Pope Francis and the Freemasons
Why does Freemasonry – an organization condemned by the Catholic Church – openly support Pope Francis? In an unprecedented development, for the first time in history, this organization, labelled by previous pontiffs as the “synagogue of Satan”, is openly welcoming and embracing the Roman Catholic Pontiff. Pope Francis’ election sparked an almost jubilant outpouring of support and welcome from Freemasons around the world. In fact, as reported by the Masonic Press Agency , several Grand Lodges in Latin America, Europe and Asia simultaneously welcomed the election of the new Catholic Pope – unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church. Moreover, it is worthy of mention that freemasons have attended his his enthronement ceremony, as reported by the Masonic Times:
Many of those attending the important event (both social and ecumenical – due to Patriarch Bartholomew’s presence and of that of other Orthodox Churches ) were there as Ambassadors, Heads of State (Sovereigns and Presidents) and Government etc. Also the Grand Master of Malta was there, as the Sovereign Order of Malta is part of Rome’s Chivalric Orders. Of all those in St. Peter’s square one of the guests (head of state) is Most Worshipful Grand Master of a Grand Lodge. 
The Italian Freemasons Have Great Sympathy Towards Pope Francis
The Italian Freemasons congratulated him immediately the day after his election. In fact, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy expressed his joy regarding the election of Pope Francis. On March 14, 2013, the day after the pope’s inauguration, with seemingly uncanny prophetic foresight, Italian Grandmaster of Freemasonry Gustavo Raffi said that “nothing will be as it was before”:
With Pope Francis, nothing will be as it was before. It is a clear choice of fraternity for a Church of dialogue, which is not contaminated by the logic and temptations of temporal power.
A man of the poor far away from the Curia. Fraternity and the desire to dialogue were his first concrete words. Perhaps nothing in the Church will be as it was before. Our hope is that the pontificate of Francis, the Pope who ‘comes from the end of the world’ can mark the return to the Church-Word instead of the Church-Institution, promoting an open dialogue with the contemporary world, with believers and non-believers, following the springtime of Vatican II. These were the comments of Gustavo Raffi, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, at the beginning of the pontificate of Francis, in the world Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Jesuit who is close to the least ones of history,” Raffi continues, “has the great opportunity to show the world the face of a Church that must recover the announcement of a new humanity, not the weight of an institution that closes itself off in defense of its own privileges. Bergoglio knows real life and will remember the lesson of one of his favorite theologians, Romano Guardini, for whom the truth of love cannot be stopped.
The simple cross he wore on his white cassock,” concludes the Grand Master of Palazzo Giustiniani, “lets us hope that a Church of the people will re-discover its capacity to dialogue with all men of good will and with Freemasonry, which, as the experience of Latin America teaches us, works for the good and progress of humanity, as shown by Bolivar, Allende and José Martí, to name only a few. This is the ‘white smoke’ that we expect from the Church of our times. 
The Freemasons from Argentina also Have Great Affection for Pope Francis
The Grand Lodge of Argentina officially welcomed the election of Pope Francis. Argentinian Grand Master Angel Jorge Clavero said:
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, an institution rooted in our country since 1857, salutes the naming of our co-patriot Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. A man of austere life consecrated to his devotions, the designation of the new pontiff of the Catholic Church supposes a great recognition of the Argentine Nation…In the name of all, the Grand Lodge of Argentina greets our co-patriot Cardinal who just received such a high world distinction. 
Last March 13, the members of the College of Cardinals who were gathered in Vatican City elected the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope of the Catholic Church. Bergoglio, who took the name of Francis after his election, is the first American to occupy this office; he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires before his election. The naming of the new pontiff motivated a communiqué by the Grand Lodge of Argentina, which was diffused by Impulso Baires on the same day of Pope Francis’ election. Its text follows:
A man of austere life consecrated to his devotions, the designation of the new pontiff of the Catholic Church supposes a great recognition of the Argentine Nation. In the Argentine Freemasonry, based on the principles of tolerance, profound respect for personal convictions, liberty, equality and fraternity, the brothers who profess or adhere to this religious faith stand together with others who belong to other creeds, are agnostics or lack any faith. In the name of all, the Grand Lodge of Argentina greets our co-patriot Cardinal who just received such a high world distinction. – Angel Jorge Clavero – Grand Master 
The Grand Lodge of the Phillipines Welcomes Pope Francis
During the January trip of Pope Francis to the Philippines, among the groups who welcomed him was the Grand Lodge of Masons, who bought a full page ad in the January 16, 2015 edition of the leading newspaper in the country, the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
Pope Francis Mentioned the Existence of a Masonic Lobby in the Vatican
The media continued its adulation of Pope Francis by hailing his pronouncement that gays are OK as long as they’re chaste and unmarried. Fewer noted that, since all public positions of power and authority in the Church are held by clerics, Francis’ denial of ordination to women maintains their second-class status.  Somewhat lost among all the commentary about what the Pope had to say about homosexuality in that press conference, is his passing reference to another ‘lobby’ that may or may not be at work in the Vatican. “The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter. There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me,” he said. The idea that there is a lobby (or to be more accurate, a secret society, which is what the Italians intend by their use of the word) of masons at work in the Vatican, is an old one. What Pope Francis meant by “Masonic lobbies” is a decades-old conspiracy theory advanced by rightwing Catholics that “behind every Democrat, every liberal, every progressive” are secretive and cunning Masons who want to destroy the Church and rule the world.  Pope Francis’ thoughts about “Masonic lobbies” can be inferred because first, based on the interview, he considers that they are a reality, that they are a malevolent influence and that they are important enough to mention. Secondly, Francis has ties to the ultraconservative Communion and Liberation, one of the global Catholic movements which want to “return the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.” Those who base their political and cultural ideas on “human values” rather than a belief in Jesus Christ “are considered ‘enemies of CL.’” 
Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, alluded to this when he declared that reports questioning Bergoglio’s role during Argentina’s military dictatorship came from “anti-clerical leftwing elements that are used to attacking the Church.”  At one time or another several leading persons in the Vatican have been denounced as masons, including Cardinal Villot (Paul VI’s Secretary of State) and Mgr Annibale Bugnini, the famous liturgist.  If there is a masonic lobby in the Vatican, it could mean that there are Deists in the Vatican – people with a watered down version of the Church, religious indifferentists, people who no longer believe in the efficacy of the sacraments except as pieces of theatre, certainly not outward signs of inward grace. These sort of people would see the Church’s utility as that of an NGO like the UN. It is to be noted that the Pope has constantly warned of the desacralisation of the Church, and its turning into an NGO. Is he warning us against the agenda of the masonic lobby?  Secondly, the masonic lobby, if it exists, could be the lobby of Italian big business and Italian banking. As such it might have an interest in the way the Vatican bank is run; or it could be trying to undermine the Church’s social teaching. It could – historically – have been steering the Vatican away from compromises with the Italian left, the traditional enemy of the masons. There again, the lobby could be a combination of both of the above. That is a truly frightening thought. 
Freemasonry is “The Synagogue of Satan” and is Anathema to the Catholic Faith
Most English people would laugh at the idea of a masonic mafia at work in the Vatican. Unfortunately, this idea is more serious than we’d like it to be. Masonry is far from harmless. There is a strong belief – on what evidence is not clear – that Continental masonry is markedly different from the British variety. While the British masons are supposed to be well represented in the police and the courts, Italian masonry is strongly identified with big business and banking, and the powerful secretive elites that are supposed to be the ‘real’ government of the country. Masonry is also seen as strongly anti-clerical; thus a masonic lobby in the Vatican would be opposed to virtually everything the Church stands for, and a real enemy within.  What are the beliefs of the masons? Masonry has its roots in the Scottish Enlightenment and the first masons came to England in the train of King James VI and I. The claims that masonry has its origins in the medieval guilds or in the builders of the Temple of Solomon are not historically sustainable. The programme of masonry, if it can be called such, is nothing more than Deism, the belief that while God exists, He does not intervene in the world, and the well-being of the world is not dependant on grace (the existence of which is denied) but on human rational progress and “science”. 
On December 8, 1869, the International Congress of Freemasons imposed it as a duty on all its members to do all in their power to wipe out Catholicity from the face of the earth. Cremation was proposed as a suitable means to this end, since it was calculated to gradually undermine the faith of the people in ‘the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.'” –Fr. John Laux, Catholic Morality (1932), p. 106
Seek out the Pope of whom we give the portrait. You wish to establish the reign of the elect upon the throne of the prostitute of Babylon? Let the clergy march under your banner in the belief always that they march under the banner of the Apostolic Keys. You wish to cause the last vestige of tyranny and of oppression to disappear? Lay your nets like Simon Barjona. Lay them in the depths of sacristies, seminaries, and convents, rather than in the depths of the sea, and if you will precipitate nothing you will give yourself a draught of fishes more miraculous than his. The fisher of fishes will become a fisher of men. You will bring yourselves as friends around the Apostolic Chair. You will have fished up a Revolution in Tiara and Cope, marching with Cross and banner – a Revolution which needs only to be spurred on a little to put the four quarters of the world on fire.” –Secret Masonic Document “Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita”, leaked to the Vatican and ordered published by Pope Pius IX
It is worth reminding the reader that for the Catholic Church, membership in freemasonry means automatic excommunication. Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on November 26, 1983, emphasized:
The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion…. Consequently, neither the excommunication nor the other penalties envisaged have been abrogated.
Numerous popes have condemned freemasonry throughout the ages. Pope Leo XIII called freemasonry the “synagogue of Satan”. In his letter to the Italian people dated December 8, 1892, Leo XIII writes:
Let us remember that Christianity and Freemasonry are essentially incompatible, to such an extent, that to become united with one means being divorced from the other. Let us, therefore, expose Freemasonry as the enemy of God, of the Church and of our Motherland.
Pope Leo XIII goes more into the details in his Encyclical Humanum Genus:
We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is; and by sermons and pastoral letters to instruct the people as to the artifices used by societies of this kind in seducing men and enticing them into their ranks, and as to the depravity of their opinions and the wickedness of their acts. As Our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them. Let no one be deceived by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these men or in any way to help them cannot be lawful.” –Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Humanum Genus (1884), par. 31
In 1917, the Code of Canon Law, the law of the Church, Section 2335, said, “Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur ipso facto an excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.” When the Code of Canon Law was updated in 1983, Section 1374, in place of the older 2335, said, “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.” 
Because the word “Masonic” had been dropped in the 1983 code there was some confusion about whether the canon law still applied to such groups. In response, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations. Issued on Nov. 26, 1983, it states, “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.” The Declaration further says, “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.” At the time, Card. Ratzinger served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II.