Why do the Freemasons Love Pope Francis?
Editor’s Note: As we have stated before, much of our work here at OnePeterFive is also based on the kindness and generosity of others who wish to contribute to our apostolate without being able, for different reasons, to go public with their own names. Thus we have been presented by a learned person the result of immense research, undertaken over a long period of time. After reviewing their findings, we have decided present to our readers, under a condition of anonymity, the evidence they have gathered demonstrating that Freemasons around the world have rejoiced over the election of Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy, and that they have continued to publicly praise him for his ongoing and expanding program of reform.
Since the words largely speak for themselves — and thus lead us all to a deeper reflection as to the nature and purpose of this papacy — we shall leave our readers with the abundant evidence compiled in the following pages. The quoted documents are not all presented in a chronological way. Since there is so much material, we shall present the documentation in installments, of which this is the first. When possible, we shall attempt to give direct links to the quoted sources to make possible the easier corroboration of our readers. We also wish to express our deep gratitude to the person who did all the research — a true work of love, done out of filial devotion to our Catholic Church and her formative teaching, whole and entire.
Some Preliminary Comments on Freemasonry and the Catholic Church
- A Pope According to Our Wants
“That which we ought to demand, that which we should seek and expect, as the Jews expected the Messiah, is a Pope according to our wants. Alexander VI, with all his private crimes, would not suit us, for he never erred in religious matters. Clement XIV, on the contrary, would suit us from head to toe.”
(From the Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, section XIX, 1st half of the 19th century — emphasis added).
As the late John Vennari, then the editor of Catholic Family News explained, the “Alta Vendita was the highest lodge of the Carbonari, an Italian secret society with links to Freemasonry and which, along with Freemasonry, was condemned by the Catholic Church.”
Thus this quote from the Alta Vendita gives us an idea of what some Freemasons had historically been looking for with regard to the Pope of the Catholic Church. In 1861, Jacques Crétinau-Joly published a book entitled L’Eglise en face de la revolution (The Church in the Face of Revolution). This French author first published the Alta Vendita of the Carbonari, which, according to specialist scholars on Freemasonry, was the de facto armed wing of Freemasonry; those given leadership positions within this secret group had to already be Masons, especially high-level Masons.
According to this and other Masonic documents that were seized by the papal police, the Masons were hoping for a pope according to their own needs, not a pope who is part of their “brotherhood,” but a pope who goes along with their mentality. The Alta Vendita calls for a pope who would — similar to Clement XIV — surrender hands and feet to the powers that be (out of fear) and to the unbelievers (who would praise him for his tolerance). To come to this point within the Church, the Alta Vendita knew that it might take a long time, even a century.
This document had been published in 1861, long before there were Catholic traditionalists. It was at the time of Pius IX.
- John Paul II and Benedict XVI do not please…
We now return to the present day.
In an interview in 1999 and another in 2009, the lawyer Gustavo Raffi, Grand Master of the Lodge Grand Orient of Italy (1999-2014), said that he missed Pope Paul VI because (says Raffi) during his pontificate, “Freemasonry had a season of great dialogue with the Church, many of the clergy spoke about the end of the anti-Masonic censure and argued in favor of a compatibility between Church and Loggia.” But then, with Pope John Paul II, there returned the anti-Masonic “frost”: in 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, reiterated the incompatibility between the Church and Masonry. Pope Wojtyla approved that statement. [OnePeterFive recounted here the role which Dr. Ingo Dollinger played with regard to that 1983 CDF document — the editor.]
Since 1999, however, the Archbishop (later Cardinal) of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has been an honorary member of the Rotary Club, which has ties to Freemasonry and has even been condemned by certain bishops in Europe in the early 20th century.
