By virtue of their secrecy, lodge activities lend themselves to covert, concerted political action. Under certain conditions Masons may originate, or be manipulated into originating, politically dissenting and provocative activities tending towards the destabilization of governments.
Freemasonry has had a long association with politics. Its lodges provided meeting place for Masonic men of affairs - tradesmen, bankers, lawyers, politicians - where the issues of the day could be discussed and debated. In such lodges, activists of the American and the French Revolutions met. The Vatican condemned Freemasonry first in 1738 and later in 1917, asserting that any member would be excommunicated. It was condemned by the Greek Orthodox church in 1933 as a system reminiscent of heathen mystery religions. In Rome in 1981, the P-2 Masonic Lodge which was declared illegal and considered to be a conspiracy against the government; its members were politicians, businessmen and military officers. Freemasonry has had offspring, such as the Bavarian Illuminati who were suppressed in 1785 for plotting revolution, and possibly the Rosicrucians who are now considered to have had a role in the Reformation.
Official masonic liturgy says anyone who discloses their secrets or membership shall have their tongue ripped out.
In 1993 the UK government indicated in official staff guidelines that conflicts of interest could arise in the case of personnel involved in freemasonry. The guidelines require civil servants to report such associations to their superior. There has been considerable concern over the infiltration of the UK police force and the judiciary by masons and the the possible perversion of justice in consequence.
It was reported in 1997 that, in the UK, two out of the 39 Appeal Court Judges and one out of the 96 High Court Judges were Freemasons. As many as 16 of the 64 judges on the North East Circuit were Freemasons. A sample of magistrates found that 11 out of 107 asked were members.
2. After nineteen centuries of Christian civilization, this sect tries to overthrow the Catholic Church and to cut off its divine sources. It absolutely denies the supernatural, repudiating every revelation and all the means of salvation which revelation shows us. Through its plans and works, it bases itself solely and entirely on such a weak and corrupt nature as ours. Such a sect cannot be anything other than the height of pride, greed, and sensuality. Now, pride oppresses, greed plunders, and sensuality corrupts. When these three concupiscences are brought to the extreme, the opressions, greed, and seductive corruptions spread slowly. They take on boundless dimensions and become the oppression, plundering and source of corruption of an entire people. Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God (Papal Writings, Custodi di Quella Fede, 1892).
3. Some 20 years after the organization of modern Masonry in 1717 Pope Clement XII forbade membership in the lodge and since then seven other popes have warned the faithful against the dangers of Masonic naturalism to the Christian faith. Catholics who join the Masonic sect are automatically excommunicated. Except at the point of death only the pope or his delegated representative can lift this excommunication in the external forum. Masonry constitutes a religion of naturalism which considers the basic Christian doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the necessity of baptism, and the role of the Church in the plan of salvation to be quite incidental. The lodge furthermore exacts a series of oaths from its candidates which cannot be called valid extrajudicial oaths; those who swear such oaths, agreeing to the most horrible self-mutilation in order to protect a few passwords and secret grips, are objectively guilty of either vain or rash swearing.
4. The presence of masons among the police, legal professions and judiciary is the root cause of unfair trials and miscarriages of justice.
5. Nothing so much undermines public confidence in public institutions as the knowledge that some public servants are members of a secret society, one of whose aims is mutual self-advancement.
2. Under the Grand Lodge of England, members who transgress the law of the country are obliged to report it only if they receive prison sentences. Their cases are then heard before masonic courts (often presided over by serving judges) which have the power to suspend or expel members.
3. Evidence that Freemasonry has materially affected the course of trials in the second half of the 20th century remains thin and largely unproven. Claims of defendants escaping prison sentences by making masonic signs from the dock have always been rife among the conspiracy theorists, who blame Freemasonry for a high proportion of social problems, but there are no independently verified samples of such incidents.
4. A compulsory register of Freemasons among judges is unnecessary because, as a matter of course, they state if there is a conflict of interest at the outset of a trial, in the UK. This would apply only if a trial involving Freemasonry were to go in front of a judge who is a mason.
5. It would be a breach of their human rights, a detraction from freedom of association and offensive to individual judges to be forced to state whether they are Freemasons.