Monday, November 5, 2007


Over the past nine issues of this paper starting September 9 when this column came into being, readers were informed in progressive sequence of the existence of Freemasonry in the province Bohol from its inception, its growth and its role in the community.
But the previous narrations should not be construed as the official mouthpiece of the Craft for the narrations of the writer, no matter how well meaning these were intended to be, are solely his own interpretations of how he views the Craft. A more credible mouthpiece is therefore needed for more authoritative impact. And for this purpose the following questions and answers which were lifted verbatim from the website of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines are herein presented to summarize to the readers the most common questions and the corresponding answers that relate to the Fraternity on a national scale and will be printed in two installments starting this issue.
What does it mean to be a Master Mason
Being a Master Mason is a lot of responsibility. You must be true to yourself and be reminded everyday that being a Master Mason you reflect on all of Masonry. You must not just receive brotherly love, but give it and show it towards everyone. You are in a chain of brothers and sisters, which starts in your heart and through hands, but which spreads around the globe. Be careful you are not the weakest link, so that this chain won't break because of you.
What is the difference between Freemasonry and Masonry?
Masonry refers to builders in stone or Operative Masonry , Freemasonry refers to builders in character or Speculative Masonry, but there is no difference in their usage today.
How can I understand Masonry?
How can I make you understand a song without you hearing it, a fragrance without you smelling it, or a thought without you thinking it. You can learn about Masonry, but the only way you can understand Masonry, is to join.
What do Freemasons aim for?
They strive to be good citizens, to practice the highest moral and social standards, and to be men of friendship, charitable disposition, and integrity. It is often said that Freemasonry makes good men better.
Why is Freemasonry a Unique Institution? In many ways it is not. There are other organizations in existence that also value their privacy. It may be because Freemasonry is so popular that it attracts a greater degree of attention than these other organizations. Historically Freemasonry was but one institution among many. For instance there were the Free Gardeners, Free Shepherds, Free Carpenters, Free Colliers, etc. which were organized along similar lines to Freemasonry and taught morality by way of their own ritual plays and symbolism. Most of these organizations no longer exist leaving Freemasonry as the only example of this once common form of society or association.
Who are the Freemasons?
The Freemasons, the Masons, or the “Free & Accepted Masons (F&AM)”, is a world-wide fraternal organization composed of men of high integrity, who join together, under the fatherhood of God, to further the practice of a moral code; proven by a long distinguished history; relevant to the complexities of the world today and founded on the highest standards of ethics, honesty and character.
Do the Freemasons still build cathedrals and churches?
Freemasons do not practice the “operative” skills of the craft masons, or stonemasons, who built the great cathedrals of Europe during the Middle Ages. Freemasons practice “speculative” Masonry, which symbolically applies the tools of the craftsman as lessons in personal growth and morality, thereby “building” a better life for the individual in his roles as a son, a brother, a father, a citizen, and a friend.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of the three 'Craft' degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason). There are many other Masonic degrees and Orders which are called 'appendant' because they add to the basis of the Craft. They are not basic to Freemasonry but add to it by further expounding and illustrating the principles stated in the Craft. Some additional degrees are numerically superior to the third degree but this does not affect the fact that they are additional to and not in anyway superior to or higher than the Craft. The ranks that these additional degrees carry have no standing with the Craft. In short, the Master Mason degree is the highest.
How many Freemasons are there?
Under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, there are about 15,000 active Freemasons, meeting in more than 350 lodges. Worldwide there are probably 5 rnillion members.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting is in two parts. As in any association there is a certain amount of administrative procedure - minutes of last meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, discussing and voting on financial matters, election of officers, news and correspondence. Then there are the ceremonies for admitting new Masons and the annual installation of the Master and appointment of officers. The three ceremonies for admitting a new Mason are in two parts - a slight dramatic instruction in the principles and lessons taught in the Craft followed by a lecture in which the candidate's various duties are spelled out.
We tend not to talk too much about the content of the ceremonies themselves, as it will lessen the impact on the candidate, just as someone telling you about a film before you've had a chance to see it!

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