In the winter of 2004-2005, in the British Masonic magazine Freemasonry Today, a German Mason, Axel Pohlmann, complained about Pope Wojtyla (still living at the time) and of Cardinal Ratzinger. Pohlmann suggested that after the death of the Polish Pontiff, Masons would do their best to convince the Church to remove any anti-Masonic condemnation. In the article, he asked:
And what is in store for the future? When Father Sebott was asked whether contacts should be carried on, he said: “Not as long as the men [to include Ratzinger] who made the decisions in the 1980s are in office, including the Pope.” This statement may be negative for the present, but bears hope for the future.
The desires of the Mason Pohlmann soon seemed to come true: a few months after his article was published, Pope John Paul II died. There followed the 2005 Conclave. Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (a Jesuit) was among the eligible candidates; it was he who appealed most to the Masons. But it seems that at that conclave, the decisive choice swung between the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio (also a Jesuit), and Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger won (to the Freemasons’ disappointment) and became Benedict XVI, the Pope of Summorum Pontificum, a Pope widely seen as a champion of clear and strong protection of non-negotiable values.
Under the Ratzinger papacy, there were frequent media attacks against the person of the pope, in some cases daily, conspiracies of “spies,” leaked documents, criticisms of various theologians against the pope, and massive boycotts of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. It seems that among the boycotters, or at least among the non-excited observers of Summorum Pontificum, was one Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
In 2010, the Argentine Masonic journal, Hiram Abif, showed itself disappointed with Pope Benedict XVI and was already speculating about his future successor. It said:
The first years of Benedict XVI leave a feeling of increasing crisis in the Catholic Church. Never before, the disagreements and dissensions were so loud inside and outside the Vatican. […] And after Benedict XVI, what? What are the options that arise? Who could lead to a new stage?
On February 11, 2013, Benedict gave in to his concerns about his own ability to continue an effective pontificate and resigned. A new conclave was held. This time, when a new pope came out onto the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13, 2013, it was the same Jorge Bergoglio who was alleged to be the favored alternative to Ratzinger at the 2005 conclave. The former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires took the name Francis, the first pope to do so in Church history. Following his election, the relentless media attacks and constant criticisms came nearly to an end, but those who opposed Summorum Pontificum gained new strength. Much talk of “mercy” as the theme of the new pontificate entered the public conversation, but that same mercy seems to have been denied to those “conservative” sectors in communion with Rome.
- “[…] perhaps in the Church nothing will be as before.” Toward a New Era?
Among some Argentine traditionalist circles, it is said that Bergoglio, before becoming a bishop, disappeared for some time from circulation and was initiated into Freemasonry, then reappeared and made a career. Who knows the truth of it? Is this yet another case of traditionalist misinformation? A conspiracy theory and nothing more? What we do know for certain is that over the years, Bergoglio has been shown to please various Masonic groups to such an extent that they have not made a secret of their satisfaction with him. Let us thus continue now, presenting various Masonic statements in favor of Pope Francis. It constitutes an amount of public praise never received by any other pontiff. (As of this writing, we have compiled over 60 examples of public Masonic praise of the Argentinian pope.)
Some will no doubt say that this image of Francis in the media as one favored by by Freemasonry is the result of Masonic exploitation and the pope himself has nothing to do with it. This may well be the case. But it is therefore important to ask why the Masons did not similarly exploit or praise Popes Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII. It would seem reasonable to conclude that they had little opportunity to do so, for these popes did not give them much to work with that they could interpret favorably toward their ends.
Let us now examine the evidence, however, of their support for Pope Francis:
1) After his election, Pope Francis received congratulations and praise from B’nai B’rith, a kind of powerful para-Jewish Masonry for Jews only. B’nai B’rith (B.B.) contends that it is not Masonic, yet its assemblies are called “Loggia” and “Grand Lodge.” B’nai B’rith was founded in 1843 and has drawn its own various elements largely from Masonry. It seems that B’nai B’rith, as an organization, has little or nothing to do with esotericism. To be praised by B’nai B’rith means little; the B.B. showed itself also happy with Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as with Francis. But there is some difference. John Paul II had openly condemned the Freemasons and Freemasonry had not praised him as soon as he was elected. There was some sporadic praise for John Paul II from the Masons after the Assisi prayer meeting [in 1986] — culminating in an award from the Grand Orient Lodge of Italian Freemasonry in 1996 — but not much more. The previously-mentioned anti-masonic condemnation of 1983 had turned off the majority of Masonic enthusiasm for the Polish Pope.
