Thursday, June 23, 2016

Masonic Associations

It has come to my attention that many Catholics who are otherwise faithful Catholics are unaware of the official position of the Catholic Church that not only are faithful Catholics not to associate (to become members) of any Masonic associations (including Shriners) but they are not to participate in Communion if they do join a masonic group.  The seriousness of this association is so severe that we are to avoid receiving the Eucharist as if they had performed a mortal sin.

Below is the entire document explaining the Church’s position on this situation written because of the many confusions on why the most recent Code of Canon law seemed to have changed its position from the previous years and centuries.

This document can be found at the Vatican website located at the address below or one can simply do a Google search with the terms “Masonic Associations Vatican” the first link should be the actual document in question,

This most recent and official declaration on this subject was written by Joseph Card. RATZINGER who later became Pope Benedict XVI and was ratified, ie accepted, by Saint Pope John Paul II.  Please pay particular attention to the highlighted areas.


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 in 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 association 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; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 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, 26 November 1983.

Joseph Card. RATZINGER

God Bless

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Questions and Answers

Q. Do stories of evil acts in the Bible necessarily mean that that the Bible is an “evil book” or take away from its overall truth as the word of God?


A. Just because the Bible records an act, that doesn’t mean God recommends it. The Bible is not evil because of the evil deeds it describes any more than high school history textbooks are anti-Semitic because they document the Holocaust. For example, Exodus 21:18 describes what should happen “if men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but keeps his bed.” Clearly the sacred author is not commanding people to hit each other in the head with rocks. He is just giving sound advice about what should be done if something like this happens. Likewise, Exodus 21:10 and Deuteronomy 21:15 both describe a man with two wives and how he should treat his wives and children, but the texts don’t recommend marrying two women in the first place.

Q. Many accuse the Bible of being “anti-woman,” probably more so in the current social and political climate. Does this claim have any legitimacy?


A.  It’s true that women had less rights in the ancient world than they do today, but the Bible is testament to God’s plan for equality amongst the sexes. For example, Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” It is not simply biological males who share in the image and likeness of God; women, too, share this honor. In fact, God’s eternal wisdom is personified as a woman (see Proverbs 8).


 Also, women often served God’s purposes by being the heroes in salvation history who paved the way for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus’ genealogy includes Tamar, who outwitted her uncle Judah and exposed his moral hypocrisy; Rahab, who protected the Israelite spies and allowed them to conquer Jericho; Ruth, who courageously left her Moabite heritage and became an Israelite; and Bathsheba, who secured Solomon’s succession to David’s throne.


 Let’s not forget the other women in Israel’s history, like Deborah, who led Israel to victory against the Canaanites; Judith and Esther, who saved the Jews from extermination; and of course, Mary, the Mother of God, who the Bible says all generations will call “blessed” (Luke 1:48). No other man in the Bible, save for her son Jesus Christ, is given such an honorific title.

Q. Would you say that most of the internal difficulties or contradictions that people find in the Bible are a result of the manner in which they read the Bible?


A. Most of the internal difficulties arise when people think the Bible is written in the genre of a newspaper or a courtroom transcript and so every detail needs to correspond exactly. However, in the ancient world authors could vary secondary details in an account in order to meet the needs of their audience. For example, consider what God says at Jesus’ baptism. In Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, God says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." But in Matthew 3:17 God says, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." So which is it? Did God say, “You are my beloved son” or “This is my beloved son?”


 All three evangelists agree that at this event God publicly revealed himself to be the father of Jesus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke differ only in the words they used to describe that revelation. Matthew chose to emphasize how this message affected the crowd, whereas Mark and Luke emphasized how the message affected Jesus. There is no contradiction, because all three writers are asserting the same truth—that Jesus is God’s Son—but they do so in different ways.

Got to for more

God Bless

Friday, June 10, 2016

Enabled Life

2 Samuel 12: 7–1013

In this Sunday’s readings we are like the fallen king, David, and the woman who weeps at Jesus’ feet.

Like David, the Lord has rescued us from sin and death, anointed us with His Spirit in baptism and in confirmation. He has made us heirs of His promise to the children of Israel.

And like David, and like the woman in the Gospel, we fall into sin. Our crimes may not be as grave as David’s (see 2 Samuel 11:1–26) or as “many” as that woman’s (see Luke 7:47).

But we often squander the great gift of salvation we’ve been given. Often we fail to live up to the great calling of being sons and daughters of God.

The good news of today’s readings, the good news of Jesus Christ, is that we can return to God in the sacrament of confession. Each of us can repeat Paul’s wondrous words in this week’s Epistle: “The Son of God has loved me and given himself up for me.”

Our faith will save us, as Jesus tells the woman today. Our faith that no matter how many our sins, or how serious, if we come to him in true sorrow and repentance we will hear his words of forgiveness. Like David. Like the woman in the Gospel this Sunday.

We hear David’s heartfelt confession in the First Reading. The Psalmist, too, confesses his sins to God. And we hear our Lord’s tender words of mercy and pardon in the Gospel.

By His word of healing and his promise of peace, He makes it possible for us to join Him at the banquet table of the Eucharist.

We can’t be like the Pharisee in the Gospel. We should never disdain the sinner or doubt the Lord’s power to convert even the worst of sinners.

Instead, we should pledge today to better imitate that sinful woman. In gratitude for the debt we’ve been forgiven, let us promise to live by faith and for God alone. Like her, let us devote our lives to serving Him with great love.

Yours in Christ,
Scott Hahn, PhD

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Restored Life

Restored to Life:
Scott Hahn Reflects on the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time


1 Kings 17-17-24

Jesus in today’s Gospel meets a funeral procession coming out of the gates of the town of Nain.  Unlike when he raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) or Lazarus (John 11), no one requests his assistance.  Moved by compassion for the widow who had lost her only son, Jesus steps forward and, laying his hand on the bier, commands him to arise.

The onlookers were reminded of the story of Elijah in the first reading who raised the dead child of the widow of Zarephath and “gave him [back] to his mother.”  They proclaimed that “a great prophet has arisen in our midst.”

Jesus of course is more than a prophet; he is the ruler over life and death.  In the Mosaic law, contact with a dead body renders an Israelite unclean for a week (Numbers 19:11-19).  Jesus’ touch and word reverses that; instead of being defiled by contact with death, he gave life.

Like the physical healings that he performed, Jesus’ raising people from the dead is a sign of the Messiah’s arrival (Luke 7:22).  But it is more than that; these healings are visible signs of the awakening and liberating of men from the spiritual death caused by sin (see Mark 2:1-12).

The Church Fathers return to this theme again and again.  St. Ambrose writes, “the widow signifies Mother Church, weeping for those who are dead in sin and carried beyond the safety of her gates.  The multitudes looking on will praise the Lord when sinners rise again from death and are restored to their mother.”

When we are dead in sin, it is the outstretched hand and the words of Christ spoken by his priest that raise us from spiritual death and restore us to the arms of our mother, the Church.  With the Psalmist, then, we can sing “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.  You brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from those going down into the pit."

Yours in Christ,
Scott Hahn, PhD