Declaration of Berlin
The Grand Lodge signatories of the 2012 Basle Declaration met in Berlin on July 23rd to discuss the topical relevance of the declaration in the light of the latest developments in France.
The aim of this declaration has been basically twofold. Firstly, through withdrawing recognition of GLNF (Grande Loge Nationale Française) to assist a reformed GNLF’s reintegration into the chain of internationally recognized Grand Lodges. Secondly, to promote the idea that this crisis offers a unique opportunity for all regularly working French Brethren to join forces and to form some kind of masonic “hold-all” organization worthy of international recognition.
The Basle declaration succeeded in its first aim. The GLNF’s disintegration has been stopped and peace and harmony have been restored among this Grand Lodge’s rank and file. With the acceptance of some outstanding constitutional reforms in June this year, the signatories believe that the GLNF consolidated its reform process and should again be considered worthy of recognition.
However, the dynamics and complexity of the French masonic situation do not allow an isolated reaction to GLNF’s recovery. Several French Grand Lodges, namely the GLdF (Grande Loge de France), the GLAMF (Grande Loge de l’Alliance Française) and the GLIF (Grand Loge Indépendante de France), have meanwhile founded a Confederation (CMF) in order to gain international recognition through strict observance of the rules of regularity. On the strength of official documents received from the CMF, including certain important modifications of GLdF’s constitution and by-laws, the five central European Grand Lodges are convinced that the Confederation has thus also become eligible for international recognition. They now consider the French masonic landscape as an unofficially “shared” territory which all sides need to come to terms with.
From intensive talks with the GLNF’s leadership, the Grand Lodge signatories understand that the emotional wounds caused by the crisis will need time to heal. Mutual recognition and a state of amity between the GLNF and the CMF is therefore something to be hoped for in the future. For the time being, GLNF’s brethren can only be expected to merely tolerate the fact that the CMF is seen as regular from outside and considered to be a candidate for recognition.
Being convinced that there must be no blurring of the demarcation line between regular and irregular Grand Lodges should an extension of the borders of internationally recognized French masonry become possible, the undersigned Grand Masters I’ll ask the decision-making bodies of their respective Grand Lodges to recognize the GNLF and the CMF simultaneously if the above mentioned modifications be implemented by the next GLdF’s convent.
Berlin, 23rd July 2014
Grand Lodge of Austria A.F. & A.M., M. W. Bro. (Dr.) Georg Semler
Grand Lodge Alpina of Switerland, M. W. Bro. Maurice Zahnd
Grand Lodge of Luxembourg, M. W. Bro. Jacques Hansen
United Grand Lodges of Germany, M. W. Bro. (Prof. Dr.) Rüdiger Templin
Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium, M. W. Bro. Jacques François
Original copy can be viewed and downloaded here Berlin_declaration-14-07-23