Freemasonry is a secret society that had around 600,000 initiates in England and Wales in 1985, 100,000 in Scotland, and between 50 and 70,000 in Ireland, not to mention the other countries. Membership is for males only who may ask to join when they are twenty-one years old (second, third or fourth generation Freemasons can join at eighteen). All have sworn not to reveal Masonic secrets to outsiders known as “profanes”. In principle, if they did, they could be murdered or mutilated but now, fortunately, these punishments are not applied, and very few members reveal these secrets. The headquarters of the Brotherhood in England and Wales is in Great Queen Street in London. This is the seat of the United Grand Lodge that governs about 8,000 lodges in England and Wales. In addition there are about 1,200 lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and about 750 under the Grand lodge of Ireland. They carry their secret business and ritual in Masonic Temples, which can be purposely built, or in any private buildings converted temporarily for Masonic use.
The Grand Lodge controls what is known as “Craft Freemasonry”, and the brethren normally refer to the Brotherhood as the “Craft”. The craft Masonry covers three degrees known as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Most Masons do not rise higher than Master Mason and many even do not know that they are other grades. Royal Arch is not governed by the Grand Lodge but by the Grand Chapter, and they are still about thirty grades above.
Even today many people believe that Freemasonry is an underground organisation devoted to terrorism, murder and revolution; in other words, according to these people, Freemasonry would be a worldwide conspiracy. The truth is exactly the contrary; the British Craft is a very conservative, reactionary, and establishment-based organisation. Freemasonry is not a worldwide secret society. It is a secret society that is believed to have originated in Britain, and that has independent offshoots in most of the world. The British Grand Lodge recognises more than one hundred Grand Lodges in the world but it has no power over them, they are independents and reflect the local conditions as well as the political and economical environment in which they operate.
Morality, fraternity and charity are some of the aims of the Brotherhood. The United Grand Lodge donates large amount of money to charities, Masonic or profane, in addition to members or their families. Many people have suffered due to Freemasonry’s actions in various fields that are not of its competence. The Courts of Justice are a typical example; there, Freemasons are responsible for many miscarriages of justice.
Some Freemasons claim a great antiquity for the Craft. This is seen in the Masonic calendar that says that Creation took place in 4004 BC, called Anno Lucis, when Freemasonry began. In other words, Freemasonry is as old as Adam. The last four years are ignored so that the Masonic calendar is 4000 years ahead of Anno Domini. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many writers tried to show that Freemasonry was several hundred, if not many thousand years old, the ancestors being the Druids, the Culdees, the Essenes, the Egyptians of the Isis-Osiris cult, etc. Nowadays Masonic historians believe that the Craft, as we know it, is about three hundred years old. Its philosophic, religious and ritualistic bases are drawn from many sources, some very old: the Isis-Osiris myth, Rosicrucianism, Gnosticism, the Kabbala, Hinduism, Theosophy and occult sciences. Most Masonry’s rituals are well known and are described in many books.
More than 50,000 books and articles had been written on Freemasonry by the year 1950 and still its history is largely unknown, if only because at its lowest level Freemasonry is opposed to dogma. There is no authoritative statement of what Freemasons believe, or what the Brotherhood stands for in its three symbolic degrees. Even those Masons reaching the 33° grade would be at a lost to say anything, beside his personal view, on the Masonic message and the meaning of the Masonic symbols.
The history of the Craft in England shows how the aristocracy, the gentry and members of the top middle class took over a Roman Catholic trade guild with a few thousand stonemason workers. They changed it in a non-Christian secret society associated with similar organisations in most of the world. Esoteric organisations have always existed. They proclaim that the real truths about life and the social and natural secrets can only be known to initiates who transmit their knowledge to the elects only from generation to generation. According to these initiates “truth is not for everyone”. Initiation is closely linked to secrecy.
