The Deputy Grand Master (resigned) speaks
I must premise that before I was expelled I myself distanced myself from the “unrecognized” association called “Grande Oriente d'Italia”. The issue arose from a post that I myself wrote and published on Facebook, with which Lawyer Salsone, President of the Circumscriptional College of Lombardy, associated himself. This post portrayed a chessboard, with some large pawns, and it was written that we thanked the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who had just assumed the continuation of the presidential mandate, and criticized, at the same time, the Parliament, unable to elect a successor, noting that for this very reason the Italian political class lacked proper functioning. There was nothing in these remarks that was an attack on President Mattarella and nothing that was an attack on Grand Master Stefano Bisi. Just judgments by private citizens, who were speaking for themselves, certainly not for the G.O.I.!
Such a post had been written by me, and shared by my friend Salsone with a little addition of his own. But why the uproar? Simple: because the publication was taken as a pretext to target lawyer Salsone, who was thought to be a candidate for the next renewal of the Grand Mastership. A desire, moreover, never made explicit directly by the person concerned, which nevertheless I would have personally supported, because I believe that Antonino is not only a friend, but also a very decent person. After that, a kind of specific persecution began from there, which led to Tables of Accusation against Salsone himself, who was finally sentenced to the penalty of a one-year ouster from ritual work and a three-year ban from association offices. Both very serious penalties. As for me, however, this could not go forward because I recused the court that was purporting to try me. By the way, I ask, judging me for what? the manifestation of a free thought of mine? carried out - I stress - as a private citizen. But mind you, not only as such, but also as an expert on the subject, which I am as a political philosopher. It goes without saying, of course, how intolerable it is that there is a private association that claims to prevent me, as well as anyone else, from expressing what I think. The G.O.I. is an esoteric Order, not a political party. And it is unacceptable for a Grand Master to allow himself to challenge me and Lawyer Salsone on ideas expressed in the exercise of our full freedom of thought. This was made worse because a kind of fatwa was further issued, with the aggravating circumstance of being approved by the Junta, stating that any internal problem cannot be brought before the external (civil) Judge, contrary to Article 25 of the Constitution. That said, if by “internal problem” you mean something committed on specific aspects concerning ritualistic activity ... then there is no problem. But if this “something” concerns acts that, in the opinion of a person, a citizen, an associate, go against freedom of expression or freedom of speech, it is clear that it is unthinkable that the regulations of the Grand Orient of Italy can replace the Laws of the State. I refer to the Circular circulated last summer by Grand Secretary Emanuele Melani and reaffirmed by decision of the Junta and then the Grand Master. But these arrogate to themselves a right that in Italy belongs only to Parliament. All this with the G.O.I., an esoteric-initiative Order, has nothing to do with it.
In my opinion, the current Grand Orator does not have much knowledge about what the Tradition is, be it political, legal and esoteric. I have always said: problems involving internal issues should be dealt with internally. But by internal issues one should not consider issues that have to do with freedom of expression on issues that have nothing to do with the Grand Orient of Italy. Because it is obvious that if I, a member of the Grand Orient, publicly externalized my desire to change the ritual, this I could not do. That is what I have advocated in the past, and that is what I still advocate! But here the matter is radically different: I and Mr. Salsone, in fact, have not carried out any behavior against the Grand Orient of Italy and its internal rules, and nothing reprehensible has been done even against the Laws of the State or its Organs, we would miss it! Evidently the Great Orator is not clear about this distinction, which is not a minor one, however; it is a clear specification of limits. For were it the other way around it would mean that as members of the G.O.I. one would be subjected to an internal jurisdiction binding every individual behavior.
