The Conference was held in New Delhi on May 7th and 8th 2002. The Grand Masters, or their representatives of the following 32 Grand Lodges participated in this Conference:
The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (Australia) Grand Lodge of Bulgaria Grand Lodge of Ontario (Canada) Gran Logia de Chile Gran Logia de Colombia (Bogota) The United Grand Lodge of England Grande Loge National Francaise United Grand Lodges of Germany Gran Logia de Guatemala Gran Logia de Honduras Grand Lodge of India Grand Lodge of Iran (in exile) Grand Lodge of Israel Grande Oriente D'Italia Grand Lodge of Cote D'Ivoire Grand Lodge of Luxemburg
- Gran Logia del Estado de Hidalgo
- Gran Logia del Valle de Mexico
Grand Lodge of Morocco Gran Logia de Panama Grand Lodge of Philippines Gran Logia del Peru Gran Logia Regular de Portugal The National Grand Lodge of Romania Grand Lodge of Russia Gran Logia de Espana Grand Lodge of Switzerland (Alpina) Grand Lodge of Taiwan
United States: - Grand Lodge of Indiana - Grand Lodge of North Carolina - Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia
There participated as observers, the high Representative of the United Grand Lodge of England and the representatives of the Grand Lodge of Cuba, the Confederation of Regular Mexican Grand Lodges, the United Grand Lodge of Mexico, the Grand Loge of Hidalgo (Mexico) and The National Grand Lodge of Romania.
In the Opening Session there was the inaugural address of M.W.B. Dilip Dwardas Udeshi, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India, followed by a welcoming address by R.W.B. Thomas W. Jackson and a lecture by the Chief Guest Dr. L.M. Singhvi (diplomat and Member of the Parliament)
In the successive working sessions, the following papers were presented:
a. Freemasonry in the 21st Century; its valid and superior ethical value, by M.W.B. Jorge Carvajal Munoz, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Chile; b. Atheism, by M.W.B. Nicolas Selume; Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Cuscatlan, El Salvador; c. Masonic regularity. Its enforcement among Grand Lodges, by M.W.B. Jean Charles Foellner, Grand Master of the Grand Loge National Francaise; d. Masonry in the profane world, by B. Roberto Sampe-Cuevas, Grand Lodge of Guatemala; e. The grand hospital fund, by M.W.B. Jose Edgardo Valerio-Dimas, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Honduras; f. What is the core of Freemasonry?, by M.W.B. Dilip Dwardas Udeshi, Grand Master of the Lodge of India; g. The internet and its effect on the issue of recognition and appending organization, by M.W.B. Roger S. Van Goerden, Grand Master of the Grand of Indiana (USA); h. Masonic sites in Holy land, Cradle of Freemasonry, by R.W.B. Joseph Samuel Daniel, representing M.W.B. Chaim Henry Gehl, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel; i. Some reflections on the Grand Architect of the Universe, by M.W.B. Gustavo Raffi, Grand Master of the Grande Oriente D'Italy; j. The Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, by M.W.B. Carlos Quintanilla- Yerena, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico; k. Freemasonry in the Arab-Muslim world. The mediator of peace and respect. By M.W.B. Mele Ouknine, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Morocco; l. Laying our way for readjustment, by M.W.B. Carlos Delgado-Rojas, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Peru; m. Alchemy and Freemasonry (philosophers stone and logos), by M.W.B. Victor Higuera Castellanos, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Venezuela and n. Regularity and fraternal relations, by Thomas W. Jackson, Executive Secretary World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges.
Also, the following two motions were approved: (i) each Grand Lodge participating in the World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges will pay US$ 300 every 18th month to support the administrative expenses of the Executive Secretary in the fulfilment of his duties and (ii) it will be presented in the VII Conference special reports, referred to the establishment of a website and regularity.
In its final session, the Conference unanimously approved that the next Conference shall be hosted by the Grand Lodge of Chile.
After the Conference, a large number of Grand Masters and Members of their Delegations had the special opportunity to participate in the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of India, in its 40th Anniversary.
SECOND PART: WHERE ARE WE GOING?
The analysis of the titles to denominate the central subjects and related subjects studied in the previous Conferences, of titles and contents of the papers presented to them, as well as the conclusions and summaries elaborated thereon allow us to identify approximately forty matters discussed during those Conferences, of special interest.
