talking to


Tell me, please, Tom: what are the normal relations between a Grand Lodge and the Rites in its jurisdiction? You have to talk about the egos, I think, again.

Well, first of all, you have to look at the structure of Freemasonry to begin with. Every appendant body, regardless of whether it’s one of the Rites or one of the other appendant bodies, is subject to the authority of the Grand Lodge operating in the jurisdiction. The relationship between the Rites, as you refer to them – and I’m sure you’re referring here to the Scottish Rite and the York Rites –, the relationship between them and the Grand Lodge is subject to the control of the Grand Lodge. The relationship that exists between them then depends upon the environment in which they exist and you have to look at the areas of the world in which the Rites and the Grand Lodge exist. Let me give you an example. In the United States, in North America, all of North America, the relationship between the Grand Lodges in each jurisdiction and the Rites in each jurisdiction – there is no issue. All of the Rites recognize the authority of the Grand Lodge and recognize their subject to the authority of the Grand Lodge.
If you go to Latin America, Latin America is unique in the sense that the Rites were in operation in Latin America before the Grand Lodges were. The Scottish Rite was in Latin America before there were any Grand Lodges operating there. As a result, the Rites actually created the Grand Lodges in Latin America. Therefore, it’s more difficult today, in some cases in Latin America, for the Scottish Rite to recognize the Grand Lodge’s supreme authority. At the same time, each of the Rites – the York Rite, the Scottish Rite, all the bodies within them – are independent bodies and have the authority to operate their bodies as long as they do not violate Masonic Law. They should be free and are free to operate without interference in their operation, as long as it is not in a violation of the Law. They have right to operate without any interference of a Grand Lodge. And that’s a way the relationships should always exist.
As you all know, you’ve heard me often enough in Eastern Europe, my emphasis of the fact that the Grand Lodge is the final authority of Freemasonry in every jurisdiction. But at the same time I’m very supportive of the appendant organizations. I probably belong to at least 40 different Masonic bodies. I recognize and appreciate every one of them. I’ve been a presiding officer in 18 Masonic bodies. So I have a great appreciation for all the affiliated bodies of Freemasonry. But I also realize and emphasize constantly: the Grand Lodge is the authority in any jurisdiction.

Thank you!