2) On his election day, the information website Impulso Baires transmitted a release of the Gran Logia de la Argentina de Libres y Aceptados Masones; the Grand Master himself, Angel Jorge Clavero, greeted the new Pope Francis and former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
3) On March 15, 2013, the website of the Virtual Grand Lodge of Italy, GLVDI, published a statement (though dated March 13, 2013) of Grand Master Luciano Nistri concerning the election of the new pope:
The Catholic Church has chosen as Pope the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio who assumed the name of Francis. A clear-cut choice, away from the logic of the Roman Curia and of the temporal power. From the first moment on, Pope Francis, a man who comes “nearly from the end of the world,” rejecting the ermine robe and gold cross and replacing it with an iron cross, made his first tangible act. In his first words of greeting he fostered a desire for dialogue with the world and with mankind, nurturing the vivid hope for laymen and nonbelievers that change is underway. Maybe this is really what the world expects and what it expected. A new Church that knows how to reconnect love with truth in a confrontation among institutions not entrenched in the defense of their own power. It is that same hope for which the world — and especially Latin America, where the Masons Simon Bolivar, Salvador Allende and the same Giuseppe Garibaldi [especially while in Brazil] among the many who have given liberty to those peoples — has always longed for.
A message that Freemasonry itself perceives a sharp break with the past and one which is turned now to listening to the poor, the marginalized and the weakest. To the new Pontiff we send our best wishes for his good work for years to come. Luciano Nistri, Grand Master GLVDI.
In January 2017, Luciano Nistri 33° (58 years old, originally from Prato) was reappointed Grand Master of GLVDI for three years 2017-2019.
4) On 14 March 2013, Gustavo Raffi, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient Lodge of Italy — one of the most important lodges in the world — saluted and praised the new Pontiff. Raffi said, possibly prophetically: “Perhaps in the Church nothing will be as before.”
5-6-7) The Masonic site Fenix News, directed by the Peruvian Mason Mario Rolleri 33° (Lodge Luis Heysen Inchaustegui, Lima, Peru), published on 15 March 2013 a statement from the United Grand Lodge of Lebanon. The Grand Master Rami Haddad and the Sovereign Grand Commander Jamil Saade sent their congratulations to Argentina, to the women of the Female Grand Lodge of Argentina (sic) on the occasion of the election of Pope Bergoglio. In this one statement, we see the support of Peruvian Freemasons (5), Lebanese Freemasons (6) and Argentine Freemasons (7), who were all pleased with the election of Bergoglio.
In contrast, Pius IX, a Pius X, or a Pius XII, when newly elected, did not receive praise and greetings from either Italian or international Freemasonry. Those “pious” pontificates have never been friendly with the Masons. (Is it a coincidence that the causes for the canonization of Pius IX and Pius XII have been stalled?)
8) A few weeks after the March 2013 election of Pope Francis, in the April 2013 issue of the Canadian Masonic Newsletter The Watermark, we read that the new Pope is in the Internet, and was even referred to as a Freemason who uses Masonic signs (“a Freemason and using Masonic signs, blah, blah!”) … The writer suggests that one would treat this matter on the level of a chat (“blah, blah!”). The Masonic author is confident that the new Pope, despite his “conservatism,” will be willing to build a better relationship between Catholicism and Masonry. The same article publishes the entire message of good wishes from the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Argentina [Ángel Jorge Clavero, see point 2, above] to the new Pontiff. At the end of the Watermark article, the Canadian Mason hopes for a cease of the centuries-old unjust persecution against the Masons by the Roman Catholic Church.
