Lutherans Informed about Lodges (LIL)

Lodge News
(Shorter news stories are given in their entirety, longer stories are merely linked.)

November 13, 2023

Vatican confirms Catholics still forbidden to join Masonic lodges”

Responding to a question from a Filipino Bishop, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, reaffirms the incompatibility between the Catholic Faith and joining Masonic lodges.

By Vatican News

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a document signed by the Prefect, Cardinal Victor Fernandéz, and approved by Pope Francis, has reaffirmed that Catholics are forbidden from joining Freemasonry.

The Dicastery responded on Wednesday to a question from Bishop Julito Cortes, Bishop of Dumanguete in the Philippines.

“After explaining with concern the situation in his diocese, due to the continuous increase in the number of members of Freemasonry, [Bishop Cortes] asked for suggestions on how to adequately deal with this reality from a pastoral point of view, while also taking into account the doctrinal implications” of the situation.

The dicastery’s response makes clear the importance of involving the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “notifying them that it would be necessary to implement a coordinated strategy among the individual bishops that would involve two approaches.”

The first approach addresses the question on the doctrinal level: the dicastery reiterates that “active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is prohibited, because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry (cf. the 1983 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Masonic Associations), and the Guidelines published by the Bishops’ Conference in 2003.”

Therefore, the note explains, “those who formally and knowingly are members of Masonic lodges and have embraced Masonic principles fall under the provisions of the above-mentioned Declaration. These measures also apply to any clerics enrolled in Freemasonry.”

The second approach concerns the pastoral response: the dicastery suggests that the Philippine bishops undertake “a popular catechesis in all parishes on the reasons for the irreconcilability between the Catholic faith and Freemasonry.” The bishops of the Philippines are also asked to consider whether they should make a public pronouncement on this topic.

The November 1983 declaration was published shortly before the new Code of Canon Law entered into force. The 1983 CIC replaced the Code of Canon Law published in 1917; among the new features noted–by some with satisfaction, by others with concern–was the absence of an explicit condemnation of Freemasonry and excommunication for those affiliated with it. Both had been present in the earlier Code. The Declaration, signed by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and the Secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop Jérôme Hamer, and approved by John Paul II, reiterated that Catholics affiliated with Masonic lodges are “in a state of grave sin.”

November 5, 2023

In contrast with the increasing Masonic membership in the Philippines (referenced above), many lodges in the U.S. are declining in membership. It’s not the case, though, with one lodge in Vermont which is one of the lodges in the U.S. growing in membership! Following are excepts of a news story about this lodge.

From the VTDigger (A Vermont news organisation),  “Following an influx of new members, Burlington’s Odd Fellows flourish again”:

The [Burlington] Odd Fellows’ North End lodge, whose membership has increased dramatically this year, has begun to reposition itself as a community center after a long period of inactivity.

Drive through the heart of Burlington’s North End, and you might see the striking new mural that adorns the Odd Fellows lodge at 1416 North Ave.

The lodge’s facade, formerly a faded brick wall bearing traces of graffiti, now sports a shining eye surrounded by floral imagery and vibrant colors. Along the building’s right side, two open hands stretch toward one another under floating banners that say “Community” and “Mutual Aid.”

The mural’s completion marks the revival of the Odd Fellows’ North End lodge, whose membership has increased dramatically this year. With this influx of new members, the Lodge has begun to reposition itself as a community center after a long period of inactivity.

“It was looking dead for a while, but then this year, right around March or so—that’s kind of when the fire was lit there,” said Alex Kensington, a member of the organization. “I mean, it really has grown.”

Kensington said that the lodge, whose membership had dwindled to just half a dozen by early last year, has accepted 20 new members this year and intends to initiate a few more in December.

