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Between Church and freemasonry, the dialogue is enriched ... Human rights , third world immigration and other I'une forward today on the same path of wisdom and tolerance. While many misunderstandings remain spiritual philosiphiques and his- toric . In good craftsmen , masons and Christians use to lift , as proven by the meeting between Archbishop Thomas Bishop of Versailles, and Michel Barat , Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France , which takes place Nov. 10 , at the initiative The Life and ARM .
A nearly two centuries of conflict and convictions , going on to a reconciliation between the Church and Freemasonry ? For the first time in France , at the initiative of the Life and Religious News in the world, a bishop and a Freemason sit at the same table for a public meeting . November 10 , Bishop Jean- Charles Thomas , Bishop of Versailles, and Michel Barat , Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France , will meet at the Centre Sèvres in Paris to engage in a dialogue once impossible . This is certainly not the first time a clergyman encounters a Freemason. But never to such a level of responsibility and public manner.
There six years , organized in Toulouse by unbelief and faith Service Institute symposium studies and research brought together Masonic scholars and theologians on the topic Church Masonry: convictions or misunderstandings ? In recent months, similar meetings were held in different towns . Each time, they were sold out . Proof, if proof were needed, that the subject fascinates our contemporaries , many believers , and that dialogue is no longer taboo . A lock jumped in 1971 , during a visit which had made a great noise , Bishop Pezeril , then auxiliary bishop of Paris , the Grand Lodge of France . Ten years earlier , Father Riquet , Jesuit, caused a scandal by giving a lecture in a lodge of the Grand Orient in Laval . More recently , religious funeral , celebrated with great pomp , two old masters , Richard Dupuy and Michel Baroin , interviewed public opinion.
On the ground in recent years , contacts have increased , resulting in joint initiatives. Thus, in November 1985 , Catholics and Freemasons signed, with others, a "common call to brotherhood " against intolerance and racism, and for the defense of human rights . In May 1988 , the father Guiberteau , on behalf of the Catholic Church , joined alongside Pastor Stewart, the Protestant Federation , and Roger Leray , former Grand Master of the Grand Orient , the mission entrusted by the government Rocard restore dialogue in New Caledonia . Meanwhile, in October 1986 , a delegation of the World Freemasonry had traveled to Assisi, to attend the World Conference of Religions for Peace . Regular meetings for several years between Masons of different faiths and Christians. The Benedictine Abbey of Bec -Hellouin in Normandy, even hosted a lodge the time of retirement .
And then there is the Catholic members of Freemasonry . Among them were priests. Father L. lives in the south of France . Like most of those in his situation , he preferred to remain anonymous. For him , there is no question of dual membership , as is often claimed . Member of the French National Grand Lodge , he believes that it is not " a Church of substitution " , but rather " third order" , in which he finds a way to extend his priest. " The Biblical reflection and prayer occupy a large place , he said. Besides, my bishop is quite aware of my activity. Sometimes I even send reports to the Vatican. " Recognized by his superiors , Father L. suffers from not being able to reveal its location to the Catholics of his diocese : .. Attitudes are not ready . "
Gone are the days it seems anathema which had ceased to be launched by Rome since the first papal condemnation in 1738. The new Canon Law of 1983 ( the Constitution of the Church ) deleted items to the Freemasons and , in particular, the 2235 gun ipso facto excommunicated every person belonging to a Masonic lodge " acting against the Church." The current law simply condemn " those who s' part to an association which plots against the Church." However, a statement from the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , published shortly after in November 1983 , came to reaffirm the incompatibility of membership at the church and Freemasonry. The author of this warning , Cardinal Ratzinger, considers that " Catholics are part of Freemasonry are in a state of grave sin and may not approach Holy Communion ." This text , in which he is not also a question of excommunication , obviously not to the same extent an article of law, but indeed contradicts evolution that began thirty years .
