Following the decision taken last Saturday by the GL Suisse Alpina to withdraw Recognition of the GLNF definitively and the announcement that the Swiss were meeting with other European Grand Lodges that very evening, it comes as no surprise that 5 major Grand Lodges have decided they’ve had enough of the GLNF.
The Grand Lodges of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland have published a joint communiqué declaring their definitive withdrawal of Recognition. link
The declaration stresses that under the current GLNF management the Obedience has gone astray (slipped its moorings) and that both the electoral college composition and the electoral system deprives it of all semblance of legitimacy. The finger can be pointed at one man only, François Stifani. And, as the declaration states, history will hold him accountable.
Then the 5 Grand Masters call upon French Freemasonry in general to completely rethink the structuring and organization within this country. The call is clearly directed at 2 Obediences, the Grande Loge de France (GLdF) and the newly created Grande Loge de l’Alliance Maçonnique Française (GL-AMF), the only two with legitimate claims to international Recognition.
Concerning the Grande Loge de France (paragraph 4 of the communiqué) the quality of its labours is beyond question and its desire to take its place on the international masonic stage is well known. However, despite indicating their willingness to discuss with the GLdF, the 5 Grand Masters state clearly the 3 major difficulties confronting the Obedience :
The necessity to adhere to the fundamental principles of regular freemasonry (normally this is not a problem for the GLdF, with the exception of the following 2 points)
The necessity to clarify (meaning sever) their ambiguous links with irregular Obediences. The GLdF allows inter-visiting with other Obediences, particularly the Grand Orient, which doesn’t open under the auspices of the Great Architect, a major stumbling block, and the right for GLdF Brethren to visit mixed Lodges.
The necessity for a clear and unambiguous limitation of relations between the GLdF and the Supreme Council of the A&ASR. Foreign readers need to know that the GLdF labours under a single Rite, which is not the case of the GL-AMF where 6 Rites are used.
Both of these points present an insurmountable stumbling block for any sort of Recognition of the GLdF by the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland.
Another difficulty comes directly from the mouth of the GLdF Grand Master who stated this weekend in Lille that his Grand Lodge has a “lay vision of spirituality”, a clear distancing itself from one of the fundamentals of Traditional Freemasonry. This vision appears to be confirmed by the statement of principles on the GLdF website where its position on the Great Architect is borderline.
Paragraph 5 is clearly directed towards current and former GLNF Brethren who have joined or are considering joining the GL-AMF. The 5 Grand Masters clearly state their determination and desire to accommodate “present and former Brethren of the GLNF who wish to practice their traditional masonry within an administrative framework safely embedded in internationally recognized freemasonry.” The only French Obedience which meets these criteria today is the GL-AMF. With a membership above 7000 and increasing daily, its weight is felt, not only within France but on the international masonic stage as well. And the withdrawal of GLNF Recognition by the 5 Grand Lodges, coupled with the ongoing legal battles and the foreseeable AGM fiasco, can only help to further swell its ranks.