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Historical Considerations, Philosophical
Analysis, and Moral Imperatives


Sov.'. Pr.'. Robert E. Juthner, 32 degree
Most Wise Sovereign,
Mizpah Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix H.'.R.'.D.'.M.'.
presented to



Ill.'. Bro.'. Donald L. Witter, 33 DEGREE
M.'. P.'. Sovereign Grand Commander
A study authorized by
Ill.'. Bro.'. Roy W. Austin, 33 DEGREE
Deputy for Alberta
Ill.'. Bro.'. Cyril Cormick, 33 DEGREE
Active Member for Alberta



In defining "History", dictionaries may give such explanations as "a
statement of what has happened", "a known past", "a recording and
explaining of past events", "a study of such records", and the like. On the
surface, historical research appears to be cut and dried, and - oh - so
objective, but do we really know to what extent we may safely rely on the
accuracy of that which has been handed down to us in written records or
by word of mouth? Can we tell how much colouring and bias have
permeated historical "facts", can we be at all certain that, by accepting as
true the recorded events we have inherited, we are not blindly echoing what
some shrewd mind of the past has wanted us to accept?

It may be true that history of economics, or history of art, and some other
histories, quite accurately reflect the developments through the ages in their
specialized fields. In political history, including military history, we are no
longer so sure: not only are we ourselves likely to betray some bias, but the
historians-originators of the sources we may turn to, may have been very
strongly influenced to favour the party nearest and dearest to their hearts.

Where then do we stand when it comes to Masonic history? How much of
the Masonic claim to antiquity is fact, how much is wishful thinking? Or
does it really matter - are historical claims, in Masonry, but another facet of
symbolism, and thereby true because they contain Truths (in the
theological sense) rather than because they report actual happenings? The
number of Masonic writers, who have pondered that question, is indeed
legion. They have, all and sundry, run into the proverbial "brick wall" which
prevented them to present final, unequivocal proof. This is true of Ancient
Craft Masonry, and it holds true of any attempts made to shed light on the
history of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Here, especially, the
various origins are so chaotic that it comes as no surprise that, almost two
centuries ago, the cry for ORDO AB CHAO was uttered.

In this paper, we are primarily concerned with the degree of Rose Croix
and, in this section, with its history. Other historical considerations of
Freemasonry here included, are dealt with only because of their relationship
to that degree, i.e., universalism vs. sectarianism.

It must be stated at the outset that this writer does not claim to have
exhausted all possible sources of Rose Croix history; all he has done is to
conscientiously attempt to see through the maze of writings, many of which
confuse the Rose Croix with Rosicrucianism, the Rosy Cross, and other
such orders of similar name. Clegg and Mackey explain this:

.... the Hermetic Degree which to the present day has exercised the
greatest influence upon the higher grades of Freemasonry is that of the
Rose Croix. This name was given to it by the French. We must notice that
in the French language no distinction has ever been made between
Rosenkreutzer and Rose Croix. French writers have always translated the
Rosenkreutzer of the German and the Rosicrucian of the English by their
own words Rose Croix, and to this fact is due an error of some importance.
(1) (2)

Both authors go on to expound the history of the Rose Croix as they see
it; we shall return to their interpretations shortly, as they pertain to the Rose
Croix as an organization or Masonic body. As far as the ritual of the
degree is concerned, Baynard offers even less hope of enlightenment:

It will be noted that we have not identified the Eighteenth degree of the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and it is with regret that we are
compelled to admit that we are unable to ascertain which of the many Rose
Croix Rituals is adopted by the Supreme Council at Charleston, in 1801.

It is utterly impossible to ascertain what ritual of the Rose Croix is used by
the Southern Supreme Council prior to 1855. It may have been one of the
"several different ones" referred to by Ill.'. Brother Holbrook; it may have
been one furnished by Gourgas to Holbrook; or it may have been one
written by Ill.'. Brother Mackey; we do not know, and Ill.'. Brother Boyden
can not inform us. (4)

Mackey quotes, but does not confirm, some dates of Rose Croix origin of
venerable age. They are all of French sources, and their validity is nowhere
established. We may, however, include these quotations here, if only for
curiosity's sake:

During A.D. 1118, some writers say 1188, according to a Swedish Legend,
"the Rose Croix came from the East into Europe, to propagate the doctrine
of Jesus. . ." To Ormesius, a priest of Alexandria in Egypt, is attributed the
origin of the Order of Rose Croix. He with six others embraced Christianity
at the solicitation of St. Mark the Evangelist, A.D. 46. (5)

(1) Clegg, History, p. 375
(2) Mackey, History, p. 354
(3) Baynard, History, p. 96
(4) Ibid., p. 355
(5) Mackey, op.cit., p. 1327

Mackey reports that

In the year 1747, more than twelve months after his return from his
disastrous invasion of Scotland and England, Charles Edward issued a
charter for the formation at the town of Arras in France of what is called in
the instrument "a Sovereign Primordial Chapter of Rose Croix under the
distinctive title of Scottish Jacobite." (6)

Mackey supports the authenticity of the document, but he points out that
the design of the chapter was really political, as the words "Ecosse
Jacobite", or Scottish Jacobite, were then universally accepted as a party
name to designate a partisan of the Stuart pretensions to the throne of
England. Speaking of the early Rose Croix, he states elsewhere:

The French Masons, objecting to its sectarian character, substituted for it
a modification which they have called the "Philosophic Rose Croix." In this
they have given a Hermetic interpretation to the letters on the cross, an
example that has elsewhere been more recently followed.

But the original Rose Croix, most probably first introduced to notice by
Prince Charles Edward, the "Young Pretender," in the Primordial chapter
which he established in 1747, at Arras, in France, was a purely Christian,
if not a Catholic degree. (7)

The same statement is made by Clegg. (8) Another eminent historian is
much more sceptical. Gould, who substantiates his findings by many
citations of primary sources, has this to say:

In the same year [1779] the Lodge Constance at Arras erected the Chapitre
Primordial de Rose Croix. Its patent is alleged to have been granted by the
Pretender, Charles Edward, April 18, 1745. According to Thory's version
it commences, "We, Charles Edward Stuart, King of England;" whilst Jouast
gives it as "pretendant roi d'Angleterre"! It will be sufficient to point out that
Charles Edward did not call himself "King" during his father's lifetime, or
pretender at any time . . . Moreover, no historian has yet shown that he
ever was in Arras, where, according to this legend, he remained for a
period of six months - whilst we have it on his own authority that he never
was a Freemason at all. (9)

At this point we already recognize the dilemma in which any twentieth
century researcher finds himself when attempting to establish the origin,
and underlying principles, of the Masonic Rose Croix, if he tries to steer
clear of a subjective interpretation.

