The « July » letter !!!
In the previous article « Stifani gets a July letter in April » LML in English promised to bring you a translation of the letter as quickly as possible. It has taken a little longer than expected, partly because we had the translation checked by another translator. Alain Juillet has written a letter where the real message is hidden behing diplomatic language. We trust the LML in English has done justice to his thoughts. Many thanks to Arturusrex for helping me with the translation.
Most Worshipful Grand Master,
Following our discussions last week I consider it my duty to put in writing to you my view of the situation and the concrete measures to be taken to ensure the durability of the GLNF whatever may happen. For me it is a question of loyalty and fidelity to my masonic obligations towards you and the Obedience. In so doing I continue to act along the lines of our discussions in Paris and Nice following my presentation of the report of the Committee of Conciliation and of my letter dated January 20th concerning the urgent need to appoint a Deputy Grand Master delegated to assume the Chairmanship of a new Board of Administration to implement essential reforms.
Setting yourself on a base already split by a badly programmed evolution that was unwelcome and decisions misunderstood, you have become the scapegoat for all the past, present and future errors. Your acts at the beginning of your mandate with a desire to make the GLNF evolve at double pace towards your objectives, your excessive personalisation of the function of Grand Master, your method of management leading you to oppose some and reward others in order better to control them, all these points have shocked a certain number of Brethren who did not enter masonry to find what they reject in the outside world. To the despair of No matter what the result of the pending appeal the final act is approaching. If the Court declares it inadmissible or confirms its first decision very quickly we will have a General Assembly chaired by Maître Legrand.. The Lodge delegates will refuse to ratify the accounts so long as you have not announced your departure. If the Court goes your way and even if you are validated by the Sovereign Grand Committee (which is far from certain with a secret ballot) you will be unable to avoid a General Assembly which brings us back to the initial problem. Certainly, the lack of precision of the Statutes maintains the ambiguity concerning the link between the function of Grand Master and Chairmanship of the silent majority who wish to labour and pursue in calm their spiritual quest according to the Rite they have chosen, our regular Grand Lodge has been transformed into a field for the settlement of grudges where more often than not the intolerance of some vies with the bad faith of others with the support of the media and blogs. That is why it is time to envisage the steps that will enable us to avoid the more and more violent attacks that are dragging us down into a chaotic situation that will benefit no-one of us.
While you are the instigator of numerous reforms to our institution, and in spite of all your efforts, you are the sole target of rejection that I have noted has become stronger and more generalised over time. Even those close to you and those Provincial Grand Masters who are your faithful allies recognise that this situation cannot go on for long. Your will to remain in place at whatever cost set on a collision course with destiny, using all the resources of legal procedures and counting on the weariness of your opponents, has dragged the GLNF into a dead end scored with penal decisions and out of which the only way appears to be disintegration, court liquidation or a coup d’état. You who believe you are protecting the interests of the Obedience, I am sure that deep down you understand that the honour and sense of responsibility of a Grand Master can not be content with the current situation and the solutions on offer. As guarantor of the perpetuity of the Order and in the general interest you must stop being obstinate in a win or die syndrome and set up of a transitional arrangement. This is the only way to reassemble what has been set asunder and to find once again the unity that has been lost.
the Administration Board, but both of us, impassioned by history, know that no-one can stand against all the rest without it ending badly. It would be disastrous and unjust for you personally, for the function of Grand Master that we must protect and for the GLNF that we must preserve from the external attacks as it is the only regular Obedience in our country.
That is why I propose the following approach that has the agreement of all those to whom I have presented it as being likely to restore peace among the Brethren of all persuasions and to give you a more than honourable way out. Noting the vacancy of Chairman of the Administration Board, and of the whole Board as well, I believe that, while respecting the mandate of the ad hoc administrator and under her control, you must name as Deputy Grand Master a Brother of the GLNF, whose role will be to assume temporarily the Chairmanship of the Administration Board. He will be given the official task of preparing calmly and with a spirit of appeasement the implementation of the future deadlines until the end of your mandate, no matter what the appeal result. Designated jointly by Maître Legrand and yourself for a period until the next assembly or, more precisely the next election to Grand Mastership, he would create a non-exclusive management committee to assist him composed of all tendencies and persuasions of the GLNF.
