Freemasonry is a Fraternity. However, the feminine substantive fraternity designates the kinship of brothers, the love to the Other, the harmony, the good friendship, the union or enjoyment as Brethren. This leads to the conclusion that within Freemasonry as a Brotherhood, harmony should prevail and union and concord should be among Brethren. The second premise affirms that the Freemasonry, as a Fraternity, must be a fundamentally ethical institution.
Ethical, the feminine substantive, designates the philosophical reflection on the morality, that is, on rules and moral codes that guide Human conduct. It refers, also, to the part of the Philosophy that has for aim the elaboration of a system of values and the establishment of the normative landmarks of the human behavior, according to this system of values.
All the masonic codes stand out the importance of the ethical values between Freemasons, that is, between Brothers. This is well evident in the norms introduced in constitutional texts, which, with small variations from Obedience to Obedience assert that are obligations of a Freemason:
To recognize as Brother all masons and to give then, in any circumstances, the protection and aid they require, mainly against the injustices that victimize them; to conduct itself with probity, to practice the good, tolerance and the human fraternity.
Personal character controversies or attacks on the reputation of Brothers are forbidden, and anonymity is not allowed.
The ethics, however, do not only stay restricted to the relations between masons but also to the Obediences that receive them, or its leaders, in written texts. This is well underline by this legal norm that allows to be right of a Freemason:
-To publish articles, books, or periodic that do not violate masonic secrets nor harm the good name of the Grand Lodge (Grand Orient of Brazil).
-Aside the internal system of ethics , there is the other acknowledged in all social environments and that considers offensive to the rules and moral codes of said civilized societies attitudes such as:
- To divulged facts, without the necessary confirmation, that may involve defamation and unjustifiable attacks;
- To defame and to attack individuals, in conversations and meetings, without the presence of the those Target through the attacks;
- To divulge, for any means, the text of private and therefore, confidential letters;
- To attack people and institutions, without giving them the right to response to them in the same plan and in the same place where the attack was published;
- To acknowledge that somebody is incurring into antithetical attitudes, as the above-mentioned , and do nothing or, even worse, to help them to develop them;
- To take advantage of a situation of criminal non-imputation to direct attacks, defamations or insults to individuals ans institutions.
Antithetical attitudes, as these above mentioned, occur every day, in every society, mainly in times of electoral campaign, economic crises, and social tumult. They occur, also, in the environments where intrigue and gossip are common and get advantage like the “social columns” in newspapers and other media specialized in gossip.
The modern society, thanks to the relativization of the familiar structure and to the overwhelming advance of the amoralism, is, today, highly antithetical: solidarity is a low currency; the respect to the other individual it is practically nonexistent; the compliance to the law and to the order goes down through the holes in the ground; the disloyalty, in the sense of gaining illegitimate advantages, goes of wind in stern poop; who is above, steps on in the face of those who are underneath; those who are underneath looks to slide the carpet to those who are above.
Freemasonry, however, should give the example of ethics and moral concern. After all it affirms, in all its Magna Carta, that:
"It fights for the moral, intellectual and social perfection of Humanity, through the indeclinable fulfillment of duty, of the no self-interested practice of charity and the constant pursue of truth. Freemasonry proclaims that Men were born free and equal in their rights and that the tolerance constitutes the cardinal principle of all human relations, so that the beliefs and the dignity of each Human being is fully respected'.
Not always, however, this happens.
The Masonic institution in doctrinaire terms is perfect, but men are solely perfectible. They look to become better persons but many of them cannot reach it, even with a lot of years of Templar's path, persisting in the same recurrent antithetical attitudes that dehumanize their spirits and damage the ideal of solidarity, moral and respect to human dignity.
Jose Castellani, “Fragments of a Rough Stone”, A Trolha, 1999 (excerpts)