Monday, January 27, 2014

Vatican Revelation of Templar's Innocence : Upholds Ideals of the Order of DeMolay

By Zaldy Geonzon

During the medieval age Europe, a religious order - Knights Templar - was disbanded and its leaders executed for concocted charges that included dissension against the church.  Its last Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was burnt at stake in Paris in 1314 upon orders of King Philip the Fair of France.  For the next seven centuries, the Templars were labelled as heretics but in 2007 the Vatican revealed their innocence after discovery of archives that Pope Clement V had exonerated the order of heresy (Vatican Ancient Archive, 2007).  This revelation upholds the ideals of the Order of DeMolay, a youth order established by Freemasons about a hundred years ago.

The DeMolay organization was founded on the inherent belief of innocence of Jacques DeMolay and adopted as a namesake of the youth order for his virtue of fidelity and chivalry.  The fraternity's time-tested initiation rites depict the 14th century trial and torture of Templar members by agents of King Philip.  Grand Master DeMolay defied all the charges as he refused to reveal whereabouts of his Brethren and its "secrets".  Before he was sent to the flames, he challenged his accusers to "meet him before the judgement of God".

It took however, 700 years for the judgement of innocence unveiled to the public through Vatican's 799-page publication of the 14th century inquisition.  Without any doubt, "Jacques DeMolay, died as a martyr to truth and fidelity, but today the ideals for which he gave his life are being perpetuated by young men the world over who are members of the Order of DeMolay" (DeMolay Handbook, 1967).

The Medieval Past - Revisited 

The Knights of Templar was founded in 1118, by nine warrior-Knights after Jerusalem was captured by Christian forces during the First Crusade.  Their mission was to secure the road to Jerusalem and protect pilgrims in the holy land.  The Pope recognized them as its military religious order and granted exemption from taxes.   For the next 200 years - with noble cause - the order grew in strength and stature as they attracted donations of wealth and membership from noble families.  They expanded overseas and engaged in commercial shipping loaded with pilgrims and merchandise.  Their primitive banking as well as loans to traders and monarchs attained them a status comparable to modern day World Bank combined with missionary role of today's International Red Cross (Baigent, et. al., 1989).

When Jerusalem was captured by Islamic forces in 1291, the Knights also lost their cause - and popularity of the crusades declined.  The order however, continued its overseas financial influence which incurred the ire of King Philip.  In 1307, Philip ordered massive arrest of Templars for fabricated charges of corruption and heresy.  Pope Clement in 1312 had also withdrawn recognition of the order that caused secular rulers in Europe to sequester Templar properties in their territories.  In France, the Templars were executed on 18 March 1314 upon orders of Philip.

Some 605 years later on death anniversary of Jacques DeMolay, nine young men in USA, met with a Masonic Temple to form a youth order later known as the Order of DeMolay.

The Youth Order and the Freemasons

The International Order of DeMolay was founded on 18 March 1919 in Kansas City, USA by Frank Sherman Land, Director of Social Services of Scottish Rite Freemasons.  Frank Marshall, another prominent Mason, crafted its "ritual of secret works" where members conducted its solemn rites in a Lodge room.  A DeMolay "active" chapter can only exist upon sponsorship by a Masonic body.  During initiation, youth members dedicated themselves to the Order's Seven Cardinal Virtues of filial love, reverence for sacred things, courtesy, comradeship, fidelity, cleanliness and patriotism.  Chapter activities and ceremonies are undertaken in observance of these virtues.

From North America, the Order expanded to Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe and other territories under the auspices of Masonic Grand Lodges or bodies.  The Order is governed by its International Supreme Council comprised by prominent Masons and Senior DeMolays with headquarters located in its own building in Kansas City.  Since 1919 to present, the Order has initiated about 4 million members worldwide with "active" and "alumni" chapters present in 25 countries.

Membership to DeMolay is restricted to young men from 13 to 21 years old (Active status) and once a member reaches 22 years old he becomes a Senior DeMolay.  Some DeMolays later landed in prominent positions in our society like - Austronaut Neil Armstrong, Actor John Wayne, film producer Walt Disney, US President Bill Clinton and countless political figures in Canada, Philippines, Brazil and other countries.

While DeMolay membership does not automatically become a Mason, the Order of DeMolay is a youth base for future Masons.  Senior DeMolays later petitioned with Lodges in various Masonic jurisdictions in the world.  In Western, Australis, DeMolay-Masons are affiliated with Murray Lodge (Madurah), Kalamunda, Wellington (Bunburry), and in other Australian Lodges.

Historical Milestones

Vatican's exoneration of the Templar will be an important historical milestone for DeMolay fraternity.  The revelation of innocence adds lustre and meaning to the teachings of the Order of DeMolay as the Order faces growth and global challenge of the 21st century.

