Valencian Óscar de Alfonso has been the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain for 9 years and from his position he fights against the myths surrounding Freemasonry and for making this institution visible, which, at least, he says, has left be feared: "Nobody thinks we eat children anymore".
"We are no longer feared and nobody thinks we are doing satanic rituals in which we eat children, but that fear has become ignorance and society does not know what Freemasonry is," explains this 52-year-old lawyer in an interview with Efe on the 40th anniversary of the legalization of this institution in Spain.
Ensures that the persecution suffered during the Franco regime broke the Masonic tradition in Spain and eliminated its members and it is not until now when they have begun to grow both in quantity and quality, with the challenge of becoming visible and recovering the "glory" of times past, symbolized by illustrious Freemasons like General Prim, Joaquín Sorolla and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, among others.
– After 40 years of legalization the myths about Freemasonry persist. Why is it?
– There are several reasons, logically after 40 years of legalization we should be perfectly normalized in society and be a freemason should be a condition of the person as one is from Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, but the reality is completely different and we still have a distorted image.
– Why is this image distorted?
-: There are several reasons and partly the fault is also the Masons themselves who in these 40 years have remained locked in ourselves and we have not been able to explain to society what we are, what we do or what we are for.
But neither can we blame the previous generation of Freemasons, because when Freemasonry is legalized in Spain there are practically no freemasons. We were persecuted, we were exterminated and when in 79 we were legalized, there were no Freemasons.
– What role does society play in that vision of Freemasonry?
– Another reason for the misrepresented image is ignorance, society has gone from having fear of Freemasonry to misinformation and ignorance. At least we have advanced and no longer fear us and no one thinks that the freemasons eat children and do satanic rites.
– How are you doing that opening towards society?
– It is a policy of fine rain, from drop to drop. We make conferences, open days, we show ourselves to society as we are through Twitter, Facebook, etc.
– What have been the main contributions of Freemasonry to society?
– Freemasonry is the daughter of the Enlightenment and Spain of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can not be understood without the presence of Freemasons. They were present in the Constitution of 1812, which is made by freemasons and there has been a relationship between freemasonry and public education, so perhaps you can understand that confrontation with the Church, because the Church has always been very interested in the education of the village.
– Can you quote an illustrious Mason?
– Freemasonry is for scientific and moral progress, but really in the industry and the economy there have been great freemasons, like the first astronaut to step on the moon, the American Buzz Aldrin; Henry Ford the founder of the automobile company Ford Motor Company; Winston Churchill, English Prime Minister, etc.
– And in Spain?
– There have been 13 presidents and heads of government Masons in Spain, one of them was General Prim, president of the Spanish Government (1869-1870). Also José Bonaparte and King Amadeo de Saboya. And in the world of culture Joaquín Sorolla, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, etc.
In the Second Republic there was also a lot of Mason and several heads of Government began in Freemasonry but then never returned to the lodge, as Manuel Azana, who did it out of curiosity, but then had no interest in practicing Freemasonry.
-What does it mean to enter Freemasonry?
– Freemasonry out of curiosity should not enter, you must enter when you are convinced of the commitment. Freemasonry takes time, but first there is the family, then work and then Freemasonry.
The Masonic Order demands a commitment, that of acting as a Mason, not only inside but also outside the lodge and demands to participate in meetings.
– How many masons make up the Spanish Grand Lodge?
– We are now 3,000 brothers, the same amount as in the Second Republic, but the golden age was at the end of the 19th century, at the beginning of the 20th century, where there was a huge number of brothers and the Spanish Grand Orient was present in all the capitals of province. That is the age of Gold to which I would like to return.
We want to regain that lost protagonism and that's why in December we will hold a National Masonic Congress in which we will address certain important issues for society, without entering politics, such as the fake news, the information society or how it will affect artificial intelligence for the future of the economy and employment.
– Orthodox masonry does not admit women. Has not a debate been raised about it?
– We are an exclusively male order, this means that we follow a millennial current that has not changed since time immemorial and any candidate who enters the Grand Lodge of Spain knows that we are an exclusively male order and if there is a candidate who does not accept it, nobody forces him to enter.
But there are also exclusively feminine obediences or some others that are mixed and any candidate for Freemasonry has to enter the place that is most comfortable. If I am more comfortable in an exclusively male order, that is just as respectable as another being more comfortable in a mixed order.