy.
In addition, taking secret oaths
and joining secret organizations
is pretty much not allowed for Christians.
The bottom line it is impossible to be a practicing Catholic and a practicing Mason.
By participating in Masonry, one denies Catholic Doctrine by definition. Catholicism isn't a buffet.
If reject one point of doctrine, you are no longer in full communion with the Church.
Rather than trying to deal with the various historical aspects of Masonic movements that have led the Church to forbid membership in the lodge to Catholics, let me refer you to a thorough book on the subject:
is a well-documented review of the matter. Your local library can probably obtain it for you by inter-library loan if they do not have it already.
In addition, there are various points of conflict:
In continental European Masonry, there was a long history of open anti-Catholicism.
Rituals in some Masonic groups (like York rite, if I remember correctly) appeared to involve explicit rejection of friendship with the Catholic Church, running a dagger into a "papal crown".
In mainstream American Masonry, religious rituals whose meaning contradicts Christian doctrine in certain points: e.g., the Masonic funeral raises questions of whether eternal life is based on human morality or whether it is a gift from Christ.
Initiation rites which require baptized Christians (like anyone else) to present themselves as if they were seekers in darkness looking for enlightenment.
In general, principles of indifferentism that treat all religions as equally valid, with Masonic affiliation as a supreme principle: such a position is contrary to any religion that considers its doctrines revealed by God.