THE SOCIETY OF BLUE FRIARS (MASONIC AUTHORS)
by Wallace McLeod
“The Society of Blue Friars” was formed in 1932, explicitly “to recognize Masonic Authors.” It is probably the smallest, and certainly one of the oddest, concordant bodies in Masonry. It has no fixed ritual or ceremonies, no dues or fees, and very few records. The name was chosen, presumably, because “Friar” is related to the French word for “Brother,” and is therefore appropriate for a Masonic group; but it would also call to mind the monks of the Middle Ages, the ones who wrote most of the books in those days. The regulations (at least in their present form) state that “One new Friar shall be appointed each year,” but that “additional Friars may be appointed to fill vacancies caused by demise or resignation when the total membership is not over twenty.”
Since 1944 the Society has met once a year (except for 1945), in a session that is open to all Masonic Brethren. The “Consistory” takes place in Washington, D.C., in February, as part of the annual Masonic weekend that is sponsored by the Allied Masonic Degrees. At the annual meeting, the new Friar is proclaimed, and is expected to deliver a research paper. In earlier times, the papers were sometimes printed in the Miscellanea of the Allied Masonic Degrees. In recent years they have appeared in The Philalethes magazine. Possibly the collected Blue Friar Lectures may be published at some time in the future
The Society has a short list of regulations. They tell us that there are three officers. The presiding officer is the Grand Abbot, who retains his office as long as he wishes, or as long as he lives. He appoints the Deputy Grand Abbot (who is his designated successor), and the Secretary-General. The Grand Abbot may receive nominations for new Friars, but the final decision as to who shall be selected rests entirely with him. There are neither dues nor fees. And the regulations can be changed only at the pleasure of the Grand Abbott.