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Saturday, December 17, 2016

France Withdraws Amity with TN & GA; Recognizes PHA of Texas

GLNF Grand Master Jean-Pierre Servel 

According to a lengthy report from a Brother who attended the annual communication of the Grande Loge Nationale Française two weeks ago on December 3rd, the assembled brethren voted to withdraw amity with the Grand Lodges of both Georgia and Tennessee. I'm sure there may have been a slight hesitancy to do so, since the GLNF suffered its own spate of massive worldwide condemnation not all that long ago. In the wake of actions by their former GM François Stifani, by 2012 the sole regular, recognized jurisdiction in that masonically diverse country had lost a third of its members, and almost the entirety of the world's regular grand lodges had withdrawn recognition before he finally stepped down (CLICK HERE to read that entire saga). However, the recent controversies over rules and suspensions concerning private sexual matters in Georgia and Tennessee was a bridge too far for the voting French brothers.

On the other hand, they also extended recognition to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.

The blog Le Myosotis du Dauphiné Savoie - Le Blog de Fidèle d'Amour writes that the GLNF's External Affairs Committee reported (via my own rusty translation, with the assistance of Google Translate):

"For the GLNF, the choice of Regularity is the origin of the existence of our Grand Lodge. Such was the explicit will of its founders in 1913 who wished to restore to Masonry the Masonic Regularity, lost since 1877 as a result of the decisions taken by the Grand Orient. Since then, we are inextricably linked to the universal family of the Regular Masonic Powers... 
The inseparable triptych of "Regularity - Recognition -Territorialy" implies duties and vigilance at all times, both on our territory and against the World Masonic landscape on these topics of regularity. " 
[snip] 
"It is not our role to change society..." 
He then presented a proposal to suspend relations with the American Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee. 
In order to ensure that the vote was carried out in a transparent and, above all, informed manner, he presented to the delegates of the lodges the whole dossier prepared by the members of the External Affairs Committee and the Committee of Wise Persons as follows: 
First, he presented the situation by explaining the context of the edict passed by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia in October 2015, with a view to completing their constitutions in order to be able to go into disciplinary council, excluding those of their members who are gay, considering this as "an offense to the moral law." For accuracy, the article of the Masonic code that was changed already provided a similar penalty of exclusion for masons guilty of adultery or fornication with the wife, widow, mother, daughter or sister of a master Mason (Author's note: with those companions or apprentices, that would be less serious ...!?). The amended section even specified that this act increased the offender's guilt by breaching a Masonic obligation, noting that the woman's lack of chastity was not an excuse for the offender. 
For its part, [the Grand Lodge] of Tennessee, neighboring northern Georgia, had for its part, decided to exclude a couple of brothers claiming their homosexuality, having just married and having published on a social network photos of their marriage. 
[Grand Chancellor Roi] then described how the GLNF reacted, according to the timetable...  
[snip] 
Without calling into question the sovereignty of a Grand Lodge, given the discriminatory nature posed by the two Grand Lodges denying the quality of Masonry towards homosexual Freemasons, it seems impossible to remain neutral because it is a principle of identity that is called into question.
Following the recommendation advocated by the Foreign Affairs Committee a letter signed by the Grand Master was sent June 13, 2016 by the Grand Chancery to the Grand Masters of the two grand lodges concerned that essentially says "It is universally asked of Masons to 'Call for the respect for others, quality of heart, open-mindedness. These [are the qualities that make up] fraternal harmony and the search for Truth, belief in God, the Grand Architect of the Universe and His revealed Will."
 
Recalling that the brothers struck by these edicts do not ask for any distinctive treatment, the Grand Master Jean-Pierre Servel warned that these discriminatory positions are at the opposite of the ideals of Fraternity and respect that the Masons of the GLNF have sworn to [abide by], before warning that if they persisted, it would call into question our bonds of friendship.
The letters to the two Grand Lodges having not received a reply, at the proposal of the Grand Master, the Sovereign Grand Committee members voted in September 2016 suspension of friendship with the Grand Lodge of Georgia and Tennessee.
 
