FIRST BREAK UP THEN BREAK DOWN.
De l’éclatement à la volonté d’effondrement
In a final article, Bro Charles gives us his views as an eminent Brother on the very latest situation of the GLNF. Translation and comment Arturusrex.
FIRST BREAK UP THEN BREAK DOWN.
The last few generations of GLNF hierarchy, fierce wilders of the axe against their adversaries, have created splits up, down, across and throughout the Obedience causing it to vacillate between implosion and explosion.
A strong tendency for the lodges to seceed.
Brothers in the provinces are attached to their provinces and when they refer to Paris, it is “them up there”, with whatever regional accent you care to imagine!
The crisis has amplified beyond breaking point a strong anti-Jacobite (Translator suggests as an approximation “anti-Parisian”) tendency whose roots go deep into the history of France and our Obedience.
The word “Province”, in France, refers to the time when the country was unified from a land of “Duchies”, by processes of blood-letting or blending by marriage. In our collective unconscious, certain phases of that period have left scars that persist even today.
The Provinces of France were replaced by the “Départements” after the French Revolution, in order to weaken local opposition and have a better hold over the regions. Decentralisation has now brought in the notion of Regions more or less corresponding to where the borders of the old Provinces had been, as such features as rivers, mountains and large towns have not moved a lot.
Another thing which has not moved a lot is our country’s capacity for producing Dukes and Barons. The term of Province, purposely conservative, has largely facilitated the barony phenomenon. Several Provincial Grand Barons, in their brutal and domineering belief that in their Provinces, they held every power. This has led to powerful movements of rejection, inspiring whole lodges to leave their jurisdiction and call for autonomy
To survive, some of them have, over the last few months, gone into associations to protect their integrity and save their names, traditions and rituals.
Lodges have seen their team spirit perk up under adversity.
Fragmentation on one hand and group cohesion within the lodges are factors that will have to be taken into account.
The barons have achieved the total disqualification of all the outgoing leadership for reuniting the lodges that they have cast aside but caused to join in solidarity together.
Scores of lodges, daily more numerous have put themselves under the tutelage of judicial Administrator.
The Jurisdictions attacked: the Rites hijacked.
Mr Stifani used to boast of how many rites were practised in the GLNF, presenting them as a source of wealth, but he has no respect for them. More dastardly still, having no understanding of them, he has tried to steal them from their traditional custodians, “reformat” them, and increase the number of saleable items for their practice to put into the GLNF catalogue. Once his subterfuge accomplished, he has imagined he would remove the true Heads of the Orders, like ministers of some government department whose savoir-faire he fondly imagines he has acquired.
The ignorant thought that the manipulation had gone unnoticed
Stage 1 : rapprochement between Rites
After the departure from France of the American NATO troops and brethren at the insistence of de Gaulle, the American York-working lodges were abandoned and membership of the GLNF was depleted to about 1000 strong (Tr note: see article on LML in English blog of January 2nd, 2011, entitled ”From Mr S to Mr X http://lmlenglish.over-blog.com/article-from-mr-s-to-mr-x-64157340.html
It was initially chosen to work the Scottish Rectified Rite and an Emulation working was introduced almost immediately. Americans in France soon had their lodges, registered under the GLNF, especially after 1945, all working the York Rite. In 1965, there was an intake of many hundreds (some say thousands; official figures are contradictory) of dissidents from the Grande Loge de France who worked and imported the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, of French origin, in spite of its name. Other rites or workings have come to be adopted by the GLNF, including the French or Moderns Rite, and a standardized “Scottish” working known as the Standard d’Ecosse.
These events were of reciprocal mutual interest.
They were generally stimulated by the brethren of influence in the higher or side degrees.
Brethren on the whole were pleased to have this support which was mutually accepted, in spite of the occasional quarrel of little import.
A first act of aggression caused the departure of a whole rite, lock, stock and barrel. Its then leading exponent tried an open “take over” of one of the small rites. It passed ore or less unnoticed, but we might consider it to have been the fore-runner of a strategy to be developed later, headed by a megalomaniac who did not stall at the size of his objective, as we shall see a little later. (One is sorely tempted to recall the phrase of Audiard concerning those who dare all and are recognizable by their utter fearlessness.)
Stage 2: Craft and R.A. rituals destructively manipulated to weaken their impact.
