"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

French President To Meet With Grand Orient Over Church and State

U.S. Freemasons often seem perplexed over the public and press reactions against Masons in Europe, and especially by the Roman Catholic Church's anti-Masonic stance. What we don't see here are the very public actions of Masonic groups like the Grand Orient de France. Take this article from the Liberation.fr website:

Sarkozy Holds to the Separation of Church and State
by Catherine Coroller
Wednesday January 9, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy will shortly travel to the Grand Orient of France (GOF), where he will meet with various French Masonic obediences. He made this agreement yesterday with a delegation of Freemasons led by Jean-Michel Quillardet, Grand Master of the GOF. The brothers sought an appointment after Sarkozy's visit to the Vatican on December 20. He had supported a "positive secularity" and had expressed doubts about "moral secularity," saying that it is "always in danger of exhausting itself or changing into fanaticism when it is not associated with a longing which is filled with an aspiration for the infinite."

According to Jean-Michel Quillardet, Sarkozy said yesterday that he would give as much respect to secular morals as to religious morals, and assured that the 1905 law on the separation of church and state would not be touched except for a few "technical adjustments." "He wanted to reassure us about his intentions, but we will be watching him very, very carefully," Quillardet warned at the end of the interview. The visit of the Head of State to the GOF has been agreed to in principle, it only awaits a "formal invitation" to set a date.

It would be inconceivable in the US for a delegation from a Grand Lodge to demand a meeting with the president in reaction to an official visit with the pope in order to make sure national policy wasn't getting too religious – and especially to make sure the government wasn't getting too chummy with Rome. Now, I'm not a complete dull wit about France's historical grappling with the power the Church had over a vast amount of the citizens' daily lives, at several times throughout their history. Don't get me wrong — the WASP-y U.S. has been through several phases of getting in a lather over the supposed influence of "monkery" and "popery." (At one point, the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana was convinced that the Church was buying land in rural Ohio and Indiana along the National Road to build a new Vatican, so they sent out vigilante groups to guard the roads from anyone who looked suspiciously like a carload of Cardinals on a real estate scouting tour.)

But is it the place of Freemasonry to be a public watchdog that seeks to influence the government? Is that really what we want our Grand Lodge officers to be doing?

This is just one of several reasons why mainstream Freemasonry will not recognize the Grand Orient de France as a regular Masonic obedience. With their strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy on religion, they have decided it is their duty to make certain France itself adheres to that same policy. Some would say they are simply taking Masonic philosophies and putting them into action. But isn't Freemasonry's role to teach its lessons to its members and then let them go forth to act on their own? Is it really the job of a grand lodge to try to extend its influence politically outside of its lodge rooms?


  1. "But is it the place of Freemasonry to be a public watchdog that seeks to influence the government? Is that really what we want our Grand Lodge officers to be doing?"

    Yes, I think it is. If not, then what are the values of Freemasonry worth if you fail to put them into action? The meeting, as you indicated wasn’t to push an agenda of one way or another, but to remind Sarkozy that the government he was Democratically elected to lead was secular, something this government tends to forget.

    It would be inconceivable for any Grand Lodge Master here in the United States to dare exercise such moral imagination as to asking to meet with the President to make sure that the separation remained.

    Are we the watchdog? No. Did anyone appoint us to be? No. Should we be? Why not?. We say we make good men better, why then should we hide that light beneath a bushel?

  2. Not only that bro MT, could you imagine Geo W. sitting down with the Grand Master of WVa, and they discussing how they deal with malcontents and dissidents!

    French Freemasons believe they were the part of the Freeing of the citizens of France, if that is so, just because of the revolution ending, does not mean the masons job as social leaders was over. No, it just begins.(like a past master)
    Unlike its american counterpart, after the revolution, we fell in line with UGLE/England(who we just foughtand all took obligations to never discuss politics, religion or changes to the ritual and to be a loyal subject of the gov't)and adhered to their superiority, masonically and politically.
    France held true to their origins and stayed"independant" of england and its masonry and politics.

    exactly what is transpiring in france with masonry is one reason why some young american men join american masonry today, believeing they are following in the revolutionaries footsteps.
    What a hoax they discover if that is the reason, because again, that type of masonry is dead and gone in america, but alive in france, so alive that the president is meeting with masons.
    That type of presence is the masonry alot of young men thought they were joining, then when they realize it is not, they get the obligation rhetoric thrown at them when they start to question where that type of masonry went?
    IMHO, ofcourse
    a lowly craftsman

  3. So should there be an official Grand Lodge platform that we all sign on for, or look elsewhere, like the Elks or the Moose, for a group closer to our personal beliefs?

    Sorry, I never regarded Freemasonry as a lobbying group, before I joined or after.

    Look, the danger of Freemasonry meddling in politics, religion and the melange of the mixing of both is that sooner or later, the Grand Orient has to take a side, which places it in direct conflict with a bloc of its own membership.

    Sorry fellas, but I'm not buying it. If I had been a member of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction in the 1950s when their anti-Catholic rhetoric seethed from every issue of "The New Age" magazine, I would have fought tooth and claw to put a stop to that kind of divisive public statement. Or just left.