9) In a letter to his progressive friend, Massimo Teodori, on 20 June 2013, the Grand Master Raffi showed himself to be still full of zeal and enthusiasm for the acts and words of Pope Francis. Raffi advocated a deep “reform” of the Church, of course according to the designs of Masonic and secularist thought. Raffi praised, as “a profound theologian,” Karl Rahner (a Jesuit) and his theory of the “anonymous Christians.” Raffi opposed “the ancient liturgies of privileges and sinecures.”
10) In favor of Pope Bergoglio was also the Brazilian Masonic magazine O Malhete. In the article (“Uma lição do Papa“), on p. 7, the Bishop of Rome was being exalted. The author was Derildo Martins Da Costa, Worshipful Master of the Lodge “Luz do Planalto,” East of Serra-Grande Oriente do Brasil. Martins Da Costa writes: “O Pope Francisco, antes de exortar os outros to fazerem, primeiro fez. Aí está Diferença to do Papa Francisco para seus antecessores“, translated: “Pope Francis, before exhorting others to do so, did it himself first. Here is the difference between Pope Francis and his predecessors.” Moreover, Martins Da Costa says that the Pope “seems to have come to give examples” — examples, it is reasonable to conclude, that the Masons find acceptable. In Brazil, in fact, the “Pope has left us a profound lesson of citizenship” when passing in front of an “evangelical church” and deciding to recite an “Our Father” with the shepherds who were at the door.
(A small side remark: Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, now Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, participated in 2006 as Archbishop of Brasília (Brazil) in a “spiritual” forum. At that forum, there were also present representatives of theosophy, spiritualism, and of Brazilian Freemasonry (Grand Orient of Brazil). Braz had a dialogue with them and with liberal American nuns, but not so much with the monks and nuns of the Franciscans of the Immaculate of Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli.)
11) In the issue 1-2 /2013 (on pages 65-66) of the magazine L’Acacia of the Italian Grand Lodge for the Symbolic Rite, the chief editor Moreno Neri hopes that Pope Francis, a Jesuit, can really reform the Church (“no one else but a Jesuit might be suitable to take up the challenge of the changes that await the Church”), and commends Cardinal Martini. The Mason Neri hopes that the Church is no longer a “closed and dusty system.”
12) In 2013. the Italian journalists Giacomo Galeazzi and Ferruccio Pinotti publish the book Masonic Vatican. Galeazzi is a big “fan” of Pope Francis, as is Andrea Tornielli, Vatican correspondent and colleague of Galeazzi in the newspaper La Stampa in Turin. Galeazzi-Pinotti wrote:
In the last 30-35 years, several Jesuits were in a positive way interested in Freemasonry; they took part in public debates, at conferences organized by the Grand Orient of Italy, have written articles and books on philosophical thought on the history of Freemasonry — in other words, they were ecclesiastical ones who, in spite of the anathemas and the various excommunications of the Church of Rome issued toward the Masonic institution, tried to understand, and then very often ended up sharing the philosophical approach.
Galeazzi-Pinotti also reported about some statements made by the Mason Nicola Spinello:
Nicola Spinello, Adjunct-Vicar Grand Master of the Piazza del Gesù Community, replied to the question put to him by the television show Mystery [Mistero] aired March 20, 2013: “What is the relationship between the Jesuits and the Freemasons? Jesuits and Freemasonry have always had a great mutual speculative interest… ”
Then the question: “The pope is from Argentina, and in Argentina, there is a great Masonic tradition; he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, do you think that he may have had relationships with Freemasonry?”
He [Spinello] replied: “Exactly the opposite would astonish me, namely: if he did not have them [these relationships]. The Masonic tradition in Argentina is very powerful.”
And to another question of the interviewer he responded: “I believe that this pope is the realization of a design that has long wanted to be adopted.“
The Catanian Grand Master Vincenzo Di Benedetto, head of the Most Serene Grand Lodge of Piazza del Gesù, also responded to our specific question: “Various sources indicate the existence of Masonic Lodges also in the Vatican; do you consider it possible?” He replied without hesitation: “Yes, absolutely, regardless of whether you use the name or not.”
