The Church and Freemasonry: the Secret February 16 Meeting in Milan

Chiesa e Massoneria: l’incontro del 16 febbraio a Milano
FONTE IMMAGINE: Il Fatto Quotidiano (https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/)
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By Roberto de Mattei

On Feb. 16, 2024, representatives of the main Italian Masonic lodges and a number of influential Catholic prelates gathered in Milan for a day of study. The seminar, sponsored at the Ambrosianum Foundation by the Gris (Group for Socio-Religious Research and Information), was attended by the three Grand Masters of Italian Freemasonry: Stefano Bisi for the Grand Orient of Italy (GOI), Luciano Romoli for the Grand Lodge of Italy of the ALAMs (GLDI,  and Fabio Venzi (in connection) for the Grand Regular Lodge of Italy (GLRI). On the Catholic side, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, former president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Franciscan theologian Father Zbigniew Suchecki, and Bishop Antonio Staglianò, president of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, participated in the meeting. Archbishop Delpini gave the opening address and Cardinal Coccopalmerio the closing one. The meeting was behind closed doors, but the relevance of the participants leaked its contents, which Riccardo Cascioli first brought to light in The New Daily Compass on Feb. 19.

On Feb. 20, the website of the Grand Orient of Italy in turn carried the full report of Grand Master Bisi, who has led Italy’s leading Masonic organization for ten years. “In the course of its more than 300 years of existence, no institution has been opposed, fought, misrepresented, besmirched, and so much feared as Universal Freemasonry,” Bisi said, criticizing for this the Catholic Church, “which has seen Freemasonry as a potential competitor in the spiritualization and elevation of Man,” but forgetting to say that it was precisely Freemasonry that has opposed, fought, misrepresented, and besmirched the Church over the past three centuries.

“Why is the Masonic lodge beautiful and why don’t church authorities like it?” explained Bisi: “Because under the same sky — which represents Creation — each man is a brother to the other, the bond of brotherhood is independent of faith. It is only necessary to believe in the Great Architect of the Universe. The starry sky is the same for the Buddhist, for the Catholic, for the Waldensian, for the Islamic, for all those who believe in a supreme being. (…) Absolute truths and walls of the mind do not belong to us and for us they must be torn down.”  For Bisi, who had the effrontery to ask the Pope to gather around the monument of the heretic and apostate Giordano Bruno, among the truths that must be torn down is, of course, the Catholic faith, which presents itself as absolute and universal. Bisi’s wish that it be “declared that membership in a Masonic lodge is reconcilable with membership in the Catholic faith,” is nothing more than a request to the Church to turn its back on its doctrine and join the Masonic, Gnostic and relativist Pantheon. And the fact that the Grand Master recalled the names of Cardinal Ravasi and Cardinal Martini as patrons confirms this impression.

Bisi recalled that Cardinal Martini “was at home” in Masonic circles and praised Cardinal Ravasi’s well-known article “Dear Brother Masons” published in Il Sole24Ore on Feb. 14, 2016. Their pioneering work seems to want to be carried on by Cardinal Coccopalmerio who, in the Milan seminar, said, among other things, “Fifty years ago there was less knowledge but things have moved on and I hope that these meetings do not stop here. I wonder if we cannot think of a permanent panel, even at the level of authorities, to discuss things better.”

Archbishop Staglianò for his part criticized the Nov. 13, 2023 document of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández and approved ex audientia, by Pope Francis, according to which it is forbidden for Catholics to join Masonic lodges, “because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry.” This document confirms the Church’s centuries-old condemnation, which apparently was only recalled during the seminar by Father Zbigniew Suchecki. But we will have to wait for the publication of all the speeches to be able to make an accurate judgment on the proceedings.

What is certain is that, according to the Grand Lodge of Italy of the ALAM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons), the meeting “culminated in a unanimous consensus on the advisability of establishing a permanent discussion panel.”

It is worth mentioning at this point that relativism constitutes the soul of Freemasonry, although it does not encapsulate its entire essence. Freemasonry, in fact, presumes to be a “universal religion,” the repository of a secret of which the Freemason gradually becomes aware through the rites, symbols, and texts he assimilates, but also through the atmosphere he breathes in the lodges in which he is placed.

It should be added that there is no such thing as a “bad,” atheistic, and anticlerical Freemasonry, and a “good” “religious” and “spiritualist” Freemasonry, as one often hears people repeat, distinguishing between the Latin (left-wing) and the Anglo-American (right-wing) Freemasonry. In reality, in all lodges, the first degrees are overlaid with Masonic High Degree systems called “Rites,” which are characterized by magical and “Kabbalistic” content. Not all affiliates of Freemasonry know its ultimate ends, learned only from the initiated to the highest degrees, who swear, under penalty of death, not to reveal them, but behind the different rites and obediences, there is the same worldview, diametrically opposed to that of the Catholic Church. Jean-Claude Lozac’hmeur’s studies on the occult origins of Freemasonry show that it inherits faith and customs from Gnosticism (Fils de la veuve: essai sur le symbolisme maçonnique, Éditions Sainte Jeanne d’Arc, Chiré 1990), and Father Paolo Siano has devoted in-depth studies to Masonic Luciferism, refuting the thesis of those who believe that it is cultivated only by “fringe,” i.e., marginal, Freemasonry, but is alien to regular Freemasonry (Studi vari sulla Libera Muratoria, Casa Mariana Editrice, Frigento 2012). 

Father Siano himself, who has devoted many essays to Freemasonry, including recent ones, in “Corrispondenza Romana,” in a polite controversy with Gaetano Masciullo, author of La tiara e la loggia. Freemasonry versus the Church (Faith and Culture, Verona 2023), showed that Freemasonry is far from declining, but is still alive and operational (https://www.fidescatholica.com/1828-2/ and https://www.corrispondenzaromana.it/in-merito-alla-mia-recensione-al-libro-la-tiara-e-la-loggiadi-g-masciullo-e-la-replica-dellautore/).

The danger is to divert attention away from Freemasonry in order to pursue forms of neo-complottery, which denounce the action of “plutocratic elites,” and “Cabals” of different kinds, forgetting the presence of what Leo XIII, in his encyclical Custodi di quella fede of December 8, 1892, calls “a sect which after nineteen centuries of Christian civilization strives to bring down the Catholic Church.” If Freemasonry no longer poses a threat, even meetings like the one in Milan find their own reason to take place.

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