Freemasonry is a speculative, philosophic, mystical and quasi-religious organisation, but it is also a fraternity whose members help each other in material matters. Most masons see it as a mixture of the two aspects. Even Masonic historians ignore how and why Christian stonemason guilds became a quasi-religious, quasi-secular secret society. The evolution was very slow at first and occurred probably by chance; its potential as a power base was perceived later on. Initially the interest for the Craft was mainly due to curiosity, the search for something unconventional and socially exclusive, and the realisation that the operative Christian guilds were on the way down. These stonemason guilds emerged at the time of Gothic architecture in the thirteenth century and were very active until the sixteenth century. Unlike other craftsmen who generally remained in the same towns all their life, stonemasons were itinerant workers moving from building site to building site in search of work. They needed some need of recognition in order to maintain a close shop against intruders who had not had the necessary training and apprenticeship. This was the first step towards a secret society.
It was probably in Scotland, around 1600, that a non-mason, John Boswell, was admitted as a member of an operative guild of stonemasons. In England the first non-operative member known is Elias Ashmole who joined in 1646. By the end of the seventeenth century “Accepted” non-operative masons became often the majority in their lodge. Soon non-operative lodges were formed and Freemasonry was born.
The “speculative” Masons inherited seven fundamental points from their operative stonemason predecessors:
An organisation with three grades of members: Apprentices, Fellows or journeymen and Master Masons.
- A legendary history as described in about one hundred “Old Charges”, the oldest being the Regius manuscript of 1390.
- A tradition of fraternal and benevolent relations between members.
- A rule de secrecy about lodge activities although the Old Charges were only lists of simple rules.
- A method of recognition, such as the Scottish “mason word”, dating back to 1550.
- A Christian foundation through the Old Charges that are based on medieval Roman Catholicism.
With the end of the “trade union” purpose of the operative organisations, the decline of Roman Catholicism due to the Reformation as well as the rise of science, these organisations were dying by the end of the seventeenth century. Strange enough there are practically no information available concerning the period just before the creation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. During this period the path followed by Freemasonry was decided by some among the few hundreds “accepted” Masons. They saw the potential power of a secret organisation gathering together members from the different social classes of the society. The names of these people are still unknown today as well as the path they followed, consciously or not, in the planning of the Craft. The only certainty is that they wanted to maintain the limitation imposed on the King’s power during the Civil War of 1642-51 in favour of the growing middle class. From the early years of the eighteenth century, Freemasons were having high aims. They agree to choose their first Grand Masters among their members only until they would be able to attract some members of the High Aristocracy or, better, from the Royal family as it is still the case now.
The transformation of the old guilds in a secret society started before the creation of the Grand Lodge in 1717. With the decline of the operative masons’ influence, lodge ritual, initiations, and speculative activities became the main business at lodge meetings together with fraternal conviviality. In England at least, Masonry was already heading towards a conservative future, that is a stable society with limited social mobility. To do this the confidentiality of the old guilds had to be reinforced, and a secret society meant the institution of formal oaths with the corresponding punishments for those breaking them. Once again, very little is known of the development of the ritual during the period before the Grand Lodge, especially in relation with the oaths. Rituals based on Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel were tested together with the building of King Solomon’s temple and, as we know, this last ritual prevailed, but we do not know why.
In 1717 four London lodges created the Grand Lodge with the commoner Anthony Sawyer as its Grand Master as the upper class people kept off for the time being. The second Grand Master was another commoner, George Payne, elected for one year in 1718; he was followed by the Reverend John Theophilus Desaguliers, a fellow of the Royal Society, Doctor in law and chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales who joined the Craft in 1737. The way towards having Aristocracy at the top of the Craft had started, as well as establishing the Brotherhood in most countries of the world. The Duke of Montague followed Desaguliers in 1721. Among others the English Craft had important Grand Masters such as the Catholic Duke of Norfolk (in 1730) and the Duke of Cumberland grandson of George II (in 1782). In 1787 the Prince of Wales (future George IV) and his brother William (the future William IV) were initiated. The Craft was from then on assured of the Royal Patronage that still last today with Queen Elizabeth II.