(6) Mackey, op.cit., p. 280
(7) ibid., p. 356
(8) Clegg, op.cit., p. 377
(9) Gould, History, p. 158

Although the above constitutes but a small sampling of allegedly historical
claims, it can be seen that the problem is indeed monstrous. Mackey,
writing one hundred years ago, was not any better off, trying to establish
the real origin of the Rose Croix, than is the present writer. This is apparent
from his following statement:

The subject, however, is in a state of inextricable confusion, and I confess
that, after all my researches, I am still unable distinctly to point to the period
when, and to the place where, the present degree of Rose Croix received
its organization as a Masonic grade. (10)

Before we surrender in despair, however, let us establish a few more, albeit
more recent, dates. Here we have to include some of the developments
that led to the formation of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at large.
The so-called "Chapter [or College] of Clermont" is seen by many writers
as the forerunner of modern day Scottish Rite Masonry. It is said to have
been founded in a suburb of Paris, November 24, 1754. Baynard informs
us that

It was at this time that the influence of the Jesuits became noticeable in the
affairs of French Freemasonry, for while "English Free-Masonry" came out
of Protestant England, "Scottish Free-Masonry" came with the Catholic
adherents of James II to Catholic France, and Masonry, then as now,
opened its doors to all who believed in a Supreme Being, and whose mode
of living fell within the Institution's requirements as to morality and good

One of these clarifying or systematizing efforts, the life-experience of which
covered a span of but four years, but the influence of which upon the
Fraternity will be felt as long as Scottish Rite Masonry exists, came out of
the College of Jesuits, in Paris, where, in 1754, the Chevalier de Bonneville
established the Chapitre de Clermont. (11)

To the first three degrees of Freemasonry, the Chapter of Clermont added
three high degrees; in 1758, however, it passed out of existence as it was
succeeded by the "Rite of Perfection" which expanded the system to
twenty-five degrees, including the first three. Here we encounter, for the
first time, the degree of Rose Croix, designated the 18 degree, and
conferred, together with the 15 degree, 16 degree and 17 degree, in
"Chapters of Rose Croix". (12)

According to Findel, the Order, as an attachment to Freemasonry, was not
really perfected until after 1756. (13)

(10) Mackey, Encyclopedia, p. 637
(11) Baynard, op.cit., p. 6
(12) Ibid., pp. 13-14
(13) Clegg, op.cit., p. 376

During the third quarter of the Eighteenth Century, other systems included
the Rose Croix among their higher degrees:

"The Rite of Seven Degrees in London" . . .
"The sixth [degree], 'Chevalier de l'aigle, pelican, Rose Croix de St. Andre
d'heredom, triple crois ou Chevalier Rose Croix'"

"The Rite of Seven Degrees in Ireland" . . .
"Sixth - Knight of the Eagle Rose Croix"

"The Primitive Scottish Rite of Namur"
"22. - Sovereign Prince of Rose Croix" (14)

Gould mentions that among the Paris Lodges at the beginning of 1784
there were nine, each of which possessed a Rose Croix Chapter. He found
no evidence as to the bodies by which these chapters were warranted, and
assumes that they were self-constituted. On December 13, 1785, a
self-constituted Chapter at Rouen was refused affiliation by the Paris Grand
Chapter, and applied to the Royal Order of Heredom of Kilwinning at
Edinburgh for a patent. In 1787, the Grand Orient of France approved a
treaty of fusion with the Grand Chapter, whereafter the latter, by patent from
the Grand Orient, assumed the name of "Chapitre Metropolitain". It is
interesting to note that, in the patent, recognition was given to its activity
since March 21, 1721! (15)

Shortly before the close of the Eighteenth Century, the Rose Croix makes
its appearance on the North American continent:

In New York City a Chapter of Rose Croix (18th Degree) was established
in 1797, the Grand Constitution of 1786 and the ritual of the eight added
degrees [increasing the number of degrees from the 25 of the Rite of
Perfection to the present 33] having been received at Charleston at that
time. The bodies already established in Charleston accepted the new
regime and adopted the new degrees, and in 1801 a convention was held
and preliminary steps inaugurated to form a Supreme Council of the 33d
and Last Degree . . . (16)

The generally valuable information booklet issued by our own Supreme
Council in 1968, in dealing with the origin of the Scottish Rite degrees,
gives the impression that there is a clear lineage or ancestry from the
Chapter of Clermont (1754), through the Rite of Perfection (1758), the
patent issued to Stephen Morin (1761), the Grand Constitutions of 1786
[allegedly signed by Frederick the Great, the authenticity of whose
signature has been doubted by many Masonic researchers], to the
formation of the first Supreme Council, at

(14) Baynard, op.cit., pp. 15-17
(15) Gould, op.cit., pp. 159-161
(16) Mackey, History, pp, 1810 & 1843

Charleston, South Carolina. (17) Baynard argues,

We are compelled . . . to discard as fallacious and untenable the generally
accepted theory that our present Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite traces
its lineage through the twenty-five degrees of the Rite of Perfection alone.

In his book, dealing with the history of the Northern Jurisdiction of the
U.S.A., he substantiates this judgment in ample form, illustrating his
findings by means of a comprehensive table in which the present degrees,
from the Fourth to the Thirty-Third, are linked, where applicable, to the
corresponding degrees of seven antecedent systems of high degrees, viz.,
"Perfection", "Ancient", "Modern", "Ecossais", "Doszedarski Ancient &
Modern", "Primitive Scottish Rite", and "Philosophical Grades". As, for the
purposes of this paper, we are interested in only the Eighteenth Degree, it
should be stated here that its present day version finds its related
counterparts in four of them: "18 degree - Perfection", 21 degree -
Doszedarski's", "22 degree - Primitive", and an unidentified degree of the
"Philosophical". (19)

It is for this reason, that some further statements made by Samuel Harrison
Baynard, 33 degree, merit consideration, as it is his educated opinion that
the actual history of Scottish Rite Masonry, as we know it, begins with the
formation of the Mother Supreme Council at Charleston, and that it is folly
to endeavour to search for its organizational as well as philosophical origin
before that date, and in other places. In that connection, he has this to

Whence came the authority to organize?
What of the eight additional degrees?
By whom were they conferred upon John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho?

[the first Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.]

To those whose inquiries are prompted either by antipathy, anxiety or idle
curiosity, we simply say that this organization is formed by individuals who
are associating themselves for the purpose of self government, and they
adopt their Constitutions just as the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of
England, of the Emperors of the East and West, and of all other Grand
Masonic bodies have been adopted, and just as the Constitution of these
United States of America was adopted. There can not possibly be any
question as to validity . . .

First, last and always, we must keep in mind one basic, underlying fact: the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is not the offspring of
any other organization of Masons. It does have antecedents and
predecessors, but not ancestors, among the bodies of Masonic connection.
At its organization it establishes its own system of degrees and adopts its
own code of laws.

(17) Canada, 33 Questions and Answers, p. 12
(18) Baynard, op.cit., p. 97
(19) Ibid., p. 96


Whether the Grand Constitutions are drafted and promulgated in 1786 or
in 1801, whether in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Jamaica or Charleston, is
totally immaterial. Their validity rests solely upon the fact that John Mitchell
and his associates adopt them May 31, 1801, as the fundamental law of the
organization they are founding, and that with such alterations and
amendments as are found necessary to fit changing times and conditions,
they are adopted by each and every regular Supreme Council instituted
since that date, and every individual member of the Rite has bound himself
to obey them. (20)

With the exception of one brief reference, this paper has so far dealt with
organizational history. We shall now turn our attention to the question of
universalism vs. particularism (or sectarianism, exclusivism), in historical
perspective. The question is a religious one, or rather denominational, and
while little has ever been mentioned about Islam, Hinduism, etc., the
controversy between Christianity and Judaism (in matters of eligibility for
membership) has persisted to this day. There is indeed a widespread
division of opinion, in the history of the A.& A.S.R. and of the Rose Croix.
Mackey makes several statements which characterize the degree as
basically Christian; in one he says:

In the Rose Croix and some other of the High Degrees we find the
influences of a Roman Catholic spirit in the original rituals, but this might
naturally arise from the religious tendencies of their founders, and did not
require the special aid of Jesuitism. (21)

Baynard, on the other hand, presents a number of arguments supporting
the universalistic position:

First we examine the words of Ill.'. Brother Emanuel De La Motta, ...under
date of September 6, 1814:
"What are the first principles requisite to qualify a candidate for admission
into the first degree? Is it not the belief in the existence of a Supreme
Being? Does not a Hebrew manifest such faith? Is not everything whatever
relative to religion and politics prohibited in our Lodges? Does it require
more than that a man should possess that belief, and enjoy a good moral
character, to enable him to benefit of Masonry?

