Thursday, May 23, 2019

UGLE and GOdF confirm rumors of recognition

Milton Keynes, UK - Some of our readers that are active on social media have undoubtedly run across the barely disguised rumors of recognition between the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and the Grand Orient of France (GOdF). This week, The Past Bastard overcame the eight hour time difference, and tracked down the Very Worshipful Nigel Thornbury, Assistant to the Provincial Undersecretary in charge of recognition and amity. VW Thornbury confirmed that, while there is some discussion, at this point the two different orders of Freemasons are still  working out the details.

"I say, it's pretty exciting that we're working on this in my lifetime," said Thornbury. "The UGLE dropped their recognition of the Grand Orient before my grandfather was born, back in Edward's time, if I recall correctly. They've had their differences, but I'm glad that the two oldest and most recognized orders of Freemasons are at least coming to some terms of understanding, if you take my meaning."


The Past Bastard asked Very Worshipful Thornbury for a little background.

"Well, as with a lot of Masonic history, the details are a bit sketchy, but from what I gather, the Grand Orient did something that the Grand Lodge considered to be not cricket, if you take my meaning. That began a series of claims and counterclaims of legitimacy, until the Grand Lodge decided that the Grand Orient was personna non grata, or I guess, loge grande non grata. Nobody ever thought to reconcile because, quite frankly, the lodge cultures are too different."

The Past Bastard asked Very Worshipful Thornbury if he could give us any details of the recognition.

"Well, this is all preliminary stuff, and may, of course, be subject to change, but here's what we've worked out so far. First of all, obviously this is just recognition talk, and there's not even a hint at a merger or anything like that. We're simply too different, and the Grand Orient now has a long history behind it that they won't want to give up. And naturally, there's to be no dual or plural membership. You join one body only. Everybody has agreed on that part."

Thornbury continued. "Second, there's to be no visitation between the lodges. As in, none at all. The only communication would be at the grand level, by email or messenger. None of the lodge members are allowed to talk to each other."

"In reference to the talking part," Thornbury continued, "no only are they not allowed to talk to each other, but they aren't even allowed to acknowledge each other. In fact, someone has asked for a caveat that if a Grand Lodge member is walking down the pavement, and spies a Grand Orient member, that he should cross the street so as not to chance any communication."

"Obviously, such arrangements preclude joint affairs, such as dinners, charities, beanos, and anything like that," he explained.

The Past Bastard observed that, except for a written agreement, it sounds like there wouldn't be any change at all in the status, and any recognition would be essentially invisible for ordinary Masons.

"Oh, quite right," said Thornbury. "Admittedly, it did seem a bit odd at first, but baby steps, and all that, you know. However, the Yanks that came up here from a couple of your southern states to help us draw up the details said that this is how it's frequently done across the pond, so I'm sure that they all know what they're doing."

The Past Bastard will continue to update this story as details become more available.

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