Over the years as
a result of travelling and visiting and through my membership as the Founding
Senior Warden of Internet Lodge I have got to know many brothers in many
countries. In Greece, Lebanon, Georgia in the USA, Washington DC and Italy among
many. Thus I have followed their anxieties, their miseries as the leviathans of
the masonic world battle out their game of international politics, diplomacy and
recognition. Eventually I asked myself the question; to whose benefit was all
this being done? And I was forced to the conclusion that it was certainly not
for the benefit of individual brothers.
Writing on this
subject is not one of the popular topics of masonic researchers or masons, in
some ways it is a subject on which opinions are not expressed, almost a taboo
subject. Thus I suspect that far too many of us know much less that we should,
and probably simply take the official views expressed as both correct and the
only way forward.
When I see the
effect upon individual masons I am prompted to ask if whether current masonic
practices regarding recognition and associated matters are actually still fit
for purpose in the 21st century? This brings a second question to
mind; whether there might not be alternative strategies which might fit the
values and standards of our societies in the 21st century rather
better than those of the 18th, 19th or 20th
one of the questions asked when opening a lodge in the third degree
WM to JW
What inducement have you to leave the East and go to the West?
To seek for that which was lost, which, by your instruction and our own
industry, we hope to find
Hence the title of
this paper. But before we move on allow me one more quote. An Entered Apprentice
is questioned about that degree before being Passed to the Second Degree. He is
asked where he was made a mason and then “When?”. He responds “When the sun was
at its meridian” and the Master then asks “In this country Freemasons Lodges are
usually held in the evening; how do you account for that which at first view
appears a paradox? The Candidate responds:
constantly revolving on its axis in its orbit about the sun and
Freemasonry being universally spread over its surface, it necessarily
follows that the sun must always be at its meridian with respect to
For me that very
complex sentence has always spelt out a vision of an essentially universal
masonic fraternity, something that we should strive to make inclusive rather
than arbitrarily divisive and excluding in nature.
Now I offer my
disclaimer. All the views expressed are mine, or of those who have been
published elsewhere, they are not indicative of any views or any opinions of any
Grand Lodge anywhere. If examples are quoted it is purely to demonstrate certain
points. The author has endeavoured to remain objective at all times, if I fail
to do so then my apologies.
1731 – 1770
In 1731 a special
lodge was held in the Hague to initiate Francis Duke of Lorraine, later
Co-Emperor of Austria and Emperor of Germany. The Grand Master of England, Lord
Lovell, deputed Dr Desaguliers as Master and others including the British
Ambassador at the Hague to deliver the first two degrees. The lodges were later
closed down and did not reopen until 1744 and by 1755 there were about 8 lodges
all English except for one Scottish one and at least 5 chartered by the
(Netherlands) Union Mother Lodge. In 1756 an invitation went out to all the
lodges to constitute a Grand Lodge and later that year 14 of them met and
elected a Grand Master.
That however was
not the end of the story for in 1762 the new Grand Lodge issued its own
Constitutions and then from 1762 till 1769 no less that 8 English Lodges were
consecrated, the last one on February 3rd 1769 after which all
activity by England in creating new lodges ceased.
April 1770 the Provincial Grand Master for foreign Lodges
received a letter from the Grand Master of the 'National Grand Lodge of the
United Provinces of Holland'. It requested they be acknowledged as such by the
Grand Lodge of England and seeking agreement that the Grand Lodge of England did
not in future constitute any new Lodge within the Holland jurisdiction. The
request was acceded to. Some of the English Lodges joined the new Grand Lodge
but by 1813 five were still on the roll of the Grand Lodge of England.
So we have the
principle of territoriality appearing at a country level together with the
agreement that after a Grand Lodge is established other Grand Lodges will not
erect more lodges and also that existing lodges of other jurisdictions may
continue to practice should they choose to do so.
Gould goes on to
say “..from this early date England initiated the policy in these matters (of
allowing lodges to continue under English governance after a new Grand Lodge is
formed) – ever since maintained by her – which is now the cause of querulous
complaint on the part of the Grand Lodge of Quebec. This is a matter we shall
return to later.
