6. What is the reason for the Masonic “secret”?
There actually exist two Masonic “secrets”.
- The first is the secret of “membership”.
This forbids a Freemason from revealing the identity of other Freemasons, for nobody may decide this for somebody else. Each Mason who wishes to may, on the other hand, reveal himself to be a Mason, and many do this of their own free will.
This secret’s origin lies in the founding texts of modern Masonry (which go back to the 17th and 18th centuries), but also in the fact that the French Freemasons were pursued by the Vichy government on the authority of the Petain acts of August 1940, just as the Masons of other countries were pursued by Faschist, Nazi or Communist regimes, totalitarian political systems incompatible with our principles of the freedom and dignity of human beings.
- The second is the secret of “initiation”.
This is attached to the personal and intimate manner in which each individual experiences his process. This secret is not communicable outside the initiatory framework and is a matter of each man’s conscience.
- Nothing to hide.
Freemasons have nothing to hide in reality: they want to work on their initiatory progress away from the sound and the fury of the world, while remaining attached to their family, professional, relational life and their life as a citizen.
Masonic membership can be considered rather in the same way as membership of a religion or a club for philosophical or ethical thinking and in France, nobody is obliged to make public his religious or philosophical convictions. Masonic membership can be assimilated to this type of freedom.
But when the Grand Master or a representative of the Grande Loge de France travels in France on the occasion of an event such as for example a public conference, he is generally welcomed by representatives of local or regional institutions (mayors, members of parliament, senators etc.), thereby attesting that the Freemasons have good references in the matter of respect for the republican principles of Liberty, equality and Fraternity, the observing of which is one of the conditions of the initiatory process.