Numerous readers of LML in English, in particular those living in Great Britain, USA & Canada who don’t speak French, have contacted me with questions concerning the structure of the new Grande Loge de l’Alliance Maçonnique Française (GL-AMF). It would appear that a certain degree of confusion arises, particularly concerning the concept of Rite Houses (Maison du Rite) within the Grand Lodge structure and relations with the Ordinal Jurisdictions.
This article will attempt to put your fears to rest and to present the major lines in their simplest form.
Myosotis Lutèce is producing a series of articles using POWERPOINT presentation to explain the civil administrative and masonic functioning of the GL-AMF. The first two articles are already published in French. link LML in English is translating the text into English and will publish them, probably as a single article. The POWERPOINT presentation remains if French but, as the title suggests, “Follow the Penguin” !!!
For non-French readers, particularly our British Brethren, the plethora of Rites practiced here in France appears complex and confusing. For in Great Britain there is essentially just one Rite, Emulation. Yes, there are a number of other Rites, but in the main they are very similar to Emulation. But in France there are great differences from one Rite to another. That in no way diminishes their legitimacy, their respect of the Landmarks of Traditional Freemasonry or their regularity and that of the Brethren who labour under them. In fact the diversity of Rites adds a richness to the French masonic landscape, seldom seen elsewhere. I was initiated under the A&ASR and will remain faithful to it to my dying day but a visit to a well performed Emulation ritual is a heartlifting moment.
Another difference is that in British Freemasonry things are essentially limited to the three craft degrees plus the Royal Arch and several side degrees. If you want to go further you enter one of the side degrees such as the Mark. In France a number of Rites (A&ASR, French Rite and Rectified Scottish) have perfecting or improvement degrees whose spiritual management and transmission is ensured by an Ordinal Jurisdiction. For example, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, governed by the Supreme Council for France, has 33 degrees, the first three craft degrees being administered both civilly and Masonically by a Grand Lodge. The Craft Degrees Grand Lodge and the Ordinal Jurisdictions are sovereign and independent and their relations will be examined later in this article.
The Rites and their Rite Houses
Each Brother and each Lodge will be part of a Rite House according to the ritual he / it labours under (A&ASR, French Rite, Emulation, etc…). This will ensure the total respect of the Ritual and its adhesion to the principles of regularity. Within each Rite House there will be a commission to oversee this strict observance, to implement training programmes and to examine modifications as may be proposed from time to time. The decision will be internal with no outside interference, particularly from the Ordinal Jurisdictions. Nonetheless, the traditional good relations in amity that have existed between the Craft Degree Grand Lodge and the Ordinal Jurisdictions will continue.
Each Rite House will elect its Assistant Grand Master and the Grand Master of the Grande Loge de l’Alliance Maçonnique Française will be chosen from among the Rite House Assistant Grand Masters. His term of office will be limited to two years non-renewable and it will pass from Rite House to Rite House to ensure the equal estimation of each Rite under the Grand Lodge structure.
The Grand Lodge and the Ordinal Jurisdictions
For those Rites concerned by an Ordinal Jurisdiction (A&ASR, French, etc) it is important to clarify the confusion concerning their relations with the GL-AMF (the Craft Degree Grand Lodge). In no way can the concept of a Rite House within the GL-AMF be construed as an extension of an Ordinal Jurisdiction. And in its form today the GL-AMF is NOT and will not be a federation of Grand Lodges, each representing a specific Rite. That is the German model which was briefly examined but quickly abandoned, particularly in the light of reactions from national Grand Lodges with whom the founding Brethren of the GL-AMF enjoy the strongest fraternal relations.
The management and transmission of the specificities of each Rite at the first three degree level has been placed in the hands of a Grand Lodge (GL-AMF). There is not and will not be any outside interference from the related Ordinal Jurisdiction. And vice versa. The GL-AMF does not and will not interfere in the internal workings of the Ordinal Jurisdictions.
A Brother who has risen to the degree of Master Mason within his Rite within the GL-AMF and wishes to advance to a higher degree will be readily admitted into the appropriate Ordinal Jurisdiction since he is regular within his Rite coming from the GL-AMF.
LML in English welcomes comments and / or questions coming from readers on this subject.