You are correct, they are a bad apple to stay away from. In an
article about Lincoln, Nebraska's new bishop: Fabian Bruskewitz, which I found
on catholic.com, by Karl Keating, he said:
As reported in this issue's Dragnet column, Bishop
Bruskewitz has declared that Catholics can't participate in certain
organizations. Membership in them is incompatible with membership
in the Catholic Church. Among the off-limits groups are, on the
left side of the spectrum:
- Call to Action
- Catholics for a Free
- Planned Parenthood, and
- the Hemlock Society.
Call to Action, which has been mentioned in "Dragnet" repeatedly,
rejects Catholic sexual standards, lobbies for priestesses, and
encourages do-it-yourself liturgical innovations. It's probably
fair to say that the organization is not identifiably Christian,
let alone Catholic.
Catholics for a Free Choice is a minuscule pro-abortion group
funded by big
pro-abortion and anti-Catholic foundations. The word Catholic in
its name is misapplied, of course.
Planned Parenthood, in many of it chapters, features nominal Catholics
in positions of leadership. While claiming to promote responsible
parenthood through sex education and contraceptives, Planned
Parenthood is really one of the largest abortion providers and
referrers in the country.
The Hemlock Society advocates euthanasia and so is to the end
of life what Planned Parenthood and Catholics for a Free Choice
are to the start of life.
These were not the only groups mentioned by Bishop Bruskewitz.
He also listed one group on the right end of the spectrum:
Society of St. Pius X, and
- its St. Michael the Archangel Chapel.
The SSPX is an independent order established by the late Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated for ordaining bishops without
papal approval. Many people who adhere to the SSPX reject all aspects
of Vatican II; some even doubt the validity of the current papacy.
Bishop Bruskewitz also forbade membership in Freemasonry and its
men's, women's, and young people's auxiliaries, including:
- De Molay
- Rainbow Girls
- Eastern Star, and
- Job's Daughters.
For two centuries
popes have written that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity
because Freemasonry is itself a kind of religion that undermines
the faith. You can be a Freemason or a Catholic, the popes have
said, but you can't be both.
And under quick
questions I found:
Question: What is the Catholic Church's official
position on Freemasonry?
Are Catholics free to become Freemasons?
Answer: Freemasonry is incompatible with the
Catholic faith. Freemasonry teaches a naturalistic religion that
espouses indifferentism, the position that a person can be equally
pleasing to God while remaining in any religion.
Masonry is a parallel religion to Christianity. The New Catholic
"Freemasonry displays all the elements
of religion, and as such it becomes a rival to the religion of
the Gospel. It includes temples and altars, prayers, a moral code,
worship, vestments, feast days, the promise of reward or punishment
in the afterlife, a hierarchy, and initiation and burial rites" (Volume
6, p. 137).
Masonry is also a secret society. Its initiates subscribe to secret
blood oaths that are contrary to Christian morals. The prospective
Mason swears that if he ever reveals the secrets of Masonry - secrets
which are trivial and already well-known - he wills to be subject
to self-mutilation or to gruesome execution. (Most Masons, admittedly,
never would dream of carrying out these punishments on themselves
or on an errant member).
Historically, one of Masonry's primary objectives has been the
destruction of the Catholic Church; this is especially true of
Freemasonry as it has existed in certain European countries. In
the United States, Freemasonry is often little more than a social
club, but it still espouses a naturalistic religion that contradicts
orthodox Christianity. (Those interested in joining a men's club
should consider the Knights of Columbus instead.)
The Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on Catholics
who become Freemasons. The penalty of excommunication for joining
the Masonic Lodge was explicit in the 1917 code of canon law (canon
2335), and it is implicit in the 1983 code (canon 1374).
Because the revised code of canon law is not explicit on this
point, some drew the mistaken conclusion that the Church's prohibition
of Freemasonry had been dropped. As a result of this confusion,
shortly before the 1983 code was promulgated, the Sacred Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement indicating that
the penalty was still in force. This statement was dated November 26, 1983 and may be found in Origins 13/27 (November 15, 1983), 450.
As the Catholic Answers article suggested, for any Catholic thinking of joining the Masons or who is currently a Mason but wishes to be one with the Catholic Church, we believe the Church would recommend leaving the Masons and joining the Knights of Columbus, a great organization.
Hope this helps,