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Inquiries and Doubts: Unveiling the Controversies Surrounding Freemasonry

Amidst Inquiries and Doubts While such skepticism might find fewer echoes within the initiated ranks, it resonates more broadly among those outside the fraternity's fold.

The commendable charitable endeavors of Freemasons are undeniable – in 2015, their contributions amounted to a substantial £33 million in England and Wales, split evenly between masonic and non-masonic causes.

However, doubters voice concerns that the bonds of brotherly love could potentially divert certain masons from their commitment to truth.

In the context of the third-degree ceremony, Freemasonry is depicted as "a pillar of mutual defense and support."

Skeptics raise the question: Could this foundation inadvertently breed corruption?

Distrust gained momentum during the 1970s, as journalists began uncovering connections between police officers and criminals sharing membership within the same lodges. Subsequent decades witnessed suspicions turning into full-fledged paranoia, particularly after Italian law enforcement probed the infamous Propaganda Due lodge.

Allegations circulated that this lodge was linked to a banking collapse and the murder of the banker and lodge member, Roberto Calvi. His lifeless body was discovered hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982.

During this period, then-Commissioner of Scotland Yard, Sir Kenneth Newman, advised his officers to distance themselves from Freemasonry. He conveyed, "The astute officer will likely consider it prudent to forgo the allure of pleasure and social gain within Freemasonry, so as to preserve the untainted esteem of those around him." This recommendation led some officers to establish a new lodge, the Manor of St James.

Newman's successor, Peter Imbert, took a more resolute stance, subtly intimating that officers should withdraw from the fraternity.

He also communicated that those unwilling to comply would not ascend to high ranks. This development prompted numerous Scotland Yard officers to relinquish their Masonic affiliations.

However, the House of Commons' home affairs select committee decided to embark on an inquiry into the influence of Freemasonry in public affairs. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) eventually agreed to cooperate, but only after facing the prospect of being held in contempt of parliament.

Among the key witnesses was Martin Short, an investigative journalist who delved into the nexus between Freemasonry, police, and criminal links.

His book on the brotherhood emerged as a bestseller during the '80s.

In 1998, the committee concluded that, while no evidence had emerged linking Freemasonry to police misconduct, the possibility could not be entirely dismissed. It also noted that the pervasive secrecy inherent to the brotherhood had contributed to "unwarranted paranoia about Freemasonry."

The suggested remedy, according to the committee, was to mandate public servants to disclose their membership.

For a period, newly appointed judges and magistrates were required to disclose their Masonic affiliation.

Nonetheless, the expansion of the registry faced resistance from the UGLE. Eventually, in 2009, the justice ministry discreetly shelved the initiative following a European Court of Human Rights ruling that a comparable registration scheme in Italy was discriminatory and contravened Masons' rights to association.


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