NWO – The truth about Rotary International

  Read : 142652  – 10/03/2011

Rotary is a Masonic Jewish organization of business and professional leaders that claims to provide humanitarian service to improve human relations, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations and building goodwill and peace in the world.

Rotary is an English word derived from “rotation”. The organization was named as such because meetings were held in members’ houses or offices by rotation. The presidency of the organization is still assumed by members by rotation as well. The clubs have chosen a distinctive emblem, which is a “gear wheel” in two colors, golden and blue, with 24 cogs and six golden spokes within the circle. Each two opposite sides constitute a diameter within the circle of the gear. They all constitute three diameters that cross in the center. When the starting point for each diameter is connected to the ends of the other two diameters, this constitutes the six-pointed star, surrounded by the two English words “Rotary” and “International“.
The golden and blue colors are of the Jews’ sacred colors with which they decorate the roofs of their monasteries, temples and Masonic lodges. These two colors are now the colors of the flag of the member states of the European Common Market.
Foundation and leading figures:
 On 23 February 1905 C.E., the attorney Paul Harris founded the first Rotary club in Chicago, Illinois. This was three years after he had spread his idea which was accepted by some people. Sylvester Schiele (coal merchant), Gustav A. Loehr (mines engineer), Hiram E. Shorey (tailor merchant) and Paul Harris (attorney) are considered the founders of the Rotary movement and the builders of its intellectual principles after a series of recurrent periodic meetings. Their first meeting was held in the same place where the Rotary Club, Chicago 177 today, was later founded.
Three years later, Shirley Berry joined the organization and rapidly expanded the movement. He remained as a secretary of the organization until he resigned in 1942 C.E.
In 1947 C.E., Paul Harris (the founder) died after the movement had spread in 80 countries, with 6800 clubs and 327,000 members.
In 1911 C.E., the movement moved to Dublin in Ireland, and then spread in Britain through the efforts of Mr. Morrow, who was paid a commission for each new member.
In the Arab world, the history of Rotary was connected to three phenomena:
Western colonialism in terms of inception and the majority of its members.
The aristocratic classes and those who had influence and money.
Comprehensive and general activity in entire Arab world, directly or indirectly.
In the 1930s, Rotary clubs were founded in Algeria and Morocco under the supervision of French colonialism. There are now many clubs and branches in different places and cities of the Arab world.
Ideas and beliefs:
Not regarding religion or the difference in country of origin as a criterion in choosing a member, or in the mutual interaction among members. The Rotary claims that it is not concerned with religious or political matters. The Rotary is not allowed to express an opinion on any controversial public issue.
Rotary clubs teach their members the list of the equally recognized religions in alphabetical order: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mohammedanism and Taoism.
Religion being disregarded, this protects the Jews and secures them easy penetration into all walks of life. This is clarified through the necessity that each club must have at least one or two Jewish members.
One should do good deeds without waiting for any material or moral reward. This is indeed against the religious perception which connects doing voluntary good work to the double reward from Allaah The Almighty.
There is a weekly meeting; and the member’s attendance rate should not be less than 60 percent per year.
Membership is not available for all people. Rather, one should wait for the club’s invitation for joining, according to the principle of selection.
Classification is based on the main profession. There are 77 professions.
Workers are deprived of the club’s membership, and only those who occupy high positions are chosen.
They try to have a balanced age level among the members and nourish the organization with new blood by attracting young members.
There must be a representative for each profession. It is possible, however, that this rule is violated in order to have a desirable member or exclude an undesirable one. The third paragraph of Article IV of the Constitution of the Rotary International is as follows:
There should be no more than one member of each profession with the exception of the categories of religions, media and the diplomatic corps, with taking into account the provisions of the bylaws for the additional active members.
The Board of Directors for each club must have one or two of the club’s former heads, who are the heirs of the Rotarian secret which descended from Paul Harris.
Charles Marden, who was a member for three years in one of the Rotary clubs, conducted a study about the Rotary and he deduced some facts including:
Among each 421 members of the Rotary Clubs, there are 159 members who belong to Freemasonry, and this means that they are more loyal to Freemasonry than to the club.
In some cases, membership of the Rotary was limited to the Masons, as it was the case in Edinburgh, Britain, in 1921 C.E.
In Nance loges in France, in 1881 C.E., the following was reported, “If the Masons constitute an association along with others, they must not let it be led by others. The effective officials must be Masons and the association must act according to their principles.”
Rotary Clubs become very popular and their activities are strengthened when the Masonic movement weakens or becomes dormant. That is because the Masons transfer their activities to the clubs until the pressures end and then resume their former status
The Rotary was founded in 1905 C.E. during the period when Freemasonry was active in America.
There are several clubs that intellectually and methodologically resemble the Rotary, which are: the Lions, Kiwanis, Exchange, Round Table, Pen and B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant). These clubs work in the same way and for the same purpose with some slight modification to create many means to spread ideas and attract supporters and followers. There are visits exchanged among these clubs. In some cities there is a council for the clubs’ heads in order to coordinate with each other.

