Although the craft in France is governed by a craft Grand Lodge, which is sovereign for the craft degrees, it is influenced, ritually, by the Rites or Chapters under the A&ASR, the French or Modern Chapter and the Grand Priory for the Rectified Rite that lead on from the craft,, just as Royal Arch Chapter or Mark lead on in the English speaking constitutions. . Normally theses side degree orders never interfere in craft matters.
Just as English-speaking Craft masons look ahead to Royal Arch, Mark and other side degrees, so do the members of French craft lodges to the “Beyond the craft” degrees of their rite.
The craft Grand Lodge of the GLNF having shown itself unworthy of proper Masonic work or attitudes, to the extent that it is now in court for various malpractices, the Supreme Commanders of the Supreme Councils of the A&ASR, the French Rite and the Grand Priory have declared their solidarity in proclaiming their insistence on Masonic regularity in all respects, including respect for the laws of the land in all matters, Masonic or civic..
Yesterday was the traditional date for the annual Winter General Meeting of the Supreme Council for France of the 33 degrees appertaining to the A&ASR..
Here we give you a résumé in English of the account by Br Jean Solis, a Scottish craft mason, of saturday’s meeting.
The atmosphere was particular, with great bonhomie, calm and hopefulness exuding both within and without the meeting room!
Particular too the applause for us Val de Loire Province delegates thanking us for our efforts over the last year to save the essential tradition and regularity of masonry.
We do not doubt an instant that it was also meant to thank the brethren of the other Rites as determined as our A&A Scottish Rite selves.
The atmosphere was further enhanced by the general dignity of all, beginning with the measured tone of V.Ill Br Jean-Luc Fauque, SGC.
The Light has not gone out, but shines on in the vertical dimension of our Rites, but has momentarily vanished from the horizontal axis of the Craft ( in France), where the use of the working tools, plumb-line, level, chisel, square and compasses, has been lost.
The following remarks are mine only, and spontaneous. They may include an error or so after nearly four hours labours!
Let me add that I will be betraying no well known secrets, as it will all be out and about tomorrow or in the coming days, by phone or email, in bits and pieces or in toto
The Fête de l’Ordre Ecossais is the annual festive winter meeting of the Supreme Council for France of the Scottish Rite. .
2000 4th to 33rd brothers (in fact, 1600) were present.
An unusually large number of official delegations were present., many represented by their Sovereign Grand Commanders.
In inverse order of seniority:
Estonia, Latvia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Croatia,Togo, Slovenia, Ivory Coast, Russia,
Portugal, Luxemburg, Finland, Iran (in exile), Israel, Germany,
Austria, Poland, Serbia, Netherlands, Rumania, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Scotland, England & Wales, Belgium, USA (Northern Jurisdiction), Spain.
Immediate inferences from the above attendance point to deep under-currents:
Absence of the USA (Southern Jurisdiction. A very laconic message from them. Not good. Canada, not very senior, but large. No one from South America. Pity.
Togo and the Ivory Coast are (seen from afar) you know who’s private hunting grounds. That they should attend (especially Ivory Coast, in a state of almost civil war) was a welcome event.
Russia, masonically, is complicated. For many reasons, it is good that they came.
Iran and Israel, important for several moral reasons on the international checker board, were in attendance.
Scotland, whose tepidity goes back a long way, was there.
Mini surprise: (because I was in the know…) England & Wales, made impression by being there. A message in itself.
Visitors’ declarations of amity.
1. Pronouncements of explicit or indefectible support for the SC for France “in the difficult, sad or dramatic circumstances” (depending on the speakers; beg pardon if I have forgotten any or if I have mixed up any of the “tepids”)
This category includes:
Croatia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Portugal, Luxemburg, Finland, Iran, Germany,
Austria, Poland, Serbia, Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, Geece, Turkey.
2. Remote, laconic, boring greetings :
Scotland. Grand Secretary, Alex Galbraith, 33rd, replied non-committally and imperturbably but in a beautiful accent
USA (Northern Jurisdiction), ditto. But with neutral courtesy and some charm.
3. Remarkable speeches:
Serbia (if I am not mistaken): “ We are a wall with you” (understand “ around you”)
Italy: The TPSGC, Cerniglia, warmly and humorously declared his indefectible attachment to France………
England & Wales. Bro Sir ? Crawford, Polite. But, given English traditional litotes, openly supportive.
The “great” TPSGC Pierre Noël made a declaration of unheard of virulence in Masonic usage, refreshing by its clarity and duly applauded.
Belgium is high up in seniority amongst the Supreme Councils, 1817, fifth in rank.
Spain. 3rd SC in seniority. : Very explicitly supportive.
One Delegate declared “when one Supreme Council has problems, we all have”.
Another: “we know
Another: “we know where truth lies, and it lies here”.
Kim-Jong II, contrary to rumours, did not appear nor was he invited.
Generally speaking, the Scottish Rite Chapters ( and craft lodges, where such exist) are all unitedr in their support for the SGCpLF in its endeavours to maintain our traditional values, with the exceptions not clearly stated of Scotland, Ireland, Czeckia,
Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. -
The others were minimally 18 jurisdictions (some very senior) The extreme courtesy of England & Wales leaves to presage of further things to come.
In the days to come, we must expect unprecedented, perhaps even dramatic events at a civil or even criminal legal level and recall the declaration of solidarity made conjointly by the French (or Modern) Rite Grand Chapter, the Rectified Rite Grand Priory and the SCpLF of the 33rd degree of the A&ASR for France. Also certain Provinces and other “Workings” who throw in their weight