According to the Catholic Church, a practicing and faithful Catholic cannot practice freemasonry.

So why on earth are St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelists the Patron saints of Freemasons? Doesn’t that seem a little bit counter intuitive? Am I just missing something?

  • 4
    According to whom?
    – user54757
    Mar 29, 2022 at 1:14
  • @SupportiveDante for one that’s an unhelpful comment, for two I was unsure. It seemed to me that the Catholic Church had said so. I was wrong, hence Ken’s answer
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 29, 2022 at 3:24
  • Does the Catholic Church have the exclusive right to name patron saints? Can no other denominations do likewise? That's the only way this question can make any sense.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 29, 2022 at 12:06
  • @curiousdannii again, see my comment. I was unaware of the fact that it wasn’t the church who had done this.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 29, 2022 at 12:41
  • 1
    @curiousdannii asks "Does the Catholic Church have the exclusive right to name patron saints?". No. You are welcome to request that I be certified as a saint, for a donation of a mere US$5.00, at the Official ULC Store. Mar 29, 2022 at 17:55

2 Answers 2


If Catholicism rejects freemasonry, why are there patron saints of Freemasons?

Freemasonry has been condemned by the Church numerous times.

Any Catholic who becomes Freemason is automatically excommunicated from the Church. This is not to be taken lightly!

Freemasons do their own thing and here they claim their own patron saints. The Church strongly condemns this.

The action of the Church is summed up in the papal pronouncements against Freemasonry since 1738, the most important of which are:

  • Clement XII, Constitution "In Eminenti", 28

  • April, 1738;

  • Benedict XIV, "Providas", 18 May, 1751;

  • Pius VII, "Ecclesiam", 13 September, 1821;

  • Leo XII, "Quo graviora", 13 March, 1825;

  • Pius VIII, Encyclical "Traditi", 21 May, 1829;

  • Gregory XVI, "Mirari", 15 August, 1832;

  • Pius IX, Encyclical "Qui pluribus", 9 November, 1846;

  • Pius IX, Allocution "Quibus quantisque malis", 20 April, 1849;

  • Pius IX, Encyclical "Quanta cura", 8 December, 1864;

  • Pius IX, Allocution "Multiplices inter", 25 September, 1865;

  • Pius IX, Constitution "Apostolicæ Sedis", 12 October, 1869;

  • Pius IX, Encyclical "Etsi multa", 21 November, 1873;

  • Leo XIII, Encyclical "Humanum genus", 20 April, 1884;

  • Leo XIII, "Præclara", 20 June, 1894;

  • Leo XIII, "Annum ingressi", 18 March, 1902 (against Italian Freemasonry);

  • Leo XIII, Encyclical "Etsí nos", 15 February, 1882;

  • Leo XIII, "Ab Apostolici", 15 October, 1890.

These pontifical utterances from first to last are in complete accord, the latter reiterating the earlier with such developments as were called for by the growth of Freemasonry and other secret societies.

Clement XII accurately indicates the principal reasons why Masonic associations from the Catholic, Christian, moral, political, and social points of view, should be condemned. These reasons are:

  • The peculiar, "unsectarian" (in truth, anti-Catholic and anti-Christian) naturalistic character of Freemasonry, by which theoretically and practically it undermines the Catholic and Christian faith, first in its members and through them in the rest of society, creating religious indifferentism and contempt for orthodoxy and ecclesiastical authority.

  • The inscrutable secrecy and fallacious ever-changing disguise of the Masonic association and of its "work", by which "men of this sort break as thieves into the house and like foxes endeavour to root up the vineyard", "perverting the hearts of the simple", ruining their spiritual and temporal welfare.