Without the purpose to elaborate a complete inventory, we think that it is convenient to group them around some great conceptual, institutional and operational themes, all of them presided over by a common objective: to foment and consolidate the Masonic Universalism.
Among the conceptual ones we point out those referred to Masonic regularity and its content, especially those regarding The Grand Architect of the Universe, the Ancient Landmarks, the jurisdictional territory and the exclusion of politics and religion.
On turn, between the institutional matters we emphasize those related to the structure and functions of the World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges and means to consolidate and strengthen it, for instance, advising on the Masonic regularity.
And on operational ones, it is important to remember those related to Masonry and the profane world and the extra-mural activities referred to objective groups like youth, third age and needy people; promotional ends as dissemination and the enforcement of the Masonic ethics and values; social preventive and repair goals, as those regarding the overcome of social exclusion and marginality related to poverty and discrimination, as well as those directed to fighting social problems like alcoholism and drug consumption and traffic. On the other hand, there have been considered some operative aspects such as the use of new technological means of communication, such as the internet.
All these matters reveal that in the previous World Conferences, the subjects considered were general but strong indications to achieve our aim of having higher levels of extended and strengthened Masonic Universalism. As a result, now it is necessary to identify some institutional ways and means appropriate to attain these goals. In this process of identification we must reconcile urgencies, challenges and opportunities of the current processes of globalization and changes, with the needed respect to Masonic Landmarks, traditions and norms.
The current times and circumstances made it necessary to strengthen our effort to assure the general acceptance and practice of the Masonic values and principles such as tolerance, liberty and human dignity, equal opportunities and non-discrimination, respect to diversity, laicism and peace between men, institutions and countries. These values and principles flower and give fruit in democratic systems of government, where human rights are respected and promoted.
At the same time, these values and principles are basic components and prerequisites of dialogue between human beings, institutions and countries. Then, dialog is an expression of these values as well as a needed factor to achieve them.
Making dialogue possible to all regular Masonic Grand Lodges is one of the principal purposes of the World Conference. So, dialogue is the language of and for Masonic Universalism. Through dialogue, Universalism flourishes and gains more presence and strength, facilitating coordination and agreements.
In its current expression, the World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges has proved to be an the efficient answer for the establishment of a fraternal and tolerant space for Masonic interchanges of impressions, visions and experiences. As a result of this capacity, on many occasions it was suggested that dialogue had to be continued from one World Conference to the following one.
Moreover, in the New York Conference (1998) it was proposed to study the potential value of the establishment of a universal charitable objective of Freemasonry, for instance, such as a Masonic Foundation for Children. In turn, in the New Delhi Conference (2002) it was proposed the establishment of a Grand Hospital Fund to collaborate in the financing of educational activities, cultural interchanges and humanitarian and communitarian activities.
These proposals, as well as others raised in the Conferences, identify a strategy: the establishment of projects of general interest to be materialized by the Grand Lodges. Then, through the development of international concerted activities - with or without financial involvement - contacts, relationships, interchanges and fraternal dialogue among Grand Lodges will be increased and maintained.
Another strategy proposed is to constitute a kind of supranational organization or mechanism, preserving the autonomy of the Grand Lodges.
We favour the first strategy. To make it possible we think that is advisable to strengthen the Executive Secretary post, so efficiently served by its current titular. To this end, we think that it constitutes a plausible good starting measure the proposal approved in New Delhi consisting that each Grand Lodge has to pay a fixed contribution every 18th month, to support the financing of the activities developed in the accomplishment of these high duties, especially if they are extended.
Special attention to the subjects discussed in the previous Conferences was duly taken into account when the Grand Lodge of Chile and the Executive Secretary of the Conference agreed on the agenda of the VII World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges. For this reason the central subject (Freemason Universalism and World Society at the Beginning of the 21st Century) and the five sub-topics have the purpose to guide the work of the Conference over the main aspects pointed out by our traditional and permanent search for strengthened Masonic Universalism: Masonic regularity; the World Conference of the Masonic Grand Lodges and its ruling; the possibility to reach a universal Masonic world, the current processes of changes and the opportunities available for the Regular Masonry to meet the needs of the contemporary society, in a way consistent to the Masonic essence and identity and Regular Freemasonry and modem technological communication: internet. We do not pretend to be the beginners of the efforts to make Universalism one of our major strengths. We will try to play the role assigned by the Masonic tradition: to preserve and enlarge the existing achievements.