Even before the post we talked about, a kind of persecution by Mr. Bisi and Mr. Seminario, respectively Grand Master pro tempore and Deputy Grand Master, against Lombardy had already begun. I note the inspections of the Council of Worshipful Masters of Milan, really they are campy. All the way to the commissioning of the College. The College of Lombardy, in fact, is today commissariate, and this thing cannot exist because the measure is based on a norm that is not foreseen; so much so that there was a ruling in 2013, for a similar case, that challenged the Grand Master at the time to have such a power, that is, the power to commissariate Collegiate Bodies. This was Civil Judgment No. 3042/2013 issued by the Court of Rome, III Civil Section, on February 12, 2013, which became final and binding between the parties. A matter that then pitted the incumbent Grand Master Gustavo Raffi against the Council of Worshipful Masters to the Orient of Rome. It makes it very clear that there is no rule, in the Constitution and Rules of the G.O.I., such as would allow the Grand Master or the Council of the Grand Orient of Italy to declare elected and appointed members who form Administrative Bodies of management and representation of a Circumscriptional College to be forfeited.
In Lombardy, the elections of the Circumscriptional College were annulled. But I ask: will one have the right within an association to express what one thinks with respect to a ruling class, whether past or current? Or does one have to agree with all its proposals? In Lombardy today there is, within the Communion, an atmosphere of deep disturbance...We come from a world situation in which an esoteric Order should actually work for the inner progress of mankind, I ask: can it seem right to focus on internecine wars? We are living in a time when Free Masonry is coming to the headlines for very unseemly situations, I am referring to the news of these days, those coming from Calabria. Then there are the reports of the Anti-Mafia Commission... In short, I ask again, will it not be the case to open a discussion, at last serious and concrete, with the State? perhaps by asking for recognition, thus becoming a “recognized association”, and giving all our names to the Attorney General's Office in Rome or to the individual Public Prosecutors' Offices in the various peripheral offices. But not only that: by also making public all our rituals, because there is nothing secret in them! And also by making public all our resolutions that have an associative effect. Otherwise we run the risk of being considered - wrongly - a secret society. Then if there are situations such as those that have arisen, such precisely as to constitute a kind of “internal regime”, this is not good. I will cite you an example: a few days ago during a meeting that took place in Perugia, the former mayor Mario Valentini, a historical figure of great caliber for that territorial reality - now in his eighties - was taken off the floor in a rude manner by the Grand Master, just because, with sincerity, he was advancing reservations about certain behaviors. Free Masonry has always been a historical model of freedom. But if we go down the road of authoritarianism... it doesn't really seem to me to be the right road, that of an esoteric or even initiatory Order.
I believe that, as adherents of an initiatory Order, we would have much to give precisely by working within ourselves. This is the Tradition, the one with a capital “T”, which goes far beyond Freemasonry, having its roots in the ancient world and being renewed through the centuries. It is an individual work, and certainly Freemasonry has played an important part of it, but the problem that I see looming today is that by doing as it is being done, by creating this atmosphere full of friction, you get out of the groove of Tradition, you are out of it. But not only that, because the people who good or bad create or undergo this situation are also outside the Tradition. Then they will fall over a boundary that is not material, it is not visible, but it exists, and it is a boundary of a spiritual order. And here I allow myself a small aside: because it is not even in the groove of Tradition to encourage or even encourage forms of espionage... like turning on a microphone to start a recording while the other Brother – unaware of everything – is talking... Here, I do not belong to this kind of humanity.
Many Brothers of the G.O.I. of today they come to me, victims of these "operations", to ask me – in dismay – what is happening, or what should be done... We must make sure that things change within the Communion, in the relations between Brothers and above all in the consciences of all.
When destabilizing situations such as the ones I have described occur, there can be roughly at least two reasons: the first is interest, but if this interest had been blatant I, who was part of the Junta, would have gone immediately to the Prosecutor's Office; I didn't go, then it means that – personally – I can't say that I have any evidence to say that this is the case: of course, one can assume it, but one cannot affirm it; the second is the desire for power, that is also possible, however, this motive concerns either the psychologist or the psychiatrist, and I just see things as they are: actions and reactions that are contrary to the spirit of Free Masonry, contrary to the spirit of brotherhood, contrary to the corpus of the Italian state order... The reasons? everyone can draw his own conclusions, and on the other hand in the minds of men it is difficult to penetrate.
