Friday, April 18, 2014

Presentation by José María Bonachi Batalla President of The Universal Masonic Union of the Modern Rite


Speaking today at this forum of The Roosevelt Center, about the Modern Rite I wish to discuss the Foundational Rite of Freemasonry born as an utopian ideal in 1717, intended to mark a new direction in the movement towards a "Center of Union“.

The indisputable fact is that the emergence of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 represents a major reversal with respect to Masonic Operational tradition, and it meant the establishment of a new ritualistic 'form' that eventually created a first order ritualistic compendium especially when this new product passes through the melting pot of France and ' les Lumières '.

It was when the "Modern Rite" became a real tool for analyzing the Masonic reality and present it in certain forms that approach it in a different and unique way, while moving away from religious and esoteric issues, to which it had been  associated during much of its Insular history.

So the 'Modern Rite in France underwent a distinct and diverse evolution throughout the second half of the eighteenth century, but despite these influences and different practices, it does not change its principal appearance as a space of individual development and collective interaction that was intended to be free of fanaticism and intolerance, being a place built solely of the love of all that represents humanity, respecting their particularities, but agreeing on the need of a progress among all to a moral, ethical and intellectual development of mankind by exercising the responsibility of the free use of reason .

The need for a primary ritual tool in an emerging obedience such as the GODF led the Modern Rite to constitute itself in a specific form that the Masonic world identifies as  the 'Régulateur du Maçon'.

Subsequent political, ideological and social forces derailed the development of this unifying ritual, so the "Régulateur” lost importance due to not responding to the urgent needs created through contact with other Rites. In this long journey of ups and downs, monarchists, rationalists, among others, our rite lost the nickname of "modern" to become permanently, at least on the mainland, the French Rite, and as an authentic reference to practice and understand Freemasonry and  Masonic works.

In other places, the Modern Rite remained faithful to the original project that those first Brothers of GODF so clearly perceived in 1786, to create a homogeneous pattern and ritual that eventually was confirmed as  the "Modern Rite" and whose ultimate expression was its presence and development within organizations such as the Supreme Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brazil, where it has been in full effect for nearly 200 years.

On the other hand the need of being guardians of the inheritance of the "moderns" deriving from a basic “Center of Union”, locates us today, after nearly 300 years, in a different position in relation to the key point of the Masonic arch in "Centre of Unity".

We are aware that this has never been achieved whether in 1717 or today, given the Masonic organizational structures that have evolved according to individual needs and potentials, creating significant approaches but also serious estrangements despite working under a ritual similarity called Modern Rite by some and by others French Rite, and even by some conceptual acrobats, the French Modern Rite .

In this context of disunity  among the individuals who were drawn to the Modern Rite, by several varied forms, those variations being products of distance and also of ignorance, some brothers, being aware of this weakness, and therefore believers in the need for creating a Centre of Unity, and of course, to take responsibility for what we stand for as Masons, were led in the year 2011 to create the Universal Masonic Union of the Modern Rite (UMURM).

This Organization powered by the Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brazil, Primary Philosophical Organization of The Modern Rite, which I had the honor to chair, laid the necessary foundations for the Universal Masonic Union of Modern Rite, born not as a body but quite the contrary , as an open entity and willing to unite with all interested Philosophical Organizations of the Modern Rite, initiatically regular, respecting their independence and individual peculiarities, promoting a range of dynamics between them that allow growth and build knowledge on ritual, ethical, philosophical, and social levels.

In a changing and turbulent world we are sure that the values associated with our most popular Tri-partate motto Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, are valid, and that they need to be developed within our Chapters and Philosophical Organizations and presented to the outside world individually and collectively displaying our own Masonic responsibility for the implementation of study, analysis, and reason.

A full involvement in accord with achieving a more just and egalitarian society and a sensitive love of neighbors, and confident that human beings will experience constant growth as a result of this being shared with individuals of like mind.

The Universal Masonic Union of The Modern Rite (UMURM) therefore is not intended as a macro structure that seeks confrontation with other exisitng organizations nor to impose to specific positions on the organizations that constitute its membership, but simply from its moral authority emanated from their constituents bodies, aims to build bridges between those practitioners of the Orders of Wisdom in goodwill for who wish it, and thus, its objectives were expressed at the time of its foundation as follows:

1. Disseminate and promote the practice and customs of the Modern Rite.

2. Encourage interaction and harmony among its members in order to practice a truly Universal Freemasonry.

3. Be a plural forum for dialogue and exchange towards creating a true Center of Union regardless of territorial, obediential or rituals individualities.

4. Facilitate rapprochement between the Modern Rite Philosophical Bodies through mutual recognition without any discrimination.

5. Develop a process and source of communication between their joint bodies.

It advocates a tacit recognition of the Organization, and tools that allow both ritual and procedural excellence, in historical, educational and social contexts, in a truly universal framework.