December 30, 2022
The British Journal of Criminology“The Secret Nexus. A Case Study of Deviant Masons, Mafia and Corruption in Italy ”


This paper wishes to explore some characteristics of the relevant interconnections between mafias/mafiosi and masonic lodges/masons in the Italian context. The paper sets out to study these interconnections from a social science perspective rooted in sociological and neo-institutional studies of organised crime and mafias, but also in criminological approaches to social constructionism, in the form of symbols and narratives. We will present a case study to reflect on the roles that (deviant) masons can assume in contexts where both mafias’ and personal, political, or economic interests are at play. The case study shows how masonic alliances can augment networking and enforcing capabilities: we call this process masonic deviance amplification. Additionally, the case study confirms the constitutive power that narratives around the masonic world hold today in the Italian context.

March 21, 2019
Sputnik News“Masonic Lodge Busted”

Numerous local politicians, officials and even police officers turned out to be connected to the lodge’s illegal activities, which included corruption, bribery, drug trafficking, embezzlement, and interfering with the work of the judicial system.

Police from the commune of Trapani, Sicily have arrested 27 people during a raid on a local masonic lodge involved in illegal activities, the newspaper Giornale di Sicilia reported. Among those arrested in the course of the operation named “Artemisia” were former and present politicians, officials, including a former federal lawmaker and a former mayor of Castelvetrano commune, and even police officers.

They now face charges of committing crimes against the local administration, justice system, and for organising a crime syndicate. The lodge reportedly had great influence over the local government and influenced the distribution of its budget. Its members also allegedly managed to obtain secret information about ongoing investigations and influence them by tampering with evidence.

The group was reportedly also involved in a number of other illegal undertakings, including drug trafficking, bribery, fraud, and embezzlement. Apart from the 27, that have already been arrested, police are interviewing 10 others, whom they suspect of helping the lodge’s activities.

Notably, the lodge itself was based in Castelvetrano—the hometown of one of the Cosa Nostra’s leaders, Matteo Messina Denaro, who is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous criminals and who has long been wanted under an international arrest warrant.

July 29, 2018
The Pulpit and Pen

“A Top Freemason Speaks Out Against the Craft: An Interview with Former Eminent Grand Commander Glenn Beck”  [No, not the political commentator Glenn Beck.]

April 08, 2018

Masonic Temple begins $3.7 million renovation

The historic Masonic Temple in downtown Detroit has started a $3.7 million renovation expected to be complete by the end of the year.

In addition to the improvements to the 96-year-old building on Temple Street, the Masonic Temple Association, which owns the property, wants to reposition or find new uses for the 55,000-square-foot East Tower. Those uses could range from office space to a boutique hotel or residential if redeveloped.

The work includes renovations of existing restrooms and installation of additional restrooms; sound insulation improvement; upgrades to heating and cooling systems; and updates to two large kitchens. On the exterior, masonry restoration and limestone façade cleaning are planned...

[Steve Genther, facilities general manager for the Masonic Temple Association] said the association has an annual budget of approximately $1.4 million, with about 90 percent of that coming from event revenue. The Masonic hosts about 300 events a year. Half of those are lodge meetings and the rest are things like weddings, plays, corporate events and concerts.

Since 1939, it has been the largest Masonic temple in the world.

Excerpted from: Crain’s Detroit Business

February 5, 2018

“Secret Freemasons Should Have No Place in Public Life”
Dawn Foster
The Guardian:

Don’t be distracted by the handshakes and funny aprons—we should be holding the masons to account.

It seems almost retro to be talking about Freemasons again, but after two alarming reports there is light on their darkness again. First, over the new year there was an allegation from retiring Police Federation chair Steve White that freemasonry was blocking reform within the force, preventing women and black officers progressing professionally. And this weekend saw a report that two lodges set up to recruit at the Palace of Westminster are continuing to operate: one established for members of parliament and staff in the Commons and Lords, and the second for political journalists.

Many regard freemasonry as an 18th century boys’ club, all funny aprons and comedic handshakes. That’s good for the masons themselves, but it’s our mistake. The most senior figures are listed, but surely that’s a sop because, all the while, the vast majority of lay members, “the brotherhood”, remain anonymous. What’s the problem, they will ask you, but don’t be fooled. No one joins the masons for the handshakes. It must be for the benefits it can bring.

