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The Prominence of Freemasonry in Portugal: Insights into the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

Freemasonry: Unraveling the Teachings and Traditions of the Ancient Order.

Freemasonry, a fraternal order exclusive to men, known as the Free and Accepted Masons, stands as the largest global secret society.

With roots in fellowship, moral discipline, and mutual support, Freemasonry conceals some of its rituals, customs, or activities from the public eye.

Often associated with secret societies, its secrecy pertains more to rituals than membership. Propagated by the expansion of the British Empire, Freemasonry has maintained its strongest presence in the British Isles and among nations originally within the empire.

Estimates of its worldwide membership range from two to over six million in the early 21st century.

Origin and Evolution Emerging from the guilds of medieval stonemasons and cathedral builders, Freemasonry has a historical connection to the Middle Ages.

As the era of cathedral construction waned, some lodges of working masons began admitting honorary members to counter declining membership.

From these origins, modern speculative Freemasonry emerged, adopting elements from ancient religious orders and chivalric brotherhoods, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The foundation of the first Grand Lodge, an assembly of lodges, took place in England in 1717.

Challenges and Diversity Since its inception, Freemasonry has faced opposition from organized religions, notably the Roman Catholic Church and various states.

While not a Christian institution, Freemasonry has often been misconstrued as such.

Combining aspects of a religion, its teachings promote morality, charity, and adherence to the law. Admission requirements typically include being an adult male who believes in a Supreme Being and the soul's immortality.

Some lodges have faced accusations of bias against Jews, Catholics, and nonwhites. In Latin countries, Freemasonry has attracted those questioning religious doctrines or opposing clergy, whereas in Anglo-Saxon nations, membership primarily consists of white Protestants.

The modern French tradition, established in the 19th century and known as Co-Freemasonry or Le Droit Humain, extends membership to both women and men.

Degrees and Diversity In most lodges worldwide, Freemasons are divided into three major degrees: entered apprentice, fellow of the craft, and master mason. Additional degrees—sometimes numbering in the thousands—vary across lodges and countries, resulting in diverse organizational structures.

Beyond the core bodies of Freemasonry derived from British tradition, various appendant groups exist, focusing on social and recreational activities.

While not officially part of Freemasonry, these groups often draw their membership from the higher degrees of the society.

The United States, in particular, has numerous such organizations, including the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the "Shriners"), recognized for their charitable endeavors. In Britain and other nations, separate lodges cater exclusively to women. Relatives of master masons can join organizations like the Order of the Eastern Star, which welcomes both women and men. Youth-focused groups, such as the Order of DeMolay for boys and the Order of Job’s Daughters for girls, provide avenues for involvement.

In Portugal, Freemasonry predominates, and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is one of the most widely practiced, if not virtually the only one used. Its leadership is under the former Grand Master and, since 2016, the III Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Portugal, the Very Illustrious Brother Álvaro Carva, 33rd degree.

In Conclusion Freemasonry, with its complex history and evolving nature, encompasses a multitude of facets. From its origins among stonemasons to its global reach, Freemasonry's teachings and practices continue to shape the lives of its members, while the organization itself navigates a delicate balance between tradition and adaptation.

Symbol of the 33rd Degree in Freemasonry
Exploring the Symbolism of the 33rd Degree: Insights into Freemasonry's Highest Rank


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