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VENICE, Fla. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Florida diocese is allowing for a Memorial Mass for an active Free Mason.
An obituary for Robert Vanecek, a 33rd-degree Mason, Knight Templar and Shriner, indicates that Epiphany Cathedral in the diocese of Venice offered him a Memorial Mass on Tuesday, which was confirmed by John Cazalet, a member of Church Militant's Venice Resistance chapter.
His Mass was said by Fr. Charles Ruoff, parochial vicar. The obituary asked that donations in his honor be given to the Shriners Hospital for Children.
Freemasonry is incompatible with the Catholic faith, and it remains the most condemned belief system in the Church's history — what some consider Satan's select instrument for attacking the Catholic Church. It is a cult-like society that promotes philosophies like indifferentism, communism, relativism and naturalism.
In 1738, Pope Clement XII denounced Masonry in his papal bull, In Eminenti,
for its dependence on natural virtue instead of Christ's privileged role as Savior. He ordered that Catholics who join the Masons are excommunicated with reconciliation reserved to the Pope.
The Church decreed the penalty of excommunication for Catholics who become Masons in the 1917 code of canon law: "Those giving their name to Masonic sects or other associations of the same kind ... by this same fact contract excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See" (Can. 2335
The 1983 Code broadened the ban to members of other heretical societies: "A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict" (Can. 1374
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, restated
the old ban in 1983: "The Church's negative position on Masonic associations therefore remains unaltered since their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church's doctrine."
Excommunication is a grave censure, according to the Code of Canon Law
, because it prevents a person from receiving the sacraments, ministering in the Church or attaining Heaven should one die in a state of unrepentance. It is a medicinal penalty meant to help a sinner know how he broke away from the Church and aid his return to the Catholic faith by having him backtrack in order to come back into the fold.
The 1983 code lists those who must be denied a Catholic funeral:
Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals: notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics; those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith [and] other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful (Can. 1184).
Church Militant reached out to the diocese and the Cathedral for comments, but as of press time has received no response.
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