"Is there a path where the foot of civilized man has traversed, that Masonic
institutions are not established and its benefits extended to all believers in
a Supreme Deity without its being confined to any particular sect? . . .

"Were I at liberty fully to explain myself, it being impossible to say into
whose hands this may fall, I would lead them through

(20) Ibid., pp. 86-87
(21) Mackey, op.cit., p. 292


each degree, particularly the Rose Croix and the Royal Secret, and point
out whether a Hebrew is not as much entitled as a Christian Brother or any
other persuasion" (22)

"Here, then, lies Freemasonry's greatest duty and opportunity. It has
selected those ideals which are unchangeable landmarks, the total of which
is summarized in the maxim 'Brotherhood of man based upon the
Fatherhood of God.' To such an end, Freemasonry lays 'a broad basis of
principle upon which men of every race, country, sect, and opinion may
unite,' instead of 'setting up a restricted platform upon which only those of
certain races, creeds, and opinions can assemble.' Within our tyled doors
there should be no barrier between men who, kneeling at the altar, can
conscientiously join in saying, 'Our Father Who is in Heaven, hallowed be
Thy name

[From Sovereign Grand Commander's address, 23 Northern Jurisdiction,

The [18th] degree . . . points out the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, the
beautiful lessons of the New Law of Love, and the pure worship of the
Father, all as exemplified in the life and character of Jesus of Nazareth,
who, in the brief span of his human life, demonstrated, far more nearly
perfectly than any other man who has ever trod this earth, the Christ, the
spirit of Infinite Truth, which is eternal. Yet the degree is in no sense of the
word dogmatic; it binds no man to a trinitarian Christian doctrine . . .

[From "Book of Rituals of the Rite of Perfection of Twenty - Five Degrees",
by Henry Andrew Francken, 1783] (24)

The Francken ritual of 1783, proving that in the earliest stages of the Rite
of Perfection, the Rose Croix degree is one that can freely be taken by any
monotheist postulating Faith, Hope and Charity as the guide of true living.

Under date of July 16, 1845, we find the [Northern] Supreme Council
adopting the . . . resolution . . . :
"None but Christian Brothers shall be proposed for initiation into that
degree of Knights of the East and West, 17 degree, Sovereign Prince of
Rose Croix, 18 degree, Kadosh, 30 degree, Grand Inquisitor, 31 degree,
and Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, 32 degree, or any other Christian
degree or order."

Letters preserved in our archives show clearly that it is through the
influence of Christie that an unrecorded decision is reached to admit none
but Knights Templar.
These two limitations, the one recorded in the Proceedings and the other
merely noted in letters, are innovations in the body of Scottish Rite
Masonry, utterly inconsistent with his history and earlier membership in the
Rite (26)

(22) Baynard, op.cit., pp. 345-346
(23) ibid., p. 604
(24) ibid., pp. 346-347
(25) ibid., p. 357
(26) ibid., p. 351

Josiah Hayden Drummond, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern
Jurisdiction, U.S.A., from 1867 to 1879, found Pike's universalistic Rose
Croix ritual objectionable; his remarks in that regard have been commented
on within his own jurisdiction, thus:

We must, in all frankness, admit our inability to agree with that portion of
Sovereign Grand Commander Drummond's remarks . . . We have studied
this degree intently, and while we admit that the doctrine it teaches is
taught in Christian churches, we know it is also taught in Mohammedan
mosques, Jewish synagogues and Hindu temples, for it is the basis of all

In this degree Jesus is frequently alluded to, in language rich in the fullness
of its beauty, beautiful in the measure of its love, as "our Grand Master of
Nazareth," just as we refer to Solomon and Hiram as "our Grand Masters
of Israel and Tyre" . . . (27)

As recently as 1870, the Northern Jurisdiction adopted a majority
recommendation to revise the Rose Croix ritual, intensifying the trinitarian

In it, for the first time, there appears the "Story of the Cross," the "Apostles'
Creed," and scriptural references to two nationalities, "the Greek" and "the
Jew." (28)

Reporting on the 1875 session of Supreme Council (Northern Jurisdiction),
Baynard cites what he calls "definite conclusions" reached in that
jurisdiction after "exhaustive research along every avenue of approach", i.e.,

That the Franchen Ritual of the Rose Croix, of 1783, depicts the spirit of
Tolerance which is fundamental both to the Rite of Perfection and to the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, while our present ritual of the degree,
interpreted literally would bar more than one now sitting in Active
Membership in this Supreme Council.

That in keeping with the spirit of Tolerance, the Rose Croix should be a
degree in which all men may worship, in spirit, the Messiah, whom some
believe has come, whom others believe is yet to come, while still others see
Him as omnipresent. (29)

In the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, or the Mother Supreme Council of the
World, whatever the Rose Croix ritual might have been prior to 1855, has
definitely been universal since Albert Pike's revision of the
Cerneau-Foulhouze-Ladehat ritual of 1857. Yet, what has been termed the
"spirit of Tolerance", must have been present there since the formation of
that Supreme Council, if not earlier, as the body of Masons

(27) Ibid., p. 361
(28) Ibid., p. 363
(29) Ibid., p. 364

responsible for its institution is said to have been composed of Protestants,
Catholics and Jews. To none but a few of these Illustrious Brethren, there
is, first, Jean Frederic C. Doszedarski, born 1770, a Hebrew, who
apparently received the degree of Chevalier Rose Croix about 1791,
possibly in Stockholm, Sweden; on May 5, 1813 he was elevated to the 33
degree of the A.& A.S.R., at New Orleans. (30) Moses Levi Maduro Peixotto,
born 1767, Rabbi of the Shearith Israel Congregation, was crowned a
Sovereign Inspector General in 1813. (31) Jacob De La Motta, a son of
Emanuel De La Motta, the founder of the Supreme Council for the Northern
Jurisdiction, born about 1789, a Hebrew, was crowned in 1814. His father,
Emanuel, bore among other titles that of "Sovereign Prince Rose Croix
d'Heredon (as shown in the warrant of constitution of the Northern
Supreme Council, August 5, 1813). (32) Mackey shows him in a facsimile
of the Annual Register of the "Original Supreme Council", 1802, as Grand
Treasurer of the Sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix de Hereden, in South
Carolina. (33) Sampson Simson, an orthodox Hebrew, was born in 1780,
received the Seventeenth and Eighteenth degrees on October 29, 1808, the
Thirty-third in 1813, and served as Sovereign Grand Commander from 1825
to 1832. (34)

Thus emerges a history of the Rose Croix degree. From the foregoing it
appears that historical claims to eras and events prior to the formation of
the Supreme Council at Charleston, are, at best, spiritual and referring to
antecedents rather than ancestors, as is the case with Scottish Rite history
in general. With the formation of the Supreme Council for the Southern
Jurisdiction, we begin to tread on safer, historical ground. It has been
claimed that, originally, the degree was Christian; counter-claims have been
made it has been Christianized; it can also be seen that this trend has
since been reversed, paying heed to the "spirit of Tolerance", sacred in
Freemasonry. Finally, we have seen that non-Christians have become
prominent among Rose Croix Masons and members of Supreme Councils.
These are the historical considerations this writer has been able to isolate
from the nearly overwhelming wealth of Scottish Rite historical writings.