The process of changing the ancient guilds went on with the de-Christianisation introduced by Dr James Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 (modified in 1738) and with the formalisation of the rituals. Anderson’s Constitutions listed the new “Charges of a Free-Mason”. He fancifully traced the origin of Freemasonry to Adam and cited, without hard evidence, previous monarchs as Masons. The name of Christ disappeared gradually in the ceremonies and was replaced by the ” Great Architect of the Universe” that is still used today.
This initial active period was followed by a more relaxed one during which a schism occurred, due mainly to the de-Christianisation and to the changes brought to the old rituals. Some Masons, calling themselves the “Antients” created a rival Grand Lodge in 1751. It was also headed by aristocrats and wanted to keep some links with Christianity, as well as the Old Traditions. They accused the members of the 1717 Grand Lodge, known as the “Moderns”, of tampering with the old rituals. Another problem arose with the Holy Royal Arch Masonry (a fourth degree that appeared in 1746) that was worked by the “Antients” and opposed by the “Moderns”. However the Royal Arch grew in popularity and was worked non-officially by many “Moderns” lodges, many of their members being “exalted”, as this ceremony became to be known.
“Antients” and “Moderns” made the peace in 1813 and created the United Grand Lodge with the Duke of Kent of the Antients as Grand Master followed by the Duke of Sussex from the Moderns. The Royal Arch was integrated in the new system, not as a fourth degree, but as a culmination of the first three to complete the making of a Master Mason! The Antients accepted de-Christianisation.
The United Grand Lodge’s acceptance of Royal Arch and de-Christianisation led to the Freemasonry’s structure as we know it today. Royal Arch is not worked in lodges, but in chapters under the control of the Grand Chapter, and not of the Grand Lodge. The structure of the two organisations overlap and, in England, both have their headquarters in Freemasons Hall in London. Chapters meet in the Lodges to which they are attached, but on different days. About 20% of Freemasons are Royal Arch “Companions”; from there they can reach the higher, and even more exclusive grades of Freemasonry.
From the beginning of the seventeenth century until the Union of 1813 the rituals became more or less the same although, even today, there are still some different workings. The main ritual is centred on the legend of King Solomon’s Temple that is at the core of the ceremony of the Master Mason’s degree. It recalls the murder of Hiram Abif, the principal architect of the Temple, who refused to reveal Masonic secrets. The Candidate Master has to die as Hiram Abif, and be “resurrected” into Freemasonry. In the Royal Arch Ceremony a crypt is found in the foundations of the ruined Temple and in it is found the “omnific word”, the lost name of God. The oaths have also become common. The Entered Apprentice, who reveals the secrets of the Brotherhood, will have, among other penalties, his tongue thorn out; the Fellow Craft will have his heart torn from his chest; the Master Mason will have his bowels burned to ashes; and the Exaltee to the Royal Arch Degree will have the top of his skull sliced off. The real penalty for talking is however to be shunned by the whole Brotherhood, a certainty to be led to ruin as Freemasonry has expanded to every profession and branches of society.
The Irish Grand Lodge was formed in 1725, the Scottish one in 1726 and Freemasonry spread to the continent in the 1730’s. Freemasonry is very powerful in many European countries and especially in France and Germany; it played an important role in the unification of Italy. Russia, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, as well as the USA were soon following the general trend. Washington became a Freemason in 1752 and the dollar bill bears the all-seeing-eye, symbol of Freemasonry. Each State had soon its own Grand Lodge and its Grand Chapter. Canada has nine Grand Lodges. However the British as founders of Freemasonry remained the chief propagandists of the Brotherhood during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They soon created lodges in all their colonies. By associating the native upper and middle class with the white colonialists, even in secret societies, prevented, in part, resentment against imperial domination. In this way the native members felt that they too belonged to the establishment.
