Sunday, June 17, 2012

MAKE MY DAY! Born When Men First Dreamed of God

(reprinted from The Cabletow Freemasonry and Religion Special Issue, during the term of MW Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr.)

by Larry Henares, Jr.

At the turn of the century, when the Spanish friars led by the Dominicans were the oppressors of the Filipino people, most of our heroes turned to Freemasonry as a vehicle for their fight for freedom.  Most of them were excommunicated by the Church for belonging to this "secret society."

My grandfather Don Daniel Maramba was a Freemason, so was Dr. Jose Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Andres Bonifacio, Juan and Antonio Luna, Apolinario Mabini, Graciano Lopez-Jaena.

Four of our presidents were Freemasons: Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel L. Quezon, Jose P. Laurel and Manuel A. Roxas.

The great liberators of the world were Freemasons: Giuseppe Garibaldi of Italy; Voltaire of France; Simon Bolivar of Bolivia; Jose San Martin of Chile and Peru; Benito Juarez of Mexico; George Washington and Benjamin Franklin of the USA; our own Maximo and Teodoro Kalaw, Claro M. Recto, Conrado Benitez, Camilo Osias, Benigno and Sevillano Aguino (Ninoy's father and grandfather).

 American Masons figured in our history:  William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Paul V. McNutt, and Dug-out Dog MacArthur.

Modern Freemasonry traces its roots to the guilds of masons and other builders of Gothic Cathedrals.  After the Gothic period, the Masonic guilds died out.  A few survived and in 1717 four lodges established a Grand Lodge in England.  From there it spread all over the world, figuring prominently in the French and American Revolutions.

As early as 1326, papal bulls were issued by the Catholic Church condemning Freemasonry.  In those days, church excommunications meant more than just being denied the sacraments, it meant confiscation of property, torture, imprisonment, banishment, even death.

In the wake of the reformation, the Church launched a militant campaign against heretics and condemned Freemasonry because it was ecumenical before its time, accepting all believers as members, be they Christians, Muslim or Jew.

The first account of Freemasonry in the Philippines was in 1756 when two Irishmen were arrested and accused of being Masons.  During the British Occupation in 1762, the Manila Cathedral became a lodge where British Masons held their meetings.  In 1856, the first regular lodge "La Primera Luz Pilipina" was founded in  Cavite by two Spanish Navy lieutenants, but Filipinos were refused entry into the lodge.  

For this reason, many Filipinos sought admittance into Masonic lodges abroad where prejudice and discrimination did not exist.

When the Scottish Rite Lodge, made up mostly of Germans, was established, it initiated the first Filipino to be made a Mason in his own country - Jacobo Zobel, great grandfather of Jaime Zobel.

As the spirit of nationalism started to spread like wildfire in the colonial world, Freemasonry sttod in the vanguard of the fight for freedom, here and everywhere.

Filipino Masons organized Masonic Lodges in Japan, Korea, Saipan, Vietnam, Micronesia and Guam - and mothered two new Grand Lodges in China and Japan.

Happily with the advent of ecumenism, many Catholic leaders have begun to take a softer stance towards Freemasonry, finding nothing in it contradictory Catholic teachings.

Among the Masons of today are Senators Mamintal Tamano and Joey Lina, Congressman Rodrigo Gutang, Ali Dimaporo, Francisco Aniag, Michael Masera, Ciriaco Alfelor, Renato Dragon.

Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento, Justice Reynato S. Puno, and many of our generals:  Pantaleon Dumlao, Rene Cruz, Voltaire Gazmin, the late Oscar Florendo, Alex Galillo, Mariano Adalem, Restituto Padilla.

And also Vice Governor Rolando Abadilla, and many of our putchists:  Col. Alexander Noble, Capt. Danilo Lim, Col. Reynaldo Cabauatan, Col. Oscar Canlas.

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"The duty of a Mason is to endeavor to make man think better of his neighbor; to quiet, instead of aggravating difficulties; to bring together those who are severed or estranged; to keep friends from becoming foes, and to persuade foes to become friends.  To do this, he must needs control his own passions, and be not rash and hasty, nor swift to take offence, nor easy to be angered." - Albert Pike

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