Where does the distrust ? In the first papal condemnation , that of Clement XII in 1738 , Freemasonry is condemned because of the secrecy that surrounds it . No heresy it is explicitly charged. However, the mere fact that people of different religions live together in boxes created at the time , a sufficient presumption of heresy to excommunicate . In France , the Revolution, in which the lodges are very active , and the split between revolutionaries and Church - soon characterized by the division between the clergy and priests jurors refractory priests - aggravate the dispute . Sentences that follow in the nineteenth century cite reasons that Pope Leo XIII in 1884 together Humanus genus . Freemasonry is rejected because it is based on the " free inquiry " and seeks to "total secularization of society ." The encyclical proclaims inter alia: " The Catholic religion is the only true , can not, without the last insults and injustices , tolerate other religions are matched him >> These papal pronouncements have contributed to empty, but slowly . surely lodges their Christian elements . Roman intransigence and anticlerical and antireligious encouraged reactions of some lodges in France . and if today , John Paul II does not inspire confidence to many Freemasons, John XXIII remains in their eyes , the champion in all categories of the spirit of tolerance that they intend to embody.
The weight of history, misunderstandings and mutual position taken without proper meetings explanations include the fact wrongly all masonry in the idea of a single organization , are all reasons to better understand the difficulties and delays today in the progression of dialogue. Christian in its origins, even ecumenical , which at the time was a sin for the Church, Freemasonry has been a shift towards deism , before his religious and philosophical most diverse opinions. In this microcosm converged all currents of thought in modern times, not without clashes , sometimes : the different attitudes of French Masons during the Revolution of 1789 or the advent of the Third Republic are exemplary in this regard. To this must be added the painful episode of Vichy, in which Freemasons were openly persecuted. A terrible period has not helped to restore links between Freemasonry and Church.
And today? On some issues , they are close - racism , unemployment, etc. . - On others, they are distant. Masonry called "liberal" occupies in France , most of the field. The Grand Orient de France is in the historical center . Separated since 1877 the Anglo-Saxon Masonry , he is interested in economic, legislative and cultural issues . In the field of morals, it is often opposed to Catholic morality , yesterday to divorce, contraception or abortion today for the legalization of euthanasia. Humanism , without necessarily being atheist, agnostic rather . Very marked by rationalism and secular fight, he kept an old background of anticlericalism . " As for Catholics , we have ten percent of fundamentalists ," admits one of its members.
GRAND ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE OR GOD REVEALED ?
The Grand Lodge of France , it has an intermediate position. Spiritualist before being humanist, it favors a more open secularism and showing an interest in the religious fact . It has also retained the reference to the Great Architect , without identify the God revealed. Although these denominations are tempted to exclude each other , they all claim to the Masonic tradition and attempt to forge links between them ... This is far from obvious . Especially with regard to the Great French National Grand Lodge ( GLNF ) . Marginalized within French Freemasonry , his obsession is to be confused with the denominations it calls "' irregular ' d in the resumption of dialogue with the Church. Thus Father Michel Riquet , near the GLNF has stopped fighting , particularly in its chronic Figaro , to recognize the specificity of this lodge and avoid it is condemned by the Church.
An approach considered unlucky by many Masons who do not approve of discrimination between good and bad brothers. This is also the opinion of Father Jean -François Six , former head of unbelief Service faith ( Sif ) , and close to the Grand Orient . " Freemasonry is a path of wisdom, he said. Obedience Each carries values. Tolerance, free inquiry and freedom of conscience did nothing wrong . " Priest of the Mission of France , he knows also the importance of dialogue with unbelievers environments marked by scientific and agnostic culture. And even if he feels not always be supported by the Church, the question for him to give up. "Catholics would they be afraid of losing their soul? Agnostics yet have much to teach us about the place of dogma or the importance of the spiritual quest. "
"We must still distinguish the different denominations and out of the fog in which we are," replied the pastor Michel Viot , Member of the French National Grand Lodge. It is for him a matter of intellectual honesty. " It does not make any discrimination, but to allow each Christian to choose his dressing knowingly . " Measured more than some of his brothers who did not hesitate to denounce " bigotry " Grand East or " syncretism " of the Grand Lodge of France , Michel Viot only regret that other denominations have abandoned the Masonic rule that requires believing in a revealed God .
Today, the rationalistic scientism has fizzled . Its part, the Church has adapted to the modern world and incorporated in France at least, the principle of secularism . Freemasons and Christians find themselves on the ground to defend the third world, human rights and to combat racism . Until 1983 , the question of excommunication often served as a pretext to each other to avoid real opportunities for collaboration, as well as confrontations going deeper. The conditions of a new dialogue are now met. " This new situation requires us all to take this issue in another state of mind, without prejudice to the ensuing developments ," said Bishop Thomas . Meet the Centre Sèvres is a further step in this opening. L.G.