(30) Ibid., p. 91
(31) Ibid., pp. 127 & 348
(32) Ibid., pp. 113, 128 & 348
(33) Mackey, op.cit., p. 1836
(34) Baynard, op.cit., pp. 123 & 348


Having viewed the degree of Rose Croix from a historical perspective, and
having recognized the limitations of historical precepts as regards their
validity in making decisions for the good of future generations, we must by
necessity turn to an analysis of philosophical thought underlying
Freemasonry, and our Eighteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite. As in the first part of this paper, a number of Masonic writers
will be quoted; in addition, some non-Masonic sources will be referred to
as they will aid in gaining an understanding of movements and
counter-movements affecting the Rose Croix degree.

Yet, historical knowledge is a necessary precondition to the higher level
philosophical discourse. Nash says,

[Historical dialogue] . . . enlarges our perspective, and strips us of that
naive self-sufficiency which prevents us from imagining that anyone could
be different from ourselves. Although historical knowledge may not
necessarily change our course of action, it forces us to think, it compels us
Lo test the validity and cogency of the reasons for our choices - it makes
our decisions conscious ones. (35)

On the "pro's" and "con's" of the historical approach, Inkeles has this to

The historical approach has piety to commend it. It offers us the
opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of the past. It enables us to
understand issues which can be grasped only if we comprehend their
background. Of course, people may read the same history quite differently.
In addition, the historical method runs the risk of making our thinking rigid,
since tradition may be poorly suited to deal with emerging problems of the
present and the future. (36)

The same author calls the analytical approach "the least troublesome".
Indeed, in an era of rapid change, as the one we live in, of not only
technological change, but ideological change as well, in the period of the
dawn of ecumenism, we are compelled to analyze the philosophical
positions of our Masonic forefathers, to synthesize them, and to arrive at
responsible conclusions, lest our beloved Order be doomed to eventual
abandonment on the trash heap of history.

Let us, therefore, first look at "rigidity", mentioned by Inkeles, or "resistance
to change", the natural enemy of "progressive science",

(35) Nash, The Educated Man, p. 2
(36) Inkeles, What is Sociology, p. 2


as Freemasonry is called in our ritual of the Symbolic Lodge.

Resistance to change is a well known sociological phenomenon, also
known as "organizational inertia". Lundberg states that if an organization
. . . easily achieves its goals, there is no impetus to change. If it falls
moderately short of its goals, it may try a new approach; but if it falls too
far short, it may behave in a rigid fashion - as if it were felt that no
organizational resources could be spared for experimenting with alternative

. . . success . . . is measured by change rather than by maintenance of a
status quo. (37)

On the question of the "status quo", Inkeles says,

The activist not only argues that we should let our values guide our
research, but he also tells us what those values should be. First and
foremost, we must be critical of the status quo. Thus, Robert Lynd says it
is "the role of the social sciences to be troublesome, to disconcert the
habitual arrangements by which we manage to live along, and to
demonstrate the possibility of change in more adequate directions." . . .
The logics-experimental sciences are made up of a sum of theories that are
like living creatures, in that they are born, live, and die, the young replacing
the old, the group alone enduring. As in the case with living beings, the
lifetimes of theories vary in length and not always are the long-lived ones
the ones that contribute most to the advancement of knowledge. Faith and
metaphysics aspire to an ultimate resting place. (38)

The eminent American philosopher and educator, John Dewey, said on the

Certainly, authoritarian governments set up institutions that are designed
to prevent change and to retain the status quo. Such attempts are bound
to fail. Change is one of the most important facts of life. (39)

Some Freemasons have recognized this; the reader will recall that in the
formation of the first Supreme Council, alterations and amendments were
included as they were "found necessary to fit changing times and
conditions" [Quotation 20, p. 7]. One can hardly overlook the pitfalls of
ultra-traditionalism; the founding fathers of Freemasonry as such took their
leave from the ideological status quo of their day, and did so in the spirit
of the Enlightenment. The philosopher, John Locke (1632-1704), found
three major kinds of "miscarriages in the actual

(37) Lundberg, Sociology, p. 390
(38) Inkeles, op.cit., pp. 103 & 105
(39) Nash, op.cit., p. 312


reasoning of men:

The first is rooted in a man's habit of doing and thinking according to the
precept and example of others and, in effect, avoiding the pain and trouble
of thinking for himself. The second results from the habit of putting passion
in the place of reason . . .
The third failure is found in men who readily and sincerely follow reason but
who lack "large, sound, round-about sense" and, therefore, base their
reasoning on a partial and inadequate definition of the question being
considered. (40)

Our first point, then, is to objectively weigh traditional values against the
demands of the present and the future. We will, necessarily, encounter
opposing views, as in all human interchanges. Differences of opinion,
however, can be resolved: for Locke, civility in such interchanges was the
goal. May it never be said of the governing body of a Masonic institution
that "vested interest" prevents progress, as is illustrated by the following

In England prohibitions against the burning of coal and the condemnation
and execution of a citizen for doing so are recorded in history. The British
Admiralty at one time secured the introduction of a bill in the House of
Commons forbidding the use of steam power in the British Navy.
Opposition to the use of iron plows and labour saving agricultural
machinery of other kinds, and resistance to more recent innovations such
as railroads, automobiles, telegraphs, etc., are familiar details of culture
history. Aside from the rational resistance of special groups, who stand to
lose because the innovation renders obsolete their present vested interest
either in property or in employment, much resistance is simply due to the
reluctance to change established habits of life. (41)

Of course, nobody will suspect the protection of material values here; a
better parallel is to be found in religious institutions. Happily, we witness
a consciousness of social change in most denominations, varying only in
degree, but not much in kind. This is not surprising if we accept the
following statement:

Since the type of religious belief and practice found in any given time and
place arises from the conditions under which the people live, religion, like
other institutions, will tend to change with changing conditions of life.

One of Christianity's foremost thinkers, 13th Century St. Thomas Aquinas,
had related thoughts on "authority" vs. "the necessities of contemporary
day" - or, "common experience", as he calls it. Here we read:

(40) Ibid., p, 211
(41) Lundberg, op.cit., p. 690
(42) Ibid., p. 544


To be valid, Philosophical assertions must be grounded, not on authority
but on the facts of common experience as interpreted by the natural human
intelligence. For outside the realm of theology [St. Thomas once
observed], the argument from authority is the weakest possible one. (S.Th.,
1, 9.1, a. 8, ad 2.) (43)

The question dealt with in this paper is an ideological one. It is so, no
matter which of the opposing positions may be taken by one or the other
Brother. This is what sociologists have to say on the matter:

We speak of an ideology when a certain idea serves a vested interest in
society. Very frequently, though not always, ideologies systematically
distort social reality in order to come out where it is functional for them to
do so . . . Ideological thinking is capable of covering much larger human
collectivities. For example, the racial mythology of the American South
serves to legitimate a social system practised by millions of human beings
. . . The Marxist ideology, in turn, serves to legitimate the tyranny practised
by the Communist Party apparatus whose interests have about as much in
common with Karl Marx's as those of Elmer Gantry had with the Apostle
Paul's. In each case, the ideology both justifies what is done by the group
whose vested interest is served and interprets social reality in such a way
that the justification is made plausible. . .

It should be stressed in this connection that commonly the people putting
faith these propositions are perfectly sincere. The moral effort to lie
deliberately is beyond most people. It is much easier to deceive oneself.
It is, therefore, important to keep the concept of ideology distinct from
notions of lying, deception, propaganda or legerdemain. The liar, by
definition, knows that he is lying. The ideologist does not. (44)

Ideology . . . limits and restricts the readiness to see things in a new light.

