The day after the election of Pope Francis I, the Grand Orient of Italy (GOI), which represents Freemasonry in that country, issued a formal communiqué praising him for the first egalitarian measures he took on the day of his election. The document also made public the Freemasons' expectations that the new Pope shall lead the Church on the democratic path desired by Masonry.
This attitude was registered on the official GOI website. A photocopy of its webpage is found below, followed by a enlarged copy of the part referring to Francis I. The photos are preceded by our translation of the Italian, in blue.
Rome, March 14, 2013
Grand Master Raffi: "With Pope Francis, nothing will be more as it was before. It is a clear choice of fraternity for a Church of dialogue, which is not contaminated by the logic and temptations of temporal power"
"A man of the poor far away from the Curia. Fraternity and the desire to dialogue were his first concrete words. Perhaps nothing in the Church will be as it was before. Our hope is that the pontificate of Francis, the Pope who 'comes from the end of the world' can mark the return to the Church-Word instead of the Church-Institution, promoting an open dialogue with the contemporary world, with believers and non-believers, following the springtime of Vatican II." These were the comments of Gustavo Raffi, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, at the beginning of the pontificate of Francis, in the world Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
"The Jesuit who is close to the least ones of history," Raffi continues, "has the great opportunity to show the world the face of a Church that must recover the announcement of a new humanity, not the weight of an institution that closes itself off in defense of its own privileges. Bergoglio knows real life and will remember the lesson of one of his favorite theologians, Romano Guardini, for whom the truth of love cannot be stopped.
"The simple cross he wore on his white cassock," concludes the Grand Master of Palazzo Giustiniani, "lets us hope that a Church of the people will re-discover its capacity to dialogue with all men of good will and with Freemasonry, which, as the experience of Latin America teaches us, works for the good and progress of humanity, as shown by Bolivar, Allende and José Martí, to name only a few. This is the 'white smoke' that we expect from the Church of our times."