The Craft increased largely following the Union of 1813. By the end of the eighteenth century there were about 320 lodges in England and the number doubled in the next fifty years. There were 2000 lodges in 1883, 3000 in 1903, 4000 in 1919, 5000 in 1926, 6000 in 1944, 7000 in 1950 and Lodge 9003 was warranted in 1981. Even if many lodges were discontinued, it has been estimated that there were about 600,000 Masons in England and Wales in 1981. Members are mainly recruited among non-directly productive middle and professional classes. A large percentage of them occupy key roles in British society: lawyers, civil servants, bank managers, etc.
There is also an elite group of Freemasons who are outside the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, at least in England. These are the Brethren of the Higher Degrees who are generally unknown to the public, and even to the majority of Masons. Most Masons think that the third, or Master Degree, is the top of the Masonic ladder. Some may know, and some join, the Royal Arch but very few go any further. After all, a Master Mason can become an officer or even the Worshipful Master of his lodge; he may become Officer of his Provincial Lodge or of the United Grand Lodge itself. Even the Grand Master of all England is only a Mason of the third degree. Most of these Brethren will be unaware of the other thirty degrees to which they will never be admitted, and will never hear anything about them.
These thirty degrees, beginning with the fourth (Secret Master) and culminating in the 33rd (Grand Inspector General), are controlled by a Supreme Council with his English Headquarters at 10 Duke Street, St James, London SW1, an imposing but discrete Edwardian mansion. The Masons know it as the Grand East. Members of the Craft (first three degrees) often say that Freemasonry is not a secret society, but a society with secrets. Even if we accept this definition it is absolutely not true for the society-within-a-society based at 10 Duke Street. One rule of the Craft forbids Brethren to ask outsider to join. The initiative must always come from the outsider who must also seek two sponsors. The rule is exactly the opposite for the Higher Degrees. Initiation to these grades is only open to Master Masons selected by the Supreme Council. The candidate selected will have the chance to be “perfected” and to set foot on the ladder to the 33rd Degree. Only a very small proportion of those Candidates selected will go further than the 18th Degrees (Knight of the Pelican and Eagle and Sovereign Prince Rose Croix of Heredom). The 31st Degree (Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander is limited to 400 members; the 32nd (Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret) to 180; and the 33rd (the pre-eminent Grand Inspector General) to only 75 members.
Craft Freemasonry exists in most countries in the world with the exceptions of the dictatorships. However it has no international organisation. The Ancient and Accepted Rite of the 33rd Degree is the only exception. The Supreme Council in London is one among many Supreme Councils in the entire world. The senior body is the Supreme Council of Charleston, South Carolina, USA that operates a worldwide network of the most powerful Freemasons.
The English working of the Rite of these Higher Degrees (known as Rose Croix) differs from the American one in one respect. In England and Wales only a few of the 33 degrees are conferred by special ritual, while in the USA each degree has its own initiation ceremony. In England the 4th to the 17th Degrees are conferred at once, and in name only, during the initiation of the selected Freemason to the 18th Degree. To those few who go higher than the 18th Degree, the 19th to 29th are conferred nominally during the ceremony of initiation to the 30th Degree (Grand Elected Knight Kadosh or Knight of the Black and White Eagle). Degrees above the 30th are conferred singly. Degrees above the 18th can only be conferred with the unanimous agreement of the entire Supreme Council.
The influence of Freemasonry in the English police has been the subject of many discussions in the last few years. Allegations of Masonic corruption within the police are common. This is not a new problem. For instance, some people believe that the murders committed by Jack the Ripper in the East End of London in 1888 followed Masonic ritual, and that policemen members of the Craft organised a cover-up. There has been many allegations of criminal charges dropped against criminal Masons by police Masons, of unfair promotions of Masonic policemen, of gross discrimination against non-Mason policemen, etc.
