Yesterday afternoon the quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons met at the St James Street headquarters in London. Prior to the meeting a special committee convened to discuss the question of relations with the French Mark made a series of recommendations to be acted upon by the Grand Lodge. The initial idea was to proceed by degrees (suspension of relations, then eventually withdrawal of recognition). But the final decision took a much firmer stance.
As of yesterday evening the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons for England, Wales and Overseas has withdrawn recognition of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of France and the French Royal Ark Mariners (Nautonniers). The text published on the English Mark site states :
"At the meeting of Grand Lodge on Tuesday 13th March 2012, the President of the General Board announced that board has recommended to the Most Worshipful Grand Master that recognition of the Grand Loge des Maîtres de Marque deFrance be withdrawn forthwith and the Grand Master acceeded to the recommendation. All inter visiting is now suspended. A full transcript of the President of the General Board's announcement will be added later."
Statement by the President of the General Board regarding France on Tuesday 13th March 2012
“Members are aware of the problems with the G.L.N.F. Recognition has been suspended by U.G.L.E. and 5 or 6 European Grand Lodges.
This will shortly spread to the Mark and other Orders administered from this building as the Grand Lodge of M.M.M. of France take new members from the suspended G.L.N.F.
A number of French brethren have petitioned the Grand Master to form a new Mark Lodge, meeting here, consisting of French brethren. These Mark and R.A.M. Lodges were Consecrated here on Saturday 10th March 2012.
Between the two Consecrations, the founders each received a text message from the Grand Master of the G.L.M.M.M. of France stating they were each expelled from the Order with immediate effect.
The Mark Executive Committee have considered this very recent development and have concluded that they are not able to accept such interference in the organisation and running of the Order in the U.K. and in light of this, they have concluded that they should recommend to the Grand Master that recognition be withdrawn from G.L.M.M.M. France forthwith. The Grand Master has acceded to the recommendation and accordingly, recognition of G.L.M.M.M. France has been withdrawn.
The Mark Executive will recommend to the Executives of the other Orders administered from here that they follow suit and in the meantime all visiting to and from the French equivalents of these Orders be suspended.”
As the other side degrees are independent bodies they will each take their own decision at their annual Communications. But the writing is on the wall. An invitation to the Grand master of one of the French side degrees to visit his English counterpart has been withdrawn
Principle causes for yesterday’s decision are activities identical to the Stifani/GLNF debacle. Letters couched in language far removed from normal 'masonic communications. Demands being made for which there is no precedent or authority, for example, the need for Brethren to obtain written permission to attend their own Lodges In the British Isles and the interference in British Districts in France which had been formed with French approval.
The fact that French Mark Grand Master Costes had recently travelled to Britain to receive high honours in an Order he is now demanding be closed down or at best have its Master removed and replaced with someone compliant to him rather than the British Isles, will sound strangely familiar to the students of recent GLNF / Ephesse woes. A similar "Black Hole" has appeared into which the Mark and similar Orders will figuratively descend.
This is yet another example of how French Freemasonry is successfully cutting itself off from the rest of the world. Those familiar with the Stifani debacle will notice close resemblances with what Grand Master Costes appears to be doing to the French Mark.