Catholic Cardinal and Masonic Lodge Master (at least honorary)
(Rom) Gianfranco Ravasi has been a Cardinal of the Catholic Church since 2010. Since March 2016 he has also been an honorary Masonic Grandmaster. Thanks to the Grand Lodge of Spain for a letter which the Cardinal sent last February to "dear Brother Freemasons."
Just weeks after Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, addressed his letter to the Lodges, these have shown themselves to be pleased by the recognition shown them by the prominent ecclesiastical figure, and at the highest levels.
For the beaproned brothers, "the Cardinal's words are a recognition of our noble goals," so says the Grand Lodge.
"Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity, even if Cardinal Ravasi calls himself 'honorable Brother Gianfranco,' in order to build a bridge to the Lodge," writes news site InfoVaticana.
Ravasi's letter which was originally published on14. February in the business newspaper Il Sole 24, was an appeal to overcome the centuries of confrontation between the Church and the Lodge.
The letter did not call into question the numerous condemnations by the Church, not even the statements of incompatibility by the Magisterium and the ban on Lodge membership in the Codex of Canom Law, explicitly in 1917, implicitly in the 1983. Cardinal Ravasi wrote however :
"These various declarations of incompatibility between the two affiliations of the Church and the Lodge do not impede dialogue."
At the same time he mentioned the dialogue of the German bishops with the Lodges in the 1970s. Because, so says the Cardinal, there are commonalities, "like the dimension of community, good will, the battle against materialism, the worth of the human person and learning about one another."
Cardinal Ravasi did not mention that a Catholic who is the member of a Lodge is in serious sin. And automatically excluded from the Sacraments.
The answer of the Grand Lodge in Spain
The Grand Lodge of Spain is one of the most influential Masonic associations in the Iberian peninsula answered the "honorable Brother Gianfranco." This is the manner that the aproned brothers address each other, as soon as they have stood initiation. The Cardinal's letter ships "great courage," said the Grand Lodge.
The honorary mention went so far as to actually recognize Cardinal Ravasi as "Master" and imply that he is an initiate. The "Master" is a Lodge Brother who has presided directly over a Lodge, and directs their work. In the last passage of the Grand Lodge's letter it reads:
"The Cardinalhas extended his brotherly hand in which he called us brothers. It's a relationship in which anyone can participate, when they enter our Order. The dear brother initiate strives for virtue as in every mystery school, of which the Master embraces. The mystery schools seek the self-transformation of each one who strives for the higher. If the initiate is accepted and elected as a master, to lead the work of the Lodge, to which he is called by all, he ceases to be addressed as dear brother. His new treatment, as honorable brother, means re same for the Church as it does for the Freemasonry: he is someone of wise and flawless good. That is the freemasonic ideal. Honorable brother Gianfranco, thank you for the courageous gesture, which has opened a space for brotherly harmony. Like all of the worthy, you call into labor."