(LifeSiteNews) — The Knights of Columbus in North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba have canceled a Mass that had been scheduled to be held in a Masonic lodge.
The annual Mass of solidarity and friendship held at the International Peace Garden was scheduled this year for the Masonic auditorium on the grounds of the park. The building functions as the annual meeting place for the Peace Garden Lodge of the Freemasons. The announcement of the location raised serious questions among concerned Catholics about the appropriateness of holding a Mass there.
LifeSiteNews reached out last week to the Knights of Columbus for clarification about the location and also published a petition protesting the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Manitoba’s Grand Masonic Lodge’s Auditorium.
The Knights announced this week that its plans had changed, with the Archdiocese of Winnipeg contacting LifeSiteNews to confirm the Mass would not proceed.
“Due to the lack of an alternate venue, the International Field Mass, which began in 1960 as a sign of fraternity between Knights of Columbus in North Dakota and Manitoba, has been cancelled for 2023,” the Knights said. “Information regarding a new location for future Masses will be shared when available.”
The annual International Peace Garden Field Mass has been offered by the Knights of Columbus since 1960 as a gesture of solidarity between the provinces of Knights in North Dakota and Manitoba. The International Peace Garden is an international territory that borders the U.S. and Canada.
In previous years, the Mass was held outside and then in an auditorium for a music camp. This year, it was scheduled for Sunday, July 9, in the Masonic Auditorium, which functions as a lodge for the Masons. Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg had agreed to be the celebrant.
According to Canon Law, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass “is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.” Given the doctrine and rituals of Freemasonry, which include gruesome blood oaths upon advancement to higher degrees, the holding of a Mass in an auditorium that functions as the annual meeting place for a Masonic Lodge was met with shock among scandalized Catholics.
According to Church law, it has long been forbidden to be a member of Freemasonry, which rejects Catholic dogma on original sin, redemption through Christ, and the necessity of grace and the Church for salvation. Beginning with Clement XII in 1738, many Popes have condemned Freemasonry, with the penalty of excommunication still in place for any Catholic who becomes a member of a Masonic Lodge.
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Fr. Michael McGivney in Connecticut in direct opposition to the work of the Masons in America and as a Catholic alternative to the ostensible economic benefits and social advantages offered by membership in the Masonic lodges of New England.