Recognition : dotting the « i’s » and crossing the « t’s »

Published on by Allan Sanders

A few days ago the unfortunate publication on a couple of blogs of an unauthorised statement  raised the hopes of Brethren that the GL-AMF would rapidly receive international Recognition. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Recognition of a new Grand Lodge is a process which requires an enormous amount of work and patience by its management. It doesn’t just turn up in the post in the same bundle as the latest advertising blurb from your local supermarket.


The first and most obvious fact is that the Grand Lodge must exist. This may sound all too obvious but last weekend the blog articles managed to give the impression that an important North American Grand Lodge was favourably disposed to the idea of recognising the GL-AMF. Nothing, but nothing whatsoever, can occur before next Saturday when our new Grand Lodge will be consecrated.


And even then things will proceed very slowly. In the first place because the team that has worked so hard to put the machine on the rails has far more pressing priorities; such as the approval of each Lodge that has rallied to the GL-AMF. And the massive job of registering each membership application. All this will take time and must be dealt with ASAP.


The sine qua non for Recognition is Regularity within the Grand Lodge, at all levels. Opening and closing of labour invoking the Great Architect, labour under the authority of the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square and the Compass, total respect of the Constitutions, Statutes and By-Laws, an adherence to the Landmarks and (here in France) to the Rule in 12 Points. And it not sufficient to just state that such is the case. A formal presentation proving Regularity is necessary.


And Regularity IS ONLY GRANTED IF IT IS REQUESTED. That is why the purported claims of last weekend were preposterous. No such request has been formulated by the management of the soon to be consecrated GL-AMF.


As with virtually every international relations arrangement nothing can occur without exploiting pre-existing relations between Brethren of various Grand Lodges throughout the world. The networks established over many years will assist in opening the right doors at the right levels and at the right moment. Via these networks the request can be put to the appropriate commission.


Often this body is not even part of a specific Grand Lodge. Such is the case for many North American Grand Lodges (by North America, I mean the United States, Canada and Mexico). The Conference of North American Grand Masters of Grand Lodges meets once a year in February. The most recent one occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. That was the one where François Stifani was persuaded to return home when he and his important delegation arrived in Washington DC. Only a couple of lightweights went on to Atlanta to unsuccessfully defend the GLNF position.


Within the Conference there is a Commission for Foreign Relations which examines requests for recognition (the new Grand Lodge of Tahiti, for example) and looks at the cases of Grand Lodges where there are difficulties which could tarnish the relations with other Grand Lodges or tarnish the image of Freemasonry in general (the GLNF). The deliberations of the commission CAN ONLY VOTE A RECOMMENDATION.


It is up to each individual Grand Lodge to make its own decision to follow the recommendation either totally, partially or not at all. Such was the case in Atlanta recently. The commission recommended the recognition of the GL of Tahiti and recommended the suspension of relations with the GLNF. Since that date we have seen some recognitions of the GL of Tahiti, and a couple of Grand Lodges have adopted the recommendation concerning the GLNF. Numerous blogs suggested wrongly that all the American Grand Lodges had suspended relations with the GLNF.


The individual Grand Lodges hold their Communication annually. So we could see a gradual increase in recognition of the GL of Tahiti over the coming months. Equally we are likely to see a number of North American Grand Lodges take a more decisive position on the GLNF situation over the same period.


The creation of the GL-AMF is going to raise a new question for Grand Lodges. I am thinking of the three “Home” Grand Lodges in particular. They have suspended relations with the GLNF, a joint decision published on July 19th, 2011. Let’s forget the farcical ante-dated e-mail from François Stifani to the UGLE ! England, Ireland and Scotland will soon be confronted with the conundrum of two French Grand Lodges having members who also hold membership of the “Home” Grand Lodges. The labour of these Brethren is totally Regular, their individual Lodges totally respect the requirements of Regularity. But one of the Grand Lodges has been suspended because of the Irregular behaviour of its Grand Master and his closest advisors. But the vast majority of the Brethren are Regular. Unless the Grand Lodge itself falls into Irregularity I am not convinced that the English, Irish and Scottish Grand Lodges will take steps towards definitively removing Recognition. On the other hand there will be a new Grand Lodge, totally Regular from top to bottom but which must remain on the sidelines for the moment, because the rules governing international Recognition are unequivocal, only one Recognised Grand Lodge per country.


