Speech of the Sovereign Grand Commander, Grand Master (S.G.C.G.M.) at the Winter Solstice 2018

The fundamental values that we, as Freemasons, carry in our hearts are values that insist on the mind and do not allow idleness. Our history and our past demand it from us. Our values must be clear. Our testimony must always appear equally clear. It is beneficial for the entire community. The concept by which a Mason lives must not remain closed within himself. The world is changing at an unimaginable speed, and it is up to us to deal with these changes and be contemporaries of the future of our community and the society in which we live. Are we capable of conveying to the world the values we achieve in our workshops as the vision of the world entrusted to each of us by Freemasonry?

My answer is that we must be optimistic, very optimistic, because optimism primarily builds the future of humanity. Our future will be what we, as Masons, manage to build in our freedom, stone by stone. Do we trust ourselves? Can we provide hope for humanity? My answer is a quote from Giordano Bruno: “The only time that truly belongs to us is actually the future.”

Therefore, we can do one thing, and only one thing. Stop complaining about difficulties, stop seeing obstacles in front of us through anger, and stop doubting ourselves. What should characterize our identity as Croatians and Freemasons are the sails with which we will navigate with confidence towards the future, regardless of those who will try to prevent us.

The history of Freemasonry is based on the promotion of the exploration of the soul and spiritual wisdom. We are not allowed to comment on the positions of political parties or churches. Our duty is to promote dialogue and critical thinking, defend and promote societies of a free and open model. Freemasonry is not a clandestine or clique organization, but a real and ideal Temple where free people explore the truth through dialogue.

The path is undoubtedly long, full of difficulties and, of course, mistakes. But who doesn’t make mistakes? Those who do nothing! If we hadn’t been trying for years to open windows and doors, remove cobwebs, today we wouldn’t have this strength and wouldn’t attract very young people into our community. That is our future, and we must continue on their wings. They seek, and we hope they will find a more stimulating and enriching context in our environment than profane society offers them.

A healthy perspective is based on the intelligent construction of values that constitute the foundation of our inner Temple while leading to the maturity of the entire nation and affirming our European identity. Furthermore, the mission of Freemasonry is to create an educated community that observes real problems, contemplates the role and position of women in society to protect their dignity against barbaric phenomena that oppose it.

Freemasonry may seem rooted in ancient forms and anchored in a tradition that is more than three centuries old. But Freemasons still have a voice. They have rediscovered the meaning and importance of their actions and are creating a new, better future. The tree of our tradition certainly has very strong roots planted deep in the past. The trunk of our Masonic adventure radiates into the present. It is alive in us and united by a wonderful fraternal bond. It depends on all of us whether this project, enriched by young branches, will create a new space of light in the sky of the future of our Institution, bring abundant fruits, and provide more bright perspectives.

Speech of the Sovereign Grand Commander, Grand Master (S.G.C.G.M.) at the Grand Assembly 2018

For Freemasons, freedom of thought and intention enter the circle of the most important moral discourses. A Freemason must be a free person in all his beliefs and decisions. Therefore, a citizen, in the fullness of his responsibility, is never a subject oppressed by the interests of different forces. People without freedom do not have real responsibility – they are slaves. The worst thing that can happen is for a person to give up their own freedom.

Our Institution strives to strengthen everything that will deliver the human being from apathy and resignation and restore trust in the values that are the foundation of modern civil society.

The frequency with which the profane world tries to forcefully overcome reason prompts us to react and continuously repeat strong arguments that we believe are the future of civilization.

The trinomial or Holy Trinity to which we adhere – Responsibility, Participation, and Renewal – appears in various forms. Some of them arise from our own actions, while others are deeply embedded in the process of ethical and, above all, spiritual reflection.

With a certain discomfort, I must point out that responsibility is often approached without respect for facts. The ruling classes, not only in the public sphere, prefer an authoritarian model in which privileges are based on self-legitimization derived from dominant and privileged positions in relation to scenarios of deep suffering. Whoever makes decisions that accentuate such scenarios often, as reality proves, cannot bear even the slightest part of it, and that is anything but ethically unacceptable. In old military schools, recruits were ordered to clean toilets without appropriate equipment, only to demand unquestioning sacrifice from them at a certain moment. The “philosophy of petty minds” would send the unfortunate ones forward and then collect the honors of victory, although they were already prepared to flee in case of defeat, which is a manifestation of despotism and moral abuse. Power without responsibility is a distinct sign of tyranny, not democracy. The greater the amount of power, the greater the responsibility before oneself, before others, and before the Supreme Being, whatever it may be called, as it is an essential and reference figure of Freemasonry, summarized in the initials G.A.U. (Great Architect of the Universe).

