Freemasons’ bid to repair France’s “indivisible Republic”- VIDEO

“We must repair the Republic,” says the new leader of the Grand Orient of France (GODF), Guillaume Trichard, expressing his concern about the far-right and his desire for openness to “show that Freemasonry is not secret.”

At 47 years old, the former deputy secretary general of Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes (National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions) Unsa became the Grand Master of GODF on August 25, the first French obedience celebrating the 250th anniversary of the name “Grand Orient of France” this year.

Under the blue ceiling of the temple where he speaks to AFP, at the GODF headquarters, in front of an altar adorned with the compass and Masonic square, he is eager to dispel some elitist stereotypes about his obedience: “all social and professional classes are represented. We have workers, technicians, supervisors… I want to see this trend continue because the Grand Orient of France reflects society.”

GODF currently has 52,500 members and 1,392 lodges. After the “slump” caused by the health crisis, “we have been on an upward trajectory for three years, with many spontaneous applications from young people aged 20 to 30,” says the man who was initiated at 23.

This “rebound” is attributed to the “openness policy” initiated in recent years to demonstrate that Freemasonry “is not secret,” and Guillaume Trichard intends to “perpetuate” it.

Next spring, there will be “utopia masonica days” where lodges will be “invited to open their temples, organize exhibitions, concerts, debates…” In this year of the 2024 European elections and the commemoration of Liberation, the event will have the theme “Resistance.”

“I am very concerned about the rise of populism,” says Guillaume Trichard, who fears that “in 2024, far-right parties in a Europe at war may again be victorious in some countries.”

In France, “we feel that our Republic is currently threatened, especially by the very likely risk of far-right accession to power,” he adds, seeing “risks for the 2026 municipal elections and the 2027 presidential election.”

– Female lodges-

“The four pillars of our indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic seem to be under attack,” he declares in front of a bust of Marianne, in this temple adorned with the motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

After the Yellow Vest movement, “this social crisis that we saw with the large protests against pension reform still exists,” warns the former Unsa leader.

“This union background means that social justice is in my DNA. But it’s also in the DNA of the Grand Orient of France for decades.”

“A Republic, to be strong, needs strong public services. Freemasons will make proposals on access to healthcare, education, police, justice… as long as we haven’t concretely addressed these issues that make some French feel forgotten by the Republic, it won’t be enough to brandish lofty words to stop the growth of the far-right,” he warns.

“We believe that the Republic needs to be repaired,” insists the leader, giving the GODF the role of a “sentinel”: “We are not a political party, not a trade union, but an organization aimed at conveying a certain number of ideas in the public debate.”

As the new school year is marked by a debate on secularism, he says he is “of course” in favor of banning the abaya (Islamic gown for women) in schools but assures: “the important thing now is to support teachers” so that schools “remain a place of religious neutrality but also political neutrality.”

Regarding the feminization of the obedience, initiated in 2010, Guillaume Trichard emphasizes the “freedom” given to lodges in this matter: “some are male, others are mixed, and perhaps we will have women’s lodges.”

The obedience has 6,147 “sisters,” and three of them have just been elected to the Council of the Order. “We can imagine that in a few years, a sister will become Grand Master” since, as Guillaume Trichard reminds us, “we do not feminize titles.”

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