Once this stage had been reached, the Grand Master could ask the Grand Lodge of France to do the same. 
The vote took place last Saturday during the Grand Lodge [communication] and the result was overwhelming, only 2 brothers voting against and 10 abstaining... 
Thus the GLNF joins the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium and the Grand Orient of the Netherlands in the process of suspending the ties of friendship with these Grand Lodges who have a very curious reading of the Bible as Masonic principles. 
The next point was more sympathetic and aimed at deciding on the request for recognition by the GLNF requested by the Grand Lodge Prince Hall of Texas (USA). 
The Grand Chancellor recalled that the GLNF is already in recognition, in addition to the 51 Grand Lodges of State, with 7 Grand Lodges Prince Hall: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. 
As the Grand Lodge of Prince Hall, Texas, accompanied its application with documents attesting to its full compliance with the criteria of regularity and the list of Grand Lodges having already recognized it, the GLNF wrote to request the agreement of the Grand Lodge of Texas with which we already have ties of friendship to ask them for their agreement on the division of territory between these two Great Lodges (Texas and Prince Hall of Texas), knowing that there was an agreement of recognition between the two Grand Lodges since 23 April 2007 (According to the recognition standards in force at the Grand Loge Nationale Française, when a Grand Lodge abroad requesting recognition is located on the same geographical territory of a Grand Lodge already recognized by the GLNF, we write to ask it whether it sees no objection to this recognition, and whether there is a mutual agreement on division of territory or a treaty to that effect). 
The request for recognition of the Grand Lodge Prince Hall of Texas was presented to the vote of the Sovereign Grand Committee of September 30, 2016 which agreed. 
Consequently, ratification was proposed to the vote of the lodges of the Grand Lodge French National during this same Grand Lodge [communication]: this one was pure and without blemish, unanimous, with a thunderous applause.

There were 2,000 brethren present.

For the updates and links to the entire Georgia and Tennessee imbroglio, READ HERE.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. What is it about 1877 they are lying about?

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  2. Everything but hey Masonic education...

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  3. Please,by all means, educate us. I'd very much like to know what was false.

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  4. The problems of recognition of French grand lodges are not presented fully by most commentators. In addition to the debate over the nature of the concept of the grand architect and the sacred volumes,there is a question about the attitudes towards Africans in lodges in the then French Empire and the rivalry between the British and French in their scramble for additional colonies. Too often the issues are presented simplistically. Moreover, those who recently left to create still another grand lodge did so over an issue of regularity. To those of us fortunate to visit Paris regularly, all the grand lodges seem to exhibit an enviable level of ritual excellence and scholarship.

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  5. Until 1776 the Grand Lodge of England did not require present a VSL. GOdF continued this. The GOdF had the VSL on the altar for 29 years anx returned to the old way following Spain. This was due to rise of their ranks of Anarchists. Then GOdF recognized the Supreme Council of Louisiana. The issue was to cover the endemic racism of American Freemadobry by suddenly crying about no VSL. Belgium followed suit and for another 25 years Belgium retained amity with no VSL. Then during WW1 half of American Grand Lodges rerecognized GOdF sans VSL. Their is no issue of VSL. When GOdF recognized SCL Pike was also snubbed at the Supreme Council in France and did not get certain dispensations that SCL was able to get through their SGC Jacques Foulhouze. Pike was coroneted 33 according to SCL ritual. Politics is all it is, and people merely repeat what they have been told.

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    1. Sir, I am the source of the information you are erroneously stating. This is why I often exclaim to Bro. Kevion, that it is not wise to provide the history of the SCL to someone who doesn't understand the history themselves, without a formal presentation.

      Since I know for fact that I am the source of your argument, I'll explain it to you and then I'll show you the errors:

      For one, the case of the VSL was not the basis of argued against, nor was it the reason for removal of recognition of the Grand Orient of France.

      The Grand Orient of France lost recognition of Anglo-American Grand Lodges because they recognized he Supreme Council of Louisiana whom American jurisdictions viewed as spurious, on account of the conflict of the symbolic lodges of the Scotch Rite and the Grand Lodge for the State of Louisiana (1850-1855).

      The notion that Albert Pike was slighted for lack of a dispensation from the council is ridiculous considering he was the SGC of what was/is believed to be the mother Supreme Council of the world.

      Removal of recognition began in 1869, after the SCL declared they would not deny a person membership on the basis of race. The argument of the removal of the VSL was weak because it was the Grand Orient of France themselves who invented the requirement to begin with. The removal of amity would continue into the early 20th century. It was not an over night process, and Grand Lodges in America were slow to act.

      Also to note, The Grand Orient of France asked SGC James Foulhouze to relinquish his power and the council to that of Charleston. His patent was revoked in 1866 on account of his refusal.

      To which Eugene Chassignac becomes SGC in 1867, and by 1871, the Supreme Council of Louisiana is established from the remaining members of the old Supreme Council for the United States of America, while converting the GOdF style of Freemasonry.

      I'm not understanding your reasoning in arguing something that doesn't have anything to do with the original article.

