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By Order of John Paul II:


Pope John Paul II ordered the publication of this November 26, 1983 decree which states that Membership in Masonic associations remains forbidden. “The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in the state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” The complete text of the decree follows as it was published in L’Osservatore Romano, English language edition dated December 5, 1983. To ensure absolute accuracy we reproduce it from the above paper by photographic means.

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SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE 
OF THE FAITH

Declaration on Masonic Associations

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 enrol 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 on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 [1981] pp. 240-241) (Published in English language edition of L'Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981. Editor’s note).

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, 26 November 1983.

JOSEPH Card. RATZINGER
Prefect
Fr JEROME HAMER, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium 
Secretary