Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Masonic Temple of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
(Madrid) The Bishop of Tenerife forbade Freemasons from entering a Catholic church. In November the annual congress of high level Freemasons of the 33rd degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in the Canary Islands will take place.
Bishop Bernardo Álvarez informed the Masonic Lodges of the Canary Islands, that it will not tolerate the presence of Masonic symbols in the church of Santa Cruz de La Palma. The Masons wanted to commemorate deceased lodge brothers.
The Bishop of Tenerife made his decision public, with which he forbid the presence of the Loge Abora No. 87 in a church of Santa Cruz de La Palma. The notification was issued to the master of the Masonic Lodges of the Canary Islands, which is celebrating the “Masonic Week” in these days.
The First Masonic march to Christ the Savior Church in Decades
According to the daily ABC, a meeting between Bishop Álvarez and the Socialist Jeronimo Saavedra (PSOE) took place. Saavedra was, from 1993-1996, Minister of the Socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez, from 1999-2003, Spanish Senator, from 2007-2011 Mayor of Las Palmas and has since been a Member of Parliament. Saavedra is also a leading Freemason in the Canary Islands. At the meeting, the bishop informed his former minister “No” for an official appearance of the lodges in a church.
Bishop Alvarez and former minister Saavedra
This week all of the big names in Spanish Freemasonry gathered on the island of La Palma, including Oscar de Alfonso Ortega, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain. This said, in the fall of 2015: “We are experiencing one of the best moments of Freemasonry”.
The Masons are to hold a “Masonic march” around the Christ the Savior Church on Friday, 2 September. Such things have not been done in decades. “It is the first event of this kind since the return of democracy,” said Saavedra.
Revival of Loge Abora No. 87
Iglesia del Salvador site of”Masonic march”
Thus, the lodge brothers celebrate the revival of the Loge Abora No. 87 after 80 years of inactivity “for political reasons”. Because of the national forces of the Popular Front in areas, Masonic lodges had to suspend their activities. On March 1, 1940 Generalissimo Franco issued the Ley para la represión de la Masoneria y el Comunismo, the Law on Suppression of Freemasonry and Communism. Spanish Freemasonry continued its work from the Mexican exile, where many Spanish masons found protection and asylum when President Lázaro Cárdenas of the dictatorial ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), himself a freemason.
Currently, in the Canary Islands there are 20 active lodges. The Loge Abora no. 87 adopted in 1875, took up its work. They are now part of the Grand Lodge of Spain, after the Grand Orient of Spain had become extinct at the end of the Spanish Civil War.
Tenerife was, before the Civil War, one of the most important Masonic centers in Spain. In 1900, the lodge Añaza was established that belonged to the Grand Orient of Spain, a large Masonic Temple. General Franco seized the tempt in 1936 and appropriated it for the Spanish Falange.
Congress of the high degree Freemason
Florentino Guzman before the project for renovation of the Masonic Temple
The return to the lodge was not possible. The heavily Socialist city government (2011-2015) saw to it that the temple was declared a national monument and began renovations in 2015. According to the renovation plan, a third of the cost will be from the public sector and two-thirds are to be financed by the private sector. The driving force behind the renovation is the socialist Councilor Florentino Guzmán Plasencia.
This year’s International Congress of High Degree Freemasons will be held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in November. It is organized by the Supreme Council of the 33rd and highest grade of the Old Accepted Scottish Rite (A.A.S.R.) and takes place every year at a different location.
The lodge brothers hope to keep at least the final event in the renovated Masonic Temple.