Freemasonry in Mexico
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Many presidents of Mexico were Freemasons. Freemasonry has greatly influenced political actions in the early republic, as holder of conservative ideas gathered in lodges of the Scottish Rite, while reformists choose the York Rite. Hence escoceses became synonymous with Conservatives, and yorkinos with Liberals. Santa Anna was a Scottish Rite Mason.
- 1 History
- 2 Majors rites
- 3 Mexican Masonic Organisation
- 4 Notes
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
Freemasonry arrived in colonial Mexico during the second half of the 18th century, brought by French immigrants who settled in the capital. However, they were condemned by the local Inquisition and forced to desist. It is probable, though no written evidence exists, that there were itinerant lodges in the Spanish army in New Spain. Freemasons may even have been able to participate in the first autonomist movements, then for independence, conveying the ideas of enlightenment in the late 18th century. Some historians both Freemasons and non-Freemasons, including Leon Zeldis Mendel and José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli emphasized, that Freemasonry in Latin America had built its own mythology, well away from what history records. The confusion between Patriotic Latin American Societies and Masonic lodges is tenuous. Between the late 18th and early 19th century, their operative structure was very similar, as is indicated by the historian Virginia Guedea.
Jose Maria Mateos, a leading Liberal politician of the late 19th century, stated in 1884 that illustrious autonomist and independentist as Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon and Ignacio Allende, were Freemasons. According to Mateos, they were, for the most part, initiated in the lodge Arquitectura Moral (now Bolivar No. 73), but it is true that there are no documents to prove his point. Instead, there are documents that tend to prove that the first Governor of the independent Mexico, the emperor Agustín de Iturbide and the Dominican friar Servando Teresa de Mier were Freemasons. But it is true that it was common that the Inquisition used the charge of belonging to Freemasonry for autonomist and independentist, which guarantee the impossibility of proving the innocence of the accused, having regard to the clandestine nature of the Orders. Thus, the archives of the Inquisition merely increase the uncertainties on this subject.
From the independence in 1821 and until 1982, it is believed that many of the leaders of Mexico belonged to the freemasonry. When political independence came about, the few existing lodges came out of hiding and multiplied. With the advent of the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States Joel Roberts Poinsett, the young Mexican Freemasonry is divided into two political movements, without really being defined. Poinsett promotes the creation of the Lodge of York Rite, close to the interests of the United States. Against to the realization of the interventionist theory Manifest Destiny, conservative Freemasons of the Scottish Lodge of the young Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, headed by the last viceroy doctor from Barcelona, Manuel Codorniu, manifest through the newspaper "El Sol". Thus, around the lodges of the York Rite, meet the Freemasons relatives of American liberalism, what would become the "conservative", but remain close to the Scottish lodges heirs of the Spanish liberalism. Soon, the Freemasons, which do not identify with the existing alternatives, will choose a third way in founding in 1825, a national rite called the National Mexican Rite, which will aim to create a politic model and a clean government in Mexico.
During the French military occupation that began Maximilian I of Mexico to the throne in 1864, various French military lodges, dependent on the Grand Orient de France, arrived in Mexico, but disappear when the French leave the country. Thus, it is very likely that these Itinerant Lodges of the French Rite, regarding to their status invaders, no left influences of ritual. At the museum of Masonic Grand Orient of France, one of retained the standard is a banner of one of those lodges is conserved.
During the nineteenth century Freemasonry was being heralded as a means of removing the influences of the Catholic Church. Several of the men who were masons, had expressed a desire to free women from the church's grasp through education and approached Laureana Wright de Kleinhans to help spread freemasonry. Though she was totally committed to the education of women, she ultimately rejected the organization because they refused to acknowledge the equality of men and women and in fact had an initiation oath which declared "never admit to their ranks a blind man, a madman, or a woman".
National Mexican Rite
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Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
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- The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Mexico (Gran Capítulo de Masones del Real Arco de México)
- The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States of Mexico (Gran Capítulo de Masones del Real Arco de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos)
The York Rite bodies have a horizontal structure, as opposed to the vertical Scottish Rite where the philosophical degrees commence with the 4th to the 33rd degree. However, the entrance has always been through the Royal Arch degrees, which enable all Master Masons now as Royal Arch Masons, to continue their path in search of further light in Masonry with the Cryptic and Commandery degrees. These last two degrees can be chosen separately and in no particular order. However, one must show proof of affiliation to a Grand Chapter in order to apply.
