The INIMICA VIS Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on FreeMasonry was written on 8 December 1892. This was almost 130 years ago yet is almost as fresh and applicable today as it was then. How could this be? The simple answer is the deep insight that Pope Leo XIII had about the Church and the future of the Church. He was able to see into the future and to lay out problems that the Church either had not tackled or in some cases had not even addressed properly in the past 130 years.
My beloved grandfather was a Mason. In fact, from the ages 3-16, I helped my grandfather at the Shrine Circus every year selling hot dogs. He was in charge of the concessions for his city and would use young people like myself to help him at the Circus each year. I loved helping my grandfather and I loved working in food prep, selling, and the distributing of food. I enjoyed it so much that I worked my way through college by cooking at my neighborhood Bonanza SteakHouse. I guess that is about all I thought about Masonry. Of course, I loved my grandfather deeply and really enjoyed helping him. I did not know anything about his Masonic Lodge or anything else about his activity. Now, I mention all of this as a bit of a disclaimer and to prove a point that I would like to make now. Not all people who belong to an organization like the Masons are bad. There are many good people who may do very good things for people who live in their community. What I would like to address are the five points of contention that Pope Leo XIII mentioned in his encyclical.
First, carefully look at who the encyclical was addressed to- The Bishops of Italy. Why would Pope Leo XIII do this unless he knew or saw how far the Masons had gotten into the very fabric of the Church at the very heart of the Church- Rome. Here is what Pope Leo XIII said:
To the Bishops of Italy.
The enemy forces, inspired by the evil spirit, wage war on the Christian name. They join forces in this endeavor with certain groups of men whose purpose is to subvert divinely revealed truths and to rend the very fabric of Christian society with disastrous dissent. Indeed, how much damage these cohorts, as it were, have inflicted on the Church is well-known. And yet, the spirit of all previous groups hostile to Catholic institutions has come to life again in that group called the Masonic sect, which, strong in manpower and resources, is the leader in a war against anything sacred.
Second, how was this statement on FreeMasonry different from his predecessors on the same subject? Please note the last two sentences are the key here- the goal of this is to educate the public about the evils of FreeMasonry. Here is what Pope Leo XIII said:
Condemnation of Masonic Sect
2. Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have in the course of a century and a half outlawed this group not once, but repeatedly. We too, in accordance with Our duty, have condemned it strongly to Christian people, so that they might beware of its wiles and bravely repel its impious assaults. Moreover, lest cowardice and sloth overtake us imperceptibly, We have deliberately endeavored to reveal the secrets of this pernicious sect and the means by which it labors for the destruction of the Catholic enterprise.
Third we will look at how Pope Leo XIII explained that the Church was
Endangered. Here is what Pope Leo XIII said:
3. Now, though, a certain thoughtless indifference on the part of many Italians has resulted in their not recognizing the magnitude and extent of the peril. And so the faith of our ancestors, the salvation won for mankind by Jesus Christ, and, consequently the great benefits of Christian civilization are endangered. Indeed, fearing nothing and yielding to no one, the Masonic sect proceeds with greater boldness day by day: with its poisonous infection it pervades entire communities and strives to entangle itself in all the institutions of our country in its conspiracy to forcefully deprive the Italian people of their Catholic faith, the origin and source of their greatest blessings.
4. This is the reason for the endless artifices they employ in their assault on the divinely inspired faith; this is the reason why the legitimate liberty of the Church is treated with contempt and beset with legal oppression. They believe that the Church does not possess the nature and essence of a true society, that the State has priority over it, and that civil authority takes precedence over sacred authority. This false and destructive doctrine has been frequently condemned by the Holy See. Among many other ills, it has been responsible for the usurpation on the part of civil authorities of that to which they have no right and for their unscrupulous appropriation of what they have alienated from the Church. This is clear in the case of ecclesiastical benefices; they usurp the right to give or withhold the revenues of these according to their good pleasure.
Fourth, according to Pope Leo XIII, the purpose of this attack was a concerted effort to soften the oppositions of the lower clergy. They wanted to have the parish Priest on their side and we would like to help each parish with this issue. Here is what Pope Leo XIII said:
Clergy Have Been Underestimated
5. Likewise, in a manner no less insidious, they plan to soften the opposition of the lower clergy with their promises. Their purpose in this endeavor can easily be detected, especially since the very authors of this undertaking do not take sufficient pains to conceal what they intend. They wish to win over the clergy by cajolery; once the novelties have confused them, they will withdraw their obedience to legitimate authority. And yet in this matter they seem to have underestimated the virtue of our clergy, who for so many years have given manifest examples of their moderation and loyalty. We have every reason to be confident that, with God's help, they will continue their devotion to duty no matter what circumstances may arise.