Territorial Jurisdiction & the GL of Massachusetts 1783
There seems to be
a theme that the Doctrine of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction was enunciated
by the GL of Massachusetts in 1783 – however the facts of this seem unclear at
best, especially as it was not formed as a US Grand Lodge until 5th
March 1792. The American War of Independence / Revolutionary War lasted from
1775 to 1783 and also that in 1784 Africa Lodge #459 was chartered. Where
references are available there would seem to be a desire to demonstrate that the
ETJ doctrine was established before the founding of Africa Lodge. This
effectively allowed the American Grand Lodges to sideline recognition of Prince
Hall Affiliation lodges for 200 years!
What it did
determine was that in one 'territory' only one Grand Lodge would be considered
to be regular and recognised. This matter will recur in this paper
between the Antients and the Moderns 1751 – 1813 and the International Compact
The Grand Lodge of
England formed in 1717 found itself faced with serious competition in 1751 with
the formation of the Most Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, now
commonly known as the Antients. They were mainly masons of Irish Lodges whom the
Grand Lodge did not want admitted to its lodges. They has the charismatic
Lawrence Dermott as Grand Secretary and later the Duke of Atholl as Grand
Master. After a rocky start the Antients made rapid progress both in England and
the colonies of the British Empire and importantly were recognised by the Grand
Lodges of Scotland and of Ireland, who then did not recognise the Moderns (1717)
Grand Lodge. Eventually practical and political motivations brought about a
union in 1813 and a realisation codified through the International Compact of
1814 that matters had got badly out of hand in the past and that better order
was needed for the foreseeable future to avoid recurrent conflict between the
Home Grand Lodges.
There have been
other Grand Lodges before and after that of the Antients. The Grand Lodge of
York (circa 1712 to 1740 and a revival called The Grand Lodge of All England
(1761-1792), The Grand Lodge South of the River Trent (1779-1789), The Grand
Lodge of Wigan (1823-1866 and one lodge till 1913). None of these ever became
large enough to pose a threat to the control of the United Grand Lodge of
England. And to this day there are a number of other Grand Lodges, two female,
two co-masonic and a couple of male only ones and a few other lodges , for
example one each from the Grand Orient de France and the Grande Loge de France.
When the Grande Loge de France, never recognised by UGLE, recently erected a
lodge in London it found itself still accused of invading UGLE's territory – a
somewhat strange thing to happen.
– a decision of genius (circa 1819)
In the 19th
century much of our atlases were coloured red to represent the British Empire,
and in many of the colonies there were lodges with charters from England,
Ireland and Scotland, a mixture which approximated to the origin of those who
went out to colonise various parts of the globe.
The definition of
Open Territory is simple. In territories where there is NO Grand Lodge then that
territory shall be considered to be Open, that is any Grand Lodge is free to
erect lodges under its own warrants. Thus was peace and good masonic order
maintained in the territories of the British Empire from then till today, a
period of 150 years – or maybe not quite as we shall see later.
The origins ought
to be simple to find and one might expect that such an important mutual decision
would be subject of a treaty of exchange of letters. Not so. I have traced a
couple of potential flashpoints.
In 1818 there was
an incident between Lodge #35 IC and the English Provincial Grand Lodge.
2 July, 1818 –
Read a Complaint from Lodge No. 35 Jamaica desiring
the G.L. opinion on the allegiance during or if any, to the Provincial G.L. held
under the G.L. of England in that Island. Ordered That the Secretary inform No.
35 that no jurisdiction of any Lodge can be exercised over their Lodge save this
Grand Lodge, that it be recommended that the Members shall take their Blue
Degrees in the Lodge they are entered in.
And at the later
date of 1826 the (English Constitution) Provincial Grand Master for Upper Canada
tried to get the Duke of Leinster's Lodge #283 to become an English Lodge by
accepting an English Warrant. There was a suggestion made from England to the
Duke of Leinster that “Irish overseas lodges would be better protected if placed
under English control”.
Grand Lodges of
Quebec and Scotland quarrel 1870 -1880 and on.
the British foothold in North America after the War of Independence and was
composed of provinces, equivalent in style to the states of the USA. The first
Grand Lodge was the Grand Lodge of Canada which also included the territory of
the state of Quebec, which was, and still is staunchly francophone. When the
Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867 a group of Grand Lodge of Canada lodge in
Quebec decided to create the Grand Lodge of Quebec which was formed in 1869 and
by 1880 all remaining GL of Canada lodges were absorbed.