  • The oaths of secrecy and of fidelity to Masonry and Masonic work, which cannot be justified in their scope, their object, or their form, and cannot, therefore, induce any obligation. The oaths are condemnable, because the scope and object of Masonry are "wicked" and condemnable, and the candidate in most cases is ignorant of the import or extent of the obligation which he takes upon himself. Moreover the ritualistic and doctrinal "secrets" which are the principal object of the obligation, according to the highest Masonic authorities, are either trifles or no longer exist. In either case the oath is a condemnable abuse. Even the Masonic modes of recognition, which are represented as the principal and only essential "secret" of Masonry, are published in many printed books. Hence the real "secrets" of Masonry, if such there be, could only be political or anti-religious conspiracies like the plots of the Grand Lodges in Latin countries. But such secrets, condemned, at least theoretically, by Anglo-American Masons themselves, would render the oath or obligation only the more immoral and therefore null and void. Thus in every respect the Masonic oaths are not only sacrilegious but also an abuse contrary to public order which requires that solemn oaths and obligations as the principal means to maintain veracity and faithfulness in the State and in human society, should not be vilified or caricatured. In Masonry the oath is further degraded by its form which includes the most atrocious penalties, for the "violation of obligations" which do not even exist; a "violation" which, in truth may be and in many cases is an imperative duty.

The danger which such societies involve for the security and "tranquility of the State" and for "the spiritual health of souls", and consequently their incompatibility with civil and canonical law. For even admitting that some Masonic associations pursued for themselves no purposes contrary to religion and to public order, they would be nevertheless contrary to public order, because by their very existence as secret societies based on the Masonic principles, they encourage and promote the foundation of other really dangerous secret societies and render difficult, if not impossible, efficacious action of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities against them.

Of the other papal edicts only some characteristic utterances need be mentioned. Benedict XIV appeals more urgently to Catholic princes and civil powers to obtain their assistance in the struggle against Freemasonry. Pius VII condemns the secret society of the Carbonari which, if not an offshoot, is "certainly an imitation of the Masonic society" and, as such, already comprised in the condemnation issued against it. Leo XII deplores the fact, that the civil powers had not heeded the earlier papal decrees, and in consequence out of the old Masonic societies even more dangerous sects had sprung. Among them the "Universitarian" is mentioned as most pernicious. "It is to be deemed certain", says the pope, "that these secret societies are linked together by the bond of the same criminal purposes." Gregory XVI similarly declares that the calamities of the age were due principally to the conspiracy of secret societies, and like Leo XII, deplores the religious indifferentism and the false ideas of tolerance propagated by secret societies. Pius IX characterizes Freemasonry as an insidious, fraudulent and perverse organization injurious both to religion and to society; and condemns anew "this Masonic and other similar societies, which differing only in appearance coalesce constantly and openly or secretly plot against the Church or lawful authority". Leo XIII (1884) says: "There are various sects, which although differing in name, rite, form, and origin, are nevertheless so united by community of purposes and by similarity of their main principles as to be really one with the Masonic sect, which is a kind of centre, whence they all proceed and whither they all return." The ultimate purpose of Freemasonry is "the overthrow of the whole religious, political, and social order based on Christian institutions and the establishment of a new state of things according to their own ideas and based in its principles and laws on pure Naturalism."

In view of these several reasons Catholics since 1738 are, under penalty of excommunication, incurred ipso facto, and reserved to the pope, strictly forbidden to enter or promote in any way Masonic societies. The law now in force pronounces excommunication upon "those who enter Masonic or Carbonarian or other sects of the same kind, which, openly or secretly, plot against the Church or lawful authority and those who in any way favour these sects or do not denounce their leaders and principal members." Under this head mention must also be made of the "Practical Instruction of the Congregation of the Inquisition, 7 May, 1884 and of the decrees of the Provincial Councils of Baltimore, 1840; New Orleans, 1856; Quebec, 1851, 1868; of the first Council of the English Colonies, 1854; and particularly of the Plenary Councils of Baltimore, 1866 and 1884. These documents refer mainly to the application of the papal decrees according to the peculiar condition of the respective ecclesiastical provinces. The Third Council of Baltimore, n. 254 sq., states the method of ascertaining whether or not a society is to be regarded as comprised in the papal condemnation of Freemasonry. It reserves the final decision thereon to a commission consisting of all the archbishops of the ecclesiastical provinces represented in the council, and, if they cannot reach a unanimous conclusion, refers to the Holy See. - Masonry (Freemasonry)

Thus being outside the Church, the Catholic Church has no jurisdiction over the internal affairs of freemasonry. The Church can not control the fact that freemasonry unilaterally claimed St. John the Apostle and St. John the Baptist as their particular patron saints.