Is Rotary A Cult Like Freemasonry

Is ROTARY a cult? Some say it is associated with Freemasonry. Any views please?

Join Our Christian Singles
Alan_of_U.K. on 5/6/05



And for those begging for proof, it’s very easy. Go to any Rotary club meeting, look at the cars parked in the parking lot. Many Masons advertise their membership on their vehicles. Then go inside. Look for their rings, pendants, charms, handshakes, etc. They’re often very easy to spot. If you’re still unconvinced, write down the license plates of cars at the Rotary club meeting, compare them to cars parked at the Masonic Lodge during meetings. I am so sick of people acting like Freemasonry isn’t a scourge and Ba’al worship. THREE of the deacons at my church are ABSOLUTELY freemasons. One of the deacons is a Shriner. All four are either in Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions club. They belong to those clubs so they can shop for prospective members.
GaryS on 10/10/11
Wow. I just read Rocky’s posts. He is a committed contrarian. I’m sorry I fell for his jab and apologize to the moderator(s) of this blog. I’ll leave it alone.
GaryS on 10/10/11
Where’s my proof? It’s there on my father’s apron, and his Rotary pin.
—GaryS on 10/10/11
Your proof of what? I did not understand the point of your thread.
Rocky on 10/10/11
Puh-lease. People are so naive. My fater was a freemason, as was his father. He was recruited while in Rotary. About the same time, my father was approached to be a deacon at our church. My grandfather was a deacon, a founding member of the church, and a freemason. Churches, civic clubs and political clubs are all stalking grounds of freemasons. They pull their membership from these (also college fraternities.) Certainly not all Rotary members are in Masonry, but it’s “fish in a barrel” and the Masons take their picks from there (among other places). Where’s my proof? It’s there on my father’s apron, and his Rotary pin.
GaryS on 10/10/11
Wikipedia has a long article about Rotary International that addresses how it was founded and there is no mention whatsover about any relationship then or now to Freemasons. No one else has provided any credible references on this thread. So this appears to just be another one of the many conspiracy theories about which people spread lies and falsehoods.
Rocky on 9/26/11


Pope Francis, The Rotary Club, Masonic Signs & Wonders

 July 7, 2015

Papal Decree Banning Clergy from Rotary Club Membership
Pope Francis, Rotary Club Member Since 1999
Catholicism and Rotary – An Open Question
The Masons and Pope Francis
The Catholic Church’s Position on Freemasonry

Pope Francis is a mason

On January 11, 1951, The Vatican issued a Decree banning “members of the clergy” from belonging to a Rotary club association.  According to the Decree, lay people are permitted to join as long as they adhere to the provisions set forth in Canon Law, but priests are explicitly forbidden from belonging to Rotary or participating in their meetings.  The WILD VOICE continues to research this, but to the best of our knowledge at this time the Decree has never been officially lifted, rescinded or annulled.  We are most interested in providing true and accurate information and so now respectfully reach out and ask any qualified parties (Canon lawyers, Vatican historians, etc.) to please contact us if they are aware of any credible documentation detailing exactly on what date and by whose authoritythis Papal Decree was officially nullified or amended, if it ever was.  We will immediately update and edit this article as necessary with respect to any new verifiable information.

