Friday, June 5, 2015

The History & Posturing of Masonic Regularity & Recognition

Roger Dachez has published a new book, entitled Franc-maçonnerie: Régularité et reconnaissance Histoire et postures, with a preface by Alain Bauer. The subtitle might more appropriately be, as if the book is not provocative enough, deceptions and impertinences, since Roger Dachez makes it clear in the 138 pages of the book's complex history of concepts such as "regularity" and "recognition" that these too terms are in fact more deceptive and impertinent than real.

Reading the book, one can not stop thinking about the irony about our work and think that "luckily Masons are dedicated to reflection and foresight," because it does not leave us in good standing in terms of the history of our mutual encounters and our tendency to absolutize Masonic issues in an effort to limit who may claim Masonic identity or making it universal, confusing both terms and concepts.

In any event, regarding issues of regularity, he indicates that they are more a question of the twentieth century, and one that becomes complicated when the GOdF in 2002 started to describe themselves in their official documents as "regular and symbolic sovereign power," where previously they had only described themselves as "symbolic and sovereign power."

Dachez also highlights the paradox of confusing and assimilating terms such as "regular" and "tradition" when the term "fair" simply distinguishes normal Masons under a status of recognized official authority and therefore make administrative and disciplinary, away from other issues that are often assimilated, as for example in the eighteenth century in England a regular Mason is not a dogmatic Mason as opposed to even liberal mason as is so often claimed today, without losing sight of the fact that the founders of the First English Grand Lodge in 1717 did not even know when, how and where Masons were initiated.

This book provides some very interesting historical references, and should be considered a high priority for translation and be made a required presence in all lodges, for better understanding of the Masonic membership. In reading it, one realizes where we are as a result of the confusion of concepts and Roger Dachez develops this with documented historical support and a summary that can be defined as follows:

Regularity, is a notion introduced by the British in a Masonic vocabulary and adopted in France in the eighteenth century. Initially It designated in the natural sense, only the compliance with the administrative duties of a Brother and his lodge, and in the case of a Grand Lodge recognition and authority for the benefit of work and mutual aid.

In the late nineteenth century, the original Masonic power of the First Empire, which had Lodges in the four corners of the world in reaction to the decision of the GOdF 1877, given its importance to the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLA ) chose to emphasize as its primary landmark, a belief in God.

For the first time in 1913 the UGLE signs an agreement with the Grand Lodge of France, and recognizes the Great National Lodge Independent and Regular (future GLNF) from which point the UGLE replaces the term 'recognized' Freemasonry with "regular Freemasonry ".

Since several major independent lodges appear the first UGLE establishes a precise doctrine about what it called “Basic Principles of Recognition of 1929,” according to its own conventions to require: Belief in a Supreme Being and the Volume of the Sacred Law. In 1952 the Conference of Grand Masters of North America states: Standards of Recognition where the most important is the belief in God.

This doctrine is taken from a 1949 text Amity and relationsships of the Craft partly repeating the above Basic Principles. After the war many grand lodges decide to accept this doctrine to gain recognition from London who will understood to represent what was from then on identified as "regular Freemasonry."

6. “Recognition" is not "regularity", despite the heavy use by the Grand Lodges of the appellation of "regular" or assumption of it, by those lodges  which do not have relationships with any lodge held by England to irregular, by relationship or visitation.

This consideration of "regularity" is claimed by 90% of world Freemasonry, without being part of a homogeneous community under a single Grand Lodge, and many recognized by London do not recognize each other and do not themselves adhere to the aforementioned Basic Principles of Recognition of 1929.

The brash and provocative concept of 'regularity'  which has a double character that is not very accurate should be condemned, and  if in a more rigorous and supportive, serene manner, the Grand Lodges recognized by London, should rate their masonry by the spirit in which they perform their work: traditional, spiritual, initiatory or humanist, liberal, adogmatic or secular, etc.

Therefore outside the Basic Principles of Recognition 1929 the idea of "regularity" is not a value in itself, it does not ennoble those by whom it is claimed, it is a descriptive and technical issue that indicates nothing beyond it being recognized by a body in London or that body's friends, tit is in fact an error to think of a "regular Freemasonry" as existing, it “allows” no deviation and claims itself to be entirely initiatory, traditional and spiritual, and opposing a "social Freemasonry" like the army of Pancho Villa, forgetting what was said in 1726 that the three principles of Freemasonry were brotherly love, charity and truth, issues that in the nineteenth century did not seem to have been understood very well.

Thanks to Victor Guerra.


pfunk said...

The premise espoused by the author is that it does not take into account Grand Lodges that pop up over night primarily in the African American Community. They read his words and develop the frame of mind that they are regular no matter how they were started. When many authors speak of Regularity of origin they speak often times of organizations that have some valid origin. in the black community soon as a person gets perturbed by his lodge or grand lodge he starts a new grand lodge. I would think his position is not pertaining to those bodies.

E C Ballard ஃ said...

I believe that Roget Dachez, who is one of the most respected Masonic writers alive, is addressing what is perhaps the greatest flaw in modern Freemasonry, and it applies fairly universally. That flaw is the way in which claims of "regularity" are made are in general terms self-serving.

E C Ballard ஃ said...

Again, please provide some solid, objective evidence. Hearsay is not an adequate basis for claims.

pfunk said...

if you want evidence research Modern free and accepted Masons, International Free and Accepted Free Masons, and the latest HB turner grand lodge in Texas. the so called Grand Master was a worshipful master in a John G. Jones grand lodge and then started his own grand lodge, easily found on line or facebook. so are you suggesting that they be considered regualr