Freemasons historically celebrate two feasts of saints who are both named John. The feast of John the Baptist falls on 24 June, and that of John the Evangelist on 27 December, roughly marking mid-summer and mid-winter. During the Eighteenth Century, the Premier Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of Ireland favoured the day of John the Baptist, while the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Ancient Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of All England at York installed their Grand Masters on the feast day of John the Evangelist. The United Grand Lodge of England was formed on 27 December 1813.

John the Baptist

The first Grand Lodge was formed on 24 June the feast day of John the Baptist in 1717. This may arise from a very old tradition, since the Baptist appears to have been regarded as the patron of stonemasons in continental Europe during the Middle Ages. The guild of masons and carpenters attached to Cologne Cathedral was known as the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist. The earliest surviving record of Grand Lodge of Ireland installing a Grand Master is dated to 24 June 1725. As records of individual lodges appear in Ireland and in the Antients' in England, it seems many of them met to install a new master twice a year, on the feast days of both the Baptist and the Evangelist.

John the Evangelist

The Evangelist is particularly associated with Scottish lodges. The Lodge of Edinburgh was associated with the aisle of St. John the Evangelist in St. Giles Cathedral from the 15th century.The Grand Lodge of All England, and its predecessor, the Ancient Society of Freemasons in the City of York, elected and installed their president, then from 1725 their Grand Master on the day of the Evangelist, and in London the Antient Grand Lodge of England elected their new Grand Masters on the same day. When the Antients and the Moderns (the Premier Grand Lodge) eventually came together in the United Grand Lodge of England, it was on the Feast of the Evangelist in 1813.. - St. John's Day, Masonic feast(St. John's Day, Masonic feast)

For freemasonry to choose these two particular Christian patron saints, shows how they camouflage their ties to Egyptian mythology as they are closely related the the mid-summer and mid-winter pagan celebrations.

Masonic Poster of the Patron Saints of Freemasonry - St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Saint John the Evangelist is the other Patron Saint of Freemasonry, whose Festival is celebrated on the 27th of December.

Who are the patron saints of Freemasonry?

  • 1
    Ah I see- the Church didn't set them to be the patron saints of freemasonry, the freemasons did that.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 29, 2022 at 2:04
  • That makes much more sense lol
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 29, 2022 at 2:04
  • 2
    "Freemasons do their own thing and here they claim their own patron saints. The Church strongly condemns this." +1
    – Lesley
    Mar 30, 2022 at 16:41

According to the Grand Lodge of Ohio

Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist are said to be the Patron Saints of Freemasonry. Combined, they are known as ‘The Holy Saints John,’ and are prominent in Ohio’s, as well as all of Freemasonry’s, ritual and degree work. In this blog we explore the histories of each Saint, and why, as Freemasons, we often reference and celebrate them.

The early adoption of The Holy Saints’ John into Freemasonry as patron Saints provides a balance or equilibrium in Masonic thought and ritual. They are introduced in the Entered Apprentice lecture. Freemasons familiar with Preston / Webb work recognize the phrase “Erected to God and dedicated to the Holy Saints John.” While very different men with different religious practices, St. John the Baptist’s more strict and rigid moral code compliments the more philosophical and esoteric work of St. John the Evangelist.

Both June 24 and December 27 are widely accepted as remembrance and recognition days to both The Holy Saints’ John. Celebrations include feasts, processions, and formal regalia. The Holy Saints’ John are often seen as metaphorical pillars of Freemasonry, with St. John the Baptist representing the pillar beneath the Earth, and St. John the Evangelist as the pillar beneath the heavens.

Source: https://www.freemason.com/holy-saints-john/ See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John%27s_Day,_Masonic_feast See also: https://everythingwhat.com/who-are-the-patron-saints-of-freemasonry

According to a Catholic source, the patron saints of masons (NOT Freemasons) are Peter, Stephen, Sebastian and Louis. No mention of either John the Baptist or John the Evangelist. Source: https://catholicsaintmedals.com/patronage/patron-of-masons/

I submit this post in support of what Ken Graham has posted. It does not seem to me that the Catholic Church has any patron saints of Freemasons.

P.S. When I posted my answer I was unaware that Ken Graham got there first.

  • 1
    Thanks for making a distinction between freemasons and masons.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 3, 2022 at 14:06

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