• Freemasons often referred to an ideal of “humanité” (Humanität, umanità, humanity) in order to bridge all differences separating mankind. In doing so, they rendered these differences all the more visible, especially in the international arenas. This was definitely the case when freemasons tried to deduce from this ideal “universal” standards and norms for masonic practice. In the national masonic bodies, the virtue of (brotherly) love as an emanation of “pure humanity” was applied to diverging fields of action. They encompassed relief for needy fellow-masons and their families, aid and assistance for underprivileged groups in the service of social reform as well as solidarity with all forces in society that fought for peace, freedom (of conscience), and justice. Speaking “in the name of humanity” on an international level thus became a testing ground for negotiating religious, ideological, societal, and national differences.