The Grand Master
of Quebec speaking in 1870 said:
“The union with
this Grand Lodge of the three remaining lodges, the St Paul's Lodge No.374 RE,
the Elgin No.348 RS and the St Lawrence No.640 would be hailed with great
However by 1871 he
felt it necessary to reinforce his position:
“A convention of
representatives of three private lodges, duly authorised, and regularly
assembled, without let or hindrance, from a Grand Lodge in and for the said
territory; but it has become a very generally accepted rule that a majority of
the private lodges situated therein should take part in the said convention, or
acquiesce in its actions”.
In April 1874
there were letters to the Grand Masters of UGLE and Scotland but by 1874
although still in a hopeful vein. Matters had not progressed by 1876 because
there is reference to a committee which had not met “on account of the
non-cooperation of said private lodges. Eventually the Grand Lodge of Scotland
withdrew recognition, declare the Province of Quebec to be “unoccupied masonic
territory” and to then in 1878 to proceed to erect two new lodges in Montreal,
Lodge Argyle and Lodge King Solomon.
None of the Scottish Lodges remain today while an English one does.
In 1876 UGLE offered
a qualified recognition, qualified by its remaining lodge was to continue to
operate, and this was initially rejected by Quebec. Scotland offered an
unqualified recognition in February 1877 which was accepted. Hindsight of over a
century being an exact science it is now possible to see the interplay of ego,
ignorance, distance and lack of any mediation. UGLE did not put a foot wrong,
Quebec made the mistake of demanding that Lodge Elgin change allegiance to them,
and Scotland while she could have withdrawn recognition was in error in
declaring Quebec to be 'open territory'. While it might have been technically
possible to declare a free for all this was only a technicality. The reality is
that at such a distance and against a Grand Lodge universally recognised on the
continent Scotland did not have a strong hand. Condemnation was universal and
typical, and on the strong side was that from Missouri “The action of the Grand
Lodge of Scotland in this matter is little remover from childish folly'.
The original Lodge
Elgin, and the other two, surrendered their Scottish warrants in 1881 and joined
the Grand Lodge of Quebec. Lodge Elgin became #7 (a then vacant number) and was
allowed to continue to wear its Scottish regalia and use its Scottish ritual. It
has since gone dark. Lodge Argyle took the number #65 and no longer works while
King Solomon became #69 and is still working.
possesses two recognisable Grand Lodges, the Grand Lodge of Greece and the
National Grand Lodge of Greece together with one old English lodge formed in
1861, Star of the East #880 EC which meets at Zante on
the isle of Zakinthos. English connections with Greece have been long and
worthy. Most curiously in 1823 the Duke of Sussex became Grand Master of the
Grand Orient of Greece and continued as such for many years.
Just as in many countries the relationship between the Grand Lodge and Scottish
Rite is often close and thus often fraught, it was similar in Greece then as
The cause of this
schism seems shrouded by a lack of clarity and a lack of any substantive
evidence or agreement on the cause. There are numerous opinions and scenarios
which go from the simple to the somewhat more fanciful. Thus I have found it
best to stick with known events and dates.
1976 Start of
the York Rite in Greece
1981 New Grand
07/85 issued (not seen)
lodges leave the Grand Lodge of Greece and form the National Grand Lodge of
decided to remove its recognition from the Grand Lodge of Greece and instead
recognise the National Grand Lodge of Greece as did Ireland and Scotland among
The appointment of
a new Grand Master in 1981 led to pressure on the Supreme Grand Chapter and in
April 1985 a circular was issued which included penalties for brethren who
continued to participate in Chapter meetings. By May 1986 the situation had
deteriorated so badly that 7 lodges left the Grand Lodge of Greece and founded
the National Grand Lodge of Greece in June 1986, and by 1988 the number of
lodges had grown to 28. In 1993 UGLE decided to remove its recognition from the
Grand Lodge of Greece and instead recognise the National Grand Lodge of Greece
as did Ireland and Scotland among others.
Now we arrive at a
general philosophical point. How is it that brothers who are recognised today as
part of the greater family of freemasonry are suddenly consigned to purgatory
the next because of some rule which is applied whenever it is felt convenient
and at the whim of some foreign organisation. It seems that the rightness of any
Grand Lodge only 'being able' to recognise one Grand Lodge in a territory unless
the Grand Lodges in those territories agree may be conceptually flawed. Most
often the 'winner takes all' leads to actions which might be described at best
as being unbecoming to freemasonry and at worst as deceitful and corrupt. The
temptation to ensure that ones own side wins the game must truly be
And a practical
one. It has of course been part of the essence of being human that we fall out
now and again. While in all these cases individual enmities may have a role to
play and certainly ego is rarely absent there should always be cause to reflect
upon the difficulties in determining the reality of rightness or wrongness in
situations in lands which are distant, where the language fluency is absent,
social mores poorly understood and thus whatever information comes forward is by
definition always partisan – for one side or the other.