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This is an article submitted to "Freemasons WA" (Issue Spring 2013), official publication of Grand Lodge of Western  Australia.  Author, Bro. Zaldy Geonzon, is a member of Murray Lodge 69, WAC;  Raised a Master Mason in 2001, Iligan Lodge 207; Initiated in 1979, Order of DeMolay, Tomas Cabili ChapterPhotos used are scanned from the magazine source.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Freemasonry's Symbols

Silent as the forgotten past are the Symbols of Freemasonry, yet we well may believe that all of Freemasonry is to be found in those inarticulate Symbols.

We have rituals for our various degree.  Any Brother may memorize them.  Even an expelled Brother may carry the so called secrets of the ritual with him.  Even some of the "profane" claim to be conversant with the secrets of our rituals.

It may be doubted however that any of the real secrets of Freemasonry are to be found in the secret rituals which only Masons are presumed able to read.  It is becoming more and more the belief of students of Masonry that the real secrets are so found in the symbols that have been described and interpreted in many volumes which Masons and the profane alike may read.

More than that, each Masons and each non-masons may interpret the symbols for himself, and who can really say whether his explanation is correct, or that is a complete interpretation?  The silent Symbol gives no words or approval or disapproval.  The real secrets contained in any Symbol are what any individual find them to be for himself.

Source :  Bulletin and Summon of Meeting January 18, 2014

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“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” – Brother Winston S. Churchill

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bulletin and Summon of Meeting - January 18, 2014

Message from the East

WB Rogelio C. Nuñeza

Brethren, may the blessings of the Great Architect of the Universe be always upon us.

I would like to greet all the brethren on this worshipful lodge a belated Happy New Year.  I regret I could not be with the lodge last December 2013 stated meeting.  I have to accompany your Sister Olga to Sr Lanka and proceeded to India for a short visit.  I wish to impart that the holiday season strengthened our understanding to our commitments to the teaching our ancient institution. 

Once more, we are affected by the LPA "Agaton" that hit some areas in Mindanao, including Iligan City.  This resulted to evacuation of some families to safer areas.  The Masonic Relief Coordinating Council led by VW Eduardo Ulindang, DDGM, made a round in many evacuation center and provided food to the families.  The major destruction was the bridge at Lapayan, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte that link Iligan City and Northern Mindanao to the Zamboanga Peninsula.  It affected major economic activities and more than a million of people whose business range from farm products such as rice and corn to fish for the City of Iligan and neighboring areas.  Let's hope that htis could be repaired earlier.

Brethren, this will be my last stated meeting as your Worshipful Master prior to the installation of the next WM in February 2014, I wish to thank all of you for your support and understanding.  The Masonic Year 2013 is memorable to me and my family and wish that Iligan Lodge 207 will continue to be the lodge we look up for our masonic activities.  I wish to reiterate my commitments for support to all our activities in the future.

Also, I welcome Bro. Karl Garzon, FCM to an active  masonic life as he is scheduled to a raising on our January stated meeting.  Bro. Ali Bari, Senior Warden and Master-elect will led the team to confer the Master Mason degree.

Lastly, I wish to thank all Masons who have given their support, both personal and financial to all the programs made during my term.  Let us move to another year of service to masonry, our fellowmen, our country and to the Grand Architect of the Universe.

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Agenda for the Stated Meeting

2:00 PM     Opening a Lodge of Master Mason
                   Conferment of Master Mason Degree upon Br. Karl Irwin Garzon

5:00 PM     Stated Meeting
                      Presentation of the Philippine Flag
                      Panunumpa sa Watawat
                      Reading of Minutes of previous meetings
                      Reading of Financial Report of Secretary
                      Reading of Financial Report of Treasurer
                      Reading of Edicts, Circulars, etc.
                      Committee Report
                           Family Day
                      Masonic Education
                      Recognition of Visiting Brethren
                      Commentaries of Visiting Dignitaries
                      Retirement of the Philippine National Flag
                      Closing of the Lodge

7:00 PM    Fellowship Dinner, UDL Masonic Center Social Hall

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For the month of January, we greet the birthday celebrants a very Happy Happy Birthday :

                   Renato Bontol                    Jan 10
                   Ali Bari                              Jan 10
                   Jason Lim                           Jan 14
                   Rolando Layumas              Jan 17
                   Warlito Sanguila                 Jan 28
                   Joseph Sanguila                 Jan 29
                   Ronald Sy                          Jan 30

Happy Anniversary :

                    WB Oscar and Sis Belinda Badelles       Jan 10
                    Bro Ike and Sis Grace Gaite                  Jan 18