Saturday, May 05, 2007

Blind Leading Blinds

Letters and Figures
by Rudy Olano

Among other things, the delegates the 91st Annual Convention of Grand Lodge of the Philippines had spoken and confirmed that a Grand Master not individual Lodges can expel any member of GLP without any trial. The 2007 ANCOM agreed that incumbent GM has the power and control over appendant Bodies. The representatives agreed that declaration of independence from GLP is not an automatic cause of expulsion but will be based from geographical location and selection. In summary, the 91st ANCOM at Angeles City acknowledged the Grand Master of GLP's unlimited power, that he can wield power beyond the law of accepted normal and just behavior--- a "benevolent dictator."

Contrary to someone's assumption, reasons as to why "they established an independent Grand Lodge" were not missed. It is unnecessary to recapitulate how a certain personal opinion was formed as previous writings and discussions clearly illuminated which side of the fence where this writer stands. Though "all reasons" might not be fully appreciated, assuming (again) that it was ignored is again off the mark. It was acknowledged that the verdict was already made at 91st ANCOM and although it was divergent to what was hope for, the decision was noted for what it was--- the voice of majority. Though I always support the notion of agreeing to disagree of opinions, what had transpired was not an exchange of ideas but of passing a collective judgment. I disagree but the verdict was made — so be it.

Under normal conditions, one could simply consent and sail along with the majority and hope not to incur the wrath of the GM. Another option is to stand firm on the side of "that standard or boundary of right which enables us to render unto every man his just due, without distinction." Freemasonry or to be specific, Justice is a "virtue not only consistent with divine and human laws, but is the very cement and support of civil society…" There is no need to feel sorry for "them" as "they" or those who formed the Independent Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands (IGLPI) exactly knew what "they" have done and its intended consequences. Funny thing is that probably it is "they" that are feeling sorry for someone else.

There is fundamentally wrong when an individual or group were expelled without due process. Being in a place where a "crime" is being committed does not mean the witness or witnesses are "criminals." If my memory serves me right somewhere in EA Charge was about "acting with him upon the Square; by rendering him every kind office which justice or mercy may require....and by doing to him as, in similar cases you would that he should do unto you."

Signing a paper to indicate resignation from one Grand Lodge to join another Grand Lodge (recognized or otherwise) is a different matter. However, if the entire Lodge or Lodges severed their ties and form their own Grand Lodge, the entire Lodge must be addressed not just a selected members thereof. This issue is also perplexing since one group from different Lodges was expelled while another group in different geographical location, under the same jurisdiction, declaring the formation of their own Grand Lodge was not.

Expulsion according to Albert Mackey is the equivalent of Masonic death thus must be handled in due form i.e. trial, appeal, etc. Attending an event such as declaration of independence to form another Grand Lodge is a stretch to justify "gross immoral conduct," let alone be cited as the cause of individual expulsion. Suspension if advance notification was issued maybe I could agree but expulsion? GLP did not recognize IGLPI after the latter’s formation, so what is wrong with witnessing an event open to public? Punishment must fit the crime. Signing a paper is not the same as watching people sign their names. With GLP’s GM dictatorial attitude, it is not surprising if those who watch actually went over the other side!

And this attitude is the heart of the matter. Seems to me that some of us forgot that before installation, the nominees were asked if they are willing to serve and NOT to be served. We expect that those who wear the purple of our Fraternity had already understood the meaning of humility before accepting their responsibilities. How often we say to meet on the level, act by the plumb and part upon the square, how repeatedly we hear the lecture of Justice, "... that standard or boundary of right which enables us to render unto every man his just due, without distinction." Where are the Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth in this decision if my understanding is not correct?

As I wrote before, Freemasonry is not a dictatorial institution, therefore, no one has an absolute power and that includes the Grand Master. The day when a mere mortal start thinking of himself as a monarch of the Fraternity and the time when members accept that illusion --- the organization they are in is no longer the Craft we knew. Only those with interior motives will allow that to happen and hoodwinked fools to continue to stay.

In Rodel J. Ramos article, The Legacy of Freemasons in Philippine History, he traced the Craft's influence of the shakers and movers that helped shaped the Nation but in the conclusion, he left a stinging remark, "Perhaps if more Masons were involved in our government and Filipino communities abroad, our dreams may be hastened. But many seem to be content with following the blind rather than leading them." Maybe a response could be offered and that it is because we have a case of blind leading the blinds.

Moot and academic for the issue had been swept aside,
How hopeful we are at one time, dreaming our Brethren would hear both sides,
Tactical adjustments were made, that even Bonaparte would agree,
`got everybody's attention, to Marengo's famous bon a petit.
The victor can now goose-stepped through Paris Arch de Triumph,
As the cohorts toasted their victory while, the northeast corner continued to erode.

Moot and academic as Justice is now just a word,
No meaning, no thought, nothing to show, as if it mattered at all,
It's beyond comprehension how we failed to measure up,
to the words that were spoken ,while our knees were folded up
Do we truly believed in the Search for that which was Lost,
when our action clearly showed, that there was no interest to find the Truth.

How do we forget the Lessons we often hear within the Lodge?
How do we ever lose the idea of seeking Further Light?
A worldly man thought he could be a monarch, and
the tragedy of the story was that the ANCOM made it real.
The organization morphed into what the charlatans envisioned,
a mere social status symbol—the kind of Masonry what it became.

Kind of Mason we have become.

The result of GLP's 2007 ANCOM decision will have far reaching effect not only to dissenters, now officially, "Clandestine Masons," but to the future of the Freemasonry in the Philippines. The question remains the same--- Of what we are in search of?

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