|au Frère ROBERT H. MORROW'S
THE GRAND LODGE OF
AND TO OTHER
DOUBTFUL ACCUSATIONS BROUGHT AGAINST THE GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE.
RWBro. Morrow's text is a very
interesting mixture of fact and fiction. Let's start with history :
It is true that the Grand Lodge of France was not "chartered" by the Grand Lodge
of London and Westminster of 1717. There were no "charters" at the time... After
all, who chartered the four lodges of the GL of 1717? Or the Grand Lodge of the Antients?
The GLdF was much more than "chartered". Its lodges, which a few years later got
together as the Grand Lodge of France, were created by members and Past Grand Masters of
the Grand Lodge of 1717, refugees in France from the religious / political turmoil in
England at the time.
The part about the "history" of Masonry in France is in general rather amusing,
because it seems copied from the Grand Orient version of it. While documents are scarce
and a number of hypotheses do exist, this one rather tendentiously says that the GL of
France, the construction of which started in 1728, actually was the Grand Orient. In
reality, the Grand Orient was born much later, in 1773, as a split from the Grand Lodge of
RWBro. Morrow also says: "These facts are readily obtainable from many histories of
French Freemasonry, and are proved by original documents in the archives of French
Freemasonry, housed in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris". Sounds impressive, no?
But very far from the actual facts, however.
None of the statements in RWB Morrow's text are supported by documented evidence, only by
the vague mentions of "facts... readily obtainable... and... proved by original
documents". Making unsupported statements and expecting the other side to prove them
wrong is one of the ploys often used by these gentlemen. They seem to believe that even
trumped-up charges will help putting any opponents on the defensive.
We of the GLdF can tell a very different story, but truthfully in our case. We can provide
an actual list of the documents proving our real history, they are all available in our
As to the personal opinions of the many historians of French Masonry, we can quote a whole
spectrum of those, stating practically anything. But that seems to be exactly what UGLE
wants: to play a game of diplomatic chess in a public arena so as to further its political
interests: it has not only sent this arrogant, supercilious and condescending letter to
the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, but has copied it to all Grand Lodges it has relations with.
There also are in the UGLE letter things which can, unfortunately, only be considered as
falsehoods. The letter says: "In the third paragraph of the motion adopted on May
19th, 2002 by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Corporate Board you note that "if the
Grand Lodge of France is determined by us to be "regular" we shall suspend
relations with the Grand Lodge National of France if we do not see evidence of amenity and
concord between themselves and the Grand Lodge of France." Why have you taken this
What the GL of Minnesota actually says in the third paragraph of the motion adopted by the
Grand Lodge of Minnesota Corporate Board is: "if the Grand Lodge of France is
determined by us to continue to be "regular" then we encourage and pray that the
GLNF and the GldF will seek a treaty displaying amity and concord." Not really the
same thing, is it?
Another outright bugaboo is the contention that the GloF has created a supra-national
"United Grand Lodge of Europe" composed of spurious and irregular Grand Lodges.
The very simple truth is, there is no United Grand Lodge of Europe. A number of European
Grand Lodges, perfectly regular according to all the universally accepted criteria, not
yet recognized by any USA Grand Lodges except for the GLdF but, at least for some of them,
in amity with other regular and recognized Grand Lodges, have created the United Grand
Lodges of Europe. Note the plural: "Lodges". And the very first Grand Lodge
which was invited to join was the GLNF.
The United Grand Lodges of Europe are a loose organization, without a centralized
hierarchy and with a yearly elected President and Secretary, exactly on the model of the
Conference of GMs in North America, or of the World Conference of Grand Masters.
It meets yearly, each time in another member country. Its purpose is to further fraternal
relations among regular (men only, the GAOTU, the VSL, regular origin, etc.), even if
unrecognized, European and non-European Masons and Grand Lodges, and to exchange
fellowship and information.
Another purpose was to counteract the growing influence of some organizations of European
Grand Lodges gravitating around a kind of French Masonry which is certainly not ours, and
to offer a haven for regular Masonic bodies that fear being coerced into it.
If North American Grand Lodges were not told untruths about the United Grand Lodges of
Europe, they would have cheered at the initiative. Some who understood did cheer, by the
way. It is hundred percent in the best interest of regular Masonry.
No sincere individual - or Grand Lodge - can see any reason for the United Grand Lodges of
Europe being a pretext for de-recognition by anyone. If it is, that applies as well to the
Conference of Grand Masters in North America, the World Conference of Grand Masters, or
any similar organization.
Now, concerning the statements about "incursions by the GL of France into territories
where regular Grand Lodges exist": That is extremely disingenuous too. The two
regular Grand Lodges mentioned are recent GLs under the wing of UGLE and the GLNF. Regular
Masonry, in amity with the Grand Lodge of France, existed in these two countries long
before. It is the newcomers and complainers who should have asked for permission to exist
from the older Masonry in their countries.
It is perfectly regular and acceptable for any Grand Lodge to create lodges of its own,
and even to help create local Grand Lodges, in countries where it does not recognize the
local Masonry. After all, the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grande Loge Nationale
Française are the two worst "offenders" - and seem to have made a thriving
business of it. They surely wouldn't, were it irregular.
They erected often jerry-built, false-front Grand Lodges, which fold up as soon as the
GLNF gets the Conference of Grand Masters in North America to recognize them. The
GLNF-created Grand Lodge of Morocco for instance, which many USA GLs recognized only last
year at the instigation of the GLNF, has folded up, all its members having left for the
old, long underground Grand Lodge of Morocco.
What is the difference between the Grand Lodge of France creating lodges in Spain and the
UGLE creating a new, competing Grand Lodge in Italy? Or one in France, the GLNF itself? Or
the latter creating a dozen in Africa and Eastern Europe?
The Grand Lodge of France, at least, was courteous in each and every case and first
proposed amity to the local Grand Lodges, or at least the creation of one or more lodges
working our Craft AASR, in the French language, under the authority of the local Grand
Lodge. We only went ahead with lodge creation when refused or ignored by a Grand Lodge we
did not recognize.
We would very much appreciate understanding why that is not considered a problem and why
no one proposes the de-recognition of UGLE and the GLNF, for their very many incursions
into the territories of other Grand Lodges.
June 15, 2002
Fraternally, Michaël L. Segall
Deputy Grand Secretary/Grand Chancellor,
Grand Lodge of France, Paris