What is wrong with the head of the GLNF ? The list is long :
- Regular transgression of the Landmarks
- Autocratic and authoritarian behaviour of a Grand Master who proclaims himself « spiritual guide » of the Obedience
- Language unbecoming the position of Grand Master
- Lack of self control
- A luxurious lifestyle
- Questionable relations with the questionable dictatorial heads of a number of African states
- Implication in parallel diplomatic functions
- The categoric refusal (until very recently) to order veritable audits of the various GLNF structures and satellites
- The opaque nature of the GLNF administration
- The confusion and possible links with unacceptable financial and business affairs
No doubt the list could be added to. Obviously such a situation sullies not only the image of the GLNF but that of French Freemasonry in general.
So it is not surprising to see a common position being adopted by 9 of the masonic obediences in an attempt to improve the public image of French Freemasonry and indicate where the real problem lies.
In an AFP press release dated January 19th nine of the 10 major French masonic Obediences (the only one absent was the GLNF) gave a joint press conference to present an overview of the projects that unite them and reaffirm their values, in other words to distance themselves from the reputation of mystery and sececy that surrounds Freemasonry in France.
The representative of the French National Lodge spoke of the continuation of a Freemasonry which represents diversity, stressing that in their respective Lodges the Brothers and Sisters had asked them to meet to make a summary of the current situation. Each in turn spoke of joint values for a societal project, of personal involvement, of republican morality and of a desire for the common good.
The Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France, Guy Arcizet, underlined their « strategic will to show themselves together », reminding the press that they were « representatives of a common culture of liberal and adogmatic freemasonry … without aims towards specific politics but with a political sense in the general interest of society and the common good ».
Our project « is in opposition to the position of the GLNF » he ironised. He was referring to the apparent dissensions within the Obedience whose current Grand Master, François Stifani, is criticised for his methods and his too personal behaviour.
Not wishing to reveal his identity one of his opponents said recently, « He uses the Obedience and its resources for his own glory. »
The disagreements within the GLNF have taken on an official standing since the request for an administrator to organise the next general assembly which should pronounce the revocation of François Stifani.
The participants at the press conference deplored the unclear functioning of the GLNF which sullies freemasonry in general and which brings out the old chestnut of « affairs and supposed networks ».
They reminded the press of their work in the areas of the defence of free religious and spiritual thinking, the rights of man, the place of women in society, of bioethics, of life-ending and of population minorities. They esteem that at a time where « the idea that a spiritual religiosity be obligatory » they represent « the thoughts of agnostics and atheists who have their word to say in the restoration of those values which are the foundations of society ». « Spirituality does not mean religion but working of the spirit », said Denise Oberlin, Grand Mistress of the Grand Feminine Lodge of France.
The Lodges represented at the press conference were the Grand Orient of France, The Grand Lodge of France, the National Committee of the French Federation of Human rights, the Grand Feminine Lodge of France, the Grand Symbolic and Traditional Lodge Opera, the Grand Feminine Memphis Misraïm Lodge, the National French Lodge, the Universal Mixed Grand Lodge, representing a total of 120 000 French Freemasons.