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Friday, November 23, 2007

What makes a Lodge "Regular"?

Brethren,

I'm doing research for a lecture on "What Makes a Lodge Regular". Each member of my small lodge(about 50 members and the website has/uses limited resources and is managed by one of our "most experienced" brethren) has been asked to take a topic from a list and prepare a lecture for a lecture series. We will probably get about 15 different lectures from this exercise.

As mentioned my topic is explaining what makes a lodge "regular". I thought this would be a good side-topic from my usual. Is your lodge considered regular? What would make a lodge not "regular"? Do you have any examples of lodges that are not considered regular or under great debate?

I would really love to hear from the knowledgeable brethren out there on this topic. You can leave a comment here or send me an e-mail directly by using the link up in the left hand side that says "e-mail me". It's located right below the Most Watched eBay items.

I look forward to all your comments and wisdom.

Also I just started another blog on another topic... feel free to check it out Mobile Office Journal. It's for anyone working at home or on the road.... good for entrepreneurs also.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

A Lodge is considered "regular" if it is lawfully constituted by a "regular' Grand Lodge. (Chartered, in good standing, and originating from a regular Grand Lodge)

The term is specific to recognition and the ability to interract/communicate/recognize and be recognized by other lodges in other jurisdictions.

There are many lodges claiming to be Freemason lodges, which are, in fact, not lawfully chartered or recognized in regular Freemasonry. Reguilar lodges and their Brethern are not able to participate in or communicate Masonically with those entities, or Masons made in such irregular or clandestine lodges.

If you have any questions about regular or irregular Lodges or Masons made in such lodges, contact your Grand Lodge for council.

As GMHA clearly stated thrice, "This is not the time or place."

Dean said...

Thank you for the great definition. It was well-worded. I'd like to then ask if this is so simple then why do some grand lodges recognize some bodies while others do not. Some grand bodies are considered clandestine whilst other Grand Lodges have no problem at all recognizing them.
With regards to contacting my Grand Lodge... I am aware of their definition and furthermore most of the grand lodges we recognize, but thank you for the suggestion.
With regards to the meantion that this is not the time or the place, I would disagree. Nothing that is in this particular post contravenes any obligations I have to the lodge. If anything I think discussion only benefits freemasonry as a whole. That being said I thank you for your input. If you wish to say more or have something you do not want shown on a public post simply e-mail me. The link is on the left hand side and should be used by anyone who wants to be cautious if they are unsure about the appropriatness of their contribution in a public forum. My final lecture will not be made in a public forum.

Robert said...

"anonymous said..."
in part "This is not the time or the place" and it typifies the silliness of some brethren that are by their actions giving grist to the mill of the critics of freemasony by such a remark. There is not a single thing in Freemasonry that is not fully available, especially now, on the internet for anyone bothered to look. We've got to change - the world evolves - if we have any chance of developing our mystic arts in the face of the difficulties in confronting a very small world. Leon Davin wrote a fantastic book on the Ritual of Freemasonry - The Ritual: The Greatest Story Never Told - and in it he confronts every dragon within and without and in conclusion hails freemasonry as the greatest organization the world has ever known. It is books like this that should be more freely available to counteract the madness we have seen in the last 25years particularly in the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales who have systematically decimated the ritual by changing very important elements to appease critics. It was not necessary and it should never have happened. Davin will tell you why. Now the Ritual is but a semblance of what it once was. So we must be more open and in that way we can grow.

So in response to your question as to when is a Lodge regular, it seems outmoded now but put simply it means a Lodge that is authorised by United Grand Lodge of England or any other Lodge regular as regular and authorised by Grand Lodge of England including other Grand Lodges. That is why when you go on an international trek and want to visit a lodge you are required to contact Grand Lodge to ascertain the lodges approval rating. It reminds me a little of the Catholic Church who used to banish its memebers from visiting other churchs on pain of excommunication. Freemasonry would banish you if it were discovered you attended an irregular lodge. I should think such action is hardly likely these days. A geat and highly respected top drawer freemason I knew (sadly he has passed away) used to clandestinely but regularly attend mixed and ladies lodges. And I know there are others who do the same. Indeed some of the top ranking freemasons in England today have wives who are active as freemasons.
I'm with Davin. It's time to be more open and true to ourselves. We have every reason to be very proud of ourselves, our history and our humanity.
I greet you well.

Peter Clatworthy said...

The following statement was issued at York on Saturday 29th December 2007.

Regularity and Recognition: The Myth and the Reality

If reports are correct, there is much to commend in the speech recently given by the Pro-Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England to the so-called ‘European Grand Masters’ Meeting’. However, leaving aside the infelicitous claim to speak for ‘England’, there are certain presumptions and confusions in the address that demand the most urgent and serious scrutiny.

