In the first part of this article, we examined the significance of the coincidence of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry. Eyewitness testimony of the events of 1917, including that of St. Maximilian Kolbe, witness to Masonic attacks against Our Lady of Fatima and the Pope in Rome.
The Rt. Rev. Rudolf Graber, bishop of Regensburg (1962–1982), in his book Athanasius and the Church of Our Time, identified the influence of Freemasonry in the catastrophic collapse of the true Catholic Church and the emergence of the "spirit of Vatican II" Church. He quotes from a book published by the Freemason Yves Marsaudon in 1964:
The goal is no longer the destruction of the Church but rather to make use of it by infiltration. One day the dogmatic Church must disappear or adapt itself, and in order to adapt, return to its sources.
Bishop Graber saw this as the culmination of a Masonic plan that he traced back to a secret instruction dating from as early as 1839 that outlines their plans to "popularize vice in society" and the moral corruption of the clergy:
We must not individualize vice; in order for it to grow to the proportions of patriotism and hatred of the Church, we must generalize it. Catholicism is no more afraid of a sharp dagger than the monarchy is, but these two foundations of the social order are likely to collapse through corruption; we at all events never allow ourselves to be corrupted. Do not, then, let us make martyrs but let us popularize vice among the masses. Whatever their five senses strive after shall be satisfied. ... Create hearts full of vice and you will no longer have any Catholicism. That is the corruption, on a large scale, which we have undertaken, the corruption of the people by the clergy and that of the clergy by us, the corruption which leads the way to our digging the Church's grave.
Clearly, Freemasonry is inherently antagonistic towards Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, and in light of its history of violent anti-Catholicism, it shouldn't be a surprise that Catholics are forbidden from becoming Freemasons. Since Pope Clement XII's apostolic letter In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula (1738), there have been a series of magisterial statements warning against the threat from Freemasonry. The 1917 Code of Canon Law described Freemasonry as an organization that plotted "against the Church or the legitimate civil authorities." The 1983 Code of Canon Law and the Declaration on Masonic Associations, issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, upholds the penalty of excommunication for Catholics who become members of Masonic Lodges:
Therefore, the negative position of the Church in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged, since their basic principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the teachings of the Church, and consequently, membership of them remains forbidden. The faithful who belong to Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
From the foundation of the Grand Lodge in 1717, the Catholic Church has been aware of Freemasonry's original strategy to destroy the Church, which was modified in 1908 to become a plan to infiltrate the Church.
It has emerged that during a meeting between Pope Francis and Cdl. Burke — in November 2016 about the scandal of the Knights of Malta distributing condoms and oral contraceptives in Africa — the Holy Father instructed Cdl. Burke to "clean out" Freemasonry from the order. The Holy Father gave this order to Cdl. Burke in his role as patron by papal appointment of the Knights of Malta. Vatican journalist Edward Pentin revealed details of Pope Francis' concerns about the influence of the Freemasons on the Knights of Malta:
Hopes that the contraceptive scandal would be addressed came on November 10, when Cdl. Burke was received in private audience by Pope Francis. During that meeting, the National Catholic 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.
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.
Robert Moynihan, founder and editor of Inside the Vatican, reports that over the past couple of months Vatican officials have increasingly expressed concerns to him about the influence of Freemasonry:
Moreover, during the past several months, quietly and privately on most occasions, but sometimes publicly, a word has been whispered and spoken aloud in Rome in a way unlike any other time in the 33 years that I have been writing about Vatican affairs. That word is Freemasonry.
Dr. Moynihan made his observations in the context of Pope Francis' enigmatic instruction to Cdl. Burke to clean out the influence of Freemasonry from the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta. He goes on to report a conversation with a retired Vatican official who expressed concerns that Freemasonry has become the dominant worldview of ruling elites in the West:
The fact is that the thought of Freemasonry, which was the thought of the Enlightenment, believes Christ and his teachings, as taught by the Church, are an impediment to human freedom and self-fulfillment. And this thought has become dominant in the elites of the West, even when those elites are not officially members of any Freemasonic lodge. It is a pervasive modern worldview.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has observed that the strategy of Freemasonry to corrupt morality in order to defeat the Catholic Church is currently very topical again. Freemasonry seeks the dissolution of morality, because they are convinced that unless they corrupt morality they cannot defeat the Catholic Church since they cannot defeat it with logical arguments. In response to this, Bp. Schneider reflected that undoubtedly the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was immaculately conceived, will in the end crush the greatest threat of all time: this heresy of the Antichrist.
The question we have to ask ourselves during 2017 is, will we witness similar violent public attacks against Our Lady and the Pope during the 300th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of Freemasonry? If not, what does this signify? It is unlikely that Freemasonry has abandoned its 300-year-old tradition of anti-Catholicsm, so can we conclude that the possible absence of overt attacks against the Church most likely confirms reports of a change in Freemasonry's objectives, from the destruction of the Church to Her infiltration and subversion? Wherever we witness a focus on man and the worldly concerns of man in the Church and the marginalization of God and man's eternal destiny, we are witnessing the ascendancy of Masonic thought and objectives in the Church. Wherever we see the criticism and corruption of the Church's doctrine on morality, especially sexual and marital morality, we are witnessing the ascendancy of Masonic thought and objectives in the Church.
In this 100th anniversary year of Our Lady of Fatima, I am praying that we stand firm with her against those who seek to destroy or subvert the Church, and in submission to Our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray, "Thy will be done."