Here below is the full text of the Papal Decree issued on January 11, 1951.

Papal Decree – Pope Pius XII
Jan 11, 1951
First published in Osservatore Romano, Vatican City daily
(English translation below by the Archdiocese of Chicago)
“The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office:  a decree. Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1950.
“The question has been asked of this Supreme Sacred Congregation whether Catholics may be members of the association commonly called “the Rotary club.”
After ascertaining the opinion of the Reverend Fathers Consultors, Their Eminences the Cardinals, charged with safeguarding faith and morals, decreed in their plenary meeting of Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1950 as follows:
Members of the clergy may not belong to a Rotary club association or take part in its meetings; laymen are to be urged to observe the provisions of Canon 684 of Canon Law.
And on the 26th of the same month and year, His Holiness Pope Pius XII approved the resolution and ordered it published, after hearing it in an audience granted to His Excellency the Assessor of the Holy Office.
Given in Rome at the offices of the Holy Office on Jan. 11, 1951.
Marino Marani, Notary of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.”

Vatican Decree

Pope Francis Rotary ClubRotary Club Ban Priests


Pope Francis, while he was still Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, was elected to and accepted an honorary membership in the Rotary Club in 1999.  This fact is proudly displayed on The Rotary Club website, and below you will see a copy of Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio’s letter of acknowledgement and acceptance to Juan Carlos Becciu, president of the Buenos Aires Rotary Club (along with an English translation of the text).

Pope Francis Rotary Club

Pope Francis, Rotary Club, False Prophet, Freemasonry, freemason, freemasons, The Wild Voice, Maria Divine Mercy, Rotary, club, rotarian, father, linus



Rotary International explains the relationship of The Rotary Club and The Catholic Church in a website article titled “Catholicism and Rotary” (below).  It incorrectly states that Pope Pius VI addressed The Rotary Club in 1970 (Pope Pius VI died in 1799).  We have found a speechPope Paul VI gave to conference attendees of Rotary International in Italy on March 20, 1965 (The Rotarian, June, 1965 issue), and also in Rome in November of 1970, and again in Milan, 1974.  However, there is no evidence in any of his speeches that he had actually and formally reversed the Papal Decree of Pope Pius XII forbidding priests from Rotary membership.
As the article points out, it is true that Pope John Paul II spoke to Rotary International members in Italy both in 1979 and (as part of a larger meeting with other groups) in the year 2000.  Nowhere in these speeches though does he say that the ban on Catholic priests from belonging to Rotary International had ever been lifted.  An important distinction should and must be made between giving a speech to a group of people and holding or endorsing membership in an organization.  Pope John Paul II also spoke to banking associations and space research conference attendees at one time or another, but that obviously does not make him either an investment banker or an astronaut.
Pope Francis is the first known Pope to receive and accept a Rotary Club Membership.
The article also states that The Catholic Truth Society declared that “Rotary is neither secret nor seditious“.  However, The Catholic Truth Society is only a publishing house based in London and of course holds no real Church authority to reverse a Papal Decree.
It would be only logical to assume that if indeed the Rotary Club was able to concretely demonstrate that the Papal Decree of 1951 specifically prohibiting clergy from belonging to The Rotary Club was ever officially reversed then they wouldcertainly mention it.  They don’t.

rotary masons

from ‘Catholicism and Rotary – Rotary Club of Eureka

The problem seems to have started in Spain in 1928 when a bishop laid charges that Rotary was nothing but a new Satanic organization. The church also criticized and condemned Rotary for showing a concept of life of service without reference to church teaching. Indeed, it seems that the church believed it was a secret society with quasi-religious overtones. For whatever reason, the Vatican took up the reins and in 1929 it issued a decree that “it is not expedient” for Catholic priest to participate in Rotary either as members or guest. This decree and its application was worrisome to many Catholics in Rotary not the least of which was then RI President Tom Sutton who was himself a Catholic.