    Anyone who joins Masonry because they expect us to have an official position on revolutionary topics is barking up a dead horse. Revolutionaries have been Freemasons, and a strong argument can be made that the philosophy of Freemasonry led them to believe in revolutionary causes they chose to fight for. But the brethren of Boston's St. Andrew's lodge did not organize the Boston Tea Party in lodge. It's members DID organize it and carry it out, but hurling tea into the harbor was not a lodge outing.

    Likewise, if Freemasons as individual men choose to be at the forefront of political or social causes, that's terrific. It's what Freemasonry teaches us to do. But it's NOT the job of my Grand Lodge to organize a march to the statehouse and advance an official Masonic position on anything (unless it concerns, say taxing fraternal buildings or somehow limiting our charitable activities).

    And while the Grand Orient de France is the largest Masonic grand lodge in that country, there are two others that are very popular, that do NOT engage in such public policy discussions.

    France has a long history of arguing over the proper place of , specifically, the Catholic Church and its influence on politics and social policies. For centuries, the education system was dominated by the Church, and the only schools up until the late 1700s were Catholic ones. Even after the Revolution, the Church was able to make certain that virtually all schools not run by the government were Catholic. That didn't change until the 20th century. That is just one reason why the Grand Orient has continued to be so vocal about its position on "Laicite."

    The U.S. has not had that kind of history. Likewise, Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry has never felt the need to wade into politics and religion on a public level. I can see absolutely no reason for it to start now.

  4. "But it's NOT the job of my Grand Lodge to organize a march to the statehouse and advance an official Masonic position on anything"

    You are absolutely right, their is no reason to organize a march for this, and nor should a GL try to do that. They can, however, ask for time to sit down and offer counsel on the morals they believe to be the underpinnings of the country.

    You and I could ask for that same meeting. We could ask for it as citizens, we could ask for it as writers, bloggers, or home owners. But we could also ask for that meeting as MASONS, with the aegis of Freemasonry, as we proclaim to be students of its knowledge, and merely wish to impart the same.

    The problem is that American masonry doesn't have that tooth anymore. It doesn't have ANY position on things like this any more. Nor does it have the will to. I don't think we need to have a position on a "Revolutionary Topic", but shouldn't we stand together on things that we believe?

  5. The problem is that American masonry doesn't have that tooth anymore. It doesn't have ANY position on things like this any more. Nor does it have the will to.

    I would argue that it never did, and neither did English or Scottish Freemasonry. It was designed specifically NOT to.

  6. Wow, I really like this post. It is an interesting topic. Politics and religion, I was always told that you are not supposed to talk about them in front of polite company, but they are arguably my two favorite subjects. Part of me admires the fact that the GODF can meet with the president, and possible inform or influence him. On the other hand I truly understand the need not to take a position on religion or politics, because it has the potential to cause discord among the craft. It is one of the things that makes us such a unique institution.
    Freemasonry should be the group that reaches across such petty things like denominations, and political parties.
    Great post Bro Chris, and thanks for the food for thought.

  7. Hello bro:. Chris

    This is not lobbying because they do it in public,
    they don't try to preserve the interest of a class or a category or a business,
    they do it because, a secular society, is one of the essential values that founded our republic
    after 1945.

    Freemasonry - both in the GOdF and in the GLdF - was the leading force to establish a secular republic instead of a Catholic Monarchy,
    also a free and mandatory for every young girls and boys of this country.

    Every brethren of this time agreed on this values without any doubt.
    French freemasonry have many problems,( they didn't recognised sisters as equals fast enough) but all branch of the freemasonry have its own problems,
    but at least they can be proud of what they accomplish to this country.

    Maybe GOdF wish to have fraternal relation with American mainstream masons, why not? but they will never betray the principle of freedom of conscience.

    And one last thing the GM is elected, we are not in a "mainstream" situation, : every mason, every lodge, is free to leave the GodF if they disagree and become a member of the GLdF or the "english regular" GLNF,

    Anyone, any brother, can leave and still be called brother by the GodF brethren.
    This absolute freedom of conscience.
    We are not in the unique party of Ussr : The GM don't speak for freemasonry, and all freemasons, but for the members of the GL that elected him and mandate him to speak in their names.

    You don't need a platform you belong to a masonic organisation, or not.


  8. Makes more sense for us to religiously support one another whenever possible politically regardless of party.

    This way we can collectively rule the planet just like all those really weird (people with tin hats) sites claim we do already!

    It's just one zoning board at a time ......

  9. Interesting follow-up to this story from Belgium at http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2860

    At least French politicians are more interesting than ours in the U.S. Sarkozy is dating Italian super-model/singer Carla Bruni, who had a child by the son of a famous French philosopher. Why don't we have politicians like that? Or pop stars, for that matter?

  10. Ours are so much more tragic... Maybe its all in what we tolerate.

  11. I think it is time Americans get off their butts and try doing something. We sit back and say we ar good men made better. And what do we do exactly, critique the coffee and pie at Luby's on a weeknight at 10:00pm. Masonry was founded on being an influence on society, and it should continue. They met in secret, not because the liked it, because it was necessary. They were discussing the issues of their day, and why, to do something about them. It pains to hear from so many lost masons who cry out lets sit and do nothing, I wan't cofee, I want cake. What good is knowledge if it is not used? I commend the GRand Orient for having the courage to ask the president, openly, to have ameeting and discuss religion and politics. More in America should do the same, we might actually end up with a country that doesn't continually exploit its citizens at every turn.


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