Vol. XVII No. 3 — March 1939

Recognized Foreign Grand Lodges

Two Brethren from different states take a trip around the world together. They plan happily upon attending Masonic lodges in the several countries which they will visit. But upon examination of the rules of their respective grand lodges, they find that they cannot carry out their plans. The brother from Pennsylvania may not visit a lodge under the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands while his brother from Maryland can. In Costa Rica the Pennsylvania brother may visit, while the Maryland brother is denied that privilege by his own grand lodge. A Connecticut and an Indiana Mason traveling together could not mutually visit lodges in Chihuahua (Mexico) and Venezuela; while the Connecticut lodge member visited in the South American country, the Indianan would have to stay in his hotel; in Mexico it is the Connecticut brother who would stay at home while the Indianan would do the visiting.

This situation is to be found as between a great many American grand lodges which “recognize” — that is, are in fraternal relations with — many, but not necessarily the same, foreign grand lodges.

Recognition, however, goes much deeper than the mere right (or its lack) of visiting between brethren of any two grand jurisdictions. Every Mason has an intense personal interest in the continuation of Freemasonry, pure and undefiled; the “system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols,” which his forefathers knew. If every grand lodge in the world threw down the bars and recognized every other grand lodge there would be no check upon innovations, changes, alterations in the body of Masonry. As it is, grand lodges are very strict in their recognitions and do not enter into fraternal relations with other grand lodges until fully satisfied that those other grand lodges conform to the ideas, ideals and principles which make Freemasonry what it is, and not something else.

Because Grand Lodge A does not recognize Grand Lodge B, does not mean that Grand Lodge A either states or believes that Grand Lodge B is not a legitimate grand lodge, practicing Ancient Craft Masonry. Lack of fraternal relations between any two grand lodges goes no further than to indicate: “We are not yet convinced that the grand lodge which we do not recognize conforms to Masonic principles as we know them.”

Recognitions are constantly being made, and, occasionally, withdrawn. Since the visit of many grand masters to the two hundredth anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, many American grand lodges have become fraternally related to the grand lodges in Denmark, Norway and Sweden; close contact with their rulers in the Scottish celebration brought home to many American Masons the fact that while their systems may be different, their principles are the same as ours.

Occasionally a grand lodge withdraws fraternal relations, which is much like severing diplomatic relations between two countries. It does not necessarily mean that those who withdraw regard the grand lodge with which they sever fraternal relations as un-Masonic, clandestine, without the pale, but merely as having done something, or failed to do something, which displeases the withdrawing grand lodge. Recently several grand lodges withdrew from fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. Still more recently the difficulty was adjusted and fraternal relations renewed. Within the last score of years there were some severances of relations between some American grand lodges, but these differences have all been reconciled, and now every grand lodge in the United States recognizes every other grand lodge in the nation.

“Standards of Recognition” have been adopted by a majority of American grand lodges; these vary little in principles, only in minor details. To qualify within these standards, a foreign grand lodge seeking recognition and fraternal relations with American grand lodges must show that it was formed of at least three legitimate, just and duly constituted lodges; that it is independent, self-governing, supreme in its jurisdiction; that it makes Masons of men only; that it adheres to the Ancient Landmarks; practices secrecy; acknowledges the Fatherhood of God; divides the Craft into three degrees which teach by the operative symbolism; inculcates the legend of the third degree; excludes politics and sectarianism; insists on the physical presence of the Volume of the Sacred Law; subscribes to and practices the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction.

Some grand lodges add various minor requirements but in general, regardless of how phrased, these are the principles by which American grand lodges judge foreign grand lodges when considering the establishment of fraternal relations. And it is by a strict conformity to these principles that grand lodges keep Freemasonry Freemasonry, and not something else.