Critical and at times disparaging articles regularly appeared in Catholic newspapers. Sutton’s attempts to convince the Secretary of State at the Vatican were fruitless and the anti-Rotary articles continued to be published.

The factual errors were shown to be false and by 1933 there was a mood swing in the Vatican. Priests were now allowed to use their discretion about attending or even joining Rotary. Nevertheless, one of the results of the church attitude was a slow development of Rotary in predominantly Catholic countries such as Ireland.

The uneasy peace continued until 1951 when yet another Vatican decree warned Priests that they should not join Rotary and that the faithful should be aware of seditious and suspected organizations.

But the world was changing and the decree caused an immediate angry response among others, from the then-Catholic and RI President Arthur Laqueux, and even from the Rotarian, Catholic Bishop of Fort Wayne Indiana who publicly declared the decree “quite incomprehensible.”

Fairly soon, the Vatican begin to react and by the end of the decade, the Catholic Truth Society was able to declare that Rotary is neither secret nor seditious. Gradually there was a thaw in the relationship between the church and Rotary. In 1970 Pope Pius VI addressed Rotarians in Italy and in 1979 Pope John Paul II spoke at the Rotary International convention in Rome praising many of Rotary’s humanitarian programs. Later, Pope John Paul II accepted a Paul Harris Fellowship and a World Understanding and Peace award from Rotary.

Finally, before becoming Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio accepted an honorary membership in the Rotary Club of Buenos Aires.



Father Clovis, thewildvoiceFather Linus Clovis recently stated the following in a speech about ‘The Francis Effect’:
“I came across a quote from someone who knew him (Pope Francis) in Argentina. ‘Apparently, he loves to be loved by all and please everyone, so one day he could make a speech on TV against abortion, and the next day, on the same television show, bless the pro-abortion feminists in the Plaza de Mayo; He can give a wonderful speech against the Masons and, a few hours later, be dining and drinking with them in the Rotary Club.‘ So, how can you make a decision about a man like this, who is everybody’s friend?”


pope francis on masonic times coverIt should also be remembered that on March 14, 2013, the very day after the election of Pope Francis, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient Masonic Lodge of Italy gave a speech congratulating Jorge Bergoglio on his win.  The high-level mason’s words, just one day after the release of ‘Pope Francis’ onto the world seem highly improbable and even eerily prophetic to say the least:

A man of the poor and far from the Curia. Fraternity and dialogue are his first concrete words: maybe in the new Church nothing will ever be like before. It is our auspicious that the Francesco’s pontificate, the pope who ‘comes from the end of the world’ may signify the return of the Church-Word versus the Church-institution, promoting an open relationship with the contemporary world, with non believers and not through the springtime of Vatican II”. The Jesuit who is close to the last of history has the great opportunity to show the world the face of a Church that must recuperate the annunciation of a new humanity, not the weight of an institutionsheltered in defense of its own privileges. Bergoglio knows real life and will remember the lesson of one of his landmark theologists, Romano Guardini, who said truth and love cannot be separated.  The simple cross that he wore on his white vest gives us hope that a Church of the people may find again the ability to dialogue with all men of good will and with Free Masonry which, as the Latin America experience teaches, works for the common good and progress of humanity, following Bolivar, Allende and Jose’ Marti’ to mention a few. This is the ‘white smoke’ that we are waiting for from the Church of our time” – Gustavo Raffi, Grand Master, Grande Oriente d’ Italia, March 14, 2013.

It is also most curious to find Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio demonstrating this easily recognizable masonic “hidden-hand” sign while posing for a snapshot photo in 2008 in Argentina.  Masons learn this secret hand signal as part of completing the 13th Degree (“The Royal Arch Degree“) of Scottish Rite Freemasonry and knowledge of it permits the initiate to go through the ‘second veil’ during the ceremony.  Other famous masons and powerful men have often been known to exhibit this hidden-hand sign in portraits throughout history.  Some examples include:  Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Napoleon Bonaparte, Salomon Rothschild, and George Washington.

