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


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two Major Masonic Conferences In France In May

Recent events in Europe have started to put a big dent in tourism lately, and France in particular has been hit pretty hard. But don't let that deter you this year. Next month, France is going to get a double dose of major conferences about Freemasonry, and if you can afford to hang around for about ten days or so, you could actually manage to be there for both of them, since they are scheduled a week apart in late May.

First up is the  International Conference of Masonic Research Lodges, May 19th - 21st in Toulon.  The theme of the conference is "The Ancients' Tradition: Operative origins; Grand Lodge in London; and Spreading the World - America and Europe." The conference is being organized by the Grande Loge de France, but there will be plenty of presenters and attendees from jurisdictions all over the world that your grand lodge recognizes. It's not a tyled gathering, so anyone may attend (and lightening won't smite you into a grease spot if you sit in a conference with Masons you can't sit in lodge with). Notable speakers from the U.S. include Brothers S. Brent Morris and John Hairston, and UCLA's Margaret Jacob.

There are 25 lectures and panels planned, and the list can be found HERE. There will be translations provided. There will also be an untyled historical reenactment of an Entered Apprentice degree from 1814.

Registration for this conference is admittedly a bit confusing, even though there are multiple translations on the site. You must first sign up on the Booking page and receive an email link. Clicking that takes you to a list of all of the individual sessions, which are, oddly, priced individually (strangely, there's no single option to simply pay a flat conference fee - you have to check the ones you want to attend and pay for each one - only Masons could make things like taking money this hard).

After that conference ends, get up to Paris by Tuesday evening. The 2nd World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History (WCFFH) will be held in Paris on May 26th and 27th, 2017 at the Bibliothèque Nationale - Paris, but there's a pre-conference workshop that starts Wednesday.

Convened by the journal, Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, in cooperation with the Bibliothèque Nationale, the second World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society focuses on the study of the lasting influence of the Enlightenment, ritual, secrecy, and civil society vis-à-vis the dynamics of scholarship around the world. The conference explores how civil society, social capital, secrecy, and ritual have been important elements during different episodes of local and world histories, and indeed still are. The WCFFH 2017 is a part of the Policy Studies Organization's support of research into associations, civility, and the role of non governmental organizations in democracy.

For a list of presenters and sessions, CLICK HERE.

The conference is on Friday and Saturday. The reason you need to be in Paris by Tuesday night, though, is because on Wednesday there is a workshop at the Museum of Freemasonry about the Chevalier Ramsay and his claims for the origin of Masonry.  Participation is by application. The pre-conference workshop will examine Ramsay's Masonic influence, including the disputed versions of his 1737 oration that had such a large influence on the degrees.  It is also the 300th anniversary of the organization of the English grand lodge.

The conference has a general interest in fraternalism and is not confined to Freemasonry, nor is it under the auspices of any lodge. Rather, it is supported by the National Library of France, the Policy Studies Organization, and the American Public University. Out of 231 papers submitted, 106 have been selected for presentation, by scholars from 11 countries.

Simultaneous translation French-English, English-French, is offered for all sessions.

No charge is made for registration for the World Conference, but registration is IMMEDIATELY requested to plan for catering, headsets, and other conference needs. For information and registration CLICK HERE, or contact PSO Executive Director, Daniel Gutierrez, at dgutierrezs@ipsonet.org 

To watch videos of presentations from the 2015 Conference, CLICK HERE.


  1. The workshop on Ramsay is at the Museum of Freemasonry, rue Cadet, on Wednesday. Thursday is a French national holiday with all sorts of street fairs and performance. The conference proper opens on Friday morning at the National Library. There is a continental breakfast both Friday and Saturday, intermissions with food service, and a choice of panels and programs running continuously in the three auditoriums of the library. Various publishers and press will be there.

  2. First let me explain that I am not a Mason, I am a traditionalist Catholic who has been studying Freemasonry for many years and have several friends who are Masons and I now believe that there is a connection between the Masons and the Rad Trads of the Church as has been exposed in the Knights of Malta kerfuffle. Also, I have read several of the more esoteric histories of the fall of the Soviet Union speculating that it was a combination of the Vatican under Pope John Paul II, Fred C. Kleinkenect Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Washington D.C Lodge and Ronald Reagan Commander and Chief, that put together finances, intelligence and clandestine networks to accomplish this monumental deed. I only mention this because it may be that something similar may be afoot. The one thing that wasn’t accomplished at that time was to smash the control of the Bank for International Settlements over worldwide finances and governments. Enter President Trump and Vladimir Putin who both appear to have some clouded connections to the Masons and more overt connections to big name religious figures; Trump to Cardinal Burke who was unceremoniously booted by the UN’s Pope Francis, and Putin to Patriarch Kirill of the Eastern Orthodox. Bannon who is Catholic has met with Burke and Putin has met with Kirill in a monastery out of the range of reporters and Reince Priebius is an Eastern Orthodox who when Trump was running arranged a meeting between the Patriarch of New Hampshire and Trump. So where are the Masons in this? There has been much speculation on Trump and Putin being connected to the Freemasons. Any connections I have found are shadowy at best (Trumps mother was a McLeod whose family is connected to the Knights Templar and Putin was supposedly flipped back in the early 70’s by a cabal of Royal Arch Mason in MI6). However, here maybe the connection that brings it all together. During the meeting of Freemasons in Paris, May 24th through May 27th, it has been reported by Foreign Policy that Trump will be in Brussels to meet with NATO and that during that meeting Vladimir Putin will show up for a private meeting with Trump. Brussels is only a 3 and one half hour drive from Paris and only one hour by helicopter or 20 minutes by private jet. Is it out of the realm of possibility that a 33rd degree Grand Commander and possible a 7th degree Royal Arch Mason might attend that private meeting between Trump and Putin? And is their aim to destroy the Deep State controlled by the Banksters? I am only connecting dot’s that are admittedly tenuous but after all, the world is a more shadowy place than we know.

