Frequently Asked Questions
How many Freemasons are there in England?
The United Grand Lodge of England has more than 250,000 registered Freemasons.
What about in Scotland?
Between the Grand Lodge of Ireland (which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire) and the Grand Lodge of Scotland there are a combined total of approximately 150,000 Freemasons.
There are approximately six million Freemasons across the globe.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry doesn’t seek to replace any individuals religion or provide a substitute for it, in fact Masonry has always actively encouraged members to be active in their own religion.
Is it true that Freemasonry will not accept Roman Catholics?
Not true – there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons, in fact Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman
So, why then, do some churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with
religious liturgy. Freemasonry deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
What is Freemasonry’s political view?
Any discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited. Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a
view on either politics or on state policy.
Who governs Freemasonry?
There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Really? Someone must be in charge of Freemasonry on a global scale?
Freemasonry does exist throughout the world, but each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent.
Are there women Freemasons?
Yes there are.
How many women freemasons are there in Rathcreedan Lodge?
None – in England the United Grand Lodge, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is, and has always been, restricted to men.
Hmm..so how can there be women Freemasons?
Because women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted only to women.
Why do you wear regalia?
Because it is historic and symbolic, like a uniform, and also indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. There is an initiation fee on joining and in due course as you progress some regalia which is not expensive (take a look at any online store offering Freemasonry regalia) . Each lodge has an annual subscription for membership.
Are those the only cost obligations of being a Freemason?
To be a Freemason, yes, those are the only required costs; an initiation fee, a few pieces of regalia and an annual subscription.
Most meetings are normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. For example, Rathcreedan Lodge meetings are usually followed by a three course meal at £15 per person (including coffee!)
Freemasonry, right from from its earliest days, has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged, concerns will still hold in today’s world. Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their own means and it is entirely up to the individual as to how much they wish to contribute.
Which charities do you support?
In England, Masonic charity is undertaken at three generalised levels:
- Individual Lodges make gifts and give aid to their own communities
- Provinces (a regional district of Masonic lodges) also gives large sums of money to regional causes.
- Nationally charitable efforts are channelled through four main charity organisations:
Tell me about the four main charity organisations.
There are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations. The four main Masonic charities are The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, and the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
So what exactly do you do at a lodge meeting?
Meetings always follow historic and traditional structure and are only open to members although very often visiting Freemasons from other lodges will attend. As Freemasonry is a society concerned with moral and spiritual values, our meetings are basically a set of ceremonies whereby members are taught moral lessons and self-knowledge in the form of a progression of ritual dramas ( plays which are learnt by heart) following ancient forms and using stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides
Allegory is in essence a device or way in which characters or events represent or symbolise ideas or concepts. Allegory has been used widely throughout the history of art, and in all forms of artwork. A reason for this is that allegory has an immense power of illustrating complex ideas and concepts in a digestible, concrete way.
Does anything else happen at meetings?
Yes, just like many other organisations, clubs or societies, Freemasons’ meetings also have to undertake such formalities as passing the minutes of the previous meetings, notices and announcements, proposals and ballots on new members or submitted annual accounts, and news about charitable work and forthcoming events.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members entering Freemasonry make solemn promises and pledges concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and – just as importantly – in society too. All members promise to always keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge and also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
Are Freemasons told or expected to favour or give preference to their fellow members?
Not at all, in actual fact any such behaviour may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership. If material gain is your interest you would be better suited joining a building society rather than a Masonic one.
If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll answer as best we can.