Francis says “Freemasons are a religion” during his speech at the Vatican on Thursday, a week after a US bishop told US President Donald Trump he was not welcome at his Christmas Mass because he is a Freemason.
Francis made the comments during a speech to the group of Freemasons who attended his historic Mass at the Grand Orient Hotel in Rome.
The pope’s remarks were part of an address about the “modern world” where he made a distinction between the world of religions and the “religion of history”.
The Vatican statement on Thursday said the pope was referring to Freemasonry as a religion when he said the former “can be called an institution whose chief function is to build up the world’s civilization and to protect it.”
“Freemasonism is a religious order and has historically served as a source of moral guidance and spiritual guidance,” the statement said.
“In the modern world, the world has changed significantly since it was founded.
Therefore, the religion of history is no longer valid for Freemasons.
Freemasonry is no more an institution than a religion.”
Freemarkets and churches have their own traditions, traditions, and customs, and this is not a question of separating them from other religions or religions, but of being faithful to those traditions.
“Francis also said he is concerned about “unrestrained” nationalism, a reference to the US president’s suggestion that the Catholic Church should be more inclusive in its teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Pope Francis addresses the Grand Lodge of New York on Dec. 5, 2019 in New York City.
Francises remarks were in a speech which he delivered during a visit to a Masonic Lodge on Thursday evening.
The Vatican statement said Francis is a “special witness” to the Freemasons and is “ready to defend them against those who would make them victims of political persecution and hostility”.
The comments come after Francis’ surprise announcement last week that he was considering an end to US restrictions on access to the Vatican.US President Donald J Trump on Monday accused Francis of being a “political puppet” and said he should be fired.
In his address, Francis also said the “greatest work of the church is to defend the freedom of every person to worship as he or she pleases” and that “political questions are nothing to be concerned about”.
Francis’ remarks come after the Vatican issued a statement on Friday calling on all religions to condemn racism and xenophobia and reaffirming its commitment to fighting discrimination against minorities.
Francists remarks come as he is set to attend the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, who was born in Delaware and grew up in the state.
In the past, Francis has said he would not attend inauguration ceremonies in the United States because he believes the country is “too political” and “too divided”.
Francises visit to the Grand Lodges is the second to him in a week.
The first was a visit in September to a small Masonic lodge in Mexico City.