Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Spain
Honorary Grand Master of National Grand Lodge of Romania
Most Worshipful Brother Oscar, you will candidate, in November 2018, in Panama, for General Secretary of the World Conference of the Regular Grand Lodges. Tell us about your plans, what is necessary to be changed?
For the elections of the General Secretary of the World Conference of the Grand Lodges is no electoral period. In November, I’ll stand up and announce that I run for General Secretary. First of all, we need to reactivate this Conference. The goal of the World Conference, the real “protagonist” is the Freemasonry, not a specific person. It is the best platform we have that the Grand Lodges exchange experiences and to learn from each other. At the moment it is not what I was expected should be. I want to change the bylaws of the World Conference; in many aspects I wish to make a little revolution. What I really wish is to change the attitude. It is necessary that many Grand Lodges to really participate in the management of the World Conference. We need to be active. We need to be important.
The World Conference should get this “protagonist” which it doesn’t have now. It’s a pity. We must not lose the opportunity to achieve this goal. The World Conference does not really know the capacity to change that it has. We should get it in the future. I hope in Panama we have this opportunity to get this change that we need desperately. If everything goes well, we will change in positive and we will have a dynamic activity and it will run for the best of Freemasonry. For sure.
In my opinion, Confederación Masónica Interamericana (CMI = Interamerican Masonic Confederation) today is the best organized Masonic structure in the world. I can assure you. We are very powerful; we are talking about 80 Grand Lodges. The last one who joined is Washington DC. It was in the past, they resigned but now are back. We are from 30 different countries from the world. We have no economical or finance problems and we have a lot of influence. Today, if any Grand Lodge wants to know what is happening in Latin America, is necessary just to ask CMI. I am absolute proud of that. We can show to our societies in Latin America what we are doing, as Freemasons. Many good aspects of the organization of the CMI I would like to repeat in the organization of the World Conference. It is neither about the money nor our temples, it is about the human beings – this is our “engine”.
Returning to the World Conference, I underline that it is not a matter of one person, it is impossible. It’s a matter of a team, a real active team. We have, among Freemasons, a lot of skills: communicators, economists, IT specialists, engineers, doctors, lawyers etc. If we can work together, in one direction, this is the goal. I think is so good what Tom Jackson did – started the World Conference and he did a fantastic job. Tom Jackson is a unique person. Nobody can substitute him. We must create a team that substitute Tom Jackson’s work, maybe a dozen of Brethren can do what Tom did. But he cannot be repeated. Tom Jackson is a superman. His capacity and his personality allowed him to start this fantastic global organization, a very beautiful adventure.
Oscar, do you think that nowadays world needs Freemasonry like in the past?
Yes, absolutely. Freemasonry comes from the Middle Ages. I think the values of the Fraternity – justice, honesty and wellness – were valid a thousand years ago and will be valid another thousand years. The only problem we have today is how we transmit the message of the Fraternity, how we transmit the content, how we transmit the society that we are useful. We should be useful to the society in which we are living; if we are not going to be useful, then why we are Masons?
Today, in 2018, the message is the same, but the way how we transmit the message should be different. We have now internet, we have social media. We are living in a communication world. We have to use these tools, but we can never confuse tool and message. The message, the values are eternal. Will never change. We were useful in the past, but how can we do it today? The World Conference should respond to these challenges. World Conference should be a tool for help and support. A great problem that Freemasonry faces today is decreasing membership. How can we attract the young people, our message was received properly by them? Masons should not talk about only what was happened 100 years ago, we should talk about 50 years in the future!
What kind of Freemasonry we are looking for? A Freemasonry that is not the protagonist of itself? A Freemasonry that is not active in the society? No! If we are not active in the society, we are lost, because we will finish the relations with non-masons and this will be the end of Freemasonry.
One hundred years ago, after WWI, the borders of the new Europe were established by freemasons. Do the Freemasons have the same impact nowadays? Are they important in establishing international “bridges” between states?
I can talk only about today, because history is history and we cannot change it, it’s a fact. In my opinion, Freemasonry should never get involved in any kind of politics. Freemasons already established personal relationships, but to translate these relations to politics I don’t think is a good idea. I would prefer that the international bridges among states should be done by politicians. We cannot substitute them, we are not politicians.