In Mexico the only regular working york rite body, which is recognized internationally is the Royal Arch. Efforts have been made to acquire recognition and regularity by the remaining bodies. Proof of this, are the several changes and restructuring York Rite Masonry has had to endure in Mexico. As a result, only The General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International supports and acknowledges two Royal Arch Grand Chapters in Mexico:
- The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Mexico
(Gran Capítulo de Masones del Real Arco de México)
Located in Tepic state of Nayarit, and presided (2017–20) by:
M.E.C. Alberto Ruíz Mitre as Grand High Priest;
M.E.C. Pedro Alejandro Villanueva Escabi as Grand King;
M.E.C. Martín Juárez Ibarra as Grand Scribe;
M.E.C. José Lizardo Carneiro Jiménez as Grand Secretary;
M.E.C. Gerardo Medina Cárdenas as Grand Treasurer.
The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Mexico have 7 constituent chapters:
Michoacán No. 1
Estado de Mèxico No. 3
Nayarit No. 5
Baja California (Tijuana) No. 6
Baja California (Mexicalli) No. 7
Sinaloa (Culiacán) No. 8
- The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States of Mexico
(Gran Capítulo de Masones del Real Arco de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos)
Located in the city of Guadalajara, state of Jalisco, and presided (2014–16) by:
M.E.C. Hector Manuel Alemán Ambríz as Grand High Priest;
M.E.C. Leobardo Castellanos as Grand King;
M.E.C. Armando González Reyna as Grand Scribe;
M.E.C. Eduardo Velasco Briseño PGHP as Grand Secretary;
M.E.C. Heriberto Rodríguez Luna as Grand Trreasurer.
Both Grand Chapters have Ambassadors as appointed by the General Grand Chapter:
- Grand Chapter of Mexico - Ambassador - Manuel del Castillo Trulín- Deputy Ambassador - Jaime Pérez-Velez Olvera PGHP.
- Grand Chapter of the USM - Ambassador - Ricardo Ruíz Guillén
There are more Honorary or Invitational degrees available, Para-masonic national organizations, and even several more supposedly regular or official Grand Chapters/Grand Councils/Grand Commanderies.
Mexican Masonic Organisation
Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the United Mexican States
The Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the Mexican United States, Spanish: Confederación de las Grandes Regulares Logia de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, brings together the Regular Grand Lodges in Mexico since 1932. It is headed by the Masonic National Council, Spanish: Consejo Nacional Masónico, consisting of grand masters of the grand lodges members of the confederation. The confederation includes the Grand Lodges of 30 states of the 31 states that constitute the United Mexican States:
- Aguascalientes, "Profesor Edmundo Games Orozco"
- Baja California,
- Baja California Sur,
- Chihuahua, "Cosmos",
- Coahuila, "Benito Juárez",
- Colima, "Sur Oueste",
- Durango, "Guadalupe Victoria"
- Jalisco, "Occidental Mexicana",
- Estado de Mexico,
- Michoacán, "Lázaro Cárdenas",
- Nuevo León,
- Oaxaca, "Benito Juárez García",
- Puebla, "Benemérito Ejército de Oriente",
- Quitana Roo, "Andrés Quintana Roo",
- San Luis Potosí, "Soberana e Independiente del Potosí",
- Sonora, "Pacífico",
- Tabasco, "Restauración",
- Veracruz, "Unidad Mexicana",
- Yucatán, "La Oriental Peninsular,
- Zacatecas, "Jesús González Ortega".
Federal Grand Lodges
Mexican Grand Lodge of York
Grand Lodge of the Valley of Mexico
The jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Valley of Mexico covers 260 lodges. It practices the Scottish Rite Ancient and Accepted. This Grand Lodge is not regular and was accused for many jurisdiction´s invasions. The Grand Lodge of the Valley of Mexico also is irregular and no recognized for the violation of no admitting the politics in the lodges, the political parties in Mexico have covering the resolutions and the elections of Grand Masters since 2001.
This Grand Lodge has been accused of establishing lodges in territories of many Mexican jurisdictions. As a result of these problems, the member Grand Lodges of the Confederation of Mexican Grand Lodges and the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico have terminated Masonic Relations with each other.
State Grand Lodges
- Grand Lodge of Baja California
- Grand Lodge of Baja California Sur
- Grand Lodge of Campeche
- Grand Lodge of Chiapas
- Chihuahua: Grand Lodge Cosmos
- Coahuila: Grand Lodge Benito Juarez
- Colima: Grand Lodge Sur-Oeste
- Distrito Federal: Grand Lodge of the City of Mexico (G.L.C.M.). Regular jurisdiction established in 2010, under the standards of Recognition: Legitimacy of Origin, Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction, except by mutual consent and/or treaty, and Adherence to the Ancient Landmarks (Belief in God, the Volume of Sacred Law, and the prohibition of the discussion of politics and religion).
