The decision to create a Grand Lodge in French Polynesia has been widely publicised as was François Stifani’s latest facesaving effort in backdating documents (LML in English December 22nd and 31st, 2011).
We are pleased to announce that just one month later, last Saturday January 21st, the Grande Loge Régulière de Tahiti et des Archipels (GLRT) was consecrated in conformity with the principles of Regularity laid down by the United Grand Lodge of England.
There may be those who will immediately say that a Grand Lodge can only be consecrated by three existing Recognised and Regular Grand Lodges. In fact, if this is the common practice, a close reading of the texts confirms that a grand Lodge can be created by three Regular Lodges. LML in English is only reporting the event, not taking sides in a “chicken and the egg” debate. Our Tahitian Brethren have totally respected the rules of Regularity and there are ample legal texts and precedents to defend their position. Over the next few weeks the GLRT management will begin the process of requesting Recognition from international Traditional Freemasonry, particularly from those European Grand Lodges which have withdrawn recognition of the GLNF. They will also seek recognition from the Grand Lodges of the Pacific basin, with whom our Polynesian Brethren have always enjoyed the warmest relations.
The first action of the new Grand Lodge was to consecrate a new Craft A&ASR Lodge “Te Matamua”. The name means “In the beginning”, most appropriate. So immediately the new GL has 4 Lodges, 1 French or Modern Rite, 2 Emulation and 1 A&ASR.
In addition the Grand Master’s “0” Lodge was consecrated to welcome Brethren outside French Polynesia seeking a calm haven of regularity in these troubled times. For those interested in joing the "Zero" Lodge, the annual dues are 80 euros and the bank account will be opened in the next few days. LML in English can supply the application form.
The writing of the Statutes and By-Laws of the new Grand Lodge was a joint project undertaken by all the Brethren, many long evenings and late nights, a marathon effort to avoid the troubles we have experienced within the GLNF and to ensure only one possible interpretation of the texts. Nonetheless, bearing in mind that things evolve over time, the Grand Master immediately created a permanent on-going supervisory and text revision commission. It is totally independent and its membership is limited to Brethren who are not part of the Grand Lodge management team. The results of their deliberations will be presented regularly to a Council of Elders who can no longer be part of any Grand Lodge decisional body. Once approved by the Council of Elders, the modifications are submitted to the Grand Lodge board ( 50% being elected representatives of the Lodges). Within a month each decision is validated at an extra-ordinary general assembly where all the Brethren may vote. Obviously such an arrangement can only exist for a relatively small Grand Lodge.
Each Lodge is completely independent concerning its internal decisions and finances. The GLRT limits its role to ensuring harmony within the Lodges, ensuring the respect of its Warrant which in turn respects the ancient texts, the Landmarks and the Traditional Customs and Usages of the Order of Universal Freemasonry. The GLRT will also represent the Brethren on the international masonic scene.
The Grand Master has named correspondents for each of the Rites practiced in Tahiti, their role being to liaise with the Jurisdictions, to guarantee the non-interference of the GLRT within the Rites and to reassure the Jurisdictions that the Rites will be adhered to in their purest form.
For those who wish to suggest that the Tahitians have jumped ship from the GLNF, they point out that for a considerable time they opposed François Stifani , but being 18000 km away, the battle was lost before it began. The GLRT was decided upon, not in precipitation, but out of urgency. Even a solution such as the ULRF did not fit the Polynesian criteria. Over 25 years, the 150 Tahitian Brethren have given more than 400 000 euros to the GLNF head office and have obtained very little in return. When they requested financial assistance from Pisan to build their Temple they were told that for only 150 Brethren it wasn’t worth it !!! Little wonder they decided to take their independence !
LML in English wishes every success to this new member of the international Grand Lodge community.