    1. Oh dear. Well, right off the bat, I'd say you spend far too much time on the Internet. That, and the most basic fact that neither Putin nor Trump are Freemasons. But do go on and believe whatever makes you happy.

      As for the Paris Conference, hey Paul. It's your show. Wanna jump in on this one?

    2. Well, over the years, in fact centuries, freemasonry has been a society where in some countries, not perhaps now in the United States but certainly in France today, it has provided a meeting place for leaders -- rather like the famous Davos and Aspen vip conferences. I suppose it was inevitable that the Paris conferences would attract the speculation that I've seen in the outer solar system of internet conspiracy theorists. Paris is a more likely victim of such fictionalizing than when fraternal scholars were meeting in Sheffield or Edinburgh. But Paris is sponsored by libraries,universities, and scholarly societies, so to weave it into a scenario involving the Pope and Putin is rather a reach. It has become a significant meeting, but I agree with Chris that if it makes someone happy to think it is the world summit of the Illuminati, do fantasize.

    3. We wrote a whole book about this. Conspiracies are eternally beloved because people desperately want a simple answer to the complex problems of world events. Random events are always disturbing, and conspiracy theories are comforting in their own way by putting a name and a face on the "cause."

      Unfortunately, this recent dust up between the Knights of Malta and Pope Francis has just kicked off a new wave of anti-Masonic paranoia in some limited pockets of Catholics. Sadly, it is easy to hunt an outside Masonic "influence" that has "infiltrated" the Church instead of looking at wider societal and demographic shifts which have affected two or three generations of clergy and administrators and are now in Church power positions. These are not "Masonic" forces, and never have been. They are failures or major changes worldwide in education, child rearing, economic shifts, and a hundred others. But some frustrated Catholics want a simple answer, and Masons have always made a good, general, all purpose bogeyman ever since the 1700s.

      Toss in the most recent "Trump is Russia's Manchurian Candidate!" headlines, mix up the two streams of thought, and you get this sort of silliness. (And yes, Shannon. It's silliness.)

  3. Sorry Chris. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I thought the Masons were the boogey men who intend to destroy the Church (they are doing a good enough job by themselves). What I wrote is all speculation that has come about from having lunch once a month with a Freemason friend of mine. We compare notes and it appeared to us that at least some part of the Church (KOM?) and the Masons were aiming for the same goal although perhaps on parallel paths but in the same direction. Perhaps like kids around a campfire we try to see who can tell the scariest story and our imaginations run a little wild but it’s like the song says, “There’s something happening in here. What it is ain’t exactly clear”.

    1. Not sure what that "same goal on parallel paths" is exactly, since they are two wildly different types of organizations - at least as far as my limited knowledge of the Knights of Malta and their stated mission goes. The closest similarities seem to primarily be some common hierarchal nomenclature, like "Grand Master," etc. It sounds like Freemasons, so I guess that spooks some nervous folks who worry about such things.

      The big wave of anti-Masonic Catholic noise that has just recently arisen in the last two months or so is really traceable to two comments attributed to Pope Francis, taken out of context, and not DIRECTLY quoted from him, in which he mentioned what he saw were "Masonic" influences or forces within the Vatican. I don't read Italian (or Portuguese, which may be what he speaks around the house, for all I know), so for all I know he was just using the term "masonic" as many Europeans do as a generic catch-all term for any sort of "secret inner circle" group he may feel was working against him. Either way, as a result of the widely circulated quotes, the groups like Catholic Militant have gone berserk and decided the Freemasons have been wrecking the joint since Vatican II.

      I really think all that's happening with the KOM happens all throughout Catholicism: it seems to be an organization that saw a major world problem (i.e.: spread of HIV throughout the third world) and tried to help slow it by passing out condoms, in contravention of strict Church doctrine. A noble enough mission, to be sure, but in violation of a principle tenet of Canon law. The problem with being a "cafeteria Catholic" is that sometimes you get your hands whacked with a ruler by Sister Mary Discipline for it, no matter how noble you thought you were being.

      So it goes.

  4. A number of the papers at the Paris conference, both this month and previously, have been by church-going Catholics, some of whom are also lodge members. From the conference point of view, neither church nor lodge affiliation or lack thereof is a concern. Nor, in my opinion, should it ever be at a scholarly event.

  5. The ICOM conference is in Toulon

    1. Yes it is. Thanks for catching that. My spell check didn't like Toulon for some reason and helpfully changed it for me. Fixed now.


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