In 1999 UGLE
decided to reverse the 1993 decision and it is at this point that it is
interesting to pick up the story in detail. The matter was aired at length in
the UGLE Quarterly Communication of September 1999 In the preamble to the
proposition to withdraw recognition from the National Grand Lodge of Greece the
minutes give the following position statements:
(recap from June
1996)..That the grounds for our withdrawing recognition from the Grand Lodge
of Greece may no longer apply but whilst that is good news, it does not alter
the convention which requires us to ensure that a Grand Lodge we recognise
agrees to our recognising a second Grand Lodge working in the same area.... In
the fullness of time I hope that we will be in a position to recognise both
the Grand Lodge and the National Grand Lodge of Greece, but that is not the
Past Grand Secretary Commander Higham in proposing the rejection of the
resolution) is passed it will suggest that our Grand Lodge is capricious and
inflexible. I find it difficult to believe that our friends in the Grand Lodges
of Ireland and Scotland will be able to understand why the resolution was passed
when the reason for it, the National Grand Lodge of Greece's lack of agreement,
has disappeared” The motion was then carried.
Of course between
recognition in 1993 and de-recognition in 1999 the Cyprus lodges of the Grand
Lodge of Greece, though now unrecognised and irregular had not gone away but
added to the mix where a new District Grand
Lodge with four new lodges belonging to the now recognised National Grand Lodge
Of course after
1999 that position was reversed. Higham was right , the Grand Lodges of Ireland
and Scotland saw no reason to change – and so it stays to this day.
By the March 2000
meeting the minutes note :
remarkably, the two Grand Lodges are strongly requesting this Grand Lodge to
decide, sooner rather than later, which of the two Greek Grand lodges to
recognise, as the two continue to be irreconcilable. The Board (of General
Purposes) is now giving urgent consideration to this request.
At the following
meeting, in June 2000 a motion was proposed “That the Grand Lodge affirms its
established practice of not recognising a second Grand Lodge in a territory
without the consent and agreement of both the Grand Lodges concerned”. The
resolution was put and Cdr Higham rose “I am against this resolution, because I
believe it to be unnecessary, dangerous and possibly mischievous” and he went on
“The convention is
dangerous in that a Grand Lodge seeking recognition should not be allowed to
impose conditions as part of its application. It should certainly not be allowed
to impose conditions which affect our relations with other Grand Lodges we
already recognise. The convention should be simple and not twisted.” and “..if
we approve this resolution we shall be creating the first Masonic charter for
dogs, who will have rights to fight over the manger while they are still outside
the stable door.”
[The resolution was carried and Cdr. Higham failed to carry the day].
The then current
Grand Secretary went on to say:
“I have looked at
it simply as a matter of what is best for the people that we as Grand Lodge, are
here to represent; namely our members.
You heard the
District Grand Master of our District of Cyprus, that is where our main interest
The next group is
in Zante. There is no doubt that that Lodge wishes us to re-recognise the Grand
Lodge of Greece.”
In hindsight we
may choose to reflect at length upon Higham's words. Clearly although
recognition was restored to the Grand Lodge of Greece all was certainly not well
in the home camp, or at least in Cyprus it certainly was not for in October 2006
four lodges of the Grand Lodge of Greece formed the Grand Lodge of Cyprus. This
new Grand Lodge was consecrated by the Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of
Greece, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and the Grand Lodge of Austria and Bro Tom
Jackson Secretary General of the World Conference of Grand Lodges present. Two
of the GL of Greece lodges joined the District of UGLE in May 2006.
Since then there
are further developments, a Grand Lodge of Greece Lodge has been formed
to meet on the island of Cyprus, a Grand Lodge of Turkey Lodge, Lefkosa 1001 has
met in Kyrenia, and Bellapais Lodge 9847 UGLE has had a warrant issued in March
It is perhaps
interesting to reflect that presumably in spite of the best of intentions the
application of traditional strategies has at every stage simply exacerbated and
complicated the situation. After almost two decades
the situation seems more complicated. The open territory of Cyprus was shared
harmoniously between UGLE and the Grand Lodge of Greece until 1993 – a simple
situation of two Grand Lodges being present. Today the situation is that there
are now lodges of FIVE Grand Lodges on the Island and
a considerable amount of disharmony and possibly more to come. We are fifteen
years plus into this situation. Clearly the matter is ongoing so I shall not
comment, readers may draw their own conclusions..