Pope Francis masonic hidden hand

Another very strange coincidence is that on 12.13.14 the city of Bologna, Italy erected a public light display with obvious occult significance and masonic icons partly in remembrance of the sinister P2 Masonic Lodge‘s bombing of a train station in the city in 1980.  This date, December 13, 2014 happens to also be the 45th anniversary of the day that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained as a priest (12.13.69). For much more on this story, please see The Lights & Darkness of Christmas.

Pope Francis New World Order


It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into what freemasonry really is and its history with the Catholic Church.  For more on that topic please see The Church’s Enemies Within The Church.
Here is a brief synopsis of some of the Catholic Church’s recent positional statements on freemasonry:

1980The German Bishops Conference produced a report on Freemasonry with the following findings:
1)  Freemasonry denies revelation and objective truth
2)  Religious indifference is fundamental to Freemasonry
3)  Freemasonry is Deist and denies the possibility of divine revelation
4)  The sacramental character of Masonic rituals was seen as signifying an individual transformation, offering an alternative path to perfection and having a total claim on the life of a member
5)  All masonic lodges are forbidden to Catholics, including ‘Catholic-friendly lodges’

1983Prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the personal approval of Pope John Paul II, issues a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which reiterated the Church’s objections to Freemasonry. It states:
“The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion….” and “…the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association(s) remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden.”

1985The U.S. Catholic Conference Bishops’ Committee on Pastoral Research and Practices concludes in a letter to U.S. Bishops:
“the principles and basic rituals of Masonry embody a naturalistic religion, active participation in which is incompatible with Christian faith and practice.”

2007Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary stated that membership in Masonic organizations “remains forbidden” to Catholics and called on priests who had declared themselves to be Freemasons to be disciplined by their direct superiors.


Put on your Surprise Face…


Jorge Bergoglio is Honorary Member of Masonic Rotary Club in Buenos Aires

In 1999, the then-“Archbishop” of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was named an Honorary Member of theBuenos Aires Rotary Club, a service organization that embraces the heretical ideals of Freemasonry, Naturalism, and Secularism. On July 26 of that year, “Archbishop” Bergoglio sent a warm thank-you note to the club’s president, which has been posted online at the Rotary Club’s web site and can still be accessed there:

What follows is an English translation of this letter:

Archbishopric of Buenos Aires
Prot. Nº 753/99

Buenos Aires, July 26th, 1999


Buenos Aires Rotary Club
San Martín 969, P. 8º
1004 – Buenos Aires

Dear Sir,

I am particularly pleased to address Mr. President to acknowledge receipt of the kind note that you sent me together with the Honorary Secretary dated the 23rd of the current month, whereby you kindly confirm me as an Honorary Associate of this prestigious institution.

I thank you warmly for this kindness, and at the same time I congratulate you for the outstanding work that you perform for the good of the community.

I reiterate to you the expressions of my heartfelt appreciation.



When Bergoglio was elected “Pope” of the Vatican II Sect on March 13, 2013, the Buenos Aires Rotary Club posted the following note on its web site (click to enlarge; translation below):



The Buenos Aires Rotary Club asks the Creator to help and protect pope Francis, and manifests its joy because the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires received in 2005 the “Silver Laurel to the Personality of the Year” with which the Club distinguishes the most relevant personalities of the community.

So, what does the Catholic Church say about the Rotary Club and similar associations?

Reality Check: The Catholic Church condemns the Rotary Club

[The following is taken from Radio Cristiandad, with some adjustments; our translation]

The first condemnations of Rotarianism by the Roman Catholic Church took place in Spain in 1928, by the Bishops of Palencia, Orense, Tuy, Leon, and Almeria, who denounced the Rotarian movement as “a new satanic organization, close to Freemasonry, execrable and perverse”.

