Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of the Legislative Power of a Grand Lodge

A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of Freemasonry
by Dr.Albert Gallatin Mackey, 1856

In the passage already quoted from the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England it is said, "in the Grand Lodge, alone, resides the power of enacting laws and regulations for the government of the craft and of altering, repealing and abrogating them." General regulations for the government of the whole craft throughout the world can no longer be enacted by a Grand Lodge. The multiplication of these bodies, since the year 1717, has so divided the supremacy that no regulation now enacted can have the force and authority of those adopted by the Grand Lodge of England in 1721 and which now constitute a part of the fundamental law of Masonry and as such are unchangeable by any modern Grand Lodge.

Any Grand Lodge may, however, enact local laws for the direction of its own special affairs and has also the prerogative of enacting the regulations which are to govern all its subordinates and the craft generally in its own jurisdiction. From this legislative power, which belongs exclusively to the Grand Lodge, it follows that no subordinate lodge can make any new bye-laws, nor alter its old ones, without the approval and confirmation of the Grand Lodge. Hence, the rules and regulations of every lodge are inoperative until they are submitted to and approved by the Grand Lodge. The confirmation of that body is the enacting clause; and, therefore, strictly speaking, it may be said that the subordinates only propose the bye-laws and the Grand Lodge enacts them.
Section III.

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