Freemasonry has members in all the branches of the British economy and especially in
- The judiciary and legal profession
- The Government and the Parliament
- The Civil Servants at national and local level
- The Aristocracy
- The industry
- Commercial activities
- The Church of England
- The teaching profession
- The military services
- The police
Brethren make themselves known to each other using signs that are not usually noticed by profanes. One of the usual sign is linked to the arrangement of the feet as explained to the candidates in the ceremony of initiation to the First Degree. To make themselves recognised the Candidates are told to stand perfectly erect with their feet formed in a square. The body is then seen as the emblem of their mind, and their feet as an emblem of the rectitude of their actions. It is easier to introduce oneself if a handshake is possible. Each of the first three degrees has its own handshake. The Entered Apprentice applies pressure with his right thumb on the knuckle of the other man’s forefinger. The Fellow Craft does the same thing with the second knuckle and the Master Mason applies pressure with his right thumb between the knuckles of the other’s middle and third finger.
The installation ceremony of a new Master of the Lodge starts with the lodge being opened in the First Degree. But soon the Entered Apprentices, the Fellow Crafts and even the Master Masons are excused. The main part of the ritual is done in the presence of Installed Masters only. At this stage the “secrets of the Chair” are communicated to the new Worshipful Brother but, before, the Candidate has to swear on the Bible not to reveal them to anybody. If he did he would be cruelly punished with “his right hand struck off and slung over his left shoulder, and left there to wither and decay”. He can then receive the secret sign of the Installed Master (a beckoning movement made three times with the right hand), the secret grip (two Installed Masters place their left hands on each other’s left shoulder while keeping their arms straight), the secret word (Giblum, meaning Excellent Mason) and the Sign of salutation (Bowing and saluting with the right hand from the forehead three times, stepping backwards with the right foot).
The Livery Companies, which name derives from the ceremonial dresses worn by their members, are part of the story as most of their members are Freemasons. They have developed from the medieval craftsmen’s guilds and from religious and social fraternities. Some of these companies are influential in education and some are dealing only with their trade. There are close links with the guilds and livery companies and the Corporation (the City and Guilds of London Institute created in 1878 to promote technical education and organise examinations). The Lord Mayor of London is selected each year from two of the City’s twenty-six Aldermen who are nominated by the 15,000 liverymen. Only Freemen of the City can become members of the liveries and most of them, but not all, are Freemasons chosen by other Freemasons. Many Livery Companies have their own lodges and the City Livery Club has its own Temple. In practice, the Corporation of the City of London is an arm of the Grand Lodge due to its strong Masonic membership.
Enemies of the Craft have denounced its rituals as devil worship for more than 250 years and, if only for this reason, they believe than Masonry is incompatible with Christianity. Unfortunately there are no neutral research on this subject: Masonry is attacked by anti-Masons and defended by members of the Craft. To be compatible Masons and Christians must worship the same God. Freemasonry proclaims not to be a religion, or a substitute for religion, and tries to prove it by stating that the Craft accepts members of all religions, in the same way as Rotary Club and tennis club do. Only Catholics are prevented by their own Church to join, even if some do. Freemasonry promotes the belief in a Supreme Being, the Great Architect of the Universe, and led every member to identify Him as he thinks best. On this base Freemasonry and Christianity do not appear to be compatible, even if thousand and thousand of practising Christians are members of the Craft, and believe that they worship the same God in their Church and in their Lodge.
A required qualification for membership of the Craft is to believe in a Supreme Being, whoever the candidate identifies him. However, to Freemasonry, Christ is a human being in contradiction with the Christian Church and, as a result, the Great Architect of the Universe, the Masonic God, is different from the Christian one. In fact the Masonic God, known as the great Architect of the Universe, is not Christ, Buddha, Mohammed or any other God recognised by the great religions of the world but most Masons are never told it. Only Master Masons who are “exalted” to the Holy Royal Arch are entrusted with the secret “ineffable name” of the Masonic god, that is JAH-BUL-ON, whose nature is not explained. This deity is composed of three separate personalities fused into one:
JAH = Jahweh, the God of the Hebrews.
