The decision has just been taken formally bit it is certainly no scoop. The news has been an open secret for the past three months and an inevitable certainty for the past fifteen months.
At today’s quarterly meeting of its Board of General Purposes the United Grand Lodge of England took the last and most definitive step in its process of severing relations with the Grande Loge Nationale Française. It has definitively withdrawn its Recognition and therefore its guarantee of Amity.
The exact SMS sent to me by a Brother in the meeting was "The UGLE no longer recognizes the GLNF as regular."
And the following statement has just been posted on Freemasonry Today :
As soon as we can obtain a copy of the minutes of the meeting or the actual resolution we will post it.
A telephone call to Great Queen street put me in contact with Brother Peter R.....s in the Grand Secretary's office. He confirmed all of the above with the nuance that the UGLE realizes that for the most part the GLNF Brethren and Lodges are and continue to be Regular but that the problem lies with the GLNF management who no longer respect the Landmarks.
At my count this is the ninth Grand Lodge to have sent the GLNF to the sin bin. Each of these decisions is important but that of the United Grand Lodge of England is doubly so. The oldest Grand Lodge in the world with an uninterrupted existence going back almost 300 years does not take such a decision lightly. Forgetting the numerous telephone conversations and e-mails via various intermediaries the UGLE has warned the GLNF on at least three separate occasions, twice simple statements of concern giving the GLNF the time to put its affairs in order and the third time in July 2011 when the UGLE suspended relations.
The GLNF management, François Stifani in particular (but he’s not alone), has paid no heed to the alarm bells and flashing lights on the control panel. With his renowned pigheadededness he has continued headlong down the path to destruction. What has Ephesse achieved since he was installed as Grand Master back in 2005 ?
The alienation of international Freemasonry
The departure of more than one third (we don’t have the exact figures) of the GLNF Brethren
The senseless expenditure of literally millions of euros in legal fees and administrator’s honoraria
The sullying of the image of Freemasonry in general and the GLNF in particular in the public eye
Grist to the journalistic mill. About the only positive element is that the whole sad story has helped to sustain the circulation numbers of newspapers and periodicals such as “Nice Matin” and “L’Express”.
The probable installation of Jean-Pierre Servel as Grand Master in December will only serve to reinforce the French Riviera stranglehold on the GLNF. Reforms if there are any will be merely cosmetic, the Brethren will be as in the dark as ever concerning the true financial figures of the Obedience and its myriad of satellite companies and business structures, and the questions that have been asked repeatedly these past 33 months will remain unanswered.
The most immediate result of today’s decision by the UGLE to send the GLNF into exile will be a veritable avalanche of withdrawals of recognition from Grand Lodges throughout the world. An inglorious end to what was once a noble institution.