A Grand Master in jeans
It was shortly after 1968. A student in search of meaning and purpose in life , amidst the triumphant consumer society , discovered Freemasonry . In jeans , facing the brothers tuxedo , he says , he discovered a " moral imperative ." The young man in question is now , forty -four years , Grand Master of the Masonic second , the Grand Lodge of France , I'un younger masters of the history of Masonry. And it's true that good living with a round face under unruly curls , a poet who punctuates his sentences , snapping his suspenders, this philosophy teacher author of a thesis on the thick Gnostic liberates an invigorating freshness. For two years he was Grand Master, Michel Barat has promised to leave Freemasonry .. its reluctance " to engage in public debate , and make its voice heard alongside other forces spiritual country . in October 1991, he was one of the main instigators of the appeal against the rejection of foreigners , signed , among others, by Bishop Decourtray , Pastor Stewart and Rabbi Sirat .
Also do not he furious to see Freemasonry used as the theme by sensationalist news- magazines during the summer months, or by the facilitators of the small screen in search of Audimat . There a month, he refused to go on the shelf Right to Know , Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, on TfL , not at all agree with the broadcasting of images of pseudo- Masonic rites and refusal maintain the myth of the " policy combines brothers ": " the trick , it is also and primarily in television " , he returns to I'envoyeur .
The conversion in the eye (1) , it is anything else that Michel Barat speaks: initiation , the "double bet on the sense of transcendence, and freedom of thought " that is all fair mason. A gamble that often brings the believer , and "is one of hope."
But if the believer gives a name , that of God, and for Christians, that of Jesus Christ, this transcendence, Freemason , said Michel Barat wants to " always keep open the question of meaning , and always lie in the tension and stress of questioning never satisfied . " Never , in this spiritual quest, abandon the compass of reason , may denying " the division of man be reason and be feeling ."
The famous secret ? No, Freemasonry is not black masses , said without laughing Michel Barat, not about to forgive a bishop overseas who claimed that Freemasons " steal communion wafers in the churches " If we can find all the literature you want on initiation rites - the best and the worst - there has " a kind of feeling of shame " that makes the masonry is discreet, especially in France where the persecution by the regime Vichy is not forgotten .
But the real secret , adds Michel Barat is " what everyone has lived and lives as a spiritual path ," the incommunicable , " gasoline even the experience ."
And the Grand Master takes care to emphasize : Freemasonry is not a school of psychoanalysis and even less a Church of substitution : " The initiation , unlike the sacrament confers no participants , it is a set path on the way of thinking and the light can not indicate the road to the man "free and good manners " . "
Michel Barat sees red when the suspect " philosophers of Light" to be " the intellectual ancestors of Nazism ." On 5 December, at a conference on the Enlightenment, organized in Paris by Religious News in the world, it will decide precisely as the heir of the Enlightenment, he is able to defend with passion, s' must. You said nervousness ? N.B.
MARTINE APPRENTICE IN A JOINT LODGE
" As my first communion"
It will soon be fifty years. She works with young children. It is Protestant . For many years, it belongs to a recognized by the Grand Orient Lodge mixed . His identity, you do not know more : Martine ( Martine call it ) does not want a reader can recognize . "It could hurt me , she says , Masons are traditionally scapegoats. " His blue eyes sparkle with enthusiasm, and small delicate hands waving in front of his face. She says.
" When my children became independent , I had much more time to myself I could take a personal quest started in childhood . Looking for a group, a movement , where they work together for greater humanity. I always had social fiber. This is probably the result of my Protestant upbringing I'écho of "Love one another ." first I looked for next to the church I was more worship and I attended meetings around the Bible But it was too abstract So I went around the side of the policy . . . I fought the Socialist Party in a basic cell . But it remained at very cerebral rants on society's problems . And there reigned an atmosphere of rivalry , careerism that navrait me .