BUL = Baal, the ancient Cannanite fertility god associated with “licentious rites of imitative magic”. Ball was the “false god” with whom Jahweh competed for the allegiance of the Israelites in the Old Testament. It is identified with a devil.
ON = Osiris, the Ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.
The only possible conclusion would then seems to be that Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible. However many Anglican clergymen are members of the Craft and, for a long time (more than two hundred years), this was a quasi-requirement for promotion within that church’s hierarchy! It is true that most Anglican clergyman Masons, like their laic Brethren, are not told the name of the Masonic God, unless they are “exalted” to the Holy Royal Arch, and very few of them are. By that time most members are so wrapped up in Freemasonry that they fail to notice that they have been deceived in believing that the Great Architect of the Universe can be identified with Christ by the Christian members of the Craft. And this, as has been shown, is not true even if the real nature of JA-BUL-ON will never be clearly explained to them.
The true adepts that have a feeling for the occult will understand the deep meaning behind the Masonic ambiguity, and they will draw their own deductions and interpretations of symbolism and rituals. These Brethren generally will be accepted in the inner sanctum of Freemasonry, and they will reach the high grades. All the same, even to them, there is never any mention of Satanism. This is not necessary as these Brethren have already understood the double-speak of Freemasonry, and that the understanding is on another level that do not requires any explanation.
Strange enough the Church of England has always refused to decide if Freemasonry is compatible with Christianism, and if a member of the Church could be a Mason at the same time. On the other hand Freemasonry wants to have, or to appear to have, good relations with all Christian Churches. This has always been easy with the Church of England, and only the Roman Catholic Church is openly anti-Masonry. Many Pope have declared that Freemasonry is illicit, and that all Catholics who join the Craft are automatically excommunicated. Today the situation is slightly different in the sense that the Vatican does not publish anti-Masonry literature anymore. In addition, the official opinion of the Catholic Church in relation to English Freemasonry is not made known to the public with the result that Catholics do not know if they are authorised to join the Craft or not. English Masonry has always argued that it was different from the atheist Continental Masonry linked to the “Grand Orients”, and that there was no reason to prevent Catholics to join it. The Vatican has yet to agree with this. Up to now it has only gone so far as saying that only Catholic Freemasons belonging to anti-religious Grand Lodges are automatically excommunicated. This would seem to means that those Masons belonging to Masonic organisations that do not conspire against Church or state can remain within the Catholic Church too. This positive attitude of the Church was not confirmed by Pope John Paul II who, however, did not make any open publicity on this subject. In summary the Catholic Church, like the Anglican Church, tries to ignore the problem.
An important Masonic conspiracy shook Italy in 1981. A lodge known as “P2 or Propaganda Due” was involved in corruption, and even murder; it even brought down the Italian Government led by Arnaldo Forlani. Italian Freemasonry was recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England in 1973 but this lodge was not. English Freemasonry could then claim with some reasons that it had nothing to do with this lodge P2, and that it was completely different. A “Propaganda Lodge” was constituted in Turin a century ago under the Grand Orient of Italy. Its aim was to do some research in Freemasonry more or less like the English Quator Coronati Lodge still does. There has never been any connection between these two “Propaganda” lodges. The “P2” lodge created in 1966 was not even a proper Lodge but, rather, a secret grouping of Masons in a organisation that was never officially constituted as a lodge, and never held meetings of all members, the names of most remaining secret. P2 was thought of by the then Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, Giordano Gamberini, who asked Ligio Gelli to head it. The full name of the new organisation was “Raggruppamento Gelli Propaganda Due or P2 in short”.