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    2. You arent the source of my facts actually, and you are wrong

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  6. The comment by Brother Sky Walker is a useful and succinct summary. With the newly discovered material from Andrew Prescott and others about the allegedly dubious claim of the United Grand Lodge of England that Dr Anderson was involved with fabricating, that supposed story of the oldest mason of the time being hoisted on tree stump near a friendly tavern and presiding over three lodges constituting a grand lodge, perhaps all of this business about regularity needs thought. If the founding story is fictional, what about other claims?

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  7. Indeed Paul.The story of 1717 is Poof we are a Grand Lodge with creating a new Constitution. If a group today did exactly what happened with the traditional story given cor our origin we would castigate them. Regular originally meant our own conduct by those who accepted and adhered to Anderson's Constitutions.

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  8. Disclaimer: I am a Believer. A Believer in a Supreme Being. I believe Regular Freemasonry (in it's official capacity) is a gathering (or should be) for Believers, only. But I give no offense to anyone who does not believe and realize my beliefs may not be for everyone.

    This is kind of long, but may be instructive. Regarding the Grand Orient of France (from their official website):

    "Thus, the Constitution of the Grand Orient stipulated that Freemasonry had as it's principals "the existence of G-d and the immortality of the Soul"-a crossed heritage of the deism of the Enlightenment and the Spiritualism of 1848."

    "This obligation of a religious nature was no longer respected in practice at a time when the intellectual elites were profoundly marked by the agnosticism of Auguste Comte. In 1877, the convent of the Grand Orient of France abolished this obligation."

    "Thus, liberal-or adogmatic- Masonry was born which, considering that the Masonic commitment is not of religious essence, leaves it's members the freedom to believe or not to believe. This decision is still today the originality of the Grand Orient by putting it in the Vanguard, according to some, or outside the Law, according to others, of Universal Freemasonry."

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  9. Call it 'politics' if you wish, but I (and I assume most readers here) was brought to Light as a believer and took vows only to accept believers in our fraternity. This places me undeniably in schism with GOdF. Whether VSL was not required (by either) for a period is irrelevant to the matter of our vows we took before receiving Light.
    I judge not any nonbeliever-- but would never masonically converse with him since that also is a part of our vows. This is corroborated by the Cooke Manuscript, which, being the oldest possible confirmation of our craft's worshipful origins, gives me full comfort to firmly follow those vows.

    Would it not be supremely hypocritical to take vows which you don't care to keep? If I were to know you intended to knowingly or wittingly would skirt your vows, wouldn't I be a fool to trust you?

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  10. When the issue of admitting Buddhists rose in the nineteenth century, it was evident that if one meant a being in the sense of a deity that could be described as an individual, that Buddhists in general didn't accept an anthropomorphic god. Collateral was whether the architectural descriptions in Masonry referred to a being or rather to the order of the universe. All of that is quite apart from the ideas about believing. Sometimes it is said that god is love, which itself is an emotion and a view of varying nuances. In sum, even words like god and belief are much disputed. Maybe we should all be more temperate in judging.

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  11. Not so much wishing as stating reality and facts. Id say if you knew the facts and knew better and collowed otherwise regardless. Its you that should be looked at. Not others.

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  12. This is a great discussion. I've been to quite a few Lodges and it seems as if the spiritual side of things has been forgotten in many ways. To display the VSL or not display the VSL would not even be an argument to some because they don't care about whether the VSL "rules and guides" anything in their lives, much less what it represents.

    Many modern day Freemasons don't read the Bible. If they aren't Christian, they don't consider a VSL of their faith to be something read. This is evident in many Lodges. Once the Lodge is open, it is a place of dignity and decorum, as we all know. There are many who use that sacred space to be profane in many ways. It's really quite sad.

    It's also sad that we teach many things in our American ritual that is Biblically based and many (perhaps most) of our membership is Christian. This means they ought to follow the one commandment especially given to us by the Christ, "Love Ye one another".

    All of this nonsense happening around the world is and has been seeping into our Lodges for years. I pray that those who parrot the words they use in Lodge start to utilize them in life. "In the name of God..." should not be used and then dishonored, or lied about.

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  13. When the Netherlands and Belgium withdrew recognition, it seemed likely given the close ties that France would follow. Many thanks to Chris for documenting because it gets confusing. It's sad.

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  14. As a Vietnam vet who served with many Black soldiers, I was shocked when I learned that my blue lodge would not accept petitions from Black applicants. Over 40 years later, many lodges now have Black members and most Grand Lodges recognize Prince Hall Masonry. I expect that given time, homophobia, like racism, will become an embarrassing phase of our fraternity that we have outgrown.

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Kindly sign your comment posts. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned, and may be deleted if I don't recognize you or if I'm in a grumpy mood.