Papal Condemnations of Freemasonry

Pope Clement XII 1730-1740

Pope Clement XII 1730-1740


Pope Clement XII 1730-1740

Founded in 1717, modern speculative Masonry took on its actual form following the publication by Anderson, a clergyman, of the "Constitutions" in 1723. Fifteen years later, on April 28, 1738, Pope Clement XII in his Pontifical Constitution "In Eminenti" condemned Freemasonry as being Counter-Church and Counter-State. It was the Pontifical reply. Failure to heed it, whether partial or general, by the Church and the State of those days, seems to us as the primordial cause of all our political and religious present day turmoil.

Thus said Pope Clement XII:

"Let us meditate upon the serious evils which are usually the result of those kinds of Societies or centers, not only concerning the peace of temporal States, but still more as regards the salvation of souls. Those Societies are not in agreement with the civil and economic laws of the States."

"In order to close the widely open road to iniquities which might be committed with impunity and also for other reasons, just and reasonable, that have come to our knowledge . . . We have resolved and decreed to condemn and forbid such Societies, assemblies, reunions, conventions, aggregations or meetings called either Freemasonic or known under some other denomination. We condemn and forbid them by this, our present constitution, which is to be considered valid for ever."

However, not only is the condemnation by Pope Clement XII extended to Masonic Sects, but it applies also to all the laymen who, although they are not members of Societies called Freemasonic, favor them, in any manner, thus: "We command to the faithful to abstain from intercourse with those societies . . . in order to avoid excommunication, which will be the penalty imposed upon all those contravening to this, our order. None, except at the point of death, could be absolved of this sin except by us or the then existing Roman Pontiff."

The Constitution "In Eminenti" was extended throughout all the Papal States by Cardinal Ferrao's Edict of January 14th, 1739.

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Pope Clement XII 1730-1740

Pope Benedict XIV 1740-1758

Pope Clement XIII 1758-1769

Pope Pius VI 1795-1799

Pope Pius VII 1800-1823

Pope Leo XII 1823-1829

Pope Pius VIII 1829-1830

Pope Gregory XVI 1831-1846

Pope Pius IX 1848-1878

Pope Leo XIII 1878-1903

Pope Pius X 1903-1914

Pope Benedict XV 1914-1922

Pope Pius XI 1922

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