13) In July 2013, commemorating his friend and late Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Grand Master Gustavo Raffi (Grand Orient of Italy) launched a new tribute to Pope Francis, saying:
Humanity today is poorer and poorer, as is also the Catholic Church. But the one of Pope Francis is a church that promises to be respectful of the otherness and to share the idea that the secular state promotes peace and coexistence of different religions.
14) In a two-page letter, dated September 9, 2013, Gian Franco Pilloni, Serene Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Italy — U.M.S.O.I. (Unione Massonica Stretta Osservanza Iniziatica, founded by Armando Corona, already Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy), addressed Pope Francis (one can see that also Pilloni knows that with Francis, the “air has changed” in the Vatican) begging him to work “toward an end of the divisions that exist in the relations between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry.” Pilloni would have us believe that Freemasonry is not an adversary of the Catholic Church, but that it walks on “parallel streets.” Pilloni praises Pope Francis, saying “The Catholic Church is being worthily represented by you,” adding “I appeal to you Holiness, a man of extraordinary human qualities.”Pilloni writes that his Grand Lodge is “recognized by the American Grand Lodges to which I belong” (i.e., Pilloni is also a member of American Freemasonry).
15) On September 21, 2013, moreover, during the celebrations by the Freemasonry of the Grand Orient of Italy on the occasion of the recurrence of the 20th of September and of the Fall Equinox, the Grand Master Gustavo Raffi stated, inter alia:
Pope Francis launches messages of humanity that are in tune with what we have been saying for years. He also invites people to come out of the catacombs and not to withdraw but to witness among the different peoples to one’s own values [sic], in speaking to society. The reflections should not be limited to today but should build the future. This is a living Masonry, talking to people [in a dialogue].
16) At an unspecified date, but still in the year 2013 — on the website of the Philippine magazine Southern Leyte Times— the publisher Antonio M. Reyes, a declared Mason, wrote that the great Filipino national heroes are Masons and that the Catholic Church had condemned Freemasonry, also with the declaration of then-Cardinal Ratzinger (1983). Reyes stated his belief that now, with Pope Francis, things would change, because even for the reigning Pontiff, just as for the Masons, all religions and brotherhood associations who believe in God should not be condemned to eternal damnation. The professed (Masonic) Christians like Reyes wanted to pay attention to the Pope’s appeal for religious tolerance and for genuine [sic] ecumenism. Reyes wrote:
[…] Fortunately, Roman Catholics now have a leader in Pope Francis who believes that all religions and brotherhood associations that believe in God should be respected and not condemned to eternal damnation. We as Christians should heed his call for religious tolerance and for genuine Ecumenism.
17) In an interview published (but left undated) some time after his election in December 2013, Vincenzo Romano, 33°, the then-newly elected Deputy or Vicar Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Italy of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons — Piazza del Gesù — Palazzo Vitelleschi, pointed out that Freemasonry does not follow the [Catholic] tenets and complained that the Church does not accept the way of thinking of the Masons. He then answered to the following question:
“Pope Bergoglio has [already] made many openings; may there be something positive to be seen from him with regard to Freemasonry?”
The Mason replied:
“Pope Bergoglio thus far proved to be a great Pope, but I do not know if he has some prejudice against us. Let’s wait to see if there will be any reactions. We declare ourselves ready to embrace the Catholic world.”
End of Part One; next part is soon to follow.
 L. DE PONCINS, La Franc-Maçonnerie d’après ses documents secrets, Diffusion de la Pensée Française, Chiré-en-
Montreuil 19755 , p. 159.
 Pope Clement XIV (1705-1774), Pope from 1769-1774, reluctantly supressed the Jesuit Order universally on 21 July 1773 (see: Dominus ac Redemptor). The Jesuit Order was restored by Pope Pius VII in 1814. Note from the editor.