We are experiencing a strong growth in the interest of our Rite, historically the oldest despite its name which was given at a time of ritual dissent by its opponents.

This growth, evident everywhere, but especially throughout the Americas, must have been also highlighted by the strong increase of interest it is generating in Africa. It should not surprise us that the sustainability of our principles generates this positive expectation.

Never before has the perfect balance of the Modern Rite between Tradition and Modernity been more evident and especially in the implementation of its commitment to humanity that each of its member assumes in a full and enthusiastic manner.

Finally, I wish to note that the Universal Masonic Union of The Modern Rite will continue openly, working tirelessly in an inclusive project that seeks to disseminate, publicize and implement our Rite anywhere on the planet to assist in achieving better human beings and a better society involved and aware of all that we have contracted in this important task regarding the inheritance that has been given to us irrespective of religious or esoteric preferences.

The "Modern Rite" in all its diversity and guidance from its inherent secularism and Masonic Universal Union of Modern Rite wish to form part of this Centre of Unity that every Mason should want, and especially to those who are relatives, by fondness and requirement of the Masonic utopia which originated in 1717.

I have spoken.

Los Angeles, March 22, 2014 .
Presented by José María Bonachi Batalla
President of UMURM- Universal Masonic Union of the Modern Rite

Friday, April 4, 2014

Modern Rite Patent issued for Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico

La Gran Logia Mixta de los Andes Ecuatoriales y el Sublime Consejo del Rito Moderno para el Ecuador invitan a los HH de Oaxaca de Juárez al acto de entrega de la Carta Patente para el inicio de sus trabajos que dará nuestro Cuerpo Masónico a la R:. L:. Maximilien de Robespierre No. 11, presidida por su Consejo Masónico.
De este modo inician regularmente los TTrab:. del Rito Moderno para este Or:..
Esté evento se realizará el día de mañana, sábado, 5 de abril del 2014, a las 19:00, en el PG indicado.

° ° °

The Mixed Grand Lodge of the Equatorial Andes and the Sublime Council for the Modern Rite Ecuador invite the brethren of Oaxaca City to the ceremony granting the Letter Patent for the start of its work with our Masonic Body to  R:. L:. Maximilien Robespierre No. 11, headed by their Masonic Council. 

Thus begins the Work in regularity of the Modern Rite for this Orient.

The event will be held tomorrow, Saturday, April 5, 2014, at 19:00.

Gracias a Olga Vallejo Rueda. .'.
Thanks to Olga Vallejo Rueda. .'.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Masonic Protest in Brazil

Masons protest in a public square and demonstrate dissatisfaction with the Dilma Government The Masons invited society to reflect on the current situation in the Brazil. Carrying banners and placards, a Lodge of Masons organized a march to protest against the current political, economic and social situation faced by Brazil during the day last Saturday (March 22, 2014). Masons advocate freedom of expression, respect for the law and based upon their ethical principles, protested against corruption and high tax rates. They are asking the Judiciary to protect equal rights for all Brazilians, among other demands.

Worshipful Master Marcos Barbosa
The protest occurred in Getúlio Vargas Square in downtown Caratinga, Brazil. The march was organized by the Lodge "Loja Obreiros de Caratinga" and "Fraternidade Acadêmica de Caratinga." According to Marcos Barbosa, the Worshipful Master of Lodge Obreiros de Caratinga, other lodges in the country also engaged in protests to encourage Brazilian society to reflect on the political and economic situation in Brazil. Marcos Barbosa also highlighted that the march was supported by the Masonic Lodges of Ipanema and Simonésia, and some brothers in Manhuaçu and the lodges of Loja Caratinga Livre and Filhos da Acácia. During the protest, the Masons also warned of a possible dictatorship in the country.


Obrigado a Roberto Marilia e Raquel Borsari. 
Thanks to Roberto Marilia and Raquel Borsari.

The Key to the Lodge

The following is an excerpt from an article posted on the always interesting blog Raco de la Llum, run by a good friend and brother, Joaquim Villalta, V° Order, Gr.'. 9, in Barcelona.

Few Masonic Rites today still allude to the key of the Lodge. The Modern French Rite is among these. Certainly the allusion is discrete, but the fact remains that the key as a symbol is presented very clearly from the first grade, since it predetermines, in fact, the very opening of the work. The Key is placed as provided by Ritual on a table between the Wardens (particularly near the Senior Warden). The formal statement of this key part, in our days is one of the peculiarities of Modern Rite, thought it might be interesting to others to see what the presence of the Key to the Lodge means in our rituals.

What is a key?

It seems useful at the outset to define what usually characterizes a key in the well-understood material meaning of the word. It is an object, usually of modest size, which allows the use of a lock by actuating a bolt, having this function to prohibit or promote access to the space beyond the door in which it is installed.

