Refoundation or Renovation ???

Published on by Arturusrex

REFOUNDATION OR RENOVATION ???

We continue our translations of articles touching in depth the philosophy behind the thinking going on in the Myosotis blogs, LML and the GLNF at the moment. Is it a moribund “obedience” or a phœnix about to be reborn? Captive of its deviations and corrupt practice? Or capable of a new start?  Compatible in either case with the traditional masonry of the anglo-saxon world?

It is important that you, dear Reader, should understand that these articles are written by private individuals (but brethren, of course) and do not express any official point of view. (unless otherwise clearly stated). They do not commit FMR in any way.

Clearly, we may add to the list of tasks to be undertaken in the process of re-founding the GLNF that of forming a consensus among the many idealists who have their ideas to put forward!

As in the preceding article, it is clear that our author has in mind the very French (or “Latin”) sort of masonry (usually based on one of the Continental rites, A&ASR, Rectified Rite or Modern Rite (French Rite) which require the brethren to do personal research and reflection (but not Googling!) and write papers. None of these Rites are authorized by the UGLE anywhere under its jurisdiction for craft lodge working, even when petitions to create such lodges are proposed.

The GLNF has tried to imitate the UGLE in its disparagement of such philosophical or symbolical approaches to the meanings of the craft workings. But the A&ASR, the Rectified Rite and the French or Modern Rite hold the allegiance and the affection of the vast majority of the French brethren of the GLNF. The sadness expressed by our authors faced by the debasement by the GLNF of the “spiritual” aspects and methods of these workings will greatly influence the future Re-Founding.

But the desire to remain regular and recognized is also paramount in the vast majority of the minds of the GLNF! Festina lente! Let us hasten slowly.

 

This article appeared on Sunday May 1st, a traditionally significant date, signed Hiram le Rouge on Myosotis Lutèce Blog.                        Comment and  Translation Arturusrex.

 

Many contributions continue to be made to the “White Book”, the book of your suggestions for the Re-Foundation of the GLNF; Use this link to access the Book in French:

Livre blanc pour la Refondation de la GLNF

Here we will attempt to make a modest digest of certain of the ideas, while trying to avoid the trap of a flabby consensus, and endeavouring to stimulate debate before our Re-Foundation. .

 

What do we understand by Re-foundation ?

We use the word to mean “to found again”.

We speak of Re-foundation, to signify reconstruction on a new basis with new values, thereby implying that we are prepared to bury the old GLNF.

We do not speak of Renovation, meaning modernizing, or re-looking.  

We will not speak of Renovation that would signify that we did not question the very fundaments of the GLNF, those that must be debated and that are at the root of our troubles.

We believe that the future of the GLNF will need to go through a process of reform of the historic concepts on which its regularity and recognition are founded.

These same criteria are at the base of the weighty dogma bearing down more and more heavily on a modern freemason’s commitment.

 French freemasonry in its present state calls for close scrutiny and curative action to make it effective again.

 We also say that Freemasonry must be reformed from within, without losing sight of the social constraints that affect its members.

 

Re-Foundation can be made effective along the lines of changes brought in to counteract the deep faults that make masony in general and the GLNF in particular incapable of evolution

The major stumbling blocks for a genuine Re-Foundation can be categorized thus:

Rivalries between different rites and/or obediences.

Dogmatism in approaches to the questions of recognition, regularity, feminine masonry,

Dearth and poverty of labours in the lodges:

Outer shows of solidarity more for the gallery than for our members.

The deplorable image of masonry in the public eye.

An overbearing, tentacular, sclerotic administrative system

Relative isolation of the lodges due to inefficient communications

 

The above points are made from a brief inventory of French Freemasonry, and they may be considered as a contribution to the White Book (“Livre Blanc”) for the Re-Foundation organized by FMR.

 

On reconsidering the above inventory of French Freemasonry

 

Rivalries between different rites and/or obediences.

Inter-obediential administrative frontiers should be removed, individually to start with, considering as positive all exchanges, visits, debates, and rapprochements. Then at a later stage, the debate should be opened up, moving forward towards forming a single Masonic voice in France, which today is rich in its diversity and poor in its unity and, therefore, inefficient at a social level.

Rivalries between rites should be done away with thanks to greater and better dialogue and real knowledge of the particularities of each of them.

 

Dogmatism in approaches to the questions of recognition, regularity, feminine masonry,

How, in the 21st century, can a mason worthy of the name not acknowledge a brother from another  “obedience”?

How can lodges, their representatives, or Grand Lodges with their “dignitaries” from whatever country, advance criteria for exclusions rather than propose to open up their temples, brandish dogma close to anathema rather than propose fraternal dialogue?

Why can we not consider the feminine approach to Freemasonry as an asset in the development of universal masonry and allow those brothers whom this different approach interests to attend without the threat of exclusion?