The Declaration of the Bishop of Palencia (August 28, 1928) warns among other things that “good Catholics cannot be part of the so-called Rotary Clubs […]” and that “Rotarianism purports to be a moral and moralizing institution, that sets out to influence the lives of individuals, families, and peoples, while absolutely discarding, as an association, all religious ideas and all kinds of relations with God and Jesus Christ Our Redeemer”.

All this implies that “the Rotarian institution, as such, explicitly makes profession of an absolute secularism, a universal religious indifference, and tries to radically moralize individuals and societies by means of a naturalist, rationalist and even atheistic doctrine” [1].

The much shorter and more conclusive Warning of the Bishop of Orense to his faithful considers that the Rotary Clubs “are nothing short of new satanic organisms, equal to Freemasonry in spirit and origin, however they may try to disguise themselves and to appear with the mark of pure humanitarianism and even Christian charity and universal, generous, full, and legitimate brotherhood” [2].

The Sacred Pastoral Visit of the Bishop of Tuy (Vigo, October 8, 1928) warns that “for good Catholics there are and there can be no other means of improvement in the religious, moral, and social order than those that have as their foundation the principles of the religion, the morality, and the sociology of Christ, the one true Savior of mankind” [3].

The Pastoral Letter of the Bishop of Leon adds the Rotarians to the list of enemies of the Roman Catholic Church, which also includes Protestants, Indifferentists, and Freemasons, all of whom are “harmoniously associated” in scheming “against our holy religion, the Church, and her ministers” [4].

The Bishop of Almeria’s Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the upcoming Season of Advent asks his faithful to separate themselves from whatever can jeopardize their souls, pointing out that Rotarianism, by possessing a “Rotarian code of ethics”, falls into “secularism” and “naturalism”, and does not confine itself “to the speculative, mercantile and economic profession”, but invades “the social and domestic life, friends, spouses, parents, brothers and citizens in general”, supposedly “making them better” [5].

The Roman Catholic Church censors the Rotarians’ grounding of morality without any reference to Christ and His only Church; this is not only because the Magisterium teaches that Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”) [6] but also because “the Catholic religion, … as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions” (Leo XIII, Encyclical Humanum Genus, 16).

Indeed, it is not possible for a Catholic Christian to live his relationship with God in a twofold manner, that is to say, dividing it into a humanitarian-supraconfessional form and an inward-Christian form. He cannot breed relations of two kinds with God, nor express his relation with the Creator by means of symbolic forms of two kinds. It would be something completely different, it is obvious, from that collaboration of all who are committed to the accomplishment of the good, although proceeding from different principles. On the other hand, a Catholic Christian cannot at the same time partake in the full communion of Christian brotherhood and yet look at his Christian brother from the Masonic or Rotarian perspective, as a “secularist”.

Though there be no explicit obligation [for Rotarians] to profess relativism as a doctrine — as has been stated — even so the relativizing force of such a [Rotarian] fraternity, by its own inner logic, has in itself the capacity of transforming the structure of the act of Faith in such a radical way that it is not acceptable on the part of a Christian “who loves his faith” (Leo XIII).

Moreover, this disturbance of the fundamental structure of the act of Faith usually occurs in a smooth and unnoticed way: The solid adhesion to the truth of God, revealed in the Church, becomes a simple affiliation to an institution, considered as a particular representative form, along with other representative forms, more or less possible and valid, of the way human beings are oriented towards matters of eternity.

In the Pastoral Admonition of the Cardinal Primate of Spain and Archbishop of Toledo (January 23, 1929), on “neutral institutions”, including the “International Rotary Club”, the Most Eminent and Right Reverend Dr. Pedro Segura y Sáenz (1880-1957) identifies as the intrinsic evil of so-called neutral institutions that “they conceal the denial of the true morality and the true Religion, which they attempt to replace with a morality and a religion that is not that of Jesus Christ”, “while preaching a morality without religion to achieve universal peace”, “under a commercial, recreational, educational, philanthropic, international, and neutral but always secular appearance”.