What of the
strategies employed? Are they serving Grand Lodges? – doubtful
, ; is it serving the brothers? – there
is no evidence for that. Is it serving egos of individuals? Impossible to answer
but it is a question that does seem to raise itself repeatedly.
Clearly what is or
is not open territory seems variable according to the desire of the parties
involved. One can be regular but not recognised and be accused of violating
another's territory even though there is no Grand Lodge. Accusations of
incursions are even made where the invading Grand
Lodge has never been recognised. Sadly it seems if the parties want to
abandon common sense than the pot can always be stirred!
Within 30 minutes
of flight one can be in Lebanon where there has been a struggle between the
Grand Lodges of New York and District of Columbia recently. Again the question
has been one of what is open territory with a claim that having a District Grand
Lodge there grants it US style Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction. Such a claim
is of course contrary to the principle that gave peace to the (United Kingdom)
Home Grand Lodges for 150 years.
There remains the
question of whether it is possible to recognise more than one Grand Lodge in a
territory. In Higham versus the UGLE Quarterly Communication that answer was
that the status quo should prevail. But are there alternatives
Grand Lodge of South Australia
At the October 2001 conference of the
Grand Lodge of South Australia a couple of interesting propositions were put and
7. Visitors from Prince Hall lodges.
This Conference recommends that the Association permit any Prince Hall Mason to
visit lodges of the Association, provided he produces proof of good standing in
a lodge warranted by a Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Affiliation, and passes the
tests usually imposed on an unknown visitor to prove that he is a Mason
regardless of whether his Grand Lodge has been recognized by the Association.
This was carried.
8. Discretion when visiting lodges of
This Conference recommends that if a member of the
Association visits a Lodge of a jurisdiction which is recognized by the
Association, and there encounters a visitor (lawfully present in the Lodge) who
belongs to a jurisdiction not recognized by the Association, the said member
should be permitted, at his discretion, to remain in the Lodge he is visiting
and fraternally associate with that visitor from an unrecognised jurisdiction on
the occasion of that visit to the Lodge.
This was carried.
These two points while not necessarily
new do illustrate a more pragmatic approach to masonic relations, and one based
on a more masonic ethos. Both points also serve the purpose of making the
process of visitation from and to lodges in other jurisdictions simpler and
more logical. Item 7 was carried and Past GM Casson comments that “We believed
it was ethically correct and the masonic thing to do.”
Their principle of recognition is
perhaps well summarised as follows:
Quoting James Anderson “...whereby
Masonry becomes the Centre of Union and the means of conciliating friendship
among persons that might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.”
At a more detailed organisational level
the Fraternal Relations Officer would make a recommendation to the Grand Master
and the principles to be applied would be:
“We would establish that the Grand lodge
seeking recognitions met the basic requirements of a similar structure to ours,
belief in a Supreme Being, male only membership, and not in conflict with any
'regular' Grand Lodge”.
Thus it was that they were able to
recognise both the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy and the Grand Orient of Italy –
simply they decided they were both regular within their definition and
recognised each of them. In doing this they saw no need to seek the agreement of
This action places the ownership of the
decision purely in the hands of the Grand Lodge making the decision. There is no
looser (in that traditionally the one loosing recognition goes to limbo) and
thus attempts to influence the process by the competing Grand Lodges no longer
have any relevance.
It was true that matters of
international diplomacy were of little interest to brothers except those
actively involved in the battle and of course those brethren who suddenly became
unrecognised (and at the same time probably irregular as well). That probably
remains equally true today as a century ago but there is one major difference.
The advent of the Internet, scanners and the PDF Portable Document Format. In
any battle of wills there is usually one side or one person who desires that a
situation is fully explained – normally within days of any major happening the
documents are in either public or private circulation on the Internet.
What was once private is today very much
more public. Thus battles and disagreements are now open to much greater
scrutiny than ever before. This should act as a check on ego and ignorance, but
whether that will be the case – only time will tell.
In November 2007
there was a Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries held in London.
