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Article # 107
The Masonic Concept of Peace

Author: M.W.Bro.Fabio Venzi, M.W.Grand Master, Regular Gra    Posted on: Tuesday, September 14, 2004
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[This is an address given by M.W.Bro.Fabio Venzi at the Second International Congress

“From Hope to Peace” held at Venice in May 2002, to explore the possibility and to secure

the harmonius living together of persons belonging to different religions and faith.This short

address brings out the Masonic philosophy in a nut shell. Please read on..]

THE MASONIC CONCEPT OF PEACE

M.W.Bro.Fabio Venzi, M.W.Grand Master, The Regular Grand Lodge of Italy

The fundamental object of this International Congress is the involvement of men who belong to different religions and have different languages and cultures, in the attempt to start on a common path towards that concept of "Peace", which should be the aim of any human society.

One might ask oneself what Freemasonry has to do with the subject of this Congress, being neither a religion nor a religious movement.

Perhaps it is not common knowledge that a fundamental requirement in order to belong to the Masonic Movement is the belief in a Supreme Being, whether it be the God of the three monotheistic religions, or of any other of his manifestations it is not important, what is required from a Freemason is the relationship with the idea of the Divine, which in Freemasonry is allegorically represented by the concept of the Great Architect of the Universe. So this is a fundamental point, the atheist and the agnostic cannot enter the Masonic Movement. This means that, even if Freemasonry is not a religion it is undeniable that its philosophy, which the short time at our disposal does not allow us to examine, contains an unequivocal relationship with the "Holy", fruit of the expression of that divine essence which is present in every man.

Briefly, for those who have never heard of Freemasonry or for those who have confused ideas on the subject, I would like to remind them that in spite of its peculiarities, as a Sociologist I can affirm that nevertheless it is to be included in those phenomena defined as associative. Freemasonry is an Association among the oldest in the world, whose members are interested in ethic and moral values, whose precepts are communicated through ritual representations that use ancient symbols of the building trade, allegorically, of a type of conduct to follow.

So we are not in the presence of an orthodoxy but rather I would say an orthopraxy, a way of thinking where the freemason is asked to practice his own religion, whichever it might be, and to consider Freemasonry as a moral code of support to that religion.But now let us see what contribution masonic

thought can give to the concept of "Peace".

The Philosophy, which is at the base of masonic thought, has its roots in the concepts of Humanist and Renaissance thinkers and among these I would like to point out today, to represent the idea of "Peace", the figure of a thinker that I would undoubtedly place among the foremost authors in the creation of that cultural humus from which the masonic thought has taken much in its concept of man, I am speaking of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

I must say that re-reading last part of the document listing the aims of this congress, I have been struck by the coincidence of this text with some of the most important philosophical and moral concepts of Pico.

The GLRI, which I represent, in honour of Pico della Mirandola, has given to its Official Review, which is our trait-d'union with the external world, the title of The Hominis Dignitate, taking inspiration from the famous oration of the dignity of man by Pico, which is the true Manifesto of Italian Humanism.

And it is in fact the theme of "Peace" which is the heart of the Oration that, Pico himself says, should have been a kind of doctrinal "Hymn to Peace", and which makes the thought of Mirandola the best heir to cusanian motif of the pax fidei.

The theme of "Harmony" of the philosophical doctrines gathers the positive heritage of the debate between Aristotelism and Platonism in the middle of the 15th century, and which Pico considered as an example of innumerable other doctrinal conflicts.

Pico is convinced of the possibility of reaching the unification of humanity, and of a universal peace in Christianity.

When Pico speaks about "Peace" and "Harmony" he commits himself on the one hand to the universality of truth in all its multiple expressions, and the integrability of the efforts made towards it, but also the limits of various positions, and therefore the need to go beyond them, thus perceiving the conflicts inherent in the intellect.

The two central themes of Pico's thought, indissolubly bound, of the dignity of man and of the harmony between doctrines, or of the creative freedom as an exceptional note of the human being and of truth as progressive unification of the efforts of all towards the truth, this "hymn" to dignity and the "song" of peace are consigned an exquisitely rhetorical argumentation with the use of splendid allegories.

In fact many hints from the thought of Pico are to be found in Masonic allegories: one example above all is the idea of progressive perfection of man in his advancement towards the supreme goodness, underlined in masonry by the "Jacob's ladder" which, as Pico remembers in the Oration "From the depth of the earth one strives to reach the light of the heavens" symbolizing the passage of the life of man. And it must be underlined the importance of the practical role that Pico assigns to "ethics", which could, if applied by all men, stop the slaughter between states and establish "Peace" on earth.

In the light of the above considerations, one might be led to interpret the Masonic thought in terms of eclecticism or even syncretism, but truly what we are faced with is the recognition of a plurality of view points and ideas mutually interchangeable and sentient to a great harmony in a never ending research in the field of human understanding and endeavour.


M.W.Bro.Fabio Venzi, M.W.Grand Master, Regular GraM.W. Bro. Fabio Venzi, was installed as the M.W.Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy on April 6 th 2002 by M.W.Bro.Dr.Giuliano di Bernado. He will hold office for three years period 2002-2005. M.W.Bro Fabio Venzi is an erudite Masonic scholar and a well read intellectual. He has delivered numerous lectures and presented many papers in Research Lodges and Masonic Societies. He has graciously granted us permission to post his lectures and articles in our web site. R.W.Bro. Bruno Gazzo, the illustrious webmaster of the Premier Masonic web site Pietre Stones Review of Freemasonry had kindly helped us to obtain the gracious permission of M.W.Bro. Fabio Venzi. We are very much beholden to both of them and profusely thank them. The erudite articles of M.W.Bro. Fabio Venzi and other Masonic scholars are available in http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/ and visits to that premier site will help us to make considerable advancement in Masonic knowledge…Webmaster.


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