It’s an interesting question that will have different answers depending upon who you ask. If you were to seek counsel from your priest or anyone from within the Catholic church, they will tell you that you’re not permitted to become a Mason.
In fact, Catholics have been banned from joining since 1738 and since then, no fewer than eleven popes have publicly denounced Freemasonry and warned members of their congregation from joining the Craft.
Why is this the case?
Well, the Catholic church has long been an outspoken critic of Freemasonry. While their dislike of the Craft is complex, it stems from the fact that Freemasonry advocates a deist or naturalist view of creation, and talks of a Supreme Being, rather than the Abrahamic God.
Freemasonry is tolerant of people from all religions and their belief in the existence of any deity is acceptable, should they wish to join a lodge. For Catholics, this is sacrilege, as they believe their God to be the only God.
To the Catholic church, therefore, Masonry is incompatible with Catholic teachings. It is perhaps for this main reason that they have taken such a firm stance against Freemasonry and prohibit their members from joining the Craft.
But what about the Masonic position? Are Catholics permitted to join?
Absolutely. Freemasonry prides itself on being an open, inclusive organisation that welcomes people from all belief systems and backgrounds. Catholics are welcomed into the fraternity, just like Protestants, Muslims, and people with any other religious faith for that matter.
To bring the question back into focus, you can see that the answer is somewhat of a contradiction. Catholics are welcome to join Freemasonry but are prohibited by their church from doing so.
As such, we would have to conclude by saying that the decision must ultimately be a personal one. Freemasonry does not try and replace or replicate religion, in spite of what the Catholic church might have you believe.
As the Catholic stance on Freemasonry is unlikely to change any time soon, just be sure that you’re comfortable with your decision should you wish to become a Mason. The last thing you want is to create divisions within your family or social group, so make sure you think your decision through before taking action.