The thing about membership in a secret society is that it cannot be PROVEN ABSOLUTELY, unless the suspected party has either been caught in the act and publicly been exposed and has no excuse or alibi, or has publicly admitted to this. These are the only ways that an excommunication could take effect in the external forum, so as to bind Catholics to the duty to reject such a one.
Membership in a secret society is just that: secret. The only way that a person could lose an ecclesiastical office in the EXTERNAL FORUM is if he was publicly known as a Mason. A secret Mason, although he would already have lost his internal union with Christ, would nevertheless be unknowable as such to "his" flock, unless he were to give himself away somehow. He would in effect be an occult heretic.
As such, "his" flock would be invincibly ignorant, as per the definition of St. Thomas Aquinas.
|St. Thomas Aquinas, Prima Secunda Partis, Q. 76, Art. 2: said:|
|Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: Wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know.|
Therefore, if he kept it secret, "his" flock would be following a heretic, they would have invincible ignorance of this fact, as such ignorance was defined by St. Thomas. So if they had already been baptized and were otherwise professing the Catholic faith whole and inviolate, then they have not lost their Catholicity, they have not committed schism, because they CANNOT KNOW that their prelate is a Mason, whereas if they could have known, they should have known and their ignorance is no longer invincible; they are culpable.
It is the difference between following a manifest heretic and an occult heretic. One you can and ought to know is heretical, the other you cannot unless he lets it slip externally.
This is where conjecture comes in. A person can guess that a man was a Mason because of his outward actions. We can even possess what is known as MORAL CERTAINTY, which is not the same thing as absolute certainty.
Moral certainty is "a very high degree of probability, sufficient for action, but short of absolute or mathematical"
Such is the case with certain papal claimants, since they are on PUBLIC RECORD as using the popular Masonic hand signal (something that just doesn't happen by accident - try it and see - to make the hand signal you have to deliberately PURPOSE to make the hand symbol). Therefore this, in addition to their very Masonic sounding words and doctrines (eugenics, birth control, New World Order) provide evidence and establish a moral certainty of their Masonic membership.
I have seen no evidence at all that Pope Pius IX was publicly known as a Mason, either at the time of his reign, or afterward.
All I see is Masons themselves trying to claim that Pius IX had joined their sect as a young man, though even they admit it is only (in their view) "likely", which is far from a moral certitude requiring we anathematize a man who never publicly defected from the faith, not even in one iota.
Antipope Leo XIII, on the other hand, expressly taught the Masonic doctrine that "God is Father of all", despite the true pope before him, Pius IX, sepcifically defining the follwoing dogma:
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9, ex cathedra: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium. Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."
From the allocution of Pope Pius IX, to the Cardinals, Quibus Quantisque Malis, April 20, 1849, refuting the allegation that he was a mason: "To the other innumerable deceptions, which the enemies of the Catholic Church continually use to tear away and snatch from Her bosom, principally the imprudent and the inexperienced, are added the most dreadful and shameful slanders, which they do not blush to invent and hurl against Our Person. We certainly, although unworthy, who stand on earth in place of Him who "while he was cursed did not curse, while he was suffering did not threaten,” We endured with all patience and in silence the most bitter outrages, and never failed to pray for Our calumniators and persecutors. But being in debt to the learned and to the ignorant, and bound, with every care, to provide for the salvation of all, especially in order to prevent the scandal of the weak, We cannot fail to repudiate, in this your assembly, that most false and blackest of all calumnies published against Us by some of the most recent papers. In truth, We were struck by incredible horror when We read that invention, with which Our enemies strive to inflict a deep wound upon Us and the Apostolic See, but we cannot in any way think that these most impudent lies can even slightly touch that supreme Chair of Truth, and We who, without any merit, find Ourselves in it. And certainly by singular celestial mercy We can use those words of our divine Redeemer: "I have spoken openly to the world ... and in secret I have said nothing." Here, Venerable Brethren, We would like to repeat and inculcate what we specifically stated in Our Allocation of December 17, 1847, namely that the wicked, more easily to harm the true and genuine doctrine of the Catholic Religion, and to deceive and induce others to err, do not fail to use inventions, machinations, and efforts of every kind, so that the Holy See itself, in a certain way, appears to be part of, and an advocate for, their folly."
"To all, then, it is evident that these darkest and most destructive societies and sects have been founded at various times by fabricators of falsehood, followers of perverse doctrines, to instill in spirits their deliriums, systems and plots more deeply, to corrupt the hearts of the simple and to open a broad road to commiting all sorts of wickedness with impunity. These abominable sects of perdition, most pernicious not only to the salvation of souls, but also to the good and the peace of society, which have always been detested by Us, and already condemned by Our Predecessors, We also condemned in the encyclical to the Bishops of the Catholic world given November 9, 1846, and now also, with supreme apostolic authority, We again condemn, forbid, and proscribe."