These are fields in which we, in the GLNF, need to reflect and get over our old conditioned reflexes for a new more open dialogue.

In another respect, if regularity is only a question of a belief in TGAOTU, the presence of the VSL, and no discussion in Lodge of a political or religious nature, then it should ensue that non-regularity points to one or several of these criteria not having been respected. Is that sufficient reason for us not to be able exchange in the respect of our differences?

 

 

Dearth and poverty of labours presented in the lodges:

In the comfort of our lodges, we overlook the need to question the tools handed down to us by our illustrious forbears, in the name of so-called undoubted, indubitable and unmovable sacrosanct Masonic values.

More often than not, a brother’s “labour” will have consisted of a “Google shot” and a very conventional synthesis of standard Masonic notions, without having given the subject any personal in-depth thought or additional interest.

The choice made by the lodges of themes for talks should be such as to incite the brothers to write these talks to delve into their inner selves and reflect on what gives life its meaning, as also on what might possibly sweeten their comportments and commitments in the mundane world.

It would also important that the aims and methods of these labours should be varied according to the degree being studied and worked.

 

Outer shows of solidarity more for the gallery than for our members.

It is to be regretted that the meaning of solidarity has been warped and corrupted in the GLNF. An evaluation of the effectual utility of the structures created, the OAF, and the Foundation for the promotion of Mankind “, not to mention the “Hôpital Assistance” must be carried out and the objectives re-evaluated with comparison with other “solidarity organizations”

At another level, it is vital that we rehabilitate the autonomous functioning of the Widow’s or Alms Box, and let the lodges use it again as before, to help brethren in difficulty.

It is to be considered that lodges could reunite their Alms to help in the case of serious difficulties concerning a or several brothers.

 

The deplorable image of masonry in the public eye.

The successive scandals have seriously damaged the image and reputation of our obedience and the impending possible purges are probably to do with the incantation of some “”grand master “. This is all very damning in the eyes of a possible candidate for initiation who seeks a spiritual path.

Meanwhile, the popular press churns out its hoary old chestnuts based on titillating titles and the revelation of some secret or other of Freemasonry! This, together with the ex-Grand Master’s recent “communications”, chaotic and irrelevant as they were, considerably sullies the GLNF’s image and repels rather than attracts candidates.

To improve this state of things, a system of communication discreetly oriented to its specific targets needs to be implemented .It should also make public masonry’s commitment to certain causes while also affirming that masons are entitled to their own free opinions and expression.

It seems paradoxical and incoherent that a form of spirituality oriented on the freeing of man and mankind should in fact muzzle its adherents when it comes to their expressing any opinions!

 

An overbearing, tentacular, sclerotic, administrative system

All or almost has been said about the enormity of the cost of the GLNF administrative system for the lodges.

 

Apart from the financial side of this, the supremacy of the hierarchy and its administration seriously puzzles the brethren as to the spiritual and initiatory reality and authority, which is the realm of the lodges.

Now more and more openly denounced, the pseudo-authority of the big dark blue aprons must be suppressed and a coherent form of management of the GLNF overall must be introduced by light-weight methods and modern means of communication.

The paranoia of the self-proclaimed élites, the “intellectual” terrorism inflicted on brethren and lodges concerning points of ritual by whip-bearers who know no more, perhaps less, than their victims about the subject, the power-lust that has set in to our GLNF like gangrene and ruins the fraternity down to its roots, these things must be swept away.

A straightforward clean out of the central administrative system could be the best thing. Apart from its civil law role as representative of the civil law side of the GLNF, it has no initiatory authority or power, takes no part in the spiritual quest our members follow and plays no role on the social side.  

The brethren, in their daily lives, even masonically speaking, have no need of a heavy administrative system.

 What should be required of the administration other than a system that centralizes certain data, such as a list of members, the issue of Grand Lodge certificates and a reliable internet service informing us of all the activities?

 

Relative isolation of the lodges due to inefficient communications

Through a pernicious administrative system, the lodges have found themselves more and more isolated from each other and no longer communicate. The rare scraps of news are filtered down by the official communications office and deprived of any real information.

Today we have the privilege of internet communication. The implementation of private Masonic sites will be a serious asset for inter-lodge communication.

The demand for such is right now and the proliferation of the Myosotis Blogs is tangible evidence of that. It has to be integrated into the movement for the Re-Foundation.

Re-Foundation, in all its aspects, will require confirmation of the ancient and intangible virtues.

Some of them will have to be revalued, because, for a Freemason, they lie at the bottom of many a controversy and are often exploited for contradictory reasons.

Re-Foundation must therefore provide clear definitions of the following notions and state how they will be put into practice: 

Tradition; Liberty; Communication Labours and instruction; Fraternity and Solidarity

 

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