"Then I thought about Freemasonry . I do not know much , except that the masons are characterized by ... say a strong faith in the human being. I was hoping to find in them people concerned with anything other than their personal ambitions and their immediate profit. took my best pen , and I wrote to the Grand Orient . ns told me that the GO would only accept men, and I have provided a small booklet that showed me all female and mixed denominations in France I opted for a mixed box . whether you want to work for the good of humanity , we must begin by not exclude half the process ! normal to include a box is then started . I do not tell you much, Masonic secret forces . just the first step is an interview with a member of the lodge . inquiète.J I was pretty ' afraid of not being bright enough , intellectual enough to accept me . But the man who gave me an appointment was simple and friendly. During more than two hours , it is attached to verify my motives and my expectations, to avoid any misunderstanding and disappointment. He told me that box was not a dating club or a political group or a university. I appreciated his honesty. and I decided to continue the process. 's initiation ceremony leaves me remember a time serious and beautiful, like my first communion , or my marriage. it was there almost five years .
"I 'm not sure now want to proceed. I'idéal I always adheres to the masons , but I had made them too high an idea not to be disappointed . We call" brothers "but inside the box are the same rivalries , the same communication problems as anywhere else . There altruistic and ungrateful , generous people at times and mean to others .. . as everyone . masonry I thought was a sufficiently powerful tool to transform deeply
heart of its members. I was wrong. "
And if Freemasonry was a meeting like any other, with its qualities . . . and défauts.M.D .
FREEMASONRY HISTORY AND CURRENT
My first is a worker , my second trader. My third is a minister, senator or deputy . They have in common ? They are Freemasons, share the same ideal and are introduced to the same secrets. Since the eighteenth century , where it took root in France , Freemasonry fascinates , intrigues , irritates . To cultivate a taste for secrecy, she left the field open to all fantasies hidden force that pulls the strings of power or evil plots ... Especially since, among Masons , rumors are never denied. A rule among others.
The original brotherhoods cathedral builders in the Middle Ages , jealously guard the art of raising temples to the glory of God. In 1723 , the Presbyterian minister James Anderson applies in the Book of Constitutions these construction methods to man himself becomes a living stone mason he fashions and model using tools. When he has enough work on himself , he can fit into the construction of " ideal Temple of humanity forever unfinished " and contribute to a better society. Hence the proliferation of builders borrowed symbols - square, compass , trowel, hammer , scissors , ruler, level - and that refer to moral values.
Voltaire , Mozart, Sade , Jules Ferry, Churchill, Mendes France , John Wayne , Salvador Allende, Roudy or Roland Dumas is a long list of famous insiders. Freemasons today are between seven and ten million worldwide , 70,000 in France , divided into a dozen denominations , federations of boxes that accept the same authority.
• The Grand Orient of France is the oldest houses (since 1773) and largest with 30,000 initiates. Forbidden to women , in 1877 he removed any reference to the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.
• The Grand Lodge of France , born in 1894 in a split with the Grand Orient , has nearly 20,000 insiders, and refers to the " Great Architect of the Universe." It is exclusively male.
• The French National Grand Lodge, founded in 1913 , boasts " I'absolue belief in God and His revealed will . >> Only obedience " regular " , internationally recognized , it is forbidden for women and nearly 15,000 insiders .
• The Human Right , born in 1894 from a split of the Grand Orient , is mixed and has 10,000 members .
• Great Feminine Lodge , founded in 1952 and close to the Grand Orient , has more than 8,000 sœurs.CL
HOW TO BECOME A FREEMASON
Lodges often recruited by co-optation and submit candidates a real rite of passage . Each lodge meets every fortnight or every month. She wants the representation of an ideal world , under the arch of the symbolic Temple, strewn with stars . The sitting or holding is carefully orchestrated : apprentices , journeymen and masters have their place and held there . Venerable presides over the East , assisted by his officers, the master of ceremonies led masons in their place, I'orateur ensure compliance with the regulation, the expert in the rituals , the Treasurer manages the finances , and the roofer ensures that the box is covered in secluded or eavesdroppers .
The discussions are then opened , and masons can leisurely make and unmake the world. With strict discipline . No way to interrupt a speaker, or even sigh when he speaks . As an apprentice , initiated less than a year , he listens, but is silent as a sign of humanity.
Laboratories of ideas , the lodges of the Grand Orient with Jules Ferry led the fight for public schools. Then, one of the great social reforms , paid or forty-hour week leave. The texts of laws on birth control and abortion have been written by Freemasons. All lodges today are striving to unemployment, hunger , and immigration . They declared war on racism, extreme right and track down intégrismes.CL