How do you become a Freemason?
To enter the Masonic Order, you have to make your application in writing, be presented by two representatives or sponsors and be over 21 years of age. Then an investigation will be made. The decision of the lodge where the application is made is final and without appeal. Here the requirements of form hold sway. There are two fundamental requirements: to have been “free-born” and to have a good reputation. The first has become archaic in the modern world, but keeps its symbolic value. The second reflects a moral standpoint and the result of personal conscience as well as human and social conduct.
What is an initiation?
It is the ceremony of reception. In common language, the work “initiation” has taken on a different meaning to its etymological one. Initiate, as an ordinary term, is synonymous with making someone aware of something. This deviation has favoured a mistaken concept that the newcomer is “made aware” because he is informed of an important or magical secret.
We understand the word initiation to come from the Latin word “initium” (beginning). To initiate a man is to activate some initial mechanism for him, a starting point for him to work on his interior.
The ceremony consists of a certain number of rituals, with a symbolic significance, although they are explained verbally. The fact that it is archaic, gives a good indication of the age of our institution. If we “modernise” these rituals, it would be the same as throwing away the titles of our nobility. This point marks the difference which separates regular masonry from those who have deserted the Tradition. Promotion to a higher level has retained the operative name of an increase in salary.
How do you stop being a Freemason?
Contrary to a widely held belief, a Freemason is allowed to present his resignation. He does not even have to provide a reason. He may leave Freemasonry whenever he likes. He may also leave the Order as a result of an administrative penalty. Or be expelled as a disciplinary punishment. The latter may be as a result of a contemptible deed in private life or a transgression which is explicitly Masonic.
Secrecy, what is the reason for this?
Without any doubt, this is the most common question. What is known as “Masonic Secrecy” does not concern the existence of the Order nor the fact that someone belongs to the order. On the other hand the fact that someone belongs to a Masonic order must never be revealed by another person without his consent. Our ceremonies remain secret.
Before committing himself, the candidate is assured that the secrecy which he must swear is not in any way incompatible with his “civil, moral or religious duties”. This assurance means that the lodges are not centres for conspiracy, or societies with immoral practices, or groups teaching occult heresies or “sulphurous” doctrine.
Those falsely initiated generally leave by their own accord which gives the best proof of the moral and mental health of the Institution, which they leave because they do not find their place within.
Why do dictatorships forbid Freemasonry?
Dictatorships forbid Freemasonry for a reason which is easy to understand. Any compulsory ideology which has the strength to dominate is totally incompatible with any kind of thinking which is not its own.
What is the position of the Catholic Church regarding Freemasonry?
In 1913, the Catholic Church in article 2,335 of the Code of Canon Law forbade the faithful from belonging “to the Masonic sect or other associations conspiring against the Church or the legitimate civil power”. The new edition of the same code, no longer mentions the word “Masonic” in article 1,974 (which substitutes 2,335).
Given the new situation, the application of the laws of the Catholic Church encumbers the Grand Lodge of Andorra, which is separate from irregular “Masonic” Obediences:
In all cases and punishable by expulsion, the Grand Lodge of Andorra, forbids its members to associate with irregular Obediences.
The Grand Lodge of Andorra totally respects the Catholic Church and forbids anything which could be considered a plot against it or against legitimate civil powers. The Grand Lodge of Andorra considers that it is not affected by article 1,974 or by article 2,335 of the old Codex of Canon Law.
This common sense truth has been shown magisterially, on the Catholic side, by the German Episcopal conferences and then on the American side and by such an eminent mind as the Reverend Father Michel Riquet, S.J. in a series of texts classified as sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church which the Catholic hierarchy has never unauthorised.
This implicit approval is none else than a de facto recognition. This is the interpretation of numerous Catholic practitioners, who in the bosom of our Obedience, fraternise under the Columns, with masons of other religious faiths.
Is it true that many candidates aspiring to be Freemasons are motivated by professional interests in order to take advantage of the Order?
Until they are unmasked, all associations may have “black sheep”. At the Grand Lodge of Andorra, all newcomers are solemnly required to swear that they do not have these intentions.