The Meaning and Process of HONORS

posted May 30, 2015, 5:22 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 30, 2015, 5:22 PM ]
Many of our newer members, and probably some older ones, too,  have wondered why there are so many different Scottish Rite caps, what they stand for, and how do I get one? The Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Masonry, Southern Jurisdiction, may, at it’s discretion, bestow HONORS to deserving members. These Honors cannot be asked for or expected as reward for contributions made to the Scottish Rite, Masonry or any other bodies. They are bestowed in recognition of achievement.
The first is the Knight Commander Court of Honor (KCCH) and is invested. Those members so invested are recognized by a Red Cap. These invested brothers remain 32° Masons, because the KCCH is not a Degree—it is an Honor. A recipient of the KCCH is told that the “honor is given not for what you have done, but for what you will do.” It is bestowed upon Brothers deserving recognition for faithful service to the Rite, and are chosen by the Supreme Council to receive this rank and designation. Though there is an expectation that the recipient will continue to provide the fraternity with “above and beyond” service, a member of the Knight Commander Court of Honor  is not invested, by virtue of the honor alone, with any authority or positioning above that held  by any other 32° Mason. It is one of the great Honors in Scottish Rite Masonry to be so designated. If you have to ask what you need to do to qualify for one - you probably will never receive one.
The second is the 33rd and final Degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, which is an Honorary Degree. Members having been conferred this Honor are distinguished by a White Cap. Though it can only be bestowed as an Honor, the 33° is an actual Degree and therefore is conferred in a tiled Lodge of 33° Masons. Those selected to receive the 33° have often been those whose involvement in Masonry in general, and Scottish Rite in particular, has been vast and shown leadership. Though those in administrative leadership positions in the Scottish Rite are generally selected from 33° members, having been honored with the 33° does not, in itself, invest the recipient  with any authority or position of superiority over any other member of the Scottish Rite. It represents recognition worthy of respect only. No Honor will ever be bestowed upon any person who seeks it or desires to receive it. The main reason for this is that the work for which a member may be recognized, should be done by the member simply because it is the right thing to do - and not with hope or expectation of recognition, reward or compensation. 
I hope you all have enjoyed this brief article. Most of it was taken from an article in the October 2013 Oakland Scottish Rite Bulletin. Next month we will discuss other various Scottish Rite Caps - their history, colors and meanings.