 Instruction permanente (Haute Vente), cit. in J. CRÉTINEAU-JOLY, L’Eglise romaine en face de la Révolution, 2nd
vol., Henri Plon, Paris 1861, pp. 74-75.
 S. MAGISTER, “Massone, non c’è comunione,” in L’Espresso, 19 August 1999, p. 69 (68-71). ( http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/7167.html); cf. Gustavo Raffi Gran Maestro Grande Oriente d’Italia, in Erasmo notizie, n° 6-7- 8, 31 March-31 April 2009, Grande Oriente d’Italia, Roma, p. 32.
 A. POHLMANN, “Not a crime, but a sin?” (to be a Freemason), in Freemasonry Today, Winter 2005, in https://web.archive.org/web/20101215192220/http://freemasonrytoday.com/31/p10.php
 D. MINERVA, Dialogo sulla vita. Colloquio tra Carlo Maria Martini e Ignazio Marino (L’espresso, 27 aprile
2006), in Erasmo notizie, Bollettino del Grande Oriente d’Italia, n. 7-8/2006, pp. 42-47.
 GLVDI Notiziario – Notiziario Massonico Gran Loggia Virtuale d’Italia, R.S.A.A. Massoneria Italiana, Comunicato
Post n° 159 published on 15 March 2013, http://blog.libero.it/GLVDI/11982726.html
 “Gran Logia Unida del Libano saluda a la Gran Logia Femenina de Argentina por eleccion de nuevo Papa Francisco,” http://www.fenixnews.com/2013/03/15/gran-logia-unida-del-libano-saluda-a-la-gran-logia-femenina-de-argentina-por-eleccion-de-nuevo-papa-francisco/
 “The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, has already got the anti-Masonic nuts’ & anti-Catholics wound up and the Internet is abuzz (just Google Pope Francis – Freemasonry) with wild eye claims of “the black pope” being a Freemason and using Masonic signs, blah, blah!” (“A New Pope – A New Relationship With the Roman Catholic Church?” in The Watermark – Canada’s online Masonic Philatelic Newsletter, Vol. 3 – Issue 4 – April 2013, p. 3), http://bytown.ottawamasons.ca/Watermark%20April%202013.pdf
 “I for one have hope that this new Pope who despite his conservatism is greatly admired for his personal humility and for a commitment to social justice will be willing to build a better relationship between Catholicism and Freemasonry. I echo the comments of the Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of Argentina Ángel Jorge Clavero […]. We can only hope that hundreds of years of unwarranted persecution against Freemasons at the hand of the Roman Catholic Church will cease.” (Ibid., p. 3)
 Cf. Erasmo notizie, bollettino d’informazione del Grande Oriente d’Italia, anno XIV, n. 13-14, 31 July 2013,
Rome, p. 19.
 August 2013, of the Grande Oriente do Brasil, Stato dello “Espirito Santo” (GOB-ES).
 Cf. Corrispondenza Romana, n. 971/03, 6 December 2006; http://www.fattisentire.org/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=2294. We read on this site about Braz de Aviz, that “he was named auxiliary bishop of Vitoria in 1994, in 1998 he was appointed diocesan bishop of Ponta Grossa; only four years later, in 2002, he was transferred to Maringá, and in 2004 he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Brasília. A truly meteoric career.” In 2010-2011, he was appointed as the new Prefect of Religious, and soon elevated to cardinal.
 Giacomo GALEAZZI – Ferruccio PINOTTI, Vaticano massone. Logge, denaro e poteri occulti: il lato segreto della Chiesa di papa Francesco, Edizioni Piemme, Milano 2013, pp. 56-57.
 Ibid., p. 83 — emphasis added.
 Erasmo notizie, Bollettino d’informazione del Grande Oriente d’Italia, Anno XIV, Numero 15-16, 30 settembre 2013, p. 11