And from the outside, we can’t be entirely sure what those benefits are. In the past, criminals have been found to be in the same lodges as investigating police officers. Brian Paddick, the former Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate and one-time commander at Scotland Yard, tells in his autobiography how one officer—a mason—changed both behaviour and body language on becoming aware of Paddick’s membership, an attitude he saw replicated by other masons whenever he revealed his links. The guilt, he says, led him to stop attending lodge meetings.

It’s all above board, little more than a social club, defenders tell you, a place to know more about yourself, and become a better individual. Or, as they call it, “ a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated with symbols”. But if that is all harmlessly true, why the defensiveness? On learning of my intention to write an article, a senior council official phoned to berate me for making a fuss over nothing, claiming freemasonry was just a way for “men to let off steam”. When I asked why membership remained secret, he cited tradition. When I asked how many of his senior council colleagues were also masons, he paused and hung up. Need to know, I suppose.

One can try to understand, perhaps, the thrill of being part of an invisible network and recipient of wordless acknowledgment, but it’s also important to understand that this is how power is perpetuated. Equality legislation, and audits on gender pay gaps, ethnicity and disability—within companies and public authorities—all aim to stamp out the informal transfer of power through social networks, in favour of appointment through genuine merit. But how can that happen if favours are dispensed behind closed doors, or even when there is the lingering belief that unseen processes give people we cannot identify an advantage. It certainly can’t happen when only specific groups can benefit. The council official who called knew very well I wasn’t a mason. Being both female and Catholic, my entry would be unlikely. While a small handful of lodges outside the main organisation now admit women, my Catholicism would also be seen by most as pretty much incompatible with Freemasonry.

It is, of course, questionable in a free society whether it is right to dictate to individuals with whom they can associate. Some association with criminal intent is proscribed by law and punishable by the courts, but in all other cases people are free to choose. That said, it is well within the rights of society to shape the nature of the decisions people freely make. If Freemasons won’t be completely open about their membership, should we not say that in all cases membership is incompatible with public service? Asking public servants to either confirm they are not a member of a masonic organisation or to be open when they are won’t fully excise the backroom deals or the stench of privilege. The police have attempted for many years to impose such a stricture, with apparently limited effect. Still, it would signal intent.

The Brotherhood hardly seems in fine fettle. It is said that membership has fallen by 150,000 in the last 20 years. But we can’t know that for sure. Indeed, when the masons talk about transparency and good spiritedness, we are taking a great deal on trust about the elements in public view, without any ability to see what lies beneath the surface.

And we have ample reason to be suspicious. Chumminess, social connection, camaraderie: all of these are in good supply at sports and dining clubs with doors on the high street and windows that peer out on to the 21st century. Masons, tell me this: if you truly huddle in secret to no malign end and with no professed benefit unavailable elsewhere, what is the point?

• Dawn Foster is a Guardian columnist

• This article was amended on 21 February 2018 consistent with conclusions of a readers’ editor investigation of a related Guardian article.


December 7, 2004

Masonic “Satan Symbols” Split African Presbyterian Church Down Middle

Anthony Njagi


One of the symbols at the St Andrews PCEA Church, in Nairobi. Church elders want them destroyed for alleged links to devil worship.

A dispute over Freemasonry has split one of Kenya's largest churches, the PCEA, leading to the removal of priceless historical fittings from its prayer houses.

Two factions are locked in an expensive and potentially destructive wrangle over symbols and artefacts used in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa for many years, but which critics are now linking to Freemasonry and demanding they be destroyed.

The row found vent in a newspaper advertisement, last week, signed by four of the church's biggest names - including the Moderator, Rev Dr David Githii - which argued that one could not be a Christian and a Freemason at the same time.

At least 30 stained glass windows and metal grilles more than a century old have previously been removed from St Andrews Church - the main seat of the PCEA - and destroyed by supporters of one faction, who claim the designs are similar to symbols used by Freemasons, said by their critics to worship an alien God and to hold un-Christian principles.

Police have had to intervene at least once to quell confrontations between the two factions at St Andrews, which counts among its members prominent Kenyan businessmen and politicians.

The current crop of PCEA leaders have, however, vowed to destroy all "satanic and devil worship symbols" from all churches and plan to send a demolition squad to all sanctuaries built by Scottish missionaries at the beginning of the last century.