Without the key, the lock is hopelessly immobile. By extension, the use of the key gives the power to open or close the door to the one who possesses it. Taken in a material sense, the key to a Lodge is therefore the instrument to open or close the door of the room in which the Rite should be performed.

What is the Key of a Lodge ?

It seems important to note that we understand the lodge to be an initiatory Community gathered by a common rituals and built around that ritual.

We know that the Rite, in itself, does not necessarily need a locale since it defines the space and time of its celebration, the only vehicle that we truly need! It is this close interaction between Rite and making ourselves the Lodge.

Starting from this, we are required to translate this notion of the Key as an object to a much more informal notion, as is any symbolic idea, the key of the Lodge becomes something more than a simple object, it is an essential ritual organ that allows us to open ourselves, and we at the other, through the intermediary of the Rite which may be understood as the door.

Similarly we speak of opening or closing a door, or opening or closing work: if the words are the same, we conceive that target on two different levels of understanding.

Initial conclusions

The lodge is ourselves, with and for others. The door of the lodge then is the Rite. The key allows the celebration of the Rite.

Joaquim Villalta, Vª Orden, Gr.·. 9
Miembro de la Academia Internacional de la Vª Orden - UMURM
Miembro de la Logia de Investigación "Los Modernos" - GLMAE

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Modern Rite in North America & the Caribbean: Official Website

The Grand Lodge of the Mixed Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean has officially published its website for the Obedience. It includes brief descriptivepages relating to the Modern Rite, the Blue Lodge, TheHigher Orders of Wisdom (Modern Rite Higher Degrees), the UMURM, and a link section. 

The Modern Rite evolved in the 18th Century in France,and has variously been known as the French Rite, the Modern Rite, and even the French Modern Rite. The GrandLodge of the Mixed Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean uses the rituals of the Modern Rite as retained in Brazil from the earliest times. These versions of the rituals are closer to the original 1801 Rituals than are those practiced today by the GOdF. The Grand Lodge of the Mixed Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean received its charter patent from  the Gran Logia Mixta de los Andes Ecuatoriales.

The sister organization of the Grand Lodge of the Mixed Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean, the Supreme Council of the Modern Rite for North America and the Caribbean, administers the Higher Orders of Wisdom, received its Patent directly from the Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno do Brasil. The intent of the website will be to grow resources for the benefit of the 
Obedience, its members, and the UMURM.

Please visit the site, and you may contact the Modern Rite through the link thereeither to inquire about the Modern Rite, the Grand Lodge, or other questions you wish to ask or information you wish to share.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Esoteric Freemasonry: An Introduction. - Mark E. Koltko-Rivera

Bro. Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, MM, 32*, K.T., Ph.D. will deliver a presentation, "Esoteric Freemasonry: An Introduction." He will describe what Esoteric Freemasonry is, what can be gained from its study, and how to go about beginning one's development in this area.

The presentation is taken from portions of Bro. Koltko-Rivera's forthcoming book, Esoteric Freemasonry: A Guide. Attendees will have the opportunity to pre-order this book at a reduced price. 

This is a rare opportunity to hear from a recognized scholar whose Masonic writings have appeared in _Heredom: The Proceedings of the Scottish Rite Research Society, in Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research, in the Proceedings of The American Lodge of Research, and in other Masonic publications. He has appeared as an expert on television, discussing Freemasonry on History Channel and Discovery Channel. He is also the author of Freemasonry: An Introduction

The presentation is sponsored by Heritage Lodge #371 F&AM, as part of their Stated Communication. The event will be held in the beautiful Ionic Room, on the Sixth Floor of Masonic Hall, at the Grand Lodge of the State of New York F&AM (see above for address and map).

Grand Lodge of the State of New York Free & Accepted Masons
71 West 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010

All Master Masons of jurisdictions in harmony with the Grand Lodge of New York F&AM are welcome to attend. Dress is conservative business.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Rosicrucian Knight and The Modern Rite

The practice and conception of French or Modern Rite in Brazil stands out for its spirit of philosophical and progressive rational reform. That is why from the point of view of ritual, and with constant reflection on those values, the Brothers of the Grand Orient of Brazil, especially the Supremo Conselho do Rito Moderno, have endeavored to disseminate information pedagogically and to show its relevance to our century. Under the banner of the new Masonry, that is, Freemasonry for the third millennium, the fruit of this Masonic vision appears in a book published some years ago by the "Supreme Conselho do Rito Moderno" and translated into Spanish by the Circulo de Estudios del Rito Frances "Roëttiers de Montaleau."This text  was approved and updated by the Supremo Conselho do Brazil.

