What's wrong with Freemasons

There are also historical reasons for the great discretion of Freemasons. Since the French Revolution, in which some believe they played a major role, the Freemasons have not shed their image as conspirators and pullers with dark plans for world domination.

Many brothers also proudly report that the association has always opposed oppression and despotism. More than once in its history the Brotherhood had to hide from the authorities. In 1935 the guild was banned in Germany by the National Socialists, and Freemasons were threatened with deportation to concentration camps. Association was also prohibited in the GDR.

The brothers are still a thorn in the side of the Catholic Church today. Admittedly, joining the Freemasons no longer leads to immediate excommunication since 1983, but the Catholic Church has stuck to its opinion that Freemasonry and Christian faith are incompatible. "Freemasonry remains a sin," said Pope Benedict XVI. when he was still prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organization that is supposed to watch over the purity of Catholic doctrine. The relationship with some clergymen is relaxed today, says the master from the chair.

He is sitting at a round wooden table in the next room of the temple. He found Freemasonry ten years ago, he says. Freemasons do not recruit members, everyone should come to them as a seeker himself. At his side: the youngest lodge brother with a master's degree, he is only 23 years old. And Klaus Kastin. As the former district master of Bavaria and Saxony, he is responsible for public relations. It should improve the reputation of the Freemasons, make the covenant a little more transparent.

In Munich, says Kastin, it is not a problem to find out more about the lodges and Freemasonry. Every lodge has a website, and many invite guests to guest evenings several times a year. And press contact is also slowly improving.

But of course public relations is a tightrope walk. Because the Freemasons are committed to secrecy and follow the principle of not disclosing Masonic customs and lodge matters to the outside world. So it's not that easy to radically change the reputation of Freemasons.

"Being among oneself has a high value"

To renounce secrecy - that is not possible. The young brother thinks that the bad reputation is the price one has to pay for a trusting atmosphere in the box. "Being among oneself has a high value, especially in today's society," he says. Because: Every brother can rely on the fact that conversations from the lodge do not leak out. It is important to the three of them: The Freemasons are not a secret society. History, statutes or lodge boards are publicly known. Just keep quiet, that's one.

The three, however, welcome the opening of Freemasonry. She would like to see some old structures broken open. Formal recognition of female and mixed lodges, for example, would be desirable.

But why does a covenant that advocates the ideals of the Enlightenment act so clandestinely? Who can rule out the possibility of business and politics being negotiated behind the scenes of the Brotherhood? That a boss only promotes an employee because both are in the same box? "Nobody," says Kastin. "However, this is a general problem that also occurs in golf clubs."

The Acacia and the other Munich lodges do not want members who are looking for an economic network. For them, it's about personal development in the lodge - and this often leads to a more confident appearance at work. At least the three brothers think that it is indirectly a career aid.

They themselves regularly discuss whether the form of the "discreet society" is still up to date. "So far we have obviously answered this question with 'yes'," they say and laugh. And at least they couldn't complain about too few interested parties.

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