The designator irregular or clandestine Freemasonry should be attributed to Lodges which are not internationally recognized as conforming to the underlying principles of Freemasonry. In 1877, the United Grand Lodge of England and consequently also many other regular Grand Lodges withdrew recognition of GOdF (Grand Orient de France), later also that of Grand Loge de France.
Regularity is a mechanism by which the Grand Lodges recognize one another, thus expediting mutual collaboration and giving opportunity to their members to visit Lodges within jurisdiction of another Grand Lodge. At the same time, regularity does not permit collaboration with irregular lodges. For this reason, all Grand Lodges maintain lists of other jurisdictions and Lodges they consider regular.
Grand Lodges that have mutually recognized one another and allow mutual visits of brothers are called fraternal. Defining regularity the United Grand Lodge of England is guided by several prerequisites laid down in its Constitution and the Constitutions of Grand Lodges that are mutually fraternal. Despite that, depending upon national and historical traditions there are several derogations possible. Other Masonic communities organize themselves in a different way.
Each of both leading Freemasonic branches considers their own lodges “regular” and those of the other branch – “irregular”. The branch represented by the United Grand Lodge of England is considerably larger in number of members and Grand Lodges incorporated in its fraternity are commonly referred to as “regular Freemasonry”, while lodges in fraternity with Grand Orient de France are called “irregular”. At the same time, the term “irregular” is generally applied also to different formations claiming adherence to freemasonry but unrecognized by either of the main branches.
Every Freemason is encouraged to help those in need and hardship as well as to support knowledge-thirsty young people. As far as possible, Freemasons render them financial and other kind of help. It is a voluntary act which must be substantiated by each Freemason himself and the amount of help depends upon means of the particular individual.