[EWTN] It has emerged that during a meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke in November about the scandal of the Knights of Malta distributing condoms and oral contraceptives in Africa, the Holy Father instructed Cardinal Burke to "clean out" Freemasonry from the order. The Holy Father gave this order to Cardinal Burke in his role as patron of the Knights of Malta by papal appointment.
The Vatican journalist Edward Pentin revealed details of Pope Francis's concerns about the influence of the Freemasons on the Knights of Malta:
Hopes that the contraceptive scandal would be addressed came on Nov. 10, when Cardinal Burke was received in private audience by Pope Francis. During that meeting, the Register has learned, the Pope was “deeply disturbed” by what the cardinal told him about the contraceptive distribution. The Pope also made it clear to Cardinal Burke that he wanted Freemasonry “cleaned out” from the order, and he demanded appropriate action. The concern was followed up by a Dec. 1 letter to Cardinal Burke, in which the Register has learned that the Holy Father underlined the cardinal’s constitutional duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a collaborator with Cardinal Burke and an auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, have given a lecture on "Mary, conqueror of all heresies", in which he warned that Freemasonry is an "instrument of Satan". Bishop Schneider made this observation in the context of 2017 being the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge in London.
Bishop Schneider described the past 300 years of Freemasonry as turbulent and hidden, in pursuit of a revolutionary and subversive ambition. He described Freemasonry as a "tool of Satan" that has largely shied away from daylight since its foundation.
Bishop Schneider went on to recall St Maximilian Kolbe's recollections of the Freemasons' aggressive celebrations of their 200th anniversary in Rome during 1917, in the middle of the First World War. His Lordship related St Maximilian Kolbe's description of Freemasonry openly declaring war on the Catholic Church. The Freemason littered Rome with posters showing the Archangel Michael defeated on the ground trampled beneath a triumphant Lucifer. In their protests against the Catholic Church, the Freemasons also displayed the black flag of the heretic Giordano Bruno, a Dominican friar who promoted materialistic pantheism, a central belief of Freemasonry. (Bruno also denied fundamental doctrines of the Faith).