Targeted are the Church of the Torch at Kikuyu, PCEA Tumutumu Church and PCEA Chogoria in Meru South.

The anti-Freemason faction has also declared that architects hired to build PCEA churches and its institutions will be vetted to ensure that they do not include un-Christian symbols in the buildings.

"One cannot be a Christian and at the same time a member of Freemasonry," Rev David Githii told the Press after the church's Nairobi region meeting at St Andrews Church, recently. "We don't worship the same God the Freemasons worship."

More than 100 delegates drawn from the seven presbyteries attended the meeting, including those from Milimani, Ngong, Pwani, Nairobi and Tanzania mission.

At the heart of the dispute are the heritage and traditions of Scottish missionaries, who established the PCEA, originally known as the Church of Scotland Mission.

Their defenders say the targeted symbols and designs have been in the PCEA churches for more than a century and were simple Scottish internal decor engravings and patterns on stained glass windows with links to Freemasonry but not necessarily satanic.

Others pushing for the destruction of "satanic or devil worship" symbols are the moderator of St Andrews, Rev Dr George Wanjau, PCEA secretary General Samuel Muriguh and Dr Eustace Kabue, who chaired a task force on Use of Symbols in Worship and Faith Practices.

On the opposite side are personalities such as Rev Dr Timothy Njoya, Mr Fred Mbiru, a retired banker and elder at St Andrews Church and scores of other parishioners.

Among the symbols already removed from the church are a compass and square on the grilles at the entrance to the church, Masonic coffins on the church's 30 windows and celestial globes on stairs leading to the main sanctuary. Also destroyed were plaques on pews dedicated to members of the congregation, including those of the family of former nominated MP Eliud Mahihu.

Dr Wanjau and the clerk of the Kirk Session, engineer James Mureithi yesterday told the Nation that there were other symbols yet to be be destroyed, among them the spiral on the old church at St Andrews, made up of a spear on top of a hut.

Dr Githii said freemasonry and Christianity were incompatible. "Freemasonry, which itself is a religion, is not at all compatible with Christianity," he declared. "These symbols and artifacts must be removed and destroyed. They are anti-Christ."

But church elder Fred Mbiru, writing to Dr Wanjau, has taken issue with destruction of parts of church, saying, they were not in accordance with the Practice and Procedures Manual of the PCEA .

"St Andrew's congregation has no track and no relationship with Freemasonry" Mr Mbiru said." It is a Christian congregation and any symbols in the sanctuary all depict Christianity down the ages."

Mr Mbiru described as "a big perversion to great work done all these years" the removal of church symbols adding: "Inability to appreciate such Christian religious art should not be inflicted on the congregation."

The destruction of the symbols was reported to the Kilimani police station, but the police backed off when they were told it was a spiritual matter.

Targeted by the "reformists" are St Andrews altar and pulpit and the baptismal font

A demolition squad will be sent to the PCEA's oldest church, the Church of the Torch, in Thogoto, in Kikuyu, on December 19.

October 21, 2003

Masons Must Choose Lodge or Church: Synod

From: The Sydney Morning Herald

By Malcolm Brown

The Sydney Anglican Synod has called on all Christian members of Masonic lodges to withdraw their membership and for church facilities not to be used for activities linked with Freemasonry.

The motion, passed yesterday, also "requests that councils of all Anglican schools... consider any association that their school may have with any Masonic lodge, and to withdraw from any such association".

The motion was put by Reverend Bill Winthrop, Rector of St Paul's Church, Lithgow, whose parish council last December passed a motion calling on Freemasons and members of the Order of the Eastern Star to choose between those movements and continuing membership of the congregation.

Mr. Winthrop said yesterday that though the synod had passed a motion in 1988 condemning Freemasonry as leading people away from God, it was not cast in strong enough terms and it was now up to the synod to pass an unequivocal motion stating its position.

He said it was especially important as the United Grand Lodge of Sydney and the ACT was on a membership drive and it was up to the Anglican church, which itself had embarked on a long-term campaign to boost church membership, to counter this.