We were witness to systematic messing around with the rituals, so-say, to bring them closer together, to make them more “cohesive”, as if the traditions had originally imagined that one day their “range of products” would have to be “standardized”!
Certain passages essential for the development of certain ceremonies have been removed, others added in, brought in from degrees yet to be encountered by the candidates, thus preempting the secrecy of the system.
The way degrees traditionally lead on from one to another and fit together goes back to well beyond the arrival of the GLNF.
A sort of “democratization” opened up possibilities of visiting between rites on the basis of degree equivalences, and this led to inter-rite joining and, therefore, an increase in revenue from dues and sales of regalia.
Syncretism, i.e. a mixture of bits of this and scraps of that added on and well mixed in, gradually came into favour, with everyone trying to bring back some interesting detail seen while visiting elsewhere. The phenomenon accelerated as mass ritual tourism came into vogue. The tourists, on their return, making much of the imported wealth found on their fabulous visits and recommended for adoption in their own lodges.
The new D.I.Y masons caused the rituals to lose all genuineness… and then imposed their hybrids, rather as some countries build their supremacy over others by whittling down their specificities in order to destroy their coherency and mutual cohesions.
Stage 3: siphoning off the “clients” (i.e. the brothers) towards the R.A.
Next was to see provincial officers abusing their position and pseudo spiritual superiority, “flogging” the R.A. Like commercial reps, they went knocking at all the doors vaunting the merits of what they claimed was the “logical step up” for the brethren of all the rites. Without informing the WMs or the officers of the lodges, without asking whether it was an appropriate thing for them to do, before many a saddened eye, they went about it as if it was a matter of conquering a competitor’s market.
Of course, in the traditional way of progression, each rite has its own scale and looks after the brothers who wish to go that way.
Brothers from one or other of the rites can be seen reading their books in side degrees where it should be known by heart. What is as absurd is to see these side degrees now calling off in order to hear “a paper by a brother”
We have also seen brothers from the learn-it-by-heart orders who expected some reciprocal hospitality from the French speaking orders; brothers knowing nothing about the rites or about symbolism, who thought that some tourist’s anecdote from their memories, nothing to do with the subject set, would do to be accepted into the 4th degree of the A&ASR or the RSR. On having their application momentarily turned down, certain such brethren have held a grudge against the Rite without making any effort to understand what is implies, or worse, after trying to coerce it into some sort of change to being what it is not.
The desire to increase “global business”, for some merchants, seems to call for “slight adaptations and concessions” that lead both parties and the whole to their loss. .
Stage 4: from aggressing the Jurisdictions of the Rites to the final assault.
The process of aggression has been pushed a step further by the desire of Mr Stifani to subjugate the Jurisdictions (the Rites) in their turn, as he had done for the craft lodges. (See Part 1 of the Diagnosis).
Their joint refusal (in writing) was presented by the aggressor as an aggression!
When François Stifani created the constitutionally un-heard of and un-thought of situation whereby President and Grand Master were separate functions, the G.Commanders of the Rites, anxious to see the function of Grand Master preserved in all its dignity, wrote to him to say that they would draw the consequences of his acts. They then went silent and were subjected to incessant attacks.
Blogs bitterly attacked the A&ASR , designated by them as the only cause of the present situation, described in the phases of the Diagnosis.
On learning of how certain brothers react and remain with preconceived ideas about the higher degrees, we try to be introspective.
We are sorry for those who, at certain moments, suffered unfair aggressiveness from certain ego-centric people, which is what the Jurisdictions fight against.
We notice the frustration of those whose progress in the rite was cut short, while their “spiritual progress” resembles the environment which we criticize. (See Diagnostic, Part 2)
.We have seen a district promoted to become a Grand Lodge to hold hostage the brethren living there, on their island in the Indian Ocean. If they live rather a long way from their nearest neighbours, we do not. When François Stifani went there for a short stay, we all knew it was a study trip. Now he is proving that to everybody.
One question of masonic interest requires the asking :can a regular masonic body lie back impotently and let itself be divided up and fragmented by the people responsible for maintaining it in its entirety and still remain “recognized” internationally?
The reply given by the European Grand Lodges will be clear. We hope the UGLE’s will not be long awaited.