Our second point, then, is to endeavour to isolate our analyses from the
screening effect of ideological inertia. At this juncture we must turn to
Philosophy itself. There are various definitions of the term; that describing
it as "the study of the most general causes and principles of the universe",
as important as it may be to the beginning student of philosophy as a
discipline, does not seem to this writer to be the one we seek in the context
of this paper. Philosophy as "a system for guiding life", seems closer to our
purpose, and brings to mind words by Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536),
known as "Erasmus of Rotterdam", the

(43) Nash, op.cit., p. 119
(44) Berger, Invitation to Sociology, pp. 111-112
(45) Inkeles, op. cit., p. 29


great Humanist:

By philosophy I do not mean that which disputes concerning the first
beginnings of primordial matter, of motion and infinity, but rather that which
frees the mind from the false opinions and predilections of the masses.

As a Humanist, Erasmus held the conviction that spiritual and ideal values
rank supreme, and that these values are most adequately expressed in the
great and classic achievements of humanity, such as in art and, particularly,
in literature. Lundberg says,

In general, humanists believe the purpose of living is to develop nobler,
finer personalities in all human beings.

Consider the following statement by Albert Einstein:

Whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances in
this domain of scientific thought is moved by profound reverence for the
rationality made manifest in existence. (47)

The Humanism of Erasmus, with a capital "H", and Einstein's humanism
with a small "h", both point to an element so familiar to the Mason, namely,
that of "taking good men, and making them better". We expect all Masons
to be "good" men, indeed, made "better" men by their experience of the
Symbolic Degrees. This means that, beyond a shadow of doubt, a Master
Mason is a moral man. Plato affirmed that men, having passed through the
stages of education as he envisioned it (and as we as Masons believe to
offer it to our candidates), are moral men; western thinkers since his days
have reaffirmed that position. We, as Masons, have our way of educating
man to be moral, to be good, or at least to be a better person.
Philosophers through the ages had their several approaches. To Plato and
Dewey it is a matter of intelligence, to Erasmus one of the examples set by
the great men and the great deeds of the past, to Locke the example set
by the teacher or companion, to St. Augustine and St. Thomas Divine
Grace, while to T.S. Eliot it is a matter of the cultural environment. Many
other convictions can be found among the great number of thinkers to
whom the question of improving the moral fibre of mankind was so
imperative. Why is all this important to us? Nash explains:

In an age such as ours when democratic and equalitarian ideologies
pervade much of our political and educational thinking, and science has
triumphed, we might scoff at the aristocratic aloofness, the intellectual
arrogance, and the literary claciqsism of the Humanists. Yet in an age such
as ours with its ideological splits as

(46) Nash, op.cit,, pp. 159-160
(47) Lundberg, op.cit., p. 536


momentous as those of the Renaissance and Reformation, its international
conflicts, and its spectre of annihilating wars, Erasmus' simplest of thoughts
acquires new significance. This was the thought that it was mankind's duty
to strive to be more humane, more sympathetic, more tolerant, more
understanding, and more spiritual. (48)

These words, of "mankind's duty", ring loud and clear in every Mason's
ears. Do we not pride ourselves to possess, and further, these virtues? Is
not the concept of Toleration at the heart of our teachings? Do we live up
to our own expectations in this regard? These, and similar questions must
be asked when attempting to synthesize our philosophic position.

Any exclusivist, or particularistic, organization is, ipso facto, intolerant of all
elements it purposely debars from membership within its ranks. it follows
then that an organization which preaches toleration, yet behaves in
opposition to its professed ideals, does so in violation of their own lofty
aims. We manifest "particularism" when we give special consideration to
people because of their relationship to us, whereas if we evidence
"universalism", we treat more or less alike all who come before us in a given
status position. In Freemasonry, that status position is recognized as that
of the Master Mason. Within the Scottish Rite, the "universalist" regards a
Mason of the 14 degree eligible to be advanced to the 15 degree, to the 16
degree, the 17 degree, the 18 degree, and so on, to partake of the lessons
taught by the Rite. Clegg writes,

The institution of Freemasonry preceded the advent of Christianity. Its
religion comes from the ancient priesthood. If Freemasonry were simply
a Christian institution, the Jew and the Moslem, the Brahmin and the
Buddhist, could not conscientiously partake of its illumination; but its
universality is its boast. In its language citizens of every nation may
converse; at its altar men of all religions may kneel; to its creed disciples
of every faith may subscribe.

Yet it cannot be denied, that since the advent of Christianity an element
from it has been almost imperceptibly infused into the Masonic system, at
least among Freemasons of that faith. Therefore we find Christian Masonic
writers indulging in [giving it a Christian character] almost to an
unwarrantable excess, and by the extent of their sectarian interpretations
materially affecting the cosmopolitan character of the institution. (49)

Some writers have even adopted a Christian reference to the Master
Mason's degree. Thus, J.T. Lawrence concludes "that the admission of

(48) Nash, op.cit., p. 15
(49) Clegg, Symbolism, pp. 240-241 & 330


non-Christians to the Order [of Masonry in general] was never originally
contemplated." (50) Clegg corroborates this statement, adding his own
words of criticism:

And as to the adoption of the Christian reference, Hutchinson, and after him
Oliver, profoundly philosophical as are the Masonic speculations of both,
have, we are constrained to believe, fallen into a great error in calling the
Master Mason's degree a Christian institution. It is true that it embraces
within its scheme the great truths of Christianity upon the subject of the
immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body; but this was to be
presumed, because Freemasonry is truth, and Christianity is truth, and all
truth must be identical. (51)

In his book, Emblematic Freemasonry, A. E. Waite affirms a Christian ritual
of the Rose Croix degree, but declares the Rite open to all creeds, as the
following two quotations indicate:

As one who knows all the Rituals of the SCOTTISH RITE and has made a
long critical study of many codices of each, I am in a position to check wild
statements respecting their content. For example, I am familiar with some
twenty separate and independent versions of the ROSE CROIX, and I affirm
that Barruel lied when he said that the French Ritual current at his period
represents Christ as "a common Jew crucified for his crimes." I challenge
THE MORNING POST and its anonymous contributors to produce any
codox which does. In France then as in England now, Christ - for the
ROSE CROTX - is the Son of God and Lord of Glory. (52)

[Here reference is made to a series of seventeen articles against
Freemasonry, published by THE MORNING POST, July 1920.]