This leads without doubt to including the “Rotary Club” among those associations “suspectis aut quae se studeant sese a legitima Ecclesiae vigilantia subducere”, “suspect associations or those that seek to distance themselves from the legitimate vigilance of the Church” (Can. 684, 1917 Code of Canon Law; cf. Can. 336).

On February 4, 1929, the Holy See prohibited priests from participating in Rotarian meetings as members or as guests. This prohibition was reiterated by means of a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office of December 20, 1950.

[1] Cf. Boletín Eclesiástico del Obispado de Palencia, año LXXVIII, sábado, 1 de septiembre de 1928, nº 77, pág. 391 y ss.
[2] Cf. Boletín Oficial Eclesiástico del Obispado de Orense, año XVC, nº 14, 7 de septiembre de 1928, págs. 223 y 224.
[3] Cf. Boletín Oficial del Obispado de Tuy, octubre de 1928.
[4] Cf. Boletín Oficial del Obispado de León, 26 de noviembre de 1928, pág. 500.
[5] Boletín Eclesiástico de la Diócesis de Almería, 30 de noviembre de 1928, págs. 316-319.
[6] Cf. Sanctum Officium, Epistula ad Archiepiscopum Bostoniensem (8 augusti 1949).


Mr. Jorge Bergoglio giving a Masonic handshake to Fr. Joseph Ratzinger,
himself an expert in Masonic handshakes (see below)


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First Rotary Club of Each Country



Brief histories of the first clubs of each geographic region

Rotary Club of Jerusalem, the First Club of Israel

Rotary International District 2490

Part of our History of Rotary in Asia Section

Unlike some of the other Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey and Egypt, the racial differences in Jerusalem do not seem to have caused any serious problems for establishing Rotary. The local people had a far more international outlook which helped. Davidson found that there was already in existence the nucleus of a Rotary Club brought together by Rotarian Edward Wicher of San Anselmo, California, who at the time was spending a year as a Professor in the American School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Jim Davidson and Wisher were able to bring together Jews, Arabs, British and Turks into a club. Davidson said that the club gave strong evidence of unity and hoped that its influence would spread to other cities in Palestine . Although he left Jerusalem on February 9, 1929, the club was officially chartered on the same day as the Cairo club, March 11, 1929.

Associate Commissioner Willem De Cock Buning made several follow-up visits in 1929/1930 to see how these and other new clubs were progressing. During these visits Buning discussed further developments in their countries; he also presented Rotary flags to Athens, Cairo and Jerusalem as the first clubs in their respective countries.

Above, researched and written by RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis (UK) 3 May 2007


In 1928 James W. (Jim) Davidson, General Commissioner of Rotary International, a past president of the Calgary, Alberta, Rotary Club, answered a call from Rotary International to carry the Rotary ideal to Asia, to the Near East, to southern Asia and to the Far East. The journey took three years and started in Istanbul. Jim’s wife and daughter accompanied him on his long odyssey, which covered 12,000 miles and took them to the shores of the Pacific.

The second stop was Athens and from there the Davidson’s continued to Cairo where on January 2nd 1929, the Cairo club was founded with 22 charter members, and Clare Martin, manager of Shell Oil, as President.

Jim Davidson then proceeded to Jerusalem by train to join Dr. Edward Wicher, a Rotarian from San Anselmo, California, who, helped by three or four Jerusalem residents, had prepared the ground for a club in the Holy City. The founding meeting of the Jerusalem Rotary Club took place on January 22nd 1929 at the St. John’s Hotel in the Old City. The first President was J.W. Crowfoot, a British archaeologist; the Secretary was Vladamir Wolfson, manger of Shell Oil. There were 21 charter members, most of them British officials; in those tense times the club could not have been founded at all without strong British support.
The charter members of Jerusalem, in 1929

Indeed, it was a remarkable achievement and a credit to Rotary, that there were both Arab and Jewish members as well. However, the inclusion of such outstanding scholars as Norman Bentwich, Canon Danby and Hugo Bergman among the charter members ensured rapid admission to Rotary International on March 11th, less then seven weeks after the formal organizational meeting.