The philosophical foundations inherent in this Rite, are notably distinct from other existing religious and even mystical visions, which are further contrasted in the High Grades or Orders of Wisdom. For this reason, an interesting introductory work on the grade of Knight Rosicrucian Order of Wisdom IV Modern Rite this excerpt from the writings of M. •. Il. •. H. •. Onias Antonio Neto, Honorary Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Supreme Council of the Modern Rite, located in Brazil , (and now in Eternal East) is offered here, and we are forever deeply grateful for his Masonic and human example and his teachings.

It must be noted at the outset that the Rosicrucian Knight Grade has nothing to do with AMORC, or other Rosicrucians or forms of Rosicrucianism.

Among the first times we see this degree in Masonry is in the Rite of Heredom or Perfection in 1765 in France, formalized in the regulation of 1784 that will gradually become the basis for what would later be known as the Modern or French Rite. The Degree of Knight Rose Croix comes to crown symbolically, since our entry into the Masonry, the events and the initiation of grade 4, I First Order, citing the resumption of our steps in the Order, the subsequent destruction of the Temple, the loss of our ideals, the loss of the word until the rebuilding of the Temple, the search for the lost word and in the end reunion. The words we learn when we are initiated, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, now we are going to discover in their full and complete meaning. FREEDOM is the symbol of human thought. The body and the spirit is freed from all bonds. But is it sufficient that only man is to be free? Is it possible that freedom without balance will not lead to licentiousness or abuse by the strongest? Yes, so we will find the name of this balance in EQUALITY! We saw the progress we made to find meaning, the word imposed by Justice. Yet later we saw the need to unite the above words. Man does not impose justice to be charitable, but for the obligation to be fraternal. Then is found the third word, FRATERNITY.  In us as human beings, beings of a common origin, we have to consider all as Brothers, and such is the duty of solidarity. Not for compassion, humbling or exaltation, but for brotherly love.

We note other characteristic symbols of this degree, such as the Scientific Rose and Cross, which give their names to it.

What is its meaning?

The Rose is the symbol of discretion, purity, and of fire.
The Scientific Cruz, with equal arms, is a symbol of harmony, the result of the balance between opposites, and according to some authors, symbol of the crucible where flames the purifying fire (Rosa). In the Cross we see the initials of the Sacred Word of the degree.

What is its meaning?

Having researched all its possible meanings evident in the design of the Modern Rite, scientific and rational, we must accept the expression "Indefesso Nisu Repellamus ignorantiam", which translated means "With tireless effort we fight ignorance", which we always have a duty to uphold. We can however, conceivably interpret the above as "Igne Natura Renovatur Integra" which translated gives us "the whole of nature is renewed by fire", fire being already symbolized by the Rose.

With this interpretation we return to the Radiant Triangle which in the apprentice grade we interpret as "creation, destruction (by fire, whether physical or symbolic), and reconstruction," how nature works in its constant and eternal motion.

Any other interpretation that we present is only for investigation of religious or other rites. It should be mentioned once again that there is no religious connotation, whether Christian or of another religion, in the Rosicrucian Knight Degree in the Modern Rite, just as there is no Jewish connotation to be taken from the use of the Old Testament in earlier grades.

Another important Rosicrucian Knight Degree symbol is the pelican. Firstly you need to deconstruct the myth that the pelican rends its chest to feed her children with her own blood. What the bird is doing is pressing its crop with its beak to regurgitate food for her chicks. Nevertheless, demystifying the legend does not eliminate the symbolic value of the sacrifice that Masons should aim to practice to fulfill their obligations and promises, and to follow the ideals of the Sublime Order. In reaching the apex of symbolic and philosophical studies our commitments become more mature. The social edifice is crumbling.We must reconstruct it.

 Another item that deserves attention in our Rite is the interpretation of the sign of the Order or B.P. sign. The immobilization of arms should be interpreted as the absence of need for their use, and the spreading eagle wings formed by the hands,  represents the symbol of mental power.  The Mason who reaches the Grade of Rosicrucian Knight finds unnecessary physical work or exertion, since having maximized their mental powers, they are available to resolve problems universally.

Regarding the Sign of Recognition, made with the index, shows our concern and our grasp of the things of the Earth and the Universe. There are no limits imposed on the possibility of investigation in our search for truth. No dogmas to lead us, while we can investigate and discuss this degree from many approaches, we must pay attention not to stray from the fundamental principles of the Rite.

Joaquim Villalta, V ª Order · Gr. 9
Member of the Supreme Conselho do Rito Moderno - Brazil
Member of  Council of the Modern Sublime Rite for Ecuador
Member of the International Academy of the First Order V - UMURM
Member of the R:. Lodge of Research "Marquis de Gages" - GLMAE

Masonería del Tercer Milenio

Círculo de Estudios del Rito Francés "Roëttiers de Montaleau

Sublime Consejo del Rito Moderno para el Ecuador

Academia Internacional de la Vª Orden - UMURM

R:. Logia de Investigación "Marqués de Gages" - GLMAE