The grand master of the Maltese freemasons hopes society will one day judge them for the “peaceful and harmonious” people they are, after the Vatican reaffirmed its ban on Catholics joining the secretive organisation.
The Vatican last week confirmed that Catholics are still forbidden from joining masonic lodges.
Asked to react to the news, Simon Cusens expressed hope that ideas around freemasonry would change.
“Our hope is that one day, all of society’s leaders and representational entities would judge regular freemasons and freemasonry only on its peaceful and harmonious practices and intentions in the societies and communities where we live.”
“We hope to be judged on the philanthropy we do in silence, the universality of mankind that we embrace and the peace and harmony between all men that we pursue.”
The lodge Cusens heads, the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta, forms part of the original, “regular” freemasonry, but other groups in Malta do not necessarily follow the same rules and values, he said. They were not regular freemasons and he could not speak for their practices.
He would not address the Holy See statement directly, saying freemasons avoid discussing all things divisive, including politics and religion. Regular freemasonry, however, only accepts “good men” that have a “divine ideology or creed”, so freemasonry embraces “all of man’s worldly religions”.Cusens said other institutions, not just religions, were still biased against freemasonry.
Among them “the judiciary, some regulatory and governmental entities and some political parties”.All other Christian faiths, namely Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Anglicans and Methodists, as well as other faiths like Judaism and moderate Islam, have never objected to or condemned freemasonry.
On the contrary, several Christian faiths “have priests who are open about their membership both within their respective churches as well as within freemasonry,” he told Times of Malta.
“And not only do these Christian faiths not condemn freemasonry, but they willingly and openly participate and lead our prayers to our collective deities at the beginning and end of every meeting as well as before our organised dining events.”
The Vatican’s statement, approved by Pope Francis, reaffirmed that the Catholic faith is incompatible with the principles of masonic lodges.
It was a reiteration of a 1983 declaration published by the Vatican – signed by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and approved by the now-sanctified Pope John Paul II – which removed the explicit condemnation of freemasonry and excommunication for its members but reiterated that Catholics who are freemasons are “in a state of grave sin”.
But Cusens hopes that just as “leading religions” radically changed their stances on hot topics like divorce, homosexuality and same-sex marriages, so too, they will eventually change their view on regular freemasonry.
Because of its strict principles of brotherhood and secrecy and the wealthy and powerful people it often attracts, freemasonry in Malta and around the world has been shrouded in mystery and controversy.
It has been the target of endless conspiracy theories about politicians, businessmen and other wealthy and powerful people meeting behind closed doors to do anything from running governments, planning coup d’états and commissioning assassinations to engaging in occult rituals, sacrifice offerings, drinking babies’ blood and flying over neighbourhoods in some form of satanic sorcery.
In an interview with Times of Malta last May, Cusens defended regular masonic lodges in Malta and denied any illegalities happen within them.
On the contrary, some of the most outstanding figures in history were regular freemasons, he told Times of Malta last week.
Among them, Prince Philip, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, King George VI, Garibaldi, Buzz Aldrin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
For 300 years, regular freemasonry instilled goodness, Cusens insisted.
“It promoted literature, science, philosophy for the betterance of all aspects of man’s mortal life,” he said.
“A true freemason seeks only to pursue the virtues of truth, integrity, compassion and service to others.”