Those Already Misled
6. This summary indicates both the extent of the activity of the Masonic sect and the goal of its endeavors. What compounds this harmful situation, however, and causes Us deep anxiety is that far too many of our compatriots, driven by hope of their personal advantage or by perverse ambition, have given their names or support to the sect. This being so, We commend first and foremost to your efforts the eternal salvation of those whom we have just mentioned: may your zeal never waver in constantly and insistently recalling them from their error and certain destruction. To be sure, the task of extricating those who have fallen into the snares of the Masons is laborious, and its outcome is doubtful, if we consider the cleverness of the sect: still the recovery of no one should ever be despaired of since the force of apostolic charity is truly marvellous.
7. Next, we must heal those who have erred in this respect out of faint-heartedness, that is, those who, not because of a debased nature but because of weakness of spirit and lack of discretion, have allowed themselves to be drawn into supporting the Masonic enterprises. Sufficiently weighty are the words of Our predecessor Felix III in this regard. "An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed.... He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity." By reminding them of the examples of their forefathers, the broken spirits of these men must be reanimated with that courage which is the guardian of duty and dignity alike, so that they may be ashamed and regret their cowardly actions. For surely our whole life is involved in a constant battle in which our salvation itself is at stake; nothing is more disgraceful for a Christian than cowardice.
8. It is likewise necessary to strengthen those who fall because of ignorance. By this we mean those, not few in number, who, deceived by appearances and allured by various enticements, allow themselves without understanding it to be enrolled in the Masonic order. In these cases We hope that with divine inspiration they will be able some day to repudiate their error and perceive the truth, especially if you try to remove the false outward appearance of the sect and reveal its hidden designs. Indeed these can no longer be considered hidden since their very accomplices have themselves disclosed them in many ways. Why, within the last few months, the designs of the Masons have been publicly proclaimed throughout Italy, even to the point of ostentation! They wish to see the religion founded by God reudiated and all affairs, private as well as public, regulated by the principles of naturalism alone; this is what, in their impiety and stupidity, they call the restoration of civil society. And yet the State will plunge headlong into ruin if Christians are not willing to be vigilant and not willing to labor to support its well-being!
Fifth, Pope Leo explains how the Church must war against this evil. Did he know what was about to happen? Could what has happened with the Church be attributed to people not heeding these warnings?
Course of Action
9. But in the presence of such audacious evils, it is not sufficient merely to be aware of the wiles of this vile sect: we must also war against it, using those very arms furnished by the divine faith which once prevailed against paganism. Therefore, it is your task to inflame souls by persuasion, exhortation and example; nourish in the clergy and our people a zeal for religion and salvation which is active, resolute, and intrepid. These qualities frequently distinguish Catholic peoples of other nations in similar situations. It is commonly claimed that the ancient ardor of spirit in protecting their ancestral faith has grown cold among the Italian people. Nor is this perhaps false; especially since if the dispositions of both sides be inspected, those who wage war on religion seem to show more energy than those who repel it. But for those who seek salvation there can be no middle ground between laborious struggle and destruction. Therefore, in the case of the weak and sluggish, courage must be stirred up through your efforts; in the case of the strong, it must be kept active; with all trace of dissent wiped out, under your leadership and command, the result will be that all alike, with united minds and common discipline, may undertake the battle in a spirited manner.
10. Because of the gravity of the matter and the necessity of repelling the danger, We have decided to address the Italian people in a letter which We are including along with this one; propagate it as widely as possible and, where needed, interpret it to your people. In this manner, with the blessing of God, we can hope that spirits may be aroused through the contemplation of the threatening evils and betake themselves without delay to the remedies which We have pointed out.
To more importantly back up his point at the power of FreeMasonry inside of the Church, all one has to do is to look at Dr. Taylor Marshall’s 2019 book entitled, “Infiltration” or look at the 1984 book, “In God’s Name,” written by Author David Yallop. In that book he claimed that Pope John Paul I, who died in 1978, was poisoned in a plot by an Italian secret society that feared the pope's plans to eliminate corruption at the Vatican, a book to be published in Britain claims. He alleges John Paul I was murdered by the P2 Masonic Lodge chiefly because of his planned ouster of American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus as president of the Vatican bank over allegations of shady bank deals with the society.
Could Pope Leo XIII have known about that? Remember he did say that for the next hundred years that Satan would be attacking the Church. It is interesting to note that Pope John Paul is now being considered for Sainthood. Maybe we should start looking at Pope Leo XIII for that same thing. He is the third longest serving Pope in history and the oldest Pope in history. He also has written so many things that not only make sense in his time, they make sense today. In an era where making sense out of something is so very important, why not begin the process to consider Pope Leo XIII to become a saint. Amen. Comment below.