This, in my opinion, could have been the opportunity to acknowledge that far
from improving, the panorama of recognitions across 'regular Grand Lodges' had
realised that the first half of the twentieth century with two World Wars was a
disaster for Europe, and that to repeat that again was not acceptable. Thus
today we have the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights,
and the long list of forty seven countries that
are signatories to the convention is also a reflection of the number of
countries that feel their values of a good society to be.. It is now part of the
legal framework of many countries and some shibboleths have been challenged. I
believe the freemasonry needs to acknowledge that Europe has made the decision
that its future is “jaw, jaw not war, war”.
There have been
moves by some state organisations to require freemasons to register their
membership as part of employment, while not requiring anyone to declare their
membership of say Rotary or Lions or the local golf club. In a case in Italy in
2005 this was found to be contrary to Article 14 (Prohibition of Discrimination)
and Article 11 (Freedom of Association) of the FCHR.
The Council of
Europe is the sponsoring body and the convention became
open for signature in November 1950. Forty seven countries are members of it.
Article 11 reads as follows:
Article 11 –
Freedom of assembly and association
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of
association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions
for the protection of his interests.
No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other
than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in
the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of
disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection
of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the
imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of
the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.
But of course such
legislation can have unexpected consequences for on 2nd October 2001
the case of Balsamo versus Grande Loge Nationale Francaise (GLNF) was heard in a
court in Nice France, and the finding of the court appealed on 18th
April 2002. Bro. Balsamo had been told by the GLNF that he could not visit a
body which the GLNF did not consider to be recognised. In doing so the Grand
Lodge relied upon “article 4, last but one paragraph” of its constitutions which
states that “any brother will refrain from participating to meetings, tyled
meetings or other activities not open to the general public of a masonic
association not recognised by the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise”.
The Nice Higher
District Court, and at appeal upheld in the Court of Appeals of Aix en Provence,
found this requirement of “Article 4, last but one paragraph”, “in its current
wording, constitutes a violation of the freedom of association and an
Such cases all contribute to the body of findings and are precedent across all
signatory countries. The implications of this court case are yet to become clear
but it is obvious that they are at variance with
traditional masonic practices of recognition and visitation.
There was a time
when freemasonry was at the cutting edge of civil rights and liberties in
Europe. We must wait and see how Grand Lodges deal with the rights of the
citizens of the signatory countries to the ECHR.
This whole subject
of recognitions has a long history and as one reads and comes to
understand it, is not something which freemasonry is going to feel very proud
of. It is possible that we have allowed a man made set of rules to become so
ossified that they are now damaging the Craft, that we have fallen into the trap
that Albert Mackay fell into when drawing up his list of Landmarks – Number 25
read “These Landmarks may never be changed”.
It seems that
three points are worthy of serious consideration, and if adopted could well
bring a greater sense of logic and fairness, fraternal goodwill and commonsense
The “when in
Rome” visitation rule. Simply that when visiting
a lodge in another jurisdiction who is regular to them is OK for the visitor –
even if his Grand Lodge does not recognise some of the brethren present. This
is anyway a ruling not much observed.
Territory. If applied with commonsense this rule
might enable a greater degree of harmony to be achieved between Grand Lodges
Willingness of a
Grand Lodge granting recognition to recognise more than one Grand Lodge in
a territory without those in the territory being consulted. This brings
masonic foreign policy back to the Grand Lodge making the decision instead of
leaving it in the hands of potential opponents with all the issues of
deception and deceit.
It seems clear to
me that we do now live in a post imperialist world, and in a Europe that seeks
another alternative to war to deal with such issues. In as much as I have always
argued that attitudes within lodges should reflect those in the outside society
of the day so I would suggest that recognition and the accompanying masonic
diplomacy should also reflect the values aims and style of outside society.. We
are exhorted to be good members of society, thus epitomising the masonic ideals
and values – so let us expect that Grand Lodges too should should apply the same
I leave it to you
to decide how you feel on such matters but if this leaves you better informed
then there is a benefit for the international brotherhood
Let me finish with
a story upon which we may all reflect, a very Turkish tale from a character of
great wisdom and a fabled folk hero of the common man and of common sense –
Why did the
Hodja ride on the donkey backwards?
One day when
Hodja was going to the mosque with his mullahs, he decided to ride on his donkey
backwards. The mullahs asked, “Why are you riding on the donkey backwards? You
must be very uncomfortable.”
He answered “If
I sat facing forward, you would be behind me. If you went in front of me, I
would be behind you. Either way I would not be facing you. So, this is the most