Catholic Bishop in Ghana Faults Lawmaker’s Remarks on Freemasonry

Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu of the Catholic Diocese of Konongo-Mampong in Ghana. Credit: Radio Angelus

A Catholic Bishop in Ghana has faulted the Member of Parliament (MP) of Effutu Constituency in the West African nation for saying that Catholics are free to join the freemason society. 

In an interview with local media in Ghana, MP Alexander Kwamina Afenyo Martin revealed that he is a member of the fraternal society. The MP said that his membership to the men-only, oath-bound fraternal society does not affect his Catholic principles. 

In a Tuesday, November 29 statement reacting to the MPs’ comment, Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu of the Catholic Diocese of Konongo-Mampong said it is “unfortunate that the honorable Member of Parliament does not know the teaching of his Church on this matter.”

“Contrary to what Honorable Alexander Afenyo Martin believes, Freemasonry is not approved by the Catholic Church,” Bishop Osei-Bonsu says, and adds that “Catholics are forbidden to become Freemasons.”

The Ghanaian Catholic Bishop explains that the Catholic Church has opposed the Freemasonry fraternity since its inception in 1717.


“Since the founding of the Grand Lodge of England, eleven Popes have explicitly condemned Freemasonry or Masonic principles,” the says. 

He mentions Popes Clement XII, Benedict XIV, Pius VII, Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo, Pius IX, Pius X and Pius XI as those who rejected the society whose origin is traced to the local guilds of stonemasons that, from the end of the 13th century, regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients.

The 74-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of Konongo-Mampong Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration and subsequent installation in June 1995 says that a recent condemnation of the Freemason fraternity is contained in the Declaration on Masonic Associations issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 26 November 1983.

“Masonic principles are irreconcilable with the doctrine of Church, and that Catholic membership in Freemasonry is forbidden,” says Bishop Osei-Bonsu.

He explains the Church’s position is that freemasonry "is a religion in its own right with its doctrines, which are not Christian beliefs." 

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“For this reason, one cannot simultaneously be a Christian and be a Freemason,” says Bishop Osei-Bonsu.

He adds that what freemasonry teaches about God, Christ, the denial of the role of grace and Christ in salvation, morality, its attitude towards the Bible, eschatology, the masonic oaths and the notion of rebirth and enlightenment “cannot be reconciled with Christian beliefs.”

“For this reason, one cannot simultaneously be a Catholic and a Freemason, just as one cannot be a Catholic and be Muslim, a Hindu, a Shintoist or a practitioner of African Traditional Religion. One will have to make a choice between Catholicism and Freemasonry,” he says.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.