In the exciting phases preceding the initiation into Freemasonry, the candidate is asked to answer three questions, which constitute his only Masonic testament. He is required to take a position regarding the Supreme Being, himself, the Homeland, and Humanity. This is not an ordinary game. With these questions, we want to explore the moral conscience of those who turn to our Brotherhood, a conscience that all civil institutions should be concerned with: the question of responsibility.

That is why the theme of responsibility is an important thread in these years of renewal experienced by Freemasonry. This is a renewal that involves topics of different natures. Let me mention just a few examples: Regarding the relationship between man and nature, can we leave a destroyed world to our descendants, devoid of valuable resources? Regarding the relationship between civic ethics and individual ethics, how much room should be left for individuals’ choices before finis vitae? Regarding a society that deals with bioethics only instrumentally, do we question the respect for diversity of choices? What duty do we have towards the education and training of young generations through the protection and advancement of school and scientific research?

The country experiencing a brain drain, with people fleeing to other countries, worries us because it is an indicator of the death of our future. What will we do when only the worst or least courageous ones remain? What will we do when we lose our professional, intellectual, and scientific elite? The future is in today’s choices, in our responsibility. All these years, even today, we find ourselves in an unprecedented crisis, not only economic but also spiritual. If we allow such a scenario, “generations of obedient machines” will arise – irresponsible citizens. In such a sad scenario, the future of democracy would hang by a thread.

Freemasonry may not have answers to all questions, but it teaches us to ask questions, to create a free space where different voices can oppose one another, where not only one thought dominates, but the encounter of different thoughts, religions, and philosophies. It is for this reason that Participation and Renewal also stem from Responsibility. In other words, the citizen becomes the protagonist of present choices and future consequences.

Freedom of conscience is not a gift that comes from above or something that can be bought. Being a citizen means commitment. We are not citizens on paper; we act and fight for social justice and rights.

The model of Freemasonry can and must be a model of growth, an instrument of consciousness. That is and will be our task. The Master of the Royal Art has only one love: to build.

For this reason, in the difficulties of the present moment, the Freemasons of the GNLC must use all their intellectual, moral, and material commitment as a contribution to the development of civil society and their Homeland.

We do not provide ready-made recipes, but we know that all our brethren are actively engaged, each according to their convictions and free conscience. I am confident that we will contribute to the construction of a fairer common home.

Freedom of construction means exactly that: creating shared history.

Our motto must be: Do not strike the fire of misunderstanding but build your path to cooperation.

Secularity, pluralism, and the ethics of dialogue are conditions for construction. What we must seek in order to build the future is precisely a deep sense of existence. And we Masons find it in our Works, under the starry vault of our Temples. Therefore, we can propose it to all people who wish to explore new paths with us.

The Masonic path is an initiatory journey in which the central theme is the symbolic passage through the darkness of death towards a new light. It should serve to open the eyes of those who, in their immaturity, believe they are immortal and progress with intolerant blindness towards too many uncritical certainties. The provocation of Initiation serves to teach the profound sense of Brotherhood and not to make it an instrument of deceit and favoritism. It is an inner resource, an additional moral strength that can be utilized in moments of possible stumbling. The Masonic duty is to contribute to the good and progress of humanity. I do not know where or how to find a greater collective responsibility than this. The responsibility to which each of us has committed ourselves towards the Supreme Being, oneself, the Homeland, and Humanity.

The story we want is as follows: to be a place of responsibility and a space of hospitality.

We have done this in the five years of VNLH’s existence, and we will continue to do so, proud to be free individuals with a vision for the future.

That is our history, and those are the actions we will continue to carry out in our Temples and through various modes of operation in society. Let us do it, dear Sisters and Brothers, with intelligence and passion. I look forward to our tomorrow with great optimism and confidence. Let us continue to think, fly high, and build.

We choose our story.

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