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john dee

Freemasonry not the same the whole world over

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Men seek out Masonry for the same reasons - to better themselves and improve society in the company of like minded Brothers. After becoming a member they realise that Freemasonry is a large and fascinating subject, and can be studied from many different angles. There are several ways that can stimulate curiosity and reward interest.

Freemasonry is not the same in all constitutions. There are substantial differences in approach in many matters but all regular constitutions agree unreservedly on the basics.

But there are also constitutions in the world that are not recognised (in amity) and do not seek recognition although there practices may be regular. This is where jurisdiction recognition and regularity often get confused.

Here is a statement by the late and lamented R.W.Bro. The Rev'd. Canon Richard Tydeman, MA, OSM, PSGW of the UGLE:

"He who professes to know all there is to know about Masonry is either a knave or a fool for here is a subject in which daily advancement continues to be possible however long we live, and the wisest of us will not live long enough to know it all"

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A very interesting piece John and I believe the RW Bro is right.....I wonder why though there are regular constitutions who are not seeking recognition. Yes I can understand those constitutions who admit Women not seeking recognition, as they wouldn't get it anyway, but why would anyone else, not seek amity, or why wouldn't UGLE seek it. Just a thought

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Contrary to popularly held belief UGLE is not the world's masonic registrar or head office - no GL has that position - so its not for UGLE to seek recognition with other bodies, in fact what is more usual is for GL's to approach UGLE and seek mutual recognition, but only if they want to.

UGLE recognition is not necessary for a GL to function - regular or not - it only affords the possibility of intervisitation and 'masonic ties'

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Regarding "One Country, One GL" this is a general principle but with exceptions.

Certain countries such as USA, Canada and Australia which are based on states or provinces have their own GLs for each state or province (with certain additional Prince Hall recognitions in some US states), Brazil has both a Grand Orient and also some state GLs, and Columbia has a Grand Oriental and also GLs which are city based.

Those recognised by UGLE can be found in http://www.ugle.org.uk/about-ugle/recognised-foreign-grand-lodges/ . The Basic Principles for Grand Lodge recognition can be found in the UGLE BOC on pages xiv and xv - they have been in force since September 1929. There is nothing to actually state that there can only be one GL recognised if it is regular organised and composed exclusively of men and "shall have no Masonic intercourse of any kind with mixed Lodges or bodies which admit women to membership."

But the emphasis is as as Bro bod writes, UGLE expects to be approached - "to be invited to recognise any Grand Lodge applying for recognition by the English jurisdiction." If there are any GLs not already so recognised and who think that they comply with the 8 principles listed then it is up to them to apply.

But indeed it has no actual authority over any other GL with which it is not in amity beyond forbidding its own members to visit or participate in ceremonies.

UGLE made this statement in 1999:Statement issued by UGLE - 10th March 1999

There exist in England and Wales at least two Grand Lodges solely for women.Except that these bodies admit women, they are, so far as can be ascertained,otherwise regular in their practice. There is also one which admits both men andwomen to membership. They are not recognised by this Grand Lodge andintervisitation may not take place. There are, however, discussions from time totime with the women's Grand Lodges on matters of mutual concern. Brethren aretherefore free to explain to non-Masons, if asked, that Freemasonry is notconfined to men(even though this Grand Lodge does not itself admit women).Further information about these bodies may be obtained by writing to the GrandSecretary.

The Board is also aware that there exist other bodies not directly imitativeof pure antient Masonry, but which by implication introduce Freemasonry, such asthe Order of the Eastern Star. Membership of such bodies, attendance at theirmeetings, or participation in their ceremonies is incompatible with membershipof this Grand Lodge.

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The basic models of Freemasonry that are followed are - The United Grand Lodge of England and The Grand Orient de France. There is no globally centralised Masonic organisational system, and therefore the criteria for regularity are not consistent across all constitutions.

Excerpt below from Speech by the MW The Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England The Most Hon. the Marquess of Northampton, at the European Grand Master's Meeting. London, November 2007.

