THE UMURM AND MODERN RITE,
AN INCONTESTABLE REALITY.
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