Papal Condemnations of Freemasonry
Pope Leo XII 1823-1829
Pope Leo XII 1823-1829
Soon after his election as Pope on March 13, 1825, Leo XII published his Encyclical "Quo Graviora" condemning the Society called Freemasonry, as well as all other Secret Societies. In this Encyclical he first of all, republished the Constitutions of Popes Clement XII, Benedict XIV and Pius VII. Their appeal had remained fruitless as far as the various governments were concerned and Pope Leo XII wrote:
"We have endeavored to discover the state, number and influence of secret societies and We easily have been able to acknowledge that, if only due to the number of new sects which have joined them, their audacity has increased. The Sect known under the name of "L'universitaire" has especially drawn Our attention: It has established a center in several Universities where young men, instead of receiving the correct teaching are perverted by a few teachers who are initiates of certain Mysteries which might be called Mysteries of Iniquity and are trained to commit crimes."
Let us note that Pope Leo XII was afraid of the masonic penetration in public school teaching and seemed to foresee the devastation that the "One School" would rapidly inflict upon both the Church and society at large.
Leo XII, in summing up the harm caused by clandestine sects, so evident in works written by their members, wrote:
"They have dared publish works on Religion and Affairs of State, they have exposed their contempt for authority, their hatred of Sovereignty, their attacks against the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the very existence of God: They openly vaunt their materialism as well as their codes and statutes which explain their plans and efforts in order to overthrow the legitimate Heads of State and completely destroy the Church.
"What is definitely ascertained is that those different sects, despite the diversity of their names, are all united and linked by the similarity of their infamous plans."
Thus speaking, Pope Leo XII, considered he was accomplishing his duty as Supreme Pontiff and he wrote further, this page, which thoroughly throws light on our actual situation:
"Let us use the words of our predecessor, Pope Clement XIII, in his Encyclical Letter of September 14, 1758, addressed to all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic Church, in which he said:
'I entreat you to become penetrated of the Strength of the Spirit of God, His Intelligence and His Virtue, in order to escape being likened to the mute dogs who, unable to bark, leave Our flocks exposed to the voracity of beasts roaming the fields. Let nothing stop Us, in the fulfillment of Our duty which enjoins Us to suffer all kinds of combats for the Glory of God and the salvation of souls. Let Us constantly keep before Our eyes the picture of HIM who, during HIS lifetime, was also exposed to the opposition of sinners. If we allow ourselves to be shaken by the audacity of evildoers it will be the end of eposcopal strength, the end also of the sublime and divine authority of the Church: moreover, let us abandon even the thought of being Christians if we have reached the point of trembling before the threats or the traps laid for us by perverts'."
Leo XII ends this magnificent Encyclical anathematizing Freemasons and writing:
"Those men are like those to whom, according to Saint John, the Apostle, hospitality and greetings should be denied. (Second Epistle of St. John, V. 10). They are the same men whom our Fathers, without hesitation, termed the first-born of the devil."