"The last point I wish to make concerns England’s place in world Freemasonry. In his speech to the World Conference in Paris last year, the Grand Master of Austria stated his belief that the United Grand Lodge of England had abdicated its responsibilities in European Freemasonry and that next to nothing was felt of its authority. I would not only disagree but would question what responsibilities we have in Europe, or any other part of the world. We are always available for advice, information and sharing our long experience but we cannot, nor would we seek to, interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign Grand Lodge. We can offer a lead, provide comfort and support in times of trouble, and give practical assistance to new Grand Lodges, but England cannot be a sort of international Masonic policeman arbitrating disagreements within and between sovereign Grand Lodges. We can and will make our position clear on the subjects of regularity and recognition but it is then up to you to decide what your views are. We cannot, and would not seek to, impose our views on others and we do not believe that any other body should do so either. However, we do reserve our right to decide who we regard as being regular and capable of recognition." - http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/phpnews/show_news.php?uid=84

Excerpt below from Speech by RW Bro. Alan Englefield, when Grand Chancellor of the United Grand Lodge of England, at the Quarterly Communication Meeting, London, September 2007.

"As the oldest Grand Lodge, we have had thrust on us the role of being the guardians of regularity and in many ways are expected to police what is regular and what is not. Those are not roles that we have sought and we cannot be an international policeman solving problems within and between Grand Lodges" - http://www.freemasonrytoday.com/ugle-sgc/ugle/itemlist/tag/Alan%20Englefield






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For some comparison here is an excerpt from a Speech by a very well known eminent Mason who hails from the USA:

"Regularity in Freemasonry has been accompanied by irregularity since close to its inception. There have been, and are Regular Grand Lodges in origin that became irregular by practice. There have been, and are Grand Lodges that comply with some of the requirements for regularity, but not all. And, there exists Grand Lodges that had never been regular in either origin or practice. Masonic leaders have dealt with these issues effectively for almost 300 years. ....... Fraternal relations between Grand Lodges is not a right, it is a privilege. Each grand lodge is free to choose, but if that choice contributes to disunity, then Regular Freemasonry has the responsibility to attempt reunification. Only through unity, can there be unity. The future of the Craft is now in our hands. Where it goes in this millennium is up to us. For the sake of the world, let us not fail." - http://www.aasrschenectady.org/mmt_jackson_regularity.html

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Trismegistos (11/03/2013)
The general principle of "one country, one GL" sometimes makes it impossible, I'm given to understand.


You are refering to the DETJ (Doctrine of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction). Read the complete information in this link -

Excerpt:- "For historical and practical reasons, the Home Grand Lodges and others could not regard exclusive territorial jurisdiction as a basic principle for recognition. For more than 250 years the Home Grand Lodges have shared territory all round the world and continue to do so today. Indeed, in some areas we share territory with a local Grand Lodge formed since the Home Grand Lodges introduced Freemasonry into their territory. In the United States – where exclusive territorial jurisdiction was a principle for regularity – they have had to vary their views, as in many States the State Grand Lodge now shares its territory with a Prince Hall Grand Lodge, as the Home Grand Lodges do in the Bahamas, Caribbean and West Indies."

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Here in New Zealand we have the Grand Lodge of New Zealand which was formed in 1890 from existing Lodges under one or other of the English, Scottish or Irish Constitutions changing allegiance to the new Grand Lodge. Since then of course, many new Lodges have been constituted by GLNZ. There is a number of old Lodges, formed before the GLNZ and which retain allegiance to their 'Home' Constitution. They are administered by District Grand Lodges under their 'Home' Constitution. There is an agreement between the GLs that the only new Lodges that are constituted in New Zealand will be under GLNZ

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If anyone wants to research recognised and non-recognised GLs of the world then this is a useful paper back reference book that contains details of various individual Lodges (recognised and non-recognised) that one can determine worldwide information on overseas Masonic location and status - The "Pantagraph" List of Lodges - Masonic, published each year, containing the names of many Grand Lodges in the world and the lodges chartered by each. - http://www.pantagraphprinting.com/ESW/Files/2012_LoL_Sample_Pages.pdf





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