In my opinion, the voice of Freemasonry, the principles of Freemasonry should be heard by everybody in the world. We are not looking for influence. It’s important that everyone find out what Freemasonry offers. Freemasonry is a tool that should be considered the progress of any country. We cannot interfere to political internal problems of the country.
We have principles. These principles should not be kept in the temple only. They are not theoretical; we must put these principles in practice. We are talking about justice, amity, friendship, strength, tolerance; obviously, these principles must be heard out. I don’t like a passive Freemasonry, which looks toward itself. The Freemasonry should be useful to the society in which it is involved. If we are not useful, we will lose the train, we will lose the connection with non-masons.
I repeat we cannot involve in internal affairs, but it is a fact that today are 60 countries in the world that prosecute Freemasonry. It is not allowed to be freemason in those countries; if you are freemason, you will go to prison. In some of these countries, Freemasonry is considered as an anti-religious organization and you can be executed. Today, my friend…
Freemasonry cannot develop in non-democratic countries. Freemasonry is equal to democracy. The World Conference should explain what Freemasonry is, for helping to disappear this image of satanic sect or whatever.
Are there differences between Eastern and Western Freemasonries?
I think every country, every Grand Lodge, every region does have his own characteristics. But I don’t like to generalize, between Eastern and Western Freemasonries. I prefer to speak about continents: Europe, America etc. Of course, there are different aspects and characteristics, but all Masons from the world do have something in common: we treat each other as brothers. The concept of fraternity is general. This is the best thing. For example: you and I are travelling to New Zealand. We didn’t speak before, we didn’t know each other, but, in five minutes, we feel like friends with the brethren from New Zealand. It is a marvelous experience. We can feel this experience in any part of the world. Fraternity is fantastic. We have two beautiful aspects: fraternity and initiatic character (the initiation). We are the only one organization in the world today that works with initiatic aspects. As Brethren we have something in common that nobody can change it – the initiation. The characteristics that unify us are much more important than those that make difference.
I am sure that you met, in your international Masonic life, leaders of Freemasonry who are not on the right path of Freemasonry, persons who forgot our fundamental principles; they have an oversized ego that tries to hide an acute lack of culture.
It’s a true fact, unfortunately. Many masons, even if they are leaders or ordinary masons in their small lodges, forgot the basic principles. The real Freemasonry should be a commitment 24 hours a day in your normal life. We should not forget that we are Masons and remember this thing only when we are going to our lodge meeting. We need to be examples to the society. I am not saying that a mason should be an angel or a saint without sins or mistakes, we are human beings, and we can make mistakes. But if we are Masons, we should be committed to the Masonic principles.
The best lessons that I ever received from Masons doesn’t came from Grand Masters, came from ordinary Entered Apprentices. They have given me real good reasons, real good examples.
It is true that in Freemasonry, so much you are going to the top, you start to lose the sense of reality. It is necessary to be surrounded by good Masons to remind you to be a good mason. We have a big problem, which is the vanity, the ego. This ego grows as the Masonic rank increases. We should change this. The Grand Officers should be very careful and never forget they are just human beings. You know the story of a general returned to glory in ancient Rome; he was accompanied during the procession on the streets of the city by a slave whose duty was to remind him that his triumph would not last forever. „Memento mori” the general’s slave whispered, „Remember that you will die”. Many Grand Masters think that they are gods, the best people in the world. That’s not true! Every Grand Master need to be surrounded by Brethren who tell him the true. If we don’t receive the REAL feedback, we are lost.
You have been recently re-elected as Grand Master of Spain. We both know that are jurisdictions where the Grand Masters try to protect themselves, trying to control, by artificial rules, those who can run for Grand Master position.
The conditions to be candidate in Spain for running for Grand Mastership are just only to be Past Master of a Lodge and to be in good standing. According to the Spanish Constitution you must be Spanish citizen and to have a Spanish residence (not live in China or in the States, for example). It is very easy to be a candidate. In the past years, before I was Grand Master, it was much more difficult. You should be elected first, voted for in the Grand Quarterly Communication meeting. But I did change that in 2010. One of my first changes was to make it easy to be a candidate. Were here a lot of discussions: “will be a lot of candidates, this is not a good measure!”. But life shows us that the maximum number of candidates were 3, so no danger at all. We have a lot of good masons among us. If we’re afraid of them, it means we do not have to be where we are.