The Cairo Rotary Club, founded just 20 days earlier, sponsored the Jerusalem club and presented it with the Rotary Bell which has served the club every since.

The Jerusalem Rotary Club began life at a time of sharpened political tensions, shortly before the Hebron program that left many Jewish residents dead. The general situation did not improve. Indeed the five years from 1936 to 1940 where worse still.

Nevertheless, the Rotary spirit protected relations within the Jerusalem Rotary Club, and British, Arab and Jewish Rotarians continued their weekly meetings, providing a haven for harmony and free discussion. A second club was established in 1933 in Haifa as a result of Clare Martin’s preparatory work.

It was the Jerusalem Club that takes credit for establishing the third club in Tel Aviv-Yaffo through the efforts of two of its members, the architect Chaikin and Halabi.

If the general situation was unsettling during those early years, this was mirrored in the Jerusalem Club’s quest for a permanent home. From its first “home” in 1929, St. John’s Hotel in the Old City, the Club moved to the old Fast Hotel, then to the new Fast Hotel, the Soldier’s Hostel on St. Paul’s Road, the YMCA in Allenby Square, Darouti’s Hotel and the King David Hotel. Finally, in 1953, the Rotary Club moved to its current home, the Jerusalem YMCA on King David Street.

During the Second World War, the Club continued to meet regularly and continued to include British, Jewish and Arab members. In 1944 Lars Lind of the Jerusalem Club was elected District Governor, the only member of a club in Palestine so honored during the British Mandate. The Club sustained a membership of nearly 60 Rotarians throughout the war years.

Elie Eliashar, who was Club President in 1946-47, recalled this period:

“Jerusalem was geographically one City uniting Old and New, sacred to Jewish, Christians and Muslims everywhere. the rule was British but political strife was ripe. The more sacred the interests, the more difficult it was to find common ground for meetings and understanding.

“Such a center was the Rotary Club which gathered round the President’s Rotary Bell. Britishers in high government employ, members of the Consular Corps, Moslems and Christian Arabs and Jews. Disturbances and riots did not prevent Rotarians from meeting under most difficult conditions. Once around the tables at the King David Hotel or the YMCA, all differences were set aside. Collaboration was intimate and friendly for the good of Jerusalem and in matters of social welfare, the Club often serving as a moderator of public opinion.”

Following the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, contact with other clubs in the 89th District (Egypt, Sudan, Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria) was impossible, so Rotary International granted autonomy to the three Israeli clubs in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv-Yaffo.

When the Jerusalem Club was established, its meetings were conducted in English and they still are today. New members from abroad are drawn to the Club partly because of their lack of proficiency in Hebrew. As a result, diplomats, international civil servants and representatives of different religions find a home at Wednesday lunch meetings at the “Y.” Visiting Rotarians here as tourists or on short term assignments or attending conferences also find their way to the Club’s table knowing that the guest speaker will address the gathering in English.

The international make-up of the Jerusalem Rotary Club and its guests, enables the Club to identify partners for joint ventures in much needed social projects. American Canadian, Dutch, German, Italian and Swedish Rotary Clubs have participated in a variety of such projects during the past decade, benefiting institutions that provide medical equipment to the needy, integrated education to the handicapped, and support for Israel-Arab understanding and cooperation.

Help to the community is a central theme in the activities of the Jerusalem Club, and nothing illustrates this more effectively than the thirty years of non-stop scholarships for Jerusalem’s needy secondary school students provided through the Club’s Jerusalem Rotary Foundation.

Centennial Bell in Jerusalem in 2003. RGHF board member Irene Lewitt, second from right. Fourth from the right is PDG Yael Lazaros, the second woman DG.

(Source: History of the Jerusalem Rotary Club, Benad Avital, Lucien Harris and Don Edelstein, editors, 1999)

Rotary Global History Day Israel 2009

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