Monday, August 06, 2007

Without Permission

A paper for Seqouia Council No. 228 (AMD)
by RmOlano


The MW Jim Bantolo’s short history of Philippine Freemasonry was certainly illuminating especially the events that unfolded in Spain before the Philippine Revolution. The similarity of the schism between Grande Oriente Nacional de Espana and Gran Oriente Espanol, their principle and membership are somewhat striking relative to Masonic activities in pre-United States e.g. Moderns against Ancients. In one hand, a pro-establishment Grand Lodge and the other, a young upstart anti-establishment Grand Lodge.

In the recent published book by the author of Freemasons for Dummies, Bro Christopher Hodapp narrated that in the history of Freemasonry in U.S., Grand Lodges established itself in the same manner that the Grand Lodge of England created itself--- individual Lodges forming alliance among themselves. Even the late-comers known as “Ancients” from York formed their own Grand Lodge WITHOUT asking anybody.

In 1752 prelude to American Revolution as the book Solomon’s Builders stated that to the annoyance of established American Lodges under Grand Lodge of England (Moderns), a group of blue collar men mainly from north side of Boston, instituted their own Lodge WITHOUT asking anybody. To make matter “interesting,” they start issuing warrants to form other Lodges as the group formed in Green Dragon Tavern declared itself as a Grand Lodge! Later on the group called themselves St Andrews Lodge after they “got around applying a charter” to Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1756. This Lodge became the nucleus of AF&AM in the colonies where notable Masons like Dr Joseph Warren, John Hancock and John Otis were known members. Reluctantly accepting promotion to Major General of Continental Army due to limited military training, Bro Warren fought as regular infantryman at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1773. He was the Grand Master of All Masons in Northern America (AF&AM) when his body was later identified through dental work by a Brother from St Andrews Lodge--Paul Revere.

Bro Hodapp continued on and wrote that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge was established when communication between African Lodge No.1 and GLE was lost. Prince Hall Grand Lodge was born without prior approval from ANYBODY. At the conclusion of Chapter 4 (War Among Brothers), the author wrote that due to schism between Ancients and Moderns in England and America, “… Masons in the United States had fallen into the pattern of founding their own individual Grand Lodges.”

The first Grand Master of Independent Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands like those “who have gone that way before,” in many countries and jurisdiction believed in his vision and concluded that “What Masonic history teaches us is that the GRAND LODGES COULD BE CREATED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF ANYBODY…” One could argue that asking forgiveness could yield faster result than asking for permission. Many scholarly books were already written and published to hypostasized or attempted explain the cause of extension of an ideal or system called Freemasonry throughout the world. If I may be allowed to interject one--- daring leaders with vision did not sit around waiting for permission.

It is a universal or accepted law that each Grand Lodge reign supreme within its own jurisdiction, subordinate only to one Supreme Grand Lodge Above ruled and governed by the GAOTU. The definition and application of what constitute “jurisdiction” is a matter of human interpretation. When a true Mason understand what tolerance really means then maybe the authentic implication of the boundaries Brotherly Love could be applied not only to corporeal properties but also to moral and ethical aspect of Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.

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