While totally respecting the mandate conferred upon Maître Legrand who has the responsibility for all the non-masonic part of the Obedience, in particular the problems of management and finance the Deputy Grand Master’s mission will begin by restoring peace by reintegrating into the Obedience all those who have been excluded because of their ideas. This in order to begin a true process of reassembling of all the good wills and with a tolerant attitude. In close liaison with the ad hoc administrator he will ensure the distribution of responsibilities amongst all, with insistence on abilities and brotherhood so as to recreate harmony as quickly as possible. Based upon consensus he will implement those reforms that are really necessary for the good functioning of the Obedience at a structural and statutory level without creating a revolution and without placing the bases of our regularity at risk. He will negotiate an agreement with the jurisdictions in amity to clear up any misunderstanding with clear rules inspired by the practices of regular Grand Lodges. Finally he will redefine and reorganise in total transparency the questions of Grand Charities, Alms and real estate and sever all relations with the peripheral companies. This will allow the calm preparation of the election and installation of the future Grand Master who will find a healthier situation. Even if electoral campaigns are not the norm in a masonic order all those candidates who have already declared themselves or have yet to do so will be able to conduct their campaign.
Up till now, in a permanent attempt to reach some sort of concensus I have tried to meet everyone without exclusion in an attempt to better understand the problems confronting each one, and to not create an insurmountable rift, because sooner or later we will have to reassemble that which has been put asunder. With your agreement I have consulted the Brethren in opposition, both internal and external and the Brethren of the so-called silent majority. I have worked with a good number of PGMs and AGMs. I have had this plan validated by the three principal jurisdictions.in amity I have met the foreign regular Grand Lodges as well as the “irregular” French Obediences. All wish that we rapidly find a solution to this situation that is prejudicial to the GLNF in particular, but also to Freemasonry in general. I have obtained the agreement for this project from one of the candidates, from the blog leaders and from FMR. I have had lengthy discussions with half of the members of the Administration Board who resigned. The principles have been approved by the Council of the Elders and a certain number of Grand and Provincial Grand Officers. All those with whom I have spoken feel it is an honourable solution that will enable each one individually and the Obedience to get out of the crisis without giving way to the temptation of settling scores of various sorts.
Consequently, and being completely aware of the complexity of the task I am candidate for this temporary function with the mission to restart the GLNF on the bases accepted by everyone. My career in private enterprise has taught me how to manage firms the size of the GLNF and to work in close collaboration with a court administrator. My responsibilities in the higher administration have taught me to arbitrate conflicts leading to balanced solutions. My professional track record has earned me recognition by the State for my integrity and devotion to duty.
During my 19 years in the obedience I was appointed Past Grand National Expert in 1998. I have been a founding member of 7 Lodges, twice Worshipful Master, currently Worshipful Master of the National Hiram Lodge of Instruction and Grand Inspector in charge of reform, without forgetting my years as member of the Council of the Elders and my presence on the Sovereign Grand Committee. In the jurisdictions I am 32nd degree in the A&A. Scottish Rite, I have written several in-depth articles in Villard de Honnecourt and two other masonic publications and I have presented works in the Jean Baylot Research Lodge and in symposiums. It is thanks to this acquired experience and my knowledge of the GLNF that I have been able to complete the report from the Conciliation Committee with all the Obedience and then to consensually lead the reform commission charged with the evolution of the GLNF together with the PGMs and the SGC.
As I have already written the objectives of this plan of action must not be confused with a candidature for the Grand Mastership which has nothing to do with what I am proposing. It is not a desire to be all categories champion of the Rites but to clarify the functioning and to structure the organisation of the Order so that the Brethren can find fulfilment in their labours in Lodge and that the Obediential pressure be as light as possible. To attain this objective which interests all the Brethren and the future of the GLNF seems to be today’s essential. This priority seems far more motivating and important than a candidature for a prestigious position for which I have no particular ambition. This is why I am prepared to give a large part of my time to put our Obedience back in working order with the help of all the goodwills within the framework defined by our ad hoc administrator. Our duty is to protect the institution and its Grand Master because when we have gone the GLNF will continue to exist and represent tradition and regularity in our country.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Provincial Grand Masters and to the Assistant Grand Masters as well as to all those whom I have solicited to build this plan for I have had enough of hearing everything and nothing about myself and my intentions. I am also sending a copy to Maître Legrand. Although I have already spoken to you of this you may think this letter contravenes my masonic oath. I am convinced it is my duty to send it to you with the desire to offer an honourable way out for the Grand Master for whom I am guarantor and a rapid end for all the Brethren to 15 months of a major crisis that will unfortunately leave its marks.
Most Worshipful Grand Master, I offer you my most fraternal masonic greetings.