The Grande Loge de l’Alliance Maçonnique Française will achieve international recognition. But it will only come gradually. And the most traditional of those Grand Lodges are likely to be the last to take a formal stance. We are looking at years, not months.

Comment on this post

George Philpott 04/25/2012 18:38

Sad thing is that I will be living in France from about 18 months time, but won't be able to join or participate in the new GL until recognition, if I still want to remain UGLE - which I will be
doing, as I have a lot of masonic interests here in UK and will be maintaining many of them. (unless UGLE comes up with a formula which allows me to visit/join your organisation - and I can't see
how that can happen prior to recognition). Ah well, I can still make Masonic freinds, and "watch from the touchline" and the TGV will do well out of me on my trips back to UK!

Allan Sanders 04/26/2012 09:53

I have no doubt a solution will be found.

George Philpott 04/24/2012 22:00

yes, Masonic Circles move slowly, and the cycle is years, not days; and as has been said, it's a long road: not good enough to say what is going to happen: it must happen and have evidence it is
happening (regularity etc). And not forgetting that UGLE has not ceased to recognise GLNF: it has only suspended relations so far: so UGLE will have a conundrum to solve (does it have to
"De-recognise" GLNF before recognising the new GL?). Nevertheless, I have no doubt that right will prevail eventually...

Allan sanders 04/25/2012 14:40

The difficulty for the UGLE Board is deciding to withdraw Recognition of the GLNF. Stifani and his fawnicators have failed to respect the Landmarks. That
brought the suspension of relations. But for withdrawal of Recognition I feel the GLNF itself would have to kick over the traces. And we could wait a long time for that to happen.

Flanders province voice 04/24/2012 18:27

" give your support and stop looking for holes "

it's my opinion too. Recognition is not for tomorrow, five years for Belgium, I heard, maybe the same for UGLE, maybe
less I hope.

so we must jump in the air, parachute closed, with modesty and all the true values we believe in

Allan sanders 04/24/2012 19:29

It's only those who never do anything who never make mistakes.

Maitre de Roxanne 04/24/2012 15:07

I have two comments, Allan.

At the Quarterly Communication of UGLE preceding the recent Consecration of the Grand Lodge of Monaco, (which from day 1 was to incorporate “Port of Hercules” Lodge, 4626 UGLE), the proposition was
put, and accepted by those present, that the new Grand Lodge should be recognised from the day of its Consecration, rather than waiting for the Quarterly communication following the

Also, it is becoming more and more common for there to be more than one recognised Grand Lodge per country. The current requirement is that the recognition of a second Grand Lodge must have the
approval of the first one. Many of the countries constituting the USA have two recognised Grand Lodges, one being “Prince Hall”.

Allan sanders 04/24/2012 16:06

Dear Roxanne's Master,

Let's not forget that the UGLE was the principal officiating Grand Lodge in Monaco which probably gives them the right to jump the gun.

And yes, there is a practice to recognise a second Grand Lodge in a country, provided, as you rightly point out, the first Grand Lodge approves. Concerning
the GL-AMF, I doubt that Stifani would approve a double Recognition.

The practice of dual Recognition suited Stifani when the GL of Monaco was consecrated. The GLNF officiated but he was persona non grata. To save face he
pleaded a pressing masonic engagement in Italy, which happened to be with the GL not recognised by most of the GLs of the world. He hoped we would believe that chianti & gnocchi are
preferable to champagne & caviar !

The path to Recognition for the GL-AMF will be a long one, with numerous unexpected obstacles. But that will not stop us taking it.

John Sage 04/24/2012 13:25

Very well put! I hope that others reading this will realise this is a long haul job! The hard work put in so far is probably the end of the beginning. There is much to do regarding regularity and
recognition. With the help of true Masons the outcome will be very positive. If we all spend half the time used to critisize the new GL and supported it, we would move on much quicker. Something
needs to happen and this is, in my mind, the best solution. Give your support and stop looking for holes.