Gelli succeeded to attract members from the top level of the Italian government, parliament, industry, banks, militaries, judges, lawyers, newspapers, etc. Gelli was more interested in obtaining official secrets than money from the members, although money was part of the game too. This organisation became known to the authorities in 1976, but it took until 1981 before the Italian Courts seriously investigated it. An inquest by the Parliament revealed to what extent this organisation had been able to infiltrate all the centres of power in the country and the extent of the resulting corruption at all levels. Only the Communist party had no members in the P2 and this was seen as a proof that this organisation was created by the Russian Secret service known at the time as KGB of which Gelli was an agent. Gelli had been able to put his Freemason members in all the decision-making centres of Italian politics, government, and Economy and he was able to influence their decisions. He had also direct knowledge of what the secret services were doing. The power of the lodge P2 decreased and all members resigned before the organisation was closed. However Licio Gelli was able to remain free until 1998 when finally the Law caught up with him.
It is now widely believed that the February 1917 Revolution in Russia was controlled by Freemasons who operated from the few lodges still operating after years of Tsarist repression. Many of the ministers of the new government were Freemasons, including Kerensky who became Prime Minister in July 1917. However, as soon as the Bolshevists took power after the October Revolution, Freemasonry was banned in the URSS. Soon after, the Russian Secret Service tried, and succeeded, to infiltrate most secret organisations outside Russia, the main target being the Craft, not only in Italy and most probably also in England.
Roberto Calvi, President of Italy’s Banco Ambrosiano and a member of the P2, was found hanging from the Blackfriars Bridge in London on 18 June 1982. He had previously been convicted of illegally transferring money from Italy to Switzerland. He had very close financial links with the “Instituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR)”, the Vatican Bank headed at that time by the American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus. If only for this reason Calvi was known as “God’s banker”! Calvi escaped to England on 15 June and on 17 June the bank of Italy seized control of “Banco Ambrosiano” which shares lost 20% of their price in one day. All Banco Ambrosiano’s directors resigned, Calvi’s secretary who kept the book of the P2 committed suicide, and the day after Calvi was found hanging from a bridge in London. It has been said that the Mafia with whom he had connections killed him, that some Freemasons ritually killed him, but nothing could be proved and the English coroner concluded that Calvi committed suicide.
There is no doubt that Calvi’s death is linked with the activities of the P2, the infiltration of Freemasonry by the KGB, and the infiltration of the Catholic Church and the Vatican by Freemasonry. Soon after Gelli was able to escape from Italy, but he was arrested in Switzerland. After being extradited back to Italy he was sent to Court to be judged, but in the meantime he was free again. He used all the possibilities offered by the Italian legal system to delay as much as he could the final judgement. When the decision to send him to jail finally arrived in 1998 he escaped again to France, but he was again arrested and sent back to Italy. Nobody believe that he will spend one day in a real jail anyway due to his contacts and the information he collected during many years, information that still allow him to blackmail the State through its politicians. Moreover he is an old sick man by now!
Freemasonry is an organisation whose members preserve the secrets, customs, and ceremonial handed down to them from time immemorial for the purpose of mutual intellectual, social, and moral improvement. They also advocate brotherly love, relief and truth to each other and to the world at large. Freemasonry, in principle, does not offer any pecuniary advantages to its members; they do not have any obligation to deal together or to support each other in their ordinary business. Freemasonry has some charities but it is not a benefit society. The charities are there to help those who are the object of misfortune or adversity, members of the Craft or not.
Freemason’s first duty is to himself, his wife, his family, and his connections. Nobody that cannot afford to pay the initiation fees, the subscription to the lodge, and to participate in the Masonic charities without prejudice to himself and to those who depend on him, should join the craft. Freemasonry does not discriminate against any religion but a candidate wanting to be initiated must declare that he believe in a Deity, any Deity, if not he cannot join.
In summary, a candidate to Freemasonry:
- Should be certain that he wants to improve his intellectual and moral capacities, as well as those of other people. He must be willing to devote part of his time, means, and efforts to the promotion of brotherly love, relief and trust.
