“Elected representatives should be elected to promote well-being of citizens”
In a rare and thought-provoking interview, the grand master of Portugal’s oldest Masonic Obedience, the Grand Orient of Lusitania (GOL), has expressed concern over the deterioration of the right to housing and health in this country, criticising the lack of commitment by elected representatives in resolving these crucial social problems.
“We are living through an international crisis, but also (have) a national one”, Fernando Cabecinha told Lusa.
“Today the right to housing has to be improved” as well as “the right to quality education, the right to health, which is fundamental for everyone” and the “right to fair justice.”
His summation of the current national (and possibly international) status quo is that the “pillars of democracy are all in crisis” – and the reason is that the very notion of public service “seems to have been lost”.
“Elected representatives are elected to promote the well-being of citizens (…) I think that this is far removed from today’s reality,” he said.
Concern for public affairs is a priority for this ancient organisation and its members, regardless of their position or functions, writes Lusa.
“It’s obviously part of the practice that is required of any freemason, when they are in public office, to have this notion of public service” and of “being at the service of the citizens“, Cabecinha explainded, rejecting any idea that the Freemasonry is aiming for some kind of political or social leadership.
“We try to be a moral elite; not a social elite”; members have “professions that have more or less of an impact on society”, he went on.
The aim is to help workers “develop to be more useful to society”, in an inorganic logic that follows the humanist principles that led to the foundation of Freemasonry.
“Freemasonry is made by freemasons and is inorganic in its action,” he said, giving the example of the October 5, 1910, when “there were freemasons on the republican side and on the side of the monarchists”.
“It’s the freemasons who work in society. They have their responsibilities, and they come here to learn, to gain knowledge so that they can better act in society, whether in the social, philanthropic, cultural or educational spheres”.
Elected two years ago, Fernando Cabecinha is now entering his final year in office without clarifying whether he will run again, Lusa continues.
Despite this, he gives a “positive assessment” of his work, seeking to recover the organisation after the pandemic.
With 103 lodges across the country and 2,500 members (a hundred more than at the start of his term), Fernando Cabecinha says that GOL is still able to attract new members, even at a time when prestige is associated with public visibility.
“The disillusionment that people feel with other organisations makes Freemasonry interesting,” he said simply.