World Conference Of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges

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II. CONFERENCE, ESTORIL AND CASCAIS, PORTUGAL, 1996

As agreed in Mexico, the meeting of the Conference took place from the 25th to the 27th of September 1996, in Estoril and Cascais (Portugal). Initially, the Conference was planned to be held in Lisbon (June 26th to 28th).

M.W.B. Fernando Teixeira, Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Portugal, organized and presided over the Conference, called World Encounter of the Masonic Grand Masters.

According to the rules governing the Conference, only the Grand Masters of the Regular Masonic Grand Lodges or their representatives were part of the Conference. Other participants and invited Brothers were allowed to attend the working sessions but not to speak.

Following 31 Grand Lodges participated in the Conference:
Gran Logia de Bolivia Brazil:
Gran Logia del Estado de Acre Gran Logia del Estado de Brasilia
Gran Logia del Estado de Espiritu Santo Gran Logia del Estado de Goias
Gran Oriente de Goias, Brasil
Gran Logia del Estado de Mato Grasso do Sui Gran Logia del Estado de Minas Gerais
Gran Logia del Estado de Paraiba
Gran Logia de Parana
Gran Logia del Estado de Rio Grande do Sui

Gran Logia de Santa Catarina
Gran Logia de Sao Paulo
Gran Logia de Colombia (Cartagena)
Gran Logia de Cuba

The United Grand Lodges of Germany
Grand Lodge of Greece
Grand Orient D'Haiti
Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary
Grand Lodge of Iran (in exile)
Grand Lodge of Lebanon-Syria
Gran Logia del Valle de Mexico, Mexico
Gran Logia de Panama
Gran Logia Regular de Portugal
Gran Logia de Puerto Rico
The National Grand Lodge of Romania
Grand Lodge of Russia
United States of America:
Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
Grand Lodge of the State of New York
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
Gran Logia de Venezuela

As observers there participated representatives from the Inter-American Masonic Confederation (CMI), the Royal International Arch Masons and the Centre for Historical Studies of Spanish Masonry.

The following subjects were analysed over four working sessions:

a) Limits of action of Freemasonry in the profane world, with due respect of the tradition and the Landmarks;
b) Freemasonry and youth;
c) Secrecy: advantages or disadvantages and
d) Evaluation of the Masonic philosophical production during the 20th century.

Each Working Session was moderated by one President and two moderators whose job was to direct the works and provide the answers to questions raised by the participants. Over the working sessions the use of Masonic regalia was not allowed. Each participant's address to the sessions could not exceed 10 minutes. Addresses can be presented in written form and should desirably be accompanied by an English version. Also, any participant could ask written questions to the "board", while Presidents and Moderators were in charge of answering them, as it may be possible.

Under the rules governing this Conference, no written conclusions were adopted, but the following final summary was prepared:

  1. The participants, Grand Masters, or their representatives from 43 Grand Lodges or similar entities all over the World, convene to salute Portugal’s Regular Grand Lodge and his Grand Master, Fernando Texeira, for the well-succeeded organization of the Conference.

  2. The Grand Masters expressed their deep consideration for the way Portuguese authorities consider Masonry, which was confirmed during the receptions given by his Excellency the President of the Republic, Mr. Jorge Sampaio, his Excellency the Prime Minister, Mr. Antonio Guterres and also by the mayor of Lisbon, Mr. Joao Soares and by the mayor of Oeriras, Mr. Isaltino de Morais. They also recognized the facilities and supports given by the Secretary of State for Commerce and Tourism, Mr. Jose Andres and by the Major of Cascais.

  3. The Grand Masters considered that during the three days of the Conference it was achieved a better common knowledge on the different pragmatic actions that are undertaken by Masons all over the world and the diversity of social projects that Masonry, the individual Mason, or even para-masonic bodies, involving masons families or friends are developing on behalf of the distressed in society.

  4. The Grand Masters understood that the main Masonic landmark: The belief in the Supreme Being, God and Grand Architect of the World was the basic principle that united and oriented the entire Masonic work worldwide, towards peace, harmony, fraternity, tolerance and solidarity, with absolutely no interference on politics or religion.

  5. The Grand Masters considered that such a meeting must be continued at an international level, in order to allow masonry and the masons to face the universal challenges that the third millennium will bring to mankind. With that purpose, the next World Conference should take place in New York and all regular Masonic obedience will be invited to attend and be represented by their Grand Masters.

  6. The Grand Masters agreed that the common Masonic heritage must be transmitted to a new younger generation of masons, preserving the traditional domains of activity in the lodges, mainly the ritual work; the historic and philosophic research and Masonic values; the charity and moreover, the concern with new challenges and demands from the society regarding help to children, alcohol, drugs and sex abuse, elder people and in general, those suffering from social exclusion or discrimination.

  7. During the Estoril Conference, The Grand Masters had the opportunity to be informed in great extend from different views on the Masonic experiences all over the world on the historic philosophical attitudes of the masons, on the development of para-masonic initiatives, mainly in the area of education, programs involving youth and also the Grand Masters had the chance to exchange some views about the limits of secrecy.