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  • Sir Knight

The CBCS Does Not Confer the First Three Degrees of Freemasonry and Neither Does the Scottish Rite

Much ado is being made by the Grand Master that the CBCS has some secret intention to confer the first three degrees of masonry and that this was endorsed somehow by S.K. Kussman.

This is nonsense.

While it is true that the Rectified Scottish Rite includes the first three degrees as part of its system (three French degrees), it is a manifest untruth to claim that the draft concordat S.K. Johnson is bandying about in any way suggests the Grand Encampment would agree (or be able) to somehow empower the CBCS to confer those degrees!

S.K. Johnson is also partially quoting the unexecuted document; he deliberately omits the last clause of the sentence where it is expressly stated that some of the degrees are held in abeyance (see below).

Were the CBCS to infringe on the Grand Lodge’s jurisdiction in such a manner, it would risk gaining a clandestine status imposed by the Grand Lodges. In fact, the CBCS is recognized as an appendant body by Grand Lodges worldwide. The claim made by S.K. Johnson is nonsense; another attempt to mislead and misrepresent the facts.

Since the CBCS has among its membership a strong proportion of Past Grand Masters, it is unlikely that they would act to contravene the Grand Lodge system. In fact, for almost 90 years the CBCS has not conferred the first three degrees; it is extremely unlikely that the CBCS would suddenly decide to do so now due to some dispute with the Grand Encampment!

For your edification, the entire clause of the concordat that is partially quoted by S.K. Johnson is below:

“Whereas the Great Priory of America of the Chevaliers Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte has sole custody of, and prerogative to confer, the system of degrees within its charge within and across its jurisdiction under the Rectified Scottish Rite, namely Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason, Scottish Master, Perfect Scottish Master, Squire Novice, Knight Beneficent of the Holy City of Jerusalem, Professed Knight and Grand Professed Knight, of which, at its sole election, some may be held in abeyance;” (emphasis added).

Just like the Scottish Rite, the Rectified Scottish Rite comprises a complete system of degrees. Just like the Scottish Rite, the Rectified Scottish Rite does not confer the first three degrees in its charge (they are held at its election in abeyance) in deference to the Grand Lodges in the U.S. which operate the York Rite (Preston-Webb) work as agreed at the Baltimore Convention of 1843. The claim being made is laughable. It's either woefully ignorant and obtuse or a deliberate misconstruction of the facts intended to mislead. Either way, it is unbecoming an officer of the Grand Encampment, let alone the Grand Master!

Lastly, the first three degrees do not touch the Grand Encampment’s jurisdiction anyway. It’s a straw man argument, a misrepresentation to further excuse political expedience and the wrongful removal of an elected officer who was, after all, following the then-Grand Master’s instructions (and fulfilling his duty). What has S.K. Kussman done against the current Grand Master in the two short weeks before the Grand Master removed him without cause? What about the other members of that committee? Why weren’t they removed?

And who cares about this “concordat” anyway? It was a mere draft that was presented early on in negotiations and wasn’t executed by any party.

S.K. Johnson's statements traducing S.K. Kussman's character may constitute defamation per se. They should be immediately withdrawn.

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