The motion said that Freemasonry and Christianity were fundamentally and irreconcilability incompatible" and that Freemasonry "teaches and upholds a system of false religious and spiritual beliefs that are contrary to biblical Christianity".

Speakers for the motion held the floor, including Reverend John Davies, from Northbridge, who said that in the Royal Lodge the secret name of God as revealed was in fact a combination of the biblical name and the names of several "ancient, pagan gods".

Another speaker drew parallels between Freemasonry and witchcraft.

Sandy Bennet, from the parish of Kurrajong, put an amendment - "synod encourages ministers and other Christians to reach out in love to all Freemasons to share with them the Gospel of Christ" - which was adopted in the motion.

George Curry, former Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Sydney and the ACT, said last night that the lodge would have to study the text of the motion before it responded.

May 20, 2003

Pataki Declines to Join the Masons

Gov. George Pataki has decided against joining the Masons because of the Roman Catholic Church's long-standing objection to the world's oldest and largest secret society, a spokeswoman said Monday.

Pataki, who is a Catholic, was asked to join last September, but passed on the offer.  "In deference to his church, the invitation was respectfully declined," said Pataki spokeswoman, Lisa Dewald Stoll.

In an open letter published on the New York Mason's Web site, Grand Master Carl Fitje wrote that Pataki had accepted his offer to become a Master Mason. The induction was to take place at a June ceremony at the Grand Lodge in Manhattan.

Fitje praised Pataki for his leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center by activating the National Guard to protect vulnerable areas like airports, bridges, tunnels and waterways.  "He was instrumental in helping to restore calm and committing the total resources of New York state to New York City," Fitje wrote.

Stoll said Pataki was offered an invitation to join, but upon further review, declined the offer.

There was no immediate comment from the Masons Monday. The story was first reported by the New York Post.

Church officials historically have objected to an attitude among Masons regarded as anti-clerical. Pope Clement XII first expressed the church's opposition to them in a 1738 declaration.

More properly known as Freemasons, members of the secret fraternal societies guided by national Grand Lodges have a membership estimated at about 6 million worldwide. The principles of Freemasonry are brotherliness, charity and mutual aid.

April 20, 2003

Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes to Freemasons

By Chris Hastings and Elizabeth Day

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been forced to apologize to Britain's 330,000 Freemasons after he said that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and that he had rejected them from senior posts in his diocese.

Dr Williams has written to Robert Morrow, the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, in an attempt to defuse the row prompted by comments he made last year. In his letter, the Archbishop apologizes for the "distress" he caused and discloses that his own father was a member of the Craft.

Freemasons, many of whom are active members of the Church of England, reacted angrily to his disclosure that he "had real misgivings about the compatibility of Masonry and Christian profession" and by his admission that, as Bishop of Monmouth, he had blocked the appointment of Freemasons to senior appointments.

His comments about Freemasons were in a private letter leaked to the media shortly after Downing Street confirmed his appointment as head of the Church of England.

Subsequent attempts by his advisers to defuse the row only caused further offence. A spokesman said the Archbishop was worried about the ritual element of Freemasonry, which has been seen as "satanically inspired".

In his letter of apology, Dr Williams tries to distance himself from his own reported comments. He claims that his views were never meant to be public and were distorted by the media.

He wrote: "I have been sorry to learn of the distress of a considerable number of Freemasons... In replying to private correspondence, I had no intention of starting a public debate nor of questioning the good faith and generosity of individual Freemasons and I regret the tone and content of the media coverage."

He added: "The quoted statements about the 'satanic' character of the Masonic ceremonies and other matters did not come from me and do not represent my judgment. Since my late father was a member of the Craft for many years, I have had every opportunity of observing the probity of individual members."

Dr Williams does not, in his letter, deny that he has misgivings about the role of Freemasons within the Church.

He wrote: "Where anxieties exist, however, they are in relation not to Freemasonry but to Christian ministers subscribing to what could be and often is understood [or misunderstood] as a private system of profession and initiation, involving the taking of oaths of loyalty."

He ends his letter by stating that Freemasons' commitment to charity and the community is beyond question.