Freemasonry is society of men of spiritual values
I enjoyed reading Conrado de Quiros’ June 9 column titled “Relevant” where he wrote in part: “Though a Catholic, Rizal was also a Mason and subscribed to its philosophy of humanism and rationalism.”
The dictionary defines humanism as a “doctrine or way of life centered on human interests or values.” Rationalism is the practice of guiding one’s actions and opinions solely by what seems reasonable. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). During my seminary days, I shared the belief that masonry is a philosophy of humanism and rationalism.
To define Freemasonry succinctly is too tedious a task. Fortunately for Mason brethren, the United Grand Lodge of England Board of General Purpose in 1984 came up with a definition to assist members in answering questions that cropped up as a result of media attention in England. The Board of General Purpose published a leaflet titled “What is Freemasonry” in which it is defined as: “One of the oldest secular fraternal societies … a society of men concerned with spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ customs, tools as allegorical guides. The essential qualification for admission and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who can fulfill this essential qualification and are of good repute …”
Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Andres Bonifacio, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Antonio Luna, Jacobo Zobel, Apolinario Mabini, Deodado Arellano, Baldomero Roxas, Galicano Apacible, Sixto Lopez, Francisco Nakpil, Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, Timoteo Paez, Faustino Villaruel, to name a few, were Roman Catholics who did not leave their faith. They subscribed to the humanist and rationalist philosophy. As De Quiros wrote: “Much as Martin Luther railed against the priests and bishops of his time, who distinguished themselves more for vice than virtue, Rizal (and other masons) railed against the friars of his time, who distinguished themselves more for their heathen cruelty than Christian charity.” Touche!
More power to De Quiros! Charity can’t kill. Internecine strife and religious prejudices do!
—DR. SAMUEL P. FERNANDEZ,
dean, Institute for Masonic
Education and Studies,
Grand Lodge of the Philippines,
1440 San Marcelino St. Ermita, Manila