- Durango: Grand Lodge Guadalupe Victoria. The Grand Lodge "Guadalupe Victoria" of Durango State is a federation of Masonic lodges of the State of Durango in Mexico. It was created in 1923, but before that date, the lodges of the state depended on the Grand Lodge of the State of Coahuila. His lodges practice exclusively the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Grand Lodge is located in the capital of the State, Durango. It is a founding member of the Confederation of Regular Grand Lodges of the United States of Mexico. As such, it has an important role in the Mexican Freemasonry. Each year it participates to the seminars of Grand Lodges of Mexico to synthesize the work on the society facts done in its lodges. The symposium ends with sending the summary of its analysis to the Government of the Mexican Republic.
- Grand Lodge of Hildalgo
- Jalisco: Grand Lodge Occidental Mexicana
- Michoacana: Grand Lodge Lazaro Cardenas
- Grand Lodge of Nayarit
- Grand Lodge of Nuevo León
- Oaxaca: Grand Lodge Benito Juarez Garcia
- Grand Lodge of Querétaro
- Grand Lodge of Quintana Roo
- San Luis Potosí: Grand Lodge El Potosi
- Grand Lodge of Sinaloa
- Sonora: Grand Lodge Del Pacifico
- Tabasco: Grand Lodge Restauracion
- Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas
- Veracruz: Grand Lodge Unida Mexicana
- Yucatán: Grand Lodge Oriental Peninsular
- Santa Anna's Masonic Membership Confirmed March 29, 2016.
- (1997) León Zeldis, Las canteras masónicas, Madrid.
- (1992) Virginia Guedea, En busca de un gobierno alterno. Los "Guadalupes" de México, México
- Naudon 1987, p. 201
- Martínez Moreno, Carlos Francisco (December 2012 – April 2013). "Auge y Caída de la Masonería en México en el Siglo XiX. La Exclusión de la Mujer bajo la mirada del Discurso Masónico de Laureana Wright González". Revista de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería (in Spanish). San Pedro Montes de Oca, Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica. 4 (2): 130–155. ISSN 1659-4223. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- http://www.glcm.org.mx www.glcm.org.mx
- see article published March 23, 2009, in the newspaper El Siglo
- Bastian, Jean-Pierre. "Protestants, Freemasons, and Spiritists: Non-Catholic Religious Socabilities and Mexico’s Revolutionary Movement, 1910–1920" in Matthew Butler, ed., Faith and Impiety in Revolutionary Mexico (London: Palgrave, 2007), pp. 75–92.
- Camp, Roderic A. Mexico's Leaders, Their Education & Recruitment (University of Arizona Press, 1980)
- Davis, Thomas Brabson. Aspects of Freemasonry in modern Mexico: an example of social cleavage (Vantage Press, 1976)
- Gould, Robert Freke. Freemasonry in Mexico (Kessinger Publishing, 2003)
- Racine, Karen. "Freemasonry" in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 538-540.
- Rich, Paul. "Problems in the Historiography of Mexican Freemasonry, Part I"
- Smith, Benjamin. "Anticlericalism, politics, and freemasonry in Mexico, 1920–1940." The Americas 65.4 (2009): 559-588. online
- Weisberger, Richard William, Wallace McLeod, and S. Brent Morris, eds. Freemasonry on both sides of the Atlantic: essays concerning the craft in the British Isles, Europe, the United States, and Mexico (East European Monographs, 2002)
- Cobos Alfaro, Felipe Amalio, "La masonería en la Revolución de Independencia" in 1810, 1910: Reflexiones sobre dos procesos históricos. Memoria, Cristina Gómez Álvarez, Josefina Mac Gregor Gárate, Mariana Ozuna Castañeda (coordinators) México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, 2010, pp. 63–91 Felipe A. Cobos Alfaro "La masonería en la Revolución de Independencia"
- Martínez Zaldúa, Ramón. "Historia de la Masonería en la legislación reformista de la primera generación de liberales en México." In Masonería española y América. vol. 1. Zaragoza: Centro de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Española, 1993.
- Zalce y Rodríguez, Luis J. Apuntes para la historia de la Masonería en México. 18th edition. Mexico City: Banca y Comercio 1983.