Freemasonry’s Role in Times of Crisis


Dear reader in the appropriate form of salutation!

It is an honour for me to be able to talk to you today via this media. I know that it is highly unusual – and none of us had thought a few months ago, that something like today would ever happen.

But we have learned that nature supersedes human planning. No politician, no religious leader – absolutely nobody can tell mother nature what to do and what to stop.

Meetings which have been planned, constructions which had to be finished, goods which had to be delivered. All is nothing – all is on hold, if we think that we are the focus of the universe.

Humbleness needs to come back to our minds. Humbleness to understand our role. We must accept, that nature has its own rules. Ignoring them or treating them badly will fall back on us. We need this planet – but the planet does not need us. The Great Architect set up the infrastructure – we are not supposed to destroy or neglect it. Neither rules of nature – nor the environment or our climate. Maybe this outbreak of an invisible small virus shows us borders we need to see to learn for our own future.

75 years ago – almost to the day – times few of us remember personally – but most of us know from stories of our fathers and grandfathers – the last terrible war in our regions ended.

75 years ago it was not enough to stay 1.5 meters apart in the supermarkets or wear masks in public transport.

My Brothers – this was a time when there were no supermarkets and there was no public transport.

Our fathers and grandfathers were born in times which are not even imaginable for us today.

Their homes were devastated.

No food to feed the family was available.

Their children were without possible education.

Their loved ones killed or missed in alien countries.

Their only property was often the clothes they were wearing.

75 years ago – all over Europe and the Mediterranean regions of Africa.

Areas like Israel emerged were people finally found refuge of murderous regimes.

And what happened next?

There was an incredible wonder of human solidarity. In an unseen team spirit, all our nations created a wonderful new world. The spirit of our fathers and grandfathers, our mothers and grandmothers built a better world than we ever had. Brought us all a platform of education, abundance of food, of housing, of clothes, of freedom, of individual fulfilment – but all together so much that we even could not get enough. There was almost no point of saturation in this process. All of us – the more we had – the more we wanted and insisted on.

Now we are in the situation that from running faster and faster we were abruptly stopped. Stopped by a tiny virus – showing us our borders. Our societies are in shock – nobody has had such an experience – except our grandfathers and grandmothers – 75 years ago.

Maybe it is time now to realise which role we play on this beautiful planet. Or maybe it is time for us Freemasons to speak out what it is all about.

The cardinal virtues which were defined in ancient Greek history by Aischylos and Platon, carried forward by the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, carried forward by the medieval monk Thomas of Aquino to the German Immanuel Kant.


Exactly these virtues were in the hearts of our parents and grandparents when they began to rebuild our home countries. Also, for us Freemasons this must be a message to share our values with the people around us. This is the time where we must share OUR values.

Suddenly people in the supermarkets are respectful – on the highway drivers seem to be friendly – in the shops people are smiling which can even be seen although wearing a mask.

Does it need a crisis or a drama to be aware of what we do or how we act?

I have the extraordinarily strong impression that it needed a shock for all mankind to pause for a moment and find the masonic “know thyself”.

At this stage we can be in the footsteps of our ancestors. We now have the chance to make our societies better. In the sense of moral and ethics. In the sense of being together and looking after each other.

We freemasons must now be the light tower of these values. Each and every one of us has an important role in our societies right now. Please my dearest Brothers – be aware of this and carry our ideas into your surroundings.

We have been through days where we Christians were not able to spend Easter with our families. Our Jewish Brothers missed their Passover – and our Muslim Brothers are lonely breaking their fast during the whole month of Ramadan.

If we look at the tradition of Ramadan here is another link to our situation right now:

One of the ideas of Ramadan is, that people who believe and value the words of Mohamed see it as a symbol to abstain. Feel like people who do not have all in abundance. Detect how it feels to be hungry and thirsty.

This is what we all had within the last weeks. We had to abstain our social life. We had a lack of community. We could not go to rituals. We became hungry in our souls.

My Brothers – isn’t there a big group in our society which suffer from this all year long. Lonesome people in our neighbourhood or in our family? Brothers who are waiting for us to help them?

Let this also be a lesson of the difficult times. Reach out! If there is a need to forgive – do it. We have all felt how difficult it was and is to be alone. This was our lesson to be better in the future. No idleness, no resentfulness. Just reach all out and embrace. Let us begin to make our world a little bit better again.

At present we are in the hand of politicians in our different countries. They have to decide what has to be done and what is allowed or not allowed.

At this very moment I ask you all to respect the very difficult situation of each of these people. They are politicians – they need to rely on advisors in this situation and make decisions. Maybe they are right – maybe they are wrong. But decisions have to be made. It is easy to judge later on, when there is more information available. I do believe that the vast majority of decisionmakers try their very best for the country and their people.

I am more frightened of conspiracy theories. People who think to have more knowledge after 25 youtube videos rather than 25 years of scientific experience worry me.

If mankind can spend 2000 Billion Dollars for arms in one year – like in 2019 – this planet shall monetarily be able to overcome the situation we are in now!

My dearest Brothers. Let us virtually hold our hands now. Solidarity between our Lodges – our Grand Lodges and our Nations is what makes us strong.

What our ancestors achieved 75 years ago – we will achieve in the next weeks and months. The spirit we get from Freemasonry and our believe in the Great Architect will enlighten our path.

We cannot come together in Montebelli this spring – but “Il camino della luce” – nevertheless – “the path of light” is in us all.

Be embraced my dearest Brothers. Our solidarity makes us strong. Our relationships between all faiths and nations will always remain.

So said I…

Karl Walder
President of C.·.G.·.L.·.E.·.M.·.