Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, has been appointed a Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England; UK Freemason Lodge.
He was on Wednesday appointed by the United Grand Lodge of England Grand Master, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, who is the longest serving Grand Master.
The Herald first revealed ex-President Kufuor’s ties to the Freemason Lodge, drawing attention to the fact that as a Roman Catholic, he had gone against the doctrine of the church which strictly forbids its members from joining the Freemasonry.
The church officially excludes members who had joined the Freemasons from participation in holy sacrament and services through a process called excommunication.
Indeed, Catholic Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Most Rev. Joseph Osei–Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops‘ Conference (GCBC), has several times reiterated the church strict laws on the Masonic societies.
“Congratulations to Right Worshipful Brother, His Excellency John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, PGSwdB, former President of the Republic of Ghana, who has been appointed Senior Grand Warden by the Grand Master, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent,” the lodge announced on its Facebook page.
The United Grand Lodge of England, is the governing body for most freemasons within the UK, with lodges in other Commonwealth countries outside the United Kingdom.
The United Grand Lodge of England, claims to be the oldest Grand Lodge in the world, by descent from the first Grand Lodge formed in London in 1717. It is headquartered in Freemasons’ Hall, London and is known to have more than 200,000 members.
President Kufuor is no stranger to such distinguished honors, having previously been honored as a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath of the UK by Queen Elizabeth II, and the highest award of the Order of the House of Orange by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, among other international honors.
About three years ago, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, said the Church’s position on Catholics joining the Free Masons, goes with an interdiction spelt out in the Canon Law. That is, Catholics who join Masonic societies are:
Not allowed to receive Holy Communion and other Sacraments (cf. Canon 1332);
Prohibited to act as sponsor in Baptism and Confirmation;
Not to be admitted as a member of Parish or Diocesan structures;
To be denied funeral rites, unless he shows some signs of repentance before death (Canon 1184 & 1, no. 3) and
Where funeral rites are allowed by the Bishop, no Masonic service shall be allowed in the Church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites In order to avoid public scandal (cf. Canon 1184 & 1, no. 3 and Canon 1374).
He said this when he addressed the first Public Lecture organized by the Catholic Knighthood Forum at the Christ the king Parish Hall at Cantonments in Accra on the topic:
Can a Catholic Join Masonic Society? The Knighthood Forum is made up of the leadership of Knights of St. John International and their Ladies Auxiliary and Knights and Ladies of Marshall. Bishop Osei-Bonsu, who is Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese, said “any Catholic who is a member of any Masonic Association and participates in its programmes, or promotes its views, or holds an office therein, and refuses to renounce such membership despite at least one warning (cf. Canon 1347) is to be punished with an interdict (cf. Canon 1374). He said the ‘Freemasonry was a religion in its own right, with doctrines that were irreconcilable with Christian doctrines, adding that what it teaches cannot be reconciled with Christian beliefs. “For this reason one cannot simultaneously be a Catholic and a Freemason. One will have to make a choice between Catholicism and Freemasonry”, he added.
Bishop Osei-Bonsu said many people regard Freemasonry as a benevolent and charitable organization, somehow similar to the Rotary and Lions clubs, the Knights of Marshall, the Knights of St. John International or the Knights of Columbus.
Undoubtedly, it was for this reason that some Catholics join this fraternity. “Nevertheless, Catholics are forbidden to become Freemasons”. He said the Catholic Church had opposed the lodge (Freemasonry) since the birth of modern Freemasonry in 1717. The lodge has been explicitly condemned by eleven Popes.
Bishop Osei-Bonsu, said it was possible that some Catholics joined Freemasonry without knowing it was forbidden to Catholics, “such people are advised to see their Priests or Bishops who will assist them to renounce Freemasonry and avoid incurring the sanctions that will be imposed on them if they do not renounce Freemasonry”.
Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle. Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and Guest of Honour at the function, urged Catholics to be proud of their faith, adding that though the Church was often criticized, it was because the world was looking for a spiritual leadership from the Church.
He said, because the world expected much from the Church, it comes under heavy criticism for some of its weaknesses.
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