Those were the words used by the five Grand lodges in their declaration severing Recognition of the GLNF. Words calling for a total rethink of Freemasonry in this country. At the same time they announced their willingness to discuss the subject with the Grande Loge de France (GLdF). That announcement came as a bombshell to most Brethren of both the GLdF and the recently created GL-AMF. And it was the kiss of death for the GLNF.
Is the possibility of discussions between foreign Grand Lodges and the GLdF in contradiction with the openly expressed wish of the GL-AMF to obtain international Recognition ? An initial reading would suggest so. But, after reflection, and studying not only the 5GLs declaration, but also the speech made by Alain Juillet, the GL-AMF Grand Master, in Tours on April 28th, the answer leans towards the possibility of an agreement.
He said, “… we have placed ourselves at the heart of the rebirth of Traditional and Regular Freemasonry in our country.” Most of us present in Tours interpreted that statement as meaning that the members of the newly formed GL-AMF would pick up the fallen banner of Regular Traditional Freemasonry and march forward towards international Recognition. Now we realize that Alain Juillet was painting on a broader canvas. His view of the future landscape of masonry in France did not involve solely the GL-AMF.
In a letter dated June 21st Alain Juillet wrote the following to the brethren of the GL-AMF :
“…we are undertaking a reconstruction of French Freemasonry in which the Regular Obediences such as the Grande Loge de France, the GL-AMF and others will have their rightful place. »
For far too long we have been the subject of interminable backbiting, slamming of doors and fragmentation of what should be a unified force. In general, when we look at the other French Obediences we see remarkable similarities with our own. The exception is the Grand Orient which is historically and is likely to remain a sort of sounding board for the French republic on social and moral reform. Its notion of spirituality is far removed from ours.
But that is not the case for the GLdF, the GLTSO, the LNF and a number of others. The 5GLs declaration is a call for all of us to approach the Brethren of the other Obediences, to pull together in the same direction, for the improvement of the reputation of French Freemasonry on the international scene.
Who knows what the final composition will be ? Once the three principal questions of inter-visits, relations between the Obediences and the Jurisdictions and the definition of the Great Architect are resolved, perhaps a number of Obediences Recognised on the international scene or the creation of some sort of national federation of independent Regular Grand Lodges, that federation representing France. Only time will tell. In the meantime, let us all work together with an open mind, in the best traditions of freemasonry.