Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lowly Things in High Places

by RmOlano

In Sept-Oct 2006 issue of Cabletow, the official magazine of Grand Lodge of the Philippines (GLP), an excerpt of a Past District Deputy Grand Master (PDDGM) paper delivered during Masonic Education held at Capitol Masonic Temple was published. The article briefly traced the formation of Lodges and Grand Lodges in England, U.S. and the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Though it shed no new revelation, the absence of at least a footnote to the fact that Masonic lodges under the jurisdictions of Gran Oriente Espanol, and Grand Lodge of Scotland were in existence BEFORE the formation of lodges warranted by Grand Lodge of California and the GLP itself was notable. As if the ignoring the key role of brethren from Gran Oriente Espanol would not matter in influencing the idealism of Filipino illustrados to form their lodges in Spain and back home prior to the outbreak of open armed uprising, the article was equally silent about the continued existence of regular Masonic lodge operating in the Philippines under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge of Scotland. The omission, whether intended or not, did enforced the punch line of the entire article---the formation of "clandestine" lodges and the Independent Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. The PDDGM is of course entitled to his own opinion but is it really necessary to use the word "bastardo" to drive his point and follow it up with "So Mote It Be?

In The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, Bro Manly P. Hall (1901-1990) wrote that as a true Mason in search of the Truth, "He must search for the high things in lowly places and find the lowly things in the high places.” In my years of writing and posting thoughts/opinions, I found the most bitter comments and rebuttals comes from those who signed their names with “PM” and in this case, though the issue has nothing to do with my ramblings, the PDDGM’s one liner during Masonic education and published in the official magazine of GLP is simply astounding. While members and the Independent Grand Lodge of Philippine Islands (IGLPI) were declared “clandestine” by GLP, other breakaway lodges and the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines (UGLP) were not! One has to wonder the level of control and civility of some of those who wear the purple of GLP.

Where was the PDDGM first prepared to be made a Mason? Who are we? I wonder if the PDDGM remembers the fourth paragraph of the Fellow Craft Charge. Labeling somebody “clandestine” is not justification for anybody to resort to name calling, it is not only immature but also irresponsible and unMasonic.

After I wrote my thoughts relative to the breakaways and it was interesting to note that though the level of volatility of the responders to my articles were almost the same in terms of passion to defend their cause, the origins were directly opposite. United Grand Lodge of America (UGLA) supporters and one of the founders managed to find time to send me a number of not-too-friendly emails while GLP loyalist fired back for “lambasting the GM and GLP.”

Being not too familiar with details UGLA issues, I would not even restart that one however, both breakaway groups have something in common— irreconcilable differences from their Grand Lodges. While UGLA statements are more combative and directly challenged the authority, the IGLPI stance to GLP was not as confrontational. As I replied to UGLA founder email that perhaps, if they could tone down their rhetoric they might find more people to be receptive to listen to their plight as they/UGLA raised some issues worth talking about.

On the other hand, the heavy handed handling and aloofness of GLP to the issues and concern worthy of discussion could be argued as ways or rationale that numbers of GLP brethren were sympathetic to the breakaways (IGLPI and UGLP) causes. It’s unbelievable that in these day and age people/Masons still subscribed to the idea that a Grand Master can not do wrong and be accepted as “benevolent dictator.” Grand Lodges were created by lodges to serve the members interest and not the other way around. After election and/or appointment, local or Grand Lodge officers were asked if they are willing to serve NOT expected to be serve.

Somehow, it seems that the vanity of titles or alphabets after one’s name overshadowed the meaning and ideals of who we are---sadly some of us lost sight of which Temple we are building.