I vicariously – and even as soon as the first hint of a clash had loomed – sought out both the Grand Master and Mr. Seminario, because in all sincerity I did not understand the point of such a war. At first I said, “Let's find each other and see how to settle things” but if on the very day that the problem loomed in the Junta I receive news from Calabria that a Board of Accusation would be made, this I judged to be improper behavior. The facts then went in the direction of a persecutory attitude, which, moreover, had already started before, and which probably had to do with wanting to strike at a certain way of doing Freemasonry, which was much more “open” to the secular world.
I have never had any aspiration to be Grand Master and indeed I have always helped Mr. Bisi, both during the previous term and in this last one. Moreover, I have always defended him. I am simply sorry that in the name of this attitude, which I do not consider to be a correct attitude, many Brothers have been driven out, have been prevented from speaking, have been mistreated, have been expelled. True, some are resorting to ordinary Justice...
The G.O.I. lacks the habit of plurality of internal positions. In an esoteric initiatory Order this aspect may seem sacrosanct, but different cases must be distinguished. There was a Brother who recently put forward a legitimate proposal, to be brought-according to the path of our internal rules-to the approval of the Grand Lodge. Well, this Brother in the Council of the Order was judged, guilted, in exceedingly heated tones... we are talking about Antonio Virdia, newly elected president of the College of Trentino Alto-Adige. The Grand Master could have said that he did not agree with that proposal, that it would have been better to reword it in another way, but you cannot say that a proposal is “divisive”... A proposal is presented, it is put to a vote, then if it is liked it will gather support and pass, if it is not liked it will be rejected. And that's the way things should be, because we are neither in fascist regimes nor in communist regimes; we are an esoteric Order, and if such gerrymandering occurs then some concern comes to me.
When an esoteric Order increases in numbers this brings great advantages, practical advantages. In the sense that you can do a lot of activities, you can have even more money available to be able to do them, and also buy venues where you can do them. But, obviously, the selection is very different, partly because the social strata from which those who enroll will come will be different, depending also on the different areas of our country. This can result in a degradation. I, for example, but also Lawyer Salsone and certainly others who are calling attention to the fact that something is not turning the way it should be turning right now, as we are. We are inundated every day with contacts, and our cell phones and e-mails are boiling hot, from Brothers telling us of their distress. Others, however, are perhaps retreating in their work activities, not wanting to have any trouble, or are acquiescent with respect to the ruling power, others are transformers. Unfortunately, in these cases... These are all people who have solemnly promised to obey the dictates of their conscience, and this means that an esoteric Order – in this respect – is ruined.
We are not the first and will not be the only ones in history to have faced such difficulties, and certainly others have failed or will fail, perhaps far more authoritative than we. However, I do not say this to discourage; on the contrary, it should be a spur, because I firmly believe that this sad situation should be changed.
I know the facts that have happened in Cagliari, repeated abuses that have never been sanctioned by the Council or the Grand Orator. At the origin of it all undoubtedly lies the character of goliardery. But goliardery is done when one is a goliard, when one is a student, when one is young; what do I mean by this? That if one does not belong to these categories--uh well, then it means that one does not realize what one is doing. The problem jumps out at you when there is an absurd asymmetry of judgment by the Junta between the events in Cagliari and those in Milan. This I remarked, but was answered that my question was inadmissible. The Great Orator I always considered him a personal friend... well, he never once phoned me, even to tell me “I don't agree with what you are doing” or to tell me “I would do it this way”, never. I deduce that he was not a friend, because ... “brothers” in Freemasonry one becomes one automatically, but friends one is always by choice. So, ... what is there to be surprised about? I challenged him on this attitude.
On the very day when I contested within the Junta the willingness to proceed against Lawyer Salsone, and when every attempt was made to distinguish my responsibility from his, in order to hit him and not me, I clearly said "no," stating explicitly that the thought expressed was my own. But I don't know how they are but I know how I am, and I know that I am a person of honor, because it is my family that has given me this educational imprint; therefore, I am accustomed that if I do something I take my responsibility to the fullest, for good or bad. So I replied to him: if you decide to make a Table of Accusation to him you have to make it to me as well. Then I walked away, partly because I don't like Vyšinsky-style trials in Russia. I broke off all direct communication with them, but left the door open to mutual friends. I sent word of my willingness to seek a shared solution...