Regularity is of course an essential doctrine in Freemasonry but has in recent years been subject to ill-considered assault from within the Craft itself. It is therefore appropriate to analyse those comments of the Pro-Grand Master that seem designed to undermine and devalue a concept that all Freemasons ought to hold dear.

There is, for example, the explicit declaration that ‘to be regular a Grand Lodge must conform to each of our basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition or it cannot be considered as regular’. Given a moment’s consideration a truly outrageous claim! Freemasonry is not, and never has been, subject to or contained within the United Grand Lodge of England. To suggest as much is to diminish the history, role and actuality of Freemasonry. The cart is clearly and contrivedly put before the horse, making regularity the reward for recognition. And conveniently in so doing the two quite separate and distinct concepts of ‘Regularity’ and ‘Recognition’ are conflated.

‘Regularity’ requires a strict acceptance and observance of the Ancient Landmarks of the Order. Such Landmarks are visible and ascertainable and are found within any regular Grand Lodge. Regularity is represented by adherence: nothing more, nothing less. It is not, and cannot ever be, bestowed. Indeed, Regularity is necessarily beyond the capacity of anybody or any organisation whatsoever to bestow, be they Grand Master or Grand Lodge. The very best any such Master or Lodge can hope to do is to bequeath Regularity to his or its successor. And here I can of course confirm that the Grand Lodge of All England is such a regular Grand Lodge and adheres strictly to those Ancient Landmarks that alone can make it so.

‘Recognition’ is a very different concept. There are, for example, devices the use of which may enable a regularly made Freemason to be ‘recognised’ by others. Such may be said to amount to individual recognition and on this level the term is quite uncontroversial. However, the question should be asked as to what purpose Grand Lodge ‘recognition’ actually serves, and who in fact really benefits from such a device. It should here be noted that Grand Lodge ‘recognition’ has its genesis in late eighteenth century legislation, such as the Unlawful Societies Act, designed to stifle debate and discussion within the context of an authoritarian and politically repressive state. We recoil from the memory of such devices and reject this latter day attempt to rejuvenate so tainted and un-Masonic a concept.

Far from having had thrust upon them ‘the mantle of being guardians of regularity’, the United Grand Lodge of England in fact seized upon the opportunity presented by repressive legislation to attempt nothing less than the appropriation of Freemasonry. In contradistinction, the Grand Lodge of All England does not accept the validity of any such spurious doctrine as ‘recognition’ nor does it ‘recognise’ any other Grand Lodges nor seek such ‘recognition’ from others. Rather, it stands as the bearer of traditional Masonic principles and disowns all attempts to subjugate and subvert genuine Freemasonry.

The Grand Lodge of All England has frequently and consistently published its position with regard to these two quite separate and distinct concepts of ‘Regularity’ and ‘Recognition’. Together with a detailed historical exposition this is explained at length on our website at www.grandlodgeofallengland.org and is authoritatively represented on a number of general Masonic websites. It is stated in our official submission to the Commission on Information for Recognition of the Conference of Grand Master Masons of North America, in articles in the hands of various Masonic publishers and in correspondence with various interested parties.

A Grand Lodge is, indeed, ‘either regular or it is not’. But whether ‘recognition’ is extended or denied to one Grand Lodge by another is irrelevant. There is in Masonic terms no historical or constitutional basis for this spurious and wholly political doctrine of ‘recognition’. To continue to employ such a device as a means of dividing Mason from Mason is the residue of one of the least attractive, most repressive and disgraceful periods of modern Masonic history.

From inception, the United Grand Lodge of England has sought, unsuccessfully, to exert a monopoly over Freemasonry. What cannot be countenanced is that this aspiration should be allowed to corrupt the wholly genuine concept, vital to genuine Freemasonry, of Regularity, and to render it nothing more than a self-serving ideological notion. This concern is made all the immediate by the compromises already entered into by United Grand Lodge of England and the dilution of Masonic principles and practices that these compromises have brought about.

Much of the difficulty the Pro-Grand Master sought to address in his speech was to do with the role of the United Grand Lodge of England within the Masonic world. Such difficulty, however, is due to his own Grand Lodge in seeking to redefine Freemasonry in its own image and as in its own gift. The Masonic doctrine of Regularity exists outside and is wholly independent of any Grand Lodge. It is most emphatically not to be confused and conflated with the practice of Grand Lodge ‘recognition’ devised and instituted by the United Grand Lodge of England for its own hegemonic purposes. And Freemasonry, even English Freemasonry, is most emphatically not to be confused and conflated with the United Grand Lodge of England.

John Gordon Graves
Grand-Master Mason
Grand Lodge of All England