BY DEACON NICK DONNELLY, JANUARY 11, 2017 EUROPE
It has emerged that during a meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke in November about the scandal of the Knights of Malta distributing condoms and oral contraceptives in Africa, the Holy Father instructed Cardinal Burke to “clean out” Freemasonry from the order. The Holy Father gave this order to Cardinal Burke in his role as patron of the Knights of Malta by papal appointment.
The Vatican journalist Edward Pentin revealed details of Pope Francis’s concerns about the influence of the Freemasons on the Knights of Malta:
Hopes that the contraceptive scandal would be addressed came on Nov. 10, when Cardinal Burke was received in private audience by Pope Francis. During that meeting, the Register has learned, the Pope was “deeply disturbed” by what the cardinal told him about the contraceptive distribution. The Pope also made it clear to Cardinal Burke that he wanted Freemasonry “cleaned out” from the order, and he demanded appropriate action. The concern was followed up by a Dec. 1 letter to Cardinal Burke, in which the Register has learned that the Holy Father underlined the cardinal’s constitutional duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law.
Edward Pentin reports that Pope Francis was “deeply disturbed” by the evidence concerning Malteser International’s distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives in the Far East and Africa during the tenure of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, a German Knight of Malta. Boeselager was dismissed as grand chancellor following an internal investigation by the Knights of Malta. It is not clear why Pope Francis specifically identified Freemasonry as a problem in his response to the evidence presented by Cardinal Burke during the November meeting.
Pope Francis has previously criticized the destructive influence of the Freemasons and their hostility towards the Church. During his address to young people during his apostolic visit to Turin the Holy Father spoke about “Masonic, hardcore anticlericals and Satanists”:
At the end of the 19th century there were the worst conditions for young people’s development: freemasonry was in full swing, not even the Church could do anything, there were priest haters, there were also Satanists…. It was one of the worst moments and one of the worst places in the history of Italy. However, if you would like to do a nice homework assignment, go and find out how many men and women saints were born during that time. Why? Because they realized that they had to go against the tide with respect to the culture, to that lifestyle.
It was during his in-flight press interview in July 2013 that Pope Francis first expressed his concerns about the influence of Freemasons on the Church:
“The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me.”
2017 marks the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge in London. It is important for Catholics to remember that Freemasonry has a history of plotting against the Catholic Church. During the 200th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry St Maximilian Kolbe witnessed Freemason conduct sacrilegious demonstrations in Rome. In front of St. Peter’s Freemasons displayed banners declaring, “Satan must reign in the Vatican. The Pope will be his slave”. St Maximilian Kolbe summed up the objectives of Freemasonry:
“In particular, it aims to destroy the Catholic religion. Their deceits have been spread throughout the world, in different disguises. But with the same goal — religious indifference and weakening of moral forces, according to their basic principle — ‘we will conquer the Catholic Church not by argumentation, but rather with moral corruption’.” (Kolbe — Saint of the Immaculata, p. 32).
It is important that during the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry that Catholics pay heed to Pope Francis’s warnings about the continuing dangerous influence of Freemasonry on the Church.