Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

SECRET SOCIETY

An organization whose members may not disclose the purposes, practices, or activities of their society to civil or ecclesiastical authorities. Because their secrecy often works to the disadvantage of nonmembers, through questionable control, and also to the detriment of the Catholic faith, the Church has for centuries forbidden Catholics to belong to secret societies and has often imposed severe canonical penalties on those who disobey. Under certain restricted conditions Catholics may retain a limited association with such organizations. Forbidden secret societies often sponsor benevolent and charitable enterprises, but they are prohibited mainly because their naturalism is a danger to the true faith. Among the secret societies forbidden by Church law are the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Sons of Temperance, and the Freemasons.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 3 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8