The Masons, Opus Dei, and the Pope?

Q: A Protestant friend told me that Opus Dei is a branch of the Masonic Lodges, that the Holy Father belongs to Opus Dei (making him also a Mason), and that it therefore is no longer forbidden for Catholics to be Masons. This sounds far-fetched to me. What can I answer to my friend?

A: First of all, this is a totally bizarre claim. Opus Dei and the Masons are two completely separate organizations. Not only are they separate organizationally, but they are separate ideologically. Opus Dei is a very orthodox Catholic organization which is committed to the proposition that the Catholic Church is the one true Church and that all people are called by God to join it. The Masons are a pan-religious group that is committed to the proposition of indifferentism–that it doesn’t matter what religion one belongs to so long as one is a moral person.

Saying that Opus Dei is a branch of the Masons is, to anyone who knows the two organizations, even more absurd than saying the Republican Party is a branch of the Democratic Party or that the American Medical Association is a branch of the tobacco lobby. The two groups are totally at odds.

Second, the pope is not a member of Opus Dei. He is not a member of it any more than of the other organizations within the Church that report to him and on which he has conferred special rights and responsibilities.

Third, a Catholic still cannot be a Mason. The Vatican has ruled on this definitively. See the file on this subject on my web page.

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