Now this [the conquest of "error, intolerance, oppression and bigotry"] is a
matter which may bc colourably supposed to enlist the sympathies of all
good men and true; it does not exclusively belong to the Chivalry of the
WHITE AND BLACK EAGLE but to the SCOTTISH RITE at large, nor do
Christendom and Israel possess a monopoly therein. As "the enemy of all
oppression, injustice and usurpation," the Rite and its THIRTIETH DEGREE
are open to "men of all creeds and countries" who are worthy of such
fellowship, or capable - that is to say - of cherishing this high design. (53)

The universality of the Order is agreed by a great majority of its members
to be one of the most intriguing characteristics of Freemasonry, and is
manifested by its professed belief in the Brotherhood of Men. This
universal brotherhood must, necessarily, embrace men of different creeds
and denominations who, once united in the Order, can harmonize

(50) Lawrence, Sidelights, p. 51
(51) Clegg, op.cit., p. 239
(52) Waite, Emblematic Freemasonry, p. 264
(53) ibid., p. 210


only when respecting each other's beliefs without doubting the sincerity of
the brother's convictions. In the words of our ritual of the Thirty-first
Degree, this concept reads as follows:

Ever remember that, being human, you must of necessity often err; that
those who hold different opinions entertain them as honestly as you do
your own; and that you have no right to deny or doubt their sincerity.
Especially never harshly denounce an opinion that more experience and a
more thorough investigation may some day compel you to adopt; and
therefore always treat your opponents as if their opinions were at some
time to become your own. (54)

In the Twenty-ninth Degree, as adopted by our Supreme Council, this idea
is made even more explicit:

Masonry is the universal morality which is suitable to the inhabitants of
every clime, to the men of every creed. It regards the human race as
members of one great family, having the same origin and the same
destination . . . The Jew, the Brahmin, the Mohammedan, the Protestant,
the Catholic, each professing his peculiar form of religion, may still retain
their faiths and yet be Masons . . . This degree [teaches] that a belief in the
One True God and a moral and virtuous life constitute the only religious
requisites needed to enable a man to be a Mason . . .

To that Great Judge Masonry refers the matter. Opening wide her portals,
she invites to enter there and live in peace and harmony the Protestant, the
Catholic, the Jew, the Brahmin, the Moslem - everyone who will lead a truly
virtuous and moral life, love his brethren and minister to the sick and

Therefore, Masonry only requires belief in the One All-powerful, All-Wise,
Everywhere Present GOD, the Architect, Creator and Preserver of all things
by Whose universal law of harmony ever rolls on this universe, the great,
vast, infinite circle of successive death and life. (55)

Obviously, a Mason can only obtain these teachings after having passed
through the succession of preceding degrees, including the Eighteenth.
Any scheme which would prevent a worthy candidate from partaking in
successive degrees, would be counter to such claims made, as are
pronounced in the following statements:

A petitioner must be a Master Mason . . . The Scottish Rite welcomes the
Master Mason . . . The Scottish Rite does not intrude on the religious
beliefs of its members but it does require that its adherents profess belief
in Almighty God, and urges its members to be active in their respective
Churches. It does not attempt to teach any creed, nor pretend to be a
religion or a substitute for religion. (56)

(54) Canada, Thirty-First Degree, pp. 12-13
(55) Canada, Twenty-Ninth Degree, pp. 24-26
(56) Canada, 33 Questions and Answers, pp. 6-8


The historical report on the 1954 Universal Conference in Montebello,
Quebec, states in this connection:

The three Councils of the British Isles admit only Christians to the Rite as
exemplified in the 180. The Southern and Northern Jurisdictions U.S.A. and
Canada admit non-Christians. (57)

The Statutes and Regulations of this Supreme Council do not require
religious affiliation, nor is there any mention of such disqualification (Art.
77-88). (58) Indeed no such mention is made within the covers of the
Statutes and Regulations currently in force. In previous times, such as in
the 1940 issue of the same, the Grand Regulations of 1762 were cited
which read, in part:

ARTICLE XVII - . . . whenever a candidate is proposed to the Lodge, it must
be shown that he respects and is attached to his religion ...

ARTICLE XX (ROSE CROIX) - Questions that concern religion, politics and
the like, should never be spoken of by Knights . . .

ARTICLE XXI (ROSE CROIX) - Great caution is to be used in conferring this
Sublime Degree. It is never to be conferred until after a rigorous
examination into the conduct, honour or morals of the applicant . . . (59)

Again, nowhere in the Grand Regulations and "Ordinances of the Chapter"
are there any denominational restrictions. The Grand Constitutions of 1786,
also previously reprinted by this Supreme Council, are critical of exclusory

But in the process of time, its [Freemasonry's] organic composition and the
unity of its primitive regimen have been much adulterated . . . But other
divisions . . . gave occasion for the constitution of new associations, in
most of which there is nothing also in common with the Free Art of
Masonry than the name and other formulas retained by their founders to
mask their purposes, secret, often exclusory, sometimes even dangerous,
and almost always in opposition to the sublime principles and doctrines of
the Free Art of Masonry, transmitted by tradition . . .

Nevertheless, recent and urgent representations, which of late have been
addressed to us from every quarter, make evident to us the pressing
necessity of opposing a strong barrier to that spirit of intolerance, schism
and anarchy, which recent innovators are endeavouring to introduce among
the Brethren..... (60)

In Article V of the Constitutions and Statutes of 1786, we read:

1, EVERY Supreme Council will consist of nine Grand Inspectors-General,
of the thirty-third degree; of whom at least four ought to profess the
prevailing religion, (61)


(57) Canada, History, p. 68
(58) Canada, Statutes and Regulations - 1968, pp. 42-45
(59) Canada, Statutes and Regulations - 1940, pp. 56-75
(60) Ibid., pp, 77-78
(61) Ibid., p. 85


This last statement means, in effect, that only 44.44% of the Grand
Inspectors General, corresponding to 15 of 33, need "profess the prevailing
religion". The last several quotations may just as well have been made part
of the first section of this paper, as they are of historical interest, however,
it has been found that they, together with the preceding ones which are
commitments of present day Scottish Rite Masonry in Canada, actually
constitute an accepted philosophical position.

In the same context, Mackey states:

Everything, in short, about the degree, is Christian; but...... the Christian
teachings of the degree have been applied to the sublime principles of a
universal system, and an interpretation and illustration of the doctrines of
the "Master of Nazareth," so adapted to the Masonic dogma of tolerance,
that men of every faith may embrace and respect them. (62)

At this point we should recall the thoughts expressed by Albert Pike, who,
from 1859 to 1891 was the Sovereign Grand Commander for the Southern
Jurisdiction, who was the Rite's most outstanding philosopher, mystic and
dogmatist, and whose words can be found in many lectures of the Scottish
Rite degrees, as practised in Canada.

Each of us makes such applications to his own faith and creed of the
symbols and ceremonies of this Degree, as seems to him proper. the ceremonies of this Degree receive different explanations each
interpreting them for himself, and being offended at the interpretation of no
In no other way could Masonry possess its character of Universality; that
character which has ever been peculiar to it from its origin ...
If any see in it also a type of the sorrow of the Craft for the death of Hiram,
the grief of the Jews at the fall of Jerusalem, the misery of the Templars at
the ruin of their order and the death of De Molay, or the world's agony and
pangs of woe at the death of the Redeemer, it is the right of each to do so
. . . If any see in it a type of the peculiar mysteries of any faith or creed, or
an allusion to any past occurrences, it is their right to do so. Let each
apply its symbols as he pleases. To all of us they typify the universal rule
of Masonry, - of its three chief virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity; of brotherly
love and universal benevolence. We labour here to no other end. These
symbols need no other interpretation, (63)


Pike philosophizes on the objectives of Masonry and the teachings of the
Rose Croix degree, of which the following excerpts constitute the essence:


(62) Mackey, Encyclopedia, p. 638
(63) Pike, Morals and Dogma, pp. 276, 288 & 289


Light, as contradistinguished from darkness, is Good, as
contradistinguished from Evil: and it is that Light, the true knowledge of
Deity, the Eternal Good, for which Masons in all ages have sought.

The Degree of Rose + teaches three things; - the unity, immutability and
goodness of God; the immortality of the Soul, and the ultimate defeat and
extinction of evil and wrong and sorrow, by a Redeemer or Messiah, yet to
come, if he has not already appeared. (64)

On this he elaborates further, saying:

God is infinitely wise, just, and good . . . at the appointed time He will
redeem and regenerate the world, and the Principle, the Power, and the
existence of Evil will then cease; that this will be brought about by such
means and instruments as He chooses to employ; whether by the merits
of a Redeemer that has already appeared, or a Messiah that is yet waited
for, by an incarnation of Himself, or by an inspired prophet, it does not
belong to us as Masons to decide. Let each judge and believe for himself.