The matter is of increasing importance as time goes on, and especially now, when political conditions abroad have so severely treated Freemasonry. While any organized system of Freemasonry is extinct in Italy, Spain, Germany, what was Austria, Czechoslovakia, Russia, etc., no Dictator and no laws, no matter how drastic, can take Freemasonry from a man’s heart. The history of the world shows that no Dictator flourishes long; the history of Freemasonry has demonstrated that when the suppressing pressure is removed, Freemasonry spring again to life. In a happier day to come, there will again be organized Freemasonry in countries where it is now outlawed. Therefore grand lodges which keep the holy flame alight, will see to it, by strict standards and a demand for complete conformity, that the “new” Freemasonry which may one day re-arise abroad, is the same in essentials as that we have kept, as given to us by our forefathers and their fathers before them.

If “Freemasonry is on trial” — as some contend it is because it has been eliminated in certain countries — it is all the more important that it keep itself pure. It is for these reasons, even more than the matter of inter-jurisdictional visits, that the establishment and maintenance of fraternal relations, the recognition of one grand lodge by another, is of such importance.

That none may he uninformed as to the eighty-nine grand lodges outside of continental United States, all of which are recognized by some American grand lodge and some of which are recognized by all American grand lodges, a statistical Digest published by The Masonic Service Association, accurate as of the end of 1938, is here republished.

It shows, among other things, that the forty-nine grand lodges of continental United States are in fraternal relations with eighty-nine grand lodges in other countries. This statement is without regard to the fact that six certainly and perhaps one or two more, have either gone out of existence voluntarily (as the two in Czechoslovakia) or been closed by ukase of dictators, as the lodges in Spain, Austria, Germany and Italy.

The foreign grand lodges recognized by American grand lodges are:

Alberta; Argentina; Austria (Vienna); Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil, Grand Orient, Brazil, Amazonas e Acre; Brazil, Bahia; Brazil, Cearra; Brazil, Minas Gerais; Brazil, Para; Brazil, Parahyba Brazil, Pernambuco; Brazil, Rio de Janeiro; Brazil, Rio Grand do Sul; Brazil, Sao Paulo; British Columbia: Bulgaria; Canada in Ontario: Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Czechoslovakia, Drei Ringen; Czechoslovakia, National Grand Lodge; Denmark, Grand Lodge; Denmark, National Grand Lodge; Ecuador; Egypt; England; Finland; France, Grand Lodge; France, National Grand Lodge; Germany (lodge in Exile); Greece, Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Ireland; Italy; Luxemburg; Manitoba; Mexico, Benito Juarez; Mexico, Chiapas; Mexico, Chihuahua; Mexico, Del Pacifico; Mexico, El Potosi; Mexico, Estado Restauracion; Mexico, La Orien, (Yucatan); Mexico, Nuevo Leon; Mexico, Occident (Junesco); Mexico, Tamaulipas; Mexico, Valle De Mexico; Mexico, Unida, (Vera Cruz); Mexico, York; Netherlands (Holland); New Brunswick; New South Wales; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway, Grand Lodge; Norway, Polarstjernen; Nova Scotia; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippine Islands; Poland; Puerto Rico: Portugal; Prince Edward Island; Quebec: Queensland; Romania; Saskatchewan; San Salvador (Cuscatlan); Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic); Scotland; South Australia; Spain, Grand Lodge; Spain, Grand Orient; Sweden; Switzerland; Tasmania; Turkey; Uruguay; Venezuela; Victoria; Western Australia; Yugoslavia.

Recognized by one:

  1. Germany
  2. Haiti
  3. Luxemburg
  4. Mexico, El Potosi
  5. Mexico, Est. Restauracian
  6. Mexico, Tamaulipas
  7. Norway, Polarstjernen
  8. Spain, Grand Orient
  9. Turkey

Recognized by two:

  1. Brazil, Grand Orient
  2. Brazil, Pernambuco
  3. Mexico, Benito Juarez
  4. Mexico, Nuevo Leon
  5. Mexico, Occident Jansco
  6. Portugal
  7. Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)

Recognized by three:

  1. Brazil, Minas Geraes
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Mexico, Chiapas
  4. Mexico, La Orien, (Yucatan)
  5. Mexico, Unida, (Vera Cruz)
  6. Paraguay
  7. Poland
  8. Uruguay