Salsone is a respected lawyer, a great lawyer, his father was murdered by the 'ndrangeta when he was 15 years old, but what is wrong with lawyer Salsone? You also have to respect people. In years past, the Grand Master was a friend of Salsone's, he was always in Lombardy ... then suddenly he changed, when it was perceived that he wanted to run for Grand Master. And I always said it: we find peace, then we go to the elections and may the best man win, I don't run. By the way, I didn't run in the past when it was proposed to me, I didn't run even when Mr. Bisi ran for the second term ... because my reasoning was this: why should I wrong a friend of mine by running against him when I was with him? I am not interested in being a Grand Master, it is not really in my desires. We as the Lombardy circumscription during the pandemic caused by covid-19 donated 160,000 €, we gave away an ambulance, we supported research in every way... From Rome we were never recognized for any of this. Of course the things we did we did because it was right to do them, we would do them again, but don't then come to us to commission, to inspect... I say: inspect other places.
The G.O.I. lacks antibodies. Some people hide because they are afraid, some because they have their pockets full of them, others because they are already busy with everyday chores, family and work. Then there are also those who, by their nature, are obedient to the powerful, or because they hope to have recognized some small distinction. It is only to be hoped that these people, both in Sardinia and throughout the country-because the phenomenon is global-will be removed, or will remove themselves independently. Or, if there were correct rules from the point of view of Tradition, make sure that they cannot behave in the ways that have been denounced, since these are all conducts that go against the very spirit of the Order to which they believe they belong, not belonging to it at all!
The rift is not geographical, it is not cultural, the rift is moral! If it were geographical, I would be more easily composed. And instead it is moral, between people who believe that an esoteric Order should form a propulsive community, one whose priorities include thinking about the present in order to build a future, and not just commemorating the past. We must aim for an esoteric Order that is close to the Laws of the State, that asks the State for recognition as an association, under certain covenants and conditions, and that is what we want. I personally want to do – together with those who will be in it – a battle within the G.O.I.; of course, now I will do it as an outsider – because from the G.O.I. I came out – but as a co-responsible “outsider”, because it is unthinkable that in one day thirty-two years of membership can be erased. Especially for someone like me, who within the Communion has held all offices. I will do my battle from the outside, offering cooperation. External help is needed so that a process of internal renewal can begin... It is on the best that the hope of change is founded, then if change cannot take place because those who want to change are “suppressed”... we will get over it. Perhaps civil justice will have to be resorted to. And that would pose a big problem for the Great Orator. The day a public prosecutor wakes up and goes to see... he says, “what are these guys doing?” You imagine a case, that of a policeman registered with the G.O.I. … what does he do? Disowns the ranks of the state? I am afraid, unfortunately, that they do not know what they are doing.
Front-page of the Sentence Bonvecchio vs. Melani
Consider that the P2 lodge, forty years ago, never wrote anything like the Melani Circular... sooner or later the problem will come up even from that point of view there. Because to write what has been written configures a “particular” association... It is not written in the statutes of the Football League, of the Touring Club that the internal rules... and there are the Boards of Arbitrators, which have advisory and arbitration functions, not “judicial” ones! They give opinions, but it is not that they override the Laws of the State or that one cannot go to the Civil Judge! What is important is that we understand that the rights and duties of a citizen are such whether he belongs to the G.O.I. or not, and we are intent on defending this line. I would add: all aspects that the Great Orator, who is the guardian of the laws, should know, but apparently does not.
That foreign Obediences are informed of what is happening in Italy is certain, but explicit and direct contacts I personally have not had. However, I am convinced that having to resort, more or less massively, to the External Judge, and should there be problems in this respect... that is, in case of a conflict between the internal regulations of the G.O.I., or its particular interpretations, and the Laws of the Italian State, then there could be consequences. I know that many foreign Obediences are in possession of the documentation on this matter, and I know that you at Giornalia.com, again on this matter, have published several articles in English... The Web is a universal space, like Freemasonry.
Devi fare log in per poter commentare.