Saturday December 3rd at Levallois Perret, enough has been said about the François Stifani fiasco. And there were about 1500 to 2000 Brethren there to witness it.
Just one week later, Saturday December 10th and only a couple of kilometres away approximately the same number of Brethren, many of them for the second Saturday running, were at la Défense to participate in the winter solstice celebration of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for France.
2000 Brethren at Levallois Perret represents less than 5 % of the GLNF membership. 2000 at La Défense represents 40% of the SCPLF membership.
And the entire event took place in calm, dignity and respect. Not a single coachload of CRS, security at the strict minimum, no demonstrators outside, registration was simple and friendly.
When the “Marseillase” was sung by every Brother present it was with reserve and respect, full of emotion.
On Saturday December 3rd hundreds of Brethren were refused entry because they had been struck off or their Lodge was suspended. And during the ceremony hundreds of Brethren left in protest at the masquerade that took place before them. Last Saturday everyone gained entry and only two or three left in protest at the end of the Sovereign Grand Commander’s speech.
There were 30 foreign delegations (compared to 14 the previous Saturday) and an additional 30 who presented their excuses for being unable to attend. And those present were not banana republic delegations.
- The Northern Jurisdiction of the USA (who brought a message of support from the Southern Jurisdiction),
- A joint delegation from England and Wales, Scotland,
- all the countries bordering France with the exception of Belgium, plus Portugal, Austria and Holland,
- virtually all the Scandinavian and Baltic states,
- also Russia, Poland, The Czech republic, Rumania, Serbia, Slovenia, croatia, the Ukraine and Armenia.
- Further south was represented by Turkey, Greece, Israel and Iran.
- Only 2 African countries sent delegations, Togo and the Ivory Coast.
All but 2 of the delegations were represented by the Sovereign Grand Commander in person, often accompanied by his lieutenant. All in all there were 78 high dignitaries in the East. Those foreign delegations who spoke offered their total and unwavering support to the French Brethren in these troubled times. Each speaker was loudly applauded, particularly, England, Scotland and the Northern Jurisdiction of the USA.
The Sovereign Grand Commander’s speech, the high point of the ceremony, was listened to with a “religious” silence, total attention being given to his every word. His speech was made with finesse, intelligence and elegance, stressing the distinct difference between an Obedience and an Order. Not a word out of place, no personal attacks, no diatribes against other structures.
Some references made in his speech :
Masonic institutions should only exist to enable Freemasons to progress on their personal quest.
The message from the higher degrees can only be obtained in association with the labour undertaken in Craft Lodge.
Two independent and sovereign masonic bodies exist. Each has its own history.
The two are not based upon the same concepts.
The implication of the Brethren in the three basic Craft degrees is not the same as in the higher degrees and it is perfectly legitimate for a brother to find his satisfaction in the three craft Degrees.
There must be only one Recognised Grand Lodge and one Recognised Supreme Council for each country and each must undertake to not interfere in the internal workings of the other.
Regularity must be recognised and organised by international Freemasonry.
With firmness and calm the Sovereign Grand Commander continued :
The Supreme Council maintains the TOTAL right over the entire 33 degrees even when having conceded the 3 basic degrees to the Grand Lodge.
The current situation is sad and worrying… … and the perspectives are not encouraging.
The ridiculous “plot theory” widens the gap.
While not interfering in the internal workings of another organisation the SCPLF cannot remain disinterested and allow the loss of dignity of a link in the chain.
His conclusion was without ambiguity :
The current opposition is creating the conditions for an assembly and he recognises the courageous initiatives.
There are two important dates coming up (the January 13th court of appeal and the February 4th AGM of the GLNF Association). If the decisions or lack thereof do not give assurances of an immediate and visible future… … the Supreme Council will assume its entire responsibility to save the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite in France.
Immediately the entire assembly rose to give a 3 minute standing ovation to the Sovereign Grand Commander, including the foreign delegations.
A complete contrast to the GLNF fiasco just one week earlier.
A final point : the presence of Jean-Claude Tardivat, until recently recognised as the GLNF Minister of Foreign Affairs and the presence of the some of the most important officers of the higher grades in France of the French Rite and the Rectified Scottish Rite.
The message is clear and unequivocal : In two months, no matter what, we’ll be out of the mess.