Recognized by four:

  1. Bolivia
  2. Brazil, Ceara
  3. Finland

Recognized by five:

  1. Denmark, Grand Lodge
  2. Italy
  3. Spain, Grand Lodge

Recognized by six:

  1. Mexico, Cos., (Chihuahua)
  2. Mexico, Del Pacifico

Recognized by seven:

  1. Belgium
  2. Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul

Recognized by eight:

  1. Argentina
  2. Greece
  3. Mexico, Valle De
  4. Nicaragua
  5. Romania

Recognized by nine:

  1. San Salvador, Cuscatlan

Recognized by ten:

  1. France, National Grand Lodge
  2. Honduras

Recognized by twelve:

  1. Brazil, Amazonas e Acre
  2. Brazil, Para
  3. Venezuela
Recognized by thirteen —

Recognized by thirteen:

  1. France, Grand Lodge
  2. Yugoslavia

Recognized by fifteen:

  1. Brazil, Sao Paulo
  2. Egypt

Recognized by sixteen:

  1. Netherlands (Holland)

Recognized by seventeen:

  1. Brazil, Bahia
  2. Norway, Grand Lodge

Recognized by nineteen:

  1. Austria, Vienna

Recognized by twenty-one:

  1. Switzerland

Recognized by twenty-two:

  1. Brazil, Parahyba
  2. Colombia

Recognized by twenty-four:

  1. Peru

Recognized by twenty-five:

  1. Brazil, Rio De Janeiro

Recognized by twenty-eight:

  1. Czechoslovakia, Drei Ringen
  2. Ecuador

Recognized by thirty:

  1. Denmark, National Grand Lodge

Recognized by thirty-three:

  1. Guatemala

Recognized by thirty-four:

  1. Chile
  2. Czechoslovakia, National Grand Lodge
  3. Sweden

Recognized by forty-three:

  1. Costa Rico
  2. Tasmania

Recognized by forty-four:

  1. Panama

Recognized by forty-seven:

  1. Mexico, York
  2. Philippine Islands
  3. Puerto Rico

Recognized by forty-eight:

  1. Cuba
  2. Ireland

Recognized by forty-nine:

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. Canada, in Ontario
  4. England
  5. Manitoba
  6. New Brunswick
  7. New South Wales
  8. New Zealand
  9. Nova Scotia
  10. Prince Edward Island
  11. Quebec
  12. Queensland
  13. Saskatchewan
  14. Scotland
  15. South Australia
  16. Victoria
  17. Western Australia
  1. Recognizes twenty-three: Maryland
  2. Recognizes twenty-four: West Virginia
  3. Recognizes twenty-five: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho
  4. Recognizes twenty-six: Tennessee
  5. Recognizes twenty-seven: Pennsylvania, Vermont
  6. Recognizes twenty-eight: Florida, Georgia, Wyoming, Utah
  7. Recognizes twenty-nine: Wisconsin
  8. Recognizes thirty: Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico
  9. Recognizes thirty-four: Virginia, Washington
  10. Recognizes thirty-five: Michigan
  11. Recognizes thirty-six: Nebraska
  12. Recognizes thirty-seven: New Hampshire, South Dakota
  13. Recognizes thirty-eight: Arizona, Iowa, Rhode Island
  14. Recognizes thirty-nine: Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma
  15. Recognizes forty: Kansas, North Dakota
  16. Recognizes forty-one: Alabama
  17. Recognizes forty-two: Montana, Oregon, South Carolina
  18. Recognizes forty-three: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas
  19. Recognizes forty-four: Arkansas
  20. Recognizes forty-five: Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey
  21. Recognizes forty-six: Connecticut
  22. Recognizes forty-nine: District of Columbia
  23. Recognizes fifty-three: California
  24. Recognizes fifty-seven: New York
  25. Recognizes sixty-seven: Kentucky
  26. Recognizes sixty-nine: Louisiana
  27. Recognizes seventy-one: North Carolina

The Masonic Service Association of North America