The Mason's argument "but we don't plot against the Church..." does not hold water either, because the competency to determine this is reserved to the Holy See; not even a bishop holds this competency.
DELICTS AGAINST ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITIES AND THE FREEDOM OF THE CHURCH (Cann. 1370 - 1377)
Can. 1374 A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.
Reading this I also discovered the following:
Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.
It is to be observed that the penalty does not apply, unless certain conditions are met:
Can. 1321 §1. No one is punished unless the external violation of a law or precept, committed by the person, is gravely imputable by reason of malice or negligence.
§3. When an external violation has occurred, imputability is presumed unless it is otherwise apparent.
Addressing the possible cases where imputability is excused (cann. ⇒ 1323 and ⇒ 1324;):
Can. 1325 Crass, supine, or affected ignorance can never be considered in applying the prescripts of cann. ⇒ 1323 and ⇒ 1324;
Can. 1326 §1. A judge can punish the following more gravely than the law or precept has established:
2/ a person who has been established in some dignity or who has abused a position of authority or office in order to commit the delict;
Seems straight-forward and reasonable. I'll admit, however, that I don't know the difference between ferendae sententiae and latae sententiae.
more of interest...
Can. 1371 The following are to be punished with a just penalty:
1/ in addition to the case mentioned in ⇒ can. 1364, §1, a person who teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff or an ecumenical council or who obstinately rejects the doctrine mentioned in ⇒ can. 750, §2 or in ⇒ can. 752 and who does not retract after having been admonished by the Apostolic See or an ordinary;Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.
§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firmly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.
I suppose weak faith and pride are the chief obstacle to fulfilling this last.
update: I probably wouldn't have posted this if I'd read Anita's post from this morning. My confession is that last night the CCL book was out in support of discussing Masonic membership, and I suppose we both found it enlightening enough to share with you. Since I have, don't feel bad if you come across this twice in one day!
and from RORATE-CÆLI
Obedience to the Lord, reminds Pope Benedict, is obedience to Holy Mother Church:
...obedience to God’s will, obedience to Jesus Christ, must be, really and practically, humble obedience to the Church. This is something that calls us to a constant and deep examination of conscience.
It is all summed up in the prayer of Saint Ignatius of Loyola – a prayer which always seems to me so overwhelming that I am almost afraid to say it, yet one which we should always repeat:
“Take O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. All that I have and all that I possess you have given me: I surrender it all to you; it is all yours, dispose of it according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace; with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more”. (Benedict XVI, Mariazell - Vespers, September 8, 2007)