The’explosion of the final circle :
Mr Stifani is now dealing with the ones who are withdrawing their support for him. Manners are not exactly what they might be. They each react only when hit directly.
Many of them thought Myosotis FMR were a band of bloodthirsty outlaws. That was confusing some unruly commentators with the Blog editors. The latter are far more composed than the extremists of either side, and they have good ideas.
In their blind obedience, brothers who claim to be “legalists” have still not realized, but they will eventually have to open their eyes, because each of them in turn will be Mr Stifani’s target.
Mr Stifani can no longer stand without the “legalists”, who serve him as crutches.
Nearly two years ago, we saw Mr Stifani turn up at the annual Fête of one of the Rites, backed up for the first time by the presence at his sides of his two predecessors. He had just uttered a few rude noises. The other two were there probably to show their solidarity and determination to domineer the situation.
I thought they looked like the two little wheels used to steady a bicycle ridden by a beginner cyclist to save him from falling off. In fact, they were the twin crutches of a moribund masonry. Odd, how they seem to have disappeared from the scene these days!
François Stifani then declared to the Orator, who had just read a very clear paper on “Fraternity”, that he did not understand a lot of our “labours”, but he felt they made him a better man! What a waste of a promise!
In a similar manner, François Stifani today stands only by the help of brothers who are his crutches and try as best they can, but with increasing difficulty, to protect him from himself. These brothers fail to see that the longer they maintain him the more they participate in the destruction he is wreaking. He has probably not informed all of them of his underlying intentions, even though his recent letters point fairly clearly to them.
The problem is structural, because no internal counter-authority or safe guard exists to be able oppose what has been set in motion. It is a structural problem leading the GLNF irremediably towards its destruction. The lodges, left to their own devices, are abandoning ship and taking place on life rafts. The charges to be leveled at those who imagine themselves to be victors will cause them to implode. Our no-concessions diagnosis is acknowledged by brothers from all over the world.
Only Universal Traditional Freemasonry will survive, i.e. masonry of the Spirit and the Heart. That Masonry will then be able to regain Recognition after it has been lost. And as to those who will be allowed on board again, we will be selective.
Message to the non fanatical “legalists”:
We know of cracks that have still to break through to the surface.
DIY men so clumsy at plastering over the faults in their constructions made of the stones they found would not have such shoddiness in their own homes and would take their own likes to court for such worthless workmanship. Not only are some of them useless with a trowel, but others have used TNT, crowbars and sledgehammers at every storey of our common building.
You find the same function being exercised by several brothers. Two-handed, three-handed gavels are being brandished and knocked all around and more and more.
A cheat has put dummy cards in the pack. He leaves us no option than to clear them off the table, sort them out, get rid of the dummies, reshuffle and deal again.
The White Book (Le Livre Blanc) intends lodge delegates to elect their own representatives, as in other countries.
Brothers who have conducted themselves becomingly will be eligible as delegates of their lodges if the latter deem that to be fair and useful.
Responsibilities may be offered to them if the other delegates deem them worthy of such responsibilities. In the knowledge of which, lodges will make their elections.
The scribblings of François Stifani are evidence of the shameful secrets he protects.
Dear Brothers, hear me well: he will try to bring you down into the slime and the depths, all of you, with himself to prevent the ship being put back on course before it hits the rocks.
Dear “legalistic” Brother, will you realize that you are being used as a decoy for a man who has no respect for the Law of the Land, because he even uses that to his own advantage. Your intended loyalty to him strengthens the division he has purposely created and propels into the abyss the obedience that you swore to serve.
YOU ARE a Grand or Provincial Grand Officer
YOU ARE a member of the Sovereign Grand Committee….
If the various stages of our diagnosis posted on this blog under the heading “Diagnosis and Re-Foundation” seem to you op be generally correct,
If you no longer how to help your Obedience,
If you are prepared to question the a priori prejudices that propaganda has instilled in your mind,
If you are prepared to speak to your brethren with courtesy, without thinking you will have them suspended, even if you do not totally agree with them,
If, for you, the manœuvres for the survival of titles and grand offices are unworthy and infra dig.
If you are prepared to step back while reasonable, viable solutions are proposed and implemented by others,
Then endeavour to save what can still be saved: save your dignity and your Honour.
Charles, a brother who sees kamikaze fanatics flying planes at our towers.