No one Mason has the right to measure for another, within the walls of a
Masonic temple, the degree of veneration which he shall feel for any
Reformer, or the Founder of any Religion. We teach a belief in no particular
creed, as we teach unbelief in none. Whatever higher attributes the
Founder of the Christian Faith may, in our belief, have had or not have had,
none can deny that He taught and practised a pure and elevated morality,
even at the risk and to the ultimate loss of His life . . . As a lover of all
mankind, laying down His life for the emancipation of His Brethren, He
should be to all, to Christian, to Jew, and to Mahometan, an object of
gratitude and veneration. (65)

The teachings of Jesus, in their purity, Pike sees as acceptable to all men,
and, therefore, admonishes us not to prevent from partaking in them those
who honestly and sincerely seek the mysteries of the 18th degree:

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn
not away!

Perverted and corrupted, they [Jesus' teachings] have served as a basis
for many creeds, and beep even made the warrant for intolerance and
persecution. We here teach them in their purity; They are our Masonry; for
to them good men of all creeds can subscribe. (66)

In the Prestonian Lecture for 1934 we read:

I have told you and shown that our Masonry was originally Christian and
Roman Catholic . . . Early in the 18th century our Masonry was converted
to Monotheism. That is, the Book of Constitutions no longer imposed the
qualification of Christianity for membership: the Craft was thrown open to
persons of any religion. The First Charge lays it down clearly and

(64) Ibid., p. 287
(65) Ibid., pp. 307-308
(66) Ibid., p. 310


"Let a man's religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded
from the Order, provided he believe in the glorious architect of heaven and
earth and practice the sacred duties of morality." (67)

This, of course, and the remainder of the Charge is in the possession of
every regularly made Mason in Canada, and abroad. The implications here
are not merely philosophical, but moral, and shall, therefore, be dealt with
in the final section of this paper.

Another quotation, well worth to be included, sheds light on the
philosophical fusion of Christianity with primitive religion, in which all great,
monotheistic religions have their root:

"That, in all times," says St. Augustine, "is the Christian religion, which to
know and follow is the most sure and certain health, called according to
that name, but not according to the thing itself, of which it is the name; for
the thing itself, which is now called the Christian religion, really was known
to the Ancients, nor was wanting at any time from the beginning of the
human race ..... " (68)


The following, modern day, comment, introduced here for the sole purpose
of philosophical reflection, and not for any other attributable to the Scottish
Rite or this writer, must give us pause:

Beyond the questions of the social distribution of religiosity, some
contemporary sociologists (for example, Helmut Scheisky, and Thomas
Luckmann) have raised the question whether the personality types
produced by modern industrial civilization permit the continuation of
traditional religious patterns at all and whether, for various sociological and
sociopsychological reasons, the Western world may not already be in a
post-Christian stage. (69)

Finally, a brief reference should be made to the symbols of the Rose Croix
Chapter because, in Freemasonry, symbolism is so intimately linked to its
philosophy. Space does not permit to go into any great detail; the reader
who wishes to gain further insight is referred to Pike's Morals and Dogma
(70) where he will find an extensive treatise on the subject showing the
various prechristian interpretations of the symbolism of the Cross, the Rose,
the Pelican and Eagle, and the Compass, and the many meanings
assigned to the word INRI. He will also find, stated by Mackey, the Eagle
in Exodus, as having the same meaning for the Jews as for the Christians.

(67) Fighiers, in Prestonian Lectures, p. 187
(68) Pike, op.cit., p. 262
(69) Berger, op.cit., pp. 116-117
(70) Pike, op.cit., pp. 290-291 & 308
(71) Mackey, History, p. 356


In summary, the foregoing constitutes an attempt at establishing the
philosophical basis for the Rose Croix Degree which, it has been found, is
in turn deeply rooted in the philosophy of Ancient Craft Masonry. The
philosophical precepts of the latter have also been shown. In both
instances Christian as well as universal positions have been detected. The
concept of "tolerance" vs. that of "exclusivist particularism" has been
discussed, as has been the opposition of the "status quo" to "progressive
science". Pike's fundamental principles of the universal Rose Croix has
been included here in a number of quotations bearing on the problem.
Also shown were actual commitments to the universalistic approach by
quoting from historical sources such as the Grand Regulations of 1762, the
Grand Constitutions of 1786, the Constitutions and Statutes of 1786, and
the History of the Supreme Council of the A.& A.S.R. in Canada
(1868-1960). Other Canadian sources have been found in the rituals of
some degrees, that Council's information booklet, and the current Statutes
and Regulations.

This writer has endeavoured not to colour the contents of this section by
discriminatory selection of items favouring one position, and by rejection
of other items available to him which would favour a position not shared by
him. Indeed, he allowed no personal bias to enter. All that has been done
here is an enumeration of pertinent information of a philosophical character.
Where quotations are given, no further comment appeared necessary to
enlarge on their content. In this regard, the actual ANALYSIS of the
material here presented, and its SYNTHESIS or conclusion, are the
responsibility of the reader.

This, namely the analyzing and synthesizing, of the philosophical package
here presented, together with the historical considerations of the first
section, the reader must do in his own mind before progressing to the final
section of this paper, in which we will deal with the moral imperatives
arising from the study, as this writer sees them.



We find "morality" defined as the "right or wrong of an action", or extended
to include the "right or wrong" of any human thought process leading to
overt manifestation. It is, at times, used synonymous with the concepts of
"virtue", and "ethics", though "virtue" means moral excellence or goodness
only and does, therefore, exclude the "wrong", while "ethics" refer more
precisely to the study or philosophy of standards of right and wrong,
dealing with moral conduct, duty, and judgment. In the thinking of St.
Thomas Aquinas,

Morality itself can be described as living according to right reason so that
the stuff of one's life is rationally ordered.

[S.Th., II-II, a. 47, a. 7, c. and g. 168, a. 1, c.] (72)

In the context of this study, we mean by Moral Imperatives, our thoughts
and resulting actions, grounded in rationality (or knowledge of the moral
issues at hand), prompted by ethical commitments (as the undertakings of
our forefathers), and guided by the heart: the love, affection, and respect
we hold for our Brothers.

In the light of moral issues, the origin of the degree is not very important;
its basis, and that of the adherents of the Scottish Rite, in the three
Symbolic Degrees, are. Pike says:

Of what importance are differences of opinion as to the age and genealogy
of the Degree, or variance in the practice, ceremonial and liturgy, or the
shade of colour of the banner under which each tribe of Israel marched, if
all revere the Holy Arch of the symbolic degrees, first and unalterable
Source of Free-Masonry . . . (73)

Bernard E. Jones speaks of the Ancient and Accepted Rite as of
"Traditioners" of Craft Masonry:

Such authorities as W.J. Songhurst and J. Heron Lepper agree . . . "I see
in every British Knight Templar or Chevalier Rose Croix a probable scion
of 'Antient' craft masonry." (74)

It is only right that proper recognition be given to Craft Masonry, of which
every Scottish Rite Mason must be a member in good standing. It follows,
then, that anything that contradicts the teachings of the Craft is necessarily
the result of action which is "morally wrong".