- Should not seek commercial, social or pecuniary advantages from his association with the Craft
- Should be able to afford the necessary expenditure without creating problem to himself or his connections
- Should be willing to enter into solemn obligations in the sight of God
Officers of the Lodge
Each lodge elects the following officers every year:
- Worshipful Master, the Chairman of the Lodge
- Immediate Past Master, last year’s Worshipful Master
- Senior Warden, personal officer of the Worshipful Master, his designed successor in most lodges
- Junior Warden, personal officer of the Worshipful Master and next in seniority
- Chaplain, the officer who conduct prayers. He can be a man of any profession in the outside world, and not necessarily a clergyman
- Treasurer, the senior officer in charge of the lodge’s fund
- Director of Ceremonies, in charge of the ritual element of the Lodge business
- Senior and Junior Deacons, together (with their wands) play an important part in Lodge ritual, including acting the role of messengers
- Charity Steward, officer in charge of the lodge’s donation to charity
- Almoner, officer in charge of collecting and spending the Lodge’s benevolent funds
- Assistant Director of Ceremony (see above)
- Inner Guard, officer who guards the door of the Lodge on the inside and ensures that only Freemasons enter
- Tyler, the outer guard who stands outside the Lodge door with a dagger as the first line of defence against non-Masons trying to enter
Initiation to the First Degree
The Tyler prepares the candidate in a room outside the Lodge where he is going to be initiated. He takes off all metal articles that he may have, removes his outer clothing until he is left with his socks, his left shoe, his trousers and shirt. His shirt is unbuttoned to reveal his left breast, his right sleeve is rolled up above his elbow, his left trouser leg is rolled up above his knee and a slipper is put on his right foot. A hangman’s noose is put around his neck, the rope hanging behind him, and he is blindfolded.
The Tyler leads him to the door of the Lodge and the Tyler knocks. The Inner Guard makes the First-Degree sign and tells the Junior Warden that someone wants to enter. After opening the door he asks the Tyler who is there and the answer is “Mr so-and so, a poor candidate in a state of darkness, duly recommended, regularly proposed and approved, coming of his free will, properly prepared, and asking to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry”. The Inner Guard touches the bare breast of the Candidate with the point of a dagger and asks him if he feels anything to which the answer is obviously “yes”.
The still blindfolded Candidate is led by the Junior Deacon to a kneeling-stool in front of the Worshipful Master who ask him if he is a free man of over twenty-one years of age. The candidate then kneels while the Deacons cross their wands above his head while the Worshipful Master prays asking the Supreme Being to make a good Brethren out of the Candidate who has also to confirm that he believes in God, but without mentioning to which religion he belongs. The Candidate can now rise to his feet, with the help of the Deacons, and the Worshipful Master informs all the Brethren present that the Candidate will circle the Lodge in procession to present himself to all of them. The Junior Warden first, and then the Senior Warden, greet him before introducing him to the Worshipful Master. The Worshipful Master asks him if he wants to join the Craft of his free will and without any hidden material motivation but only as a Candidate for the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry. He is also reminded that he will have to abide by the ancient usages and customs of the order. The Junior Warden, as requested by the Senior Warden under the order of the Worshipful Master, leads the Candidate to the pedestal and instructs him to stand with his heels together and his feet at right angles, the left foot facing East and the right one facing South. The candidate, now standing before the pedestal with the Junior Deacon to his right and the Senior Deacon to his left, is greeted into the Craft by the Worshipful Master who also asks him to take a Solemn Obligation not to reveal to any one non-authorised the secrets and mysteries of the order. The Candidate is then asked to kneel on his left knee, to put his right hand on the Volume of the Sacred law, to hold some compasses in his left hand, and to repeat the Obligations after the Worshipful Master to the effect that he will not reveal the secrets and mysteries of the order to anyone one non-authorised. He is then told that if he reveals anything his throat will be cut, his tongue torn out by the root and buried in the sand at the seaside, and that he will be branded as a wilfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth, and totally unfit to be received in any Lodge, or in any society of men who prize honour and virtue above the advantages of rang and fortune. The candidate is now an Entered Apprentice member of the Craft. (11)