Francis opens the Synod quoting Congar: “We must not make another Church, we must make a different Church”

Francis opening address at the Synod (“walking together”).

Read carefully.  At least the Bolletino has it HERE

No… wait…

Interesting approach.

Let’s just sloooooow doooooown the English speaking wooooooorld.

Here’s a version in English… my emphases and comments.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for being here at the opening of the Synod. You have come from many roads and Churches, each carrying questions and hopes in your hearts, and I am sure that the Spirit will guide us and give us the grace to go forward together, to listen to each other and to initiate discernment in our time, becoming in solidarity with the labors and desires of humanity. I reiterate that the Synod is not a parliament, that the Synod is not an investigation of opinions; the Synod is an ecclesial moment, and the protagonist of the Synod is the Holy Spirit. If there is no Spirit, there will be no Synod.

Let us live this Synod in the spirit of the prayer that Jesus addressed heartily to the Father for his own: “That they may all be one”(Jn 17:21). To this we are called: to unity, to communion, to the fraternity that is born from feeling embraced by the one love of God. All of us, without distinction, and we Pastors in particular, as St Cyprian wrote: “We must firmly maintain and claim this unity, especially we Bishops who preside over the Church, to give proof that even the episcopate itself is one and undivided”(De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate,5). In the one People of God, therefore, let us walk together, to experience a Church that receives and lives the gift of unity and opens herself to the voice of the Spirit.

The key words of the Synod are three: communion, participation, mission. Communion and mission are theological expressions that designate the mystery of the Church and of which it is good to remember. The Second Vatican Council clarified that communion expresses the very nature of the Church and, at the same time, affirmed that the Church has received “the mission of proclaiming and establishing in all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God, and of this kingdom constitutes on earth the seed and the beginning”(Lumen Gentium, 5). Two words through which the Church contemplates and imitates the life of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of communion ad intra and the source of mission ad extra. After a time of doctrinal, theological and pastoral reflections that characterized the reception of Vatican II, St. Paul VI wanted to condense precisely in these two words – communion and mission – “the main lines, enunciated by the Council”. Commemorating his openness, he affirmed that the general lines had been “communion, that is, cohesion and interior fullness, in grace, in truth, in collaboration […] and mission, that is, apostolic commitment to the contemporary world”(Angelus,11 October 1970), which is not proselytism.

Closing the Synod of 1985, twenty years after the conclusion of the conciliar assembly, Saint John Paul II also wanted to reaffirm that the nature of the Church is koinonia:from it flows the mission of being a sign of the intimate union of the human family with God. And he added: “It is supremely fitting that ordinary and, if necessary, even extraordinary Synods be celebrated in the Church” which, in order to bear fruit, must be well prepared: “that is, it is necessary that in the local Churches work be done on their preparation with the participation of all”(Address at the conclusion of the Second Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,7 December 1985). So here is the third word, participation. Communion and mission risk remaining somewhat abstract terms if we do not cultivate an ecclesial practice that expresses the concreteness of synodality in every step of the journey and of work, promoting the real involvement of each and every one. I would like to say that celebrating a Synod is always beautiful and important, but it is truly fruitful if it becomes a living expression of being Church, of an action characterized by true participation.

And this is not for the sake of style, but of faith. Participation is a requirement of baptismal faith. As the Apostle Paul says, “we have all been baptized by one Spirit into one body”(1 Cor 12:13). The starting point, in the ecclesial body, is this and no other: Baptism. From it, our source of life, derives the equal dignity of the children of God, even in the difference of ministries and charisms. For this reason, everyone is called to participate in the life of the Church and in her mission. If there is no real participation of the whole People of God, the discourses on communion risk remaining pious intentions. On this aspect we have made progress, but there is still a certain difficulty and we are forced to record the discomfort and suffering of many pastoral workers, of the participatory bodies of dioceses and parishes, of women who are often still on the margins. To participate everyone: it is an indispensable ecclesial commitment! All baptized, this is the identity card: Baptism. [Unless you want traditional sacred liturgical worship.]

The Synod, precisely while it offers us a great opportunity for a pastoral conversion in a missionary and also ecumenical key, is not exempt from some risks. I will mention three. [1] The first is that of formalism. You can reduce a Synod to an extraordinary event, but a façade, just as if you were looking at a beautiful façade of a church without ever set foot in it. Instead, the Synod is a path of effective spiritual discernment, which we do not undertake to give a beautiful image of ourselves, but to better collaborate in God’s work in history. Therefore, if we speak of a synodal Church we cannot be satisfied with the form, but we also need substance, tools and structures that favor dialogue and interaction in the People of God, especially between priests and laity. Why do I emphasize this? Because sometimes there is some elitism in the priestly order that makes it detach from the laity; and the priest eventually becomes the “master of the shack” and not the pastor of a whole Church that is moving forward. This requires transforming certain top-down, distorted and partial visions of the Church, the priestly ministry, the role of the laity, ecclesial responsibilities, government roles, and so on. [Imagine there’s no priesthood… It’s easy if you try.  Be done in Deutschland.   The Synod’s next in line.]

