The Roman Catholic Church has prohibited its believers from forming part of Freemasonry since “In Eminenti Apostulatus” a Papal ban implemented in 1738 (Bishop, Clement, “In Eminenti”, Rome City, 1738, www.freemasonry.bcy.ca/antimasonry.html, web). Under the reign of Pope Clement XII, the Roman Catholic Church started what would turn into the strongest opposition that the oldest secret society of human history would have to face. Freemasonry attracted the Church’s attention due to its secret nature and growing influence among powerful groups around Europe. It was the peak of an era in which the Church was universal and in all of its glory, capable of controlling the lives of peasants, nobles, lords and even kings. The Catholic Church as any other superpower during history; manipulated the strings of the upper classes between Europe to secure its position at the top of food the chain. Consequently, Freemasonry was nearly abolished in 1738 by theocratic governments such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, which tried to extinguish the society. A great part of the Church’s campaign was based on disgracing and staining Freemasonry alleging irreconcilable political and religious differences. However, as it will be further demonstrated Freemasonry and Catholicism are not incompatible institutions.
The Original institution of Freemasonry or Free Stone Masonry (Freemasons is the contracted form of the original name) is acknowledged among non-members to be one of the most mysterious secrets carefully hidden from the outside world. In London, approximately 1212 AD, the earliest official report of the word “Free Stone” was written in Latin as “Sculptores Liberorum” which means “Sculptors of Freestone” (Prescott, Andrew, “The Earliest Use of the Word Freemason”, Scotland, Grand Lodge, 2004, web article). The origin of Freemasonry in Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh at 1440 AD is considered highly controversial among modern members of the society. Lastly, there is a theory, sometimes called legend by the skeptics, which states that Freemasonry dates back to the building of King Solomon’s Temple in Israel, one thousand years before the Christian era and it is also allegedly the most ancient construction ever created by the secret society.
Freemasons were originally skilled and dedicated architects, workers and sculptors. They would traditionally build an annex right next to the construction they were working on, to keep their instruments and other possessions. Freemasons would also use these annexes to eat during the designated hour of midday meal and these annexes were supposedly the first form of what modern freemasonry calls a “lodge”, however no freemason was permitted to sleep inside them.
The first form of the society also had rules, which were expected by every member to be followed. “First of all came the mason’s duty to God; he must believe in the doctrines of the Catholic Church, and must reject all heresies. Next came his duty to the King, whose sovereignty and laws he must at all time obey. Third was his duty to his employer, the master mason for whom an apprenticed stonemason worked. His must not betray his master’s secrets; he must not seduce his master’s wife, daughter, or maidservant; he must not ‘maintain any disobedient argument’ with his master, his dame, or any freemason. Then there were the general moral duties.” (Ridley, Jasper, “The Freemason a history of the worlds most powerful secret society”, New York City, Arcade Publishing, 2011, Text). These were the original laws within the society until the famous animosity between King Henry VIII of England and the Pope started. Making illegal and punishable by death to follow the Catholic Church teachings in England. Consequently, the Mason’s society was compelled to obey and embrace England’s King divinity and authority over the Catholic Church in order to avoid being hanged, burned or castrated. Afterwards came the protestant “revolution”...