(72) Nash, op.cit., p. 121
(73) Pike, op.cit., p. 290
(74) Jones, Compendium, pp. 208 & 548


It is, indeed, perplexing how a person of stable mind and honest
convictions could accept certain dogmas in his role of 3 degree Mason,
then turn around and reject the same as a Mason of the 18 degree, only to
reaffirm these same dogmas as he proceeds to the degrees beyond the
18th. Official decrees ordering, or the absence of decrees sanctioning,
practices contrary to the spirit of Masonry, put the membership into an
embarrassing position. The result is the unhappy member - if he is
cognizant of these discrepancies - or the misinformed member - if he takes
for granted such undeclared principles as "only Christians can become
Scottish Rite Masons".

How many times have so many of us been in the position of declining
apologetically the sponsorship into the Scottish Rite of an upright Brother
Mason only because he was of the Mosaic faith? If there were a list of such
occurrences, it would be monumental in its length, and would include ranks
from the Master Mason all the way to a Past Grand Master. Yet, we claim,
tongue in cheek, the only religious requisites to be as cited earlier in the
paper. Moreover, on admission to the 4 degree of the Rite, the only direct
question to be answered by the candidate, when completing his written
creed and Obligation, reads:

III. You believe in a Great First Cause, Author and Preserver of all that is;
therefore you have duties to perform towards Him. What are those duties?

This then is signed with the day, month and year of the Hebrew calender.

What moral obligation does the Rose Croix Knight take upon himself? It is,
in essence, to lead a life supported by the pillars of Faith, Hope, and
Charity. These are Christian, but not exclusively Christian, virtues. Pike
explains them:

Faith (in God, mankind, and man's self), Hope (in the victory over evil, the
advancement of Humanity, and a hereafter), and Charity (relieving the
wants and [being] tolerant of the errors and faults of others). To be trustful,
to be hopeful, to be indulgent; these, in an age of selfishness, of ill opinion
of human nature, of harsh and bitter judgment, are the most important
Masonic Virtues, and the true supports of every Masonic Temple. And they
are the old pillars of the Temple under different names. (76)


(75) Canada, obligation (form)
(76) Pike, op.cit., pp. 287-288


Inkeles refers us to Professor Pitrim A. Sorokin's theory of social and
cultural dynamics, and states:

He sees societies passing through three stages, each dominated by a
system of truth. In the ideational phase truth is revealed by the grace of
God and is based on faith; sensate culture is dominated by the testimony
of our senses; and in idealistic culture there is a synthesis of both,
dominated by reason. Professor Sorokin places contemporary European
and American culture in the last stages of the disintegration of sensate
culture, and argues that the only way out of our "crisis" is a new synthesis
of faith and sensation. "Such," he says, "was the invariable course of the
great crises of the past. Such is the way out of our own crisis. There is no
other possibility." (77)

To the classical virtues of courage, wisdom, and liberality, Aquinas added
faith, hope, and charity as characteristic ingredients of his ideal. As a
Christian, he placed charity at the top of his list of virtues whereas Plato, for
example, placed justice first.

The second section of the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae [by St.
Thomas Aquinas] offers a detailed examination of the theological and moral
virtues that ennoble a man and enhance his action. Here one finds St.
Thomas analyzing and commending not only faith, hope, and charity, but
also liberality, courage, large-mindedness, confidence, tenacity, reasonable
ambition, and a due love of honour. (78)

Let it not be said that we lack "large-mindedness" and "confidence"! Earlier
in the paper we have spoken of the ecumenical movement, a phenomenon
unheard of in ages past which, in the religious scene, have rather
experienced the opposite: schism, division, sectarianism. True, the
ecumenical movement of the second half of the twentieth century is really
an effort to bring closer unity among Christians, not to open Christianity to
closer ties with other religious groups, but is it not feasible and desirable
for ages to come to bring about unity of the great religions of the world, in
the spirit of that "brotherhood of man" to which we as Masons subscribe?
Mankind may not be ready for fusion into a universal religion, for a long
time to come, but with an awareness of man's previous mistakes and errors
cannot sincere respect for all religions lead to affinity, cooperation, and
mutual recognition? Freemasonry professes that respect: she is the born
leader who may guide mankind in that direction.

(77) Inkeles, op.cit., p. 32
(78) Nash, op.cit., pp. 129-130


We may now ask, what is our moral obligation toward Jesus? It is not
intended here to repeat the various statements heard from the pulpits of
Christian churches of diverse denominations. Let us solely consider the
"Grand Master of Nazareth", whose teachings are rightfully considered in
a Scottish Rite degree exclusively devoted to His lofty principles.

The historical Jesus, or Jeshua, was a humble person: He would associate
with equally humble men, with fisherfolk and labourers; He cared for the
sick, the hopeless, the common people; He loved little children, and they
were happy in his presence; He gave friendship to the "lost sheep" of
society; He had deep compassion for widows and the mentally ill; He
devoted his life to the service of His people. This historical Jesus is
acceptable to Christians and non-Christians alike.

The important aspect in the Rose Croix, however, is not the historical
Jesus, but the idea of Jesus, who taught that God loved all men
indiscriminately. Rev. John G. MacKinnon wrote:

Almost all people in our civilization pour their noblest ethical aspirations into
a single figure and then identify this figure as Jesus. Some think this
created idea lived as a person, some that he still lives and communicates
actively with people today. Others recognize that they have created an
imaginary figure to represent, in personalized form, their highest ethical
values. (79)

To men of all religious convictions, the orthodox Christian and the religious
liberal, the Moslem and the Jew, Jesus may still be the most perfect
Exemplar of God. The world needs an example such as set by the life and
teachings of Jesus, even though we are quite free to search to the ends of
history and of the earth for exemplars, and there are many, our primary
heritage may only prove to mean more rather than less.

The moral issues, then, with which we are confronted when considering the
Rose Croix degree, can be summarized in this manner:

Are we, or are we not, as Scottish Rite Masons, bound by the obligations
we have taken in the three degrees of Craft Masonry; that is to say, can we
or can we not assume "split personalities" in our various roles of Master
Mason or Mason of a "higher" degree?

(79) MacKinnon, Jesus, p. 7


Are we morally justified to exclude from the teachings of the Rose Croix
degree, the honourable Mason whose mode of worship is not that of the
Christian faith? Are we morally justified in rejecting his petition for the
degrees of the Rite by rationalizing that we only do so because there are
a few passages in the ritual offensive to the Jew (and, incidentally, to the
"Greek" as well)? If we are, there remains nothing to be said, and nothing
to be altered. If we are not, however, do we have the moral obligation to
change the content of the ritual? How sacred is a ritual? Is it derived by
Divine Revelation, and therefore unalterable, or is it made by man, and
therefore subject to revision?

Is there anything offensive to the non-Christian in the Virtues or Pillars of
Faith, Hope and Charity? It has been shown here that there is not.

Is it our duty, as Masons, to strive for the betterment of mankind, for the
brotherhood of men, for respect for, and love of our brother? Or is it our
duty to divide, and to deny toleration?

Finally, do we, or do we not have the moral obligation to live our lives as
exemplars "en miniature" of the Great EXEMPLAR who laid down His life for
all men?

The answers are up to the reader.

In conclusion, may we once more quote from Pike's "Morals and Dogma
of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry":

If, anywhere, brethren of a particular religious belief have been excluded
from this Degree, it merely shows how gravely the purposes and plan of
Masonry may be misunderstood. For whenever the door of any Degree is
closed against him who believes in one God and the soul's immortality, on
account of the other tenets of his faith, that Degree is Masonry no longer.



(80) Pike, op,cit., p. 290




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