[2] A second risk is that of intellectualism – abstraction, reality goes there and we with our reflections go elsewhere – to make the Synod a kind of study group, with cultured but abstract interventions on the problems of the Church and on the evils of the world; a sort of “talking to us”, [“talking the talk and walking the walk”… together!] where we proceed in a superficial and worldly way, ending up falling back into the usual sterile ideological and party classifications and detaching ourselves from the reality of the holy People of God, from the concrete life of the communities scattered around the world.

[3] Finally, there may be the temptation ofimmobility: [“walking together”… on a treadmill.] since “it has always been done this way” (Ap. Evangelii Gaudium,33) – this word is a poison in the life of the Church, “it has always been done this way” – it is better not to change. Those who move in this horizon, even without realizing it, fall into the error of not taking seriously the time we inhabit.  The risk is that in the end old solutions will be adopted for new problems: a patch of raw cloth, which in the end creates a worse tear (cf. Mt 9:16). For this reason it is important that the Synod be truly such, a process in progress; involve, in different phases and from below, the local Churches, in a passionate and incarnate work, which imprints a style of communion and participation marked by the mission.

Let us therefore live this occasion of encounter, listening and reflection as a time of grace,brothers and sisters, a time of grace that, in the joy of the Gospel, allows us to seize at least three opportunities. The first is to set out [1] not occasionally but structurally towards a synodal Church:an open place, where everyone feels at home and can participate. The Synod then offers us the opportunity to become [2] the Church of listeningto take a break from our rhythms, to stop our pastoral anxieties to stop and listen. [Execept to those people… you know the ones.] Listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer. How much we miss the prayer of adoration today! Many have lost not only the habit, but also the notion of what it means to worship. [“OVER HERE!”  – WAVING ARMS – “ON THE MARGIN!  OVER HEEEEERE!”] Listen to our brothers and sisters on the hopes and crises of faith in the different areas of the world, on the urgent needs for the renewal of pastoral life, on the signs that come from local realities. [3] Finally, we have the opportunity to become a Church of closeness. Let us always return to God’s style: God’s style is closeness, compassion and tenderness. [Tradionis custodes.] God has always worked like this. If we do not come to this Church of closeness with attitudes of compassion and tenderness, we will not be the Church of the Lord. [!] And this not only in words, but with presence, so that greater bonds of friendship with society and the world may be established: a Church that does not separate itself from life, but takes charge of the fragility and poverty of our time, healing wounds and healing broken hearts with the balm of God. Let us not forget God’s style that must help us: closeness, compassion and tenderness[Tradionis custodes.]

Dear brothers and sisters, may this Synod once inhabited by the Spirit! Because we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who frees us from all closure, revives what is dead, loosens the chains, spreads joy. The Holy Spirit is the One who guides us where God wants and not where our personal ideas and tastes would take us. Father Congar, of holy memory, recalled: “We must not makeanother Church,we must make a different Church”(Vera e falsa riforma nella Chiesa,Milan 1994, 193). And that’s the challenge. For a “different Church”, open to the newness that God wants to suggest to her, let us invoke the Spirit with greater strength and frequency and humbly listen to him, walking together, as he, creator of communion and mission, desires, that is, with docility and courage.

Come, Holy Spirit. You who arouse new languages and put words of life on your lips, preserve us from becoming a museum Church, beautiful but mute, with so much past and little future. Come among us, because in the synodal experience we do not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by disenchantment, we do not water down prophecy, we do not end up reducing everything to sterile discussions. Come, Holy Spirit of love, open our hearts to listening. Come, Spirit of holiness, renew the holy faithful People of God. Come, Creator Spirit, make the face of the earth new. Amen.


A few take-aways…

  • “We must not make another Church,we must make a different Church”
  • the time we inhabit.  The risk is that in the end old solutions will be adopted for new problems…
  • The first is to set out not occasionally but structurally towards a synodal Church

Congar… “We must not make another Church, we must make a different Church”.

Okay.  But I don’t think that means the same thing for everyone.  This is something that we are going to have to look at: the roots of this notion in “nouvelle théologie”, etc.

Dear readers… go to confession.

Examine your consciences, looking for possible holes in the way you are living your state in life.  Redouble your devotions and your will to do penance in reparation.

I’ve turned on the moderation queue.

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25 Comments

  1. Ivan says:

    Yes dear father.
    In fact, they made already a DIFFERENT church.
    They run it already for a while.
    But they lie to the whole world they run the Catholic Church.

    What more do we need to recognise that?
    It’s time to wake up!
    And take the actions.
    Cardinals?
    Bishops?

    To begin with right words will make a enormous difference.

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  3. Aliquis says:

    “All baptized, this is the identity card: Baptism.” So the distinction between Catholics and Protestants no longer matters?

  4. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Is there not a mandatory papal oath to “change nothing of the received Tradition” nor “permit any innovation therein”? Is not demanding that the Church be “open to the newness” the very definition of innovation? What am I missing here?

  5. Chad the Great says:

    What amazes me, is that, by clinging to the New Springtime, these veteran prelates, who should be fonts of ancient wisdom and stern guidance (in fairness, many are; they are likely not too happy about this Synod, though) are actually promoting an expired solution from the past. The Second Pentecost is the outdated, kneejerk, reactionary mentality. Someone who thinks like Pope Francis is POPE, for crying out loud.
    I wonder just how much they realize, that the pendulum has swung back to Tradition, not just in the Church, but period, whether they like it, or not. The ONLY thing they can achieve, is to close parishes at a faster rate than they already are.

    The bishops tried to save the New Springtime by importing African priests for a while. That didn’t work, because the African priests were holy and preached the gospel, so now they want the priesthood itself compromised.

    Women being at the margins? In even traditional churches, the actual day-to-day affairs rely on female organizational power. In the last Novus Ordo parish I was at, the various female-led committees completely dominated the priest.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    Then Card. Ratzinger’s biggest mistake was to treat the debate in nouvelle théologie that manifested itself best as interlocular debate in the journals Communio vs Concilium as an academic debate rather than an existential issue. As BXVI, Summorum pontificum exists as an indicator that he began to see the issue as more of an existential issue rather than an ongoing debate between two divergent yet permissible camps of academic thought.

    It is though clear that the “Concilium” camp leaders never saw things as an academic debate but rather existential. They want a different Church* than the one Christ founded. Pope Francis might just be the one to give it to them.

    *by this I don’t mean one that is structured differently but one in which the efficacy of the Holy Spirit doesn’t exist. To harsh? No. They want to talk about the Spirit without actually being possessed by the Spirit. They want prayers/blessings/sacramentals/sacraments to have the efficacy (or less) of the Book of Blessings not the efficacy contained in the ancient ritual.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Okay, I am sick of this. “Synodos” doesn’t mean walking together.

    Syn (together) + hodos (way) is the etymology. And of course the Early Christian bishops would have seen it as Hodos, the Way. Being together IN CHRIST.

    Secularly, it meant “coming together,” not walking together. It was a meeting, a fancy word for a battle, a trade guild, a constriction of land, or even a planetary conjunction. It could also mean “incoming revenue,” presumably because the money was all blended together.

    There is a related term, synodoiporos, or “fellow traveler,” which could be said “synodos” as a short form later on. But that’s talking about sharing the “road” with one other person, not about “walking together.”

    Misunderstanding word meanings is a pretty fundamental misunderstanding. Possibly this is another artifact of reading books in Spanish, where “go” and “walk” can be the same word; but even that translation of the Greek would still be wrong. The Road, the Way, is what’s being mentioned.

  8. Unwilling says:

    Thank you, Father. I would not have bothered reading it but for your practical invitation.
    What “evils” does he fear threaten the Church? They are Beauty (pulchrum), Truth (verum), and Unity (unum). His little sermo highlighting this tripartite fixation seemed to me today to point to a broken heart, from some sort of abuse he suffered in his deep past. He seems to believe that the shortest glimpse of any of these transcendentals will lead, like Gorgon’s smile, to compulsion and destruction. So sad.

    Does he feel res, ens, and aliquid are safe? or irrelevant?

  9. Not says:

    Well, here we go again. Please someone, anyone, put the “Spirit” of Vatican II to rest permanently.We once had a world wide, thriving Catholic Church. You could attend Latin Mass anywhere in the world and pray the Mass. We had Religious Orders full of Priest, Nuns and Brothers. We had churches full to capacity. We had full seminaries. We had orthodox Theologians.
    But no! We needed a pastoral council to tell us how we could, (pardon the pun) build back better. If this Synod isn’t a remake, nothing is. Nothing is perfect but the old way was as close as we can get.

  10. “God’s style is closeness, compassion and tenderness.”

    Just looking at passages from Genesis and the Apocalypse, particularly Gen. 19:24-25, and that description doesn’t seem to universally apply…
    God’s method isn’t even necessarily close, as in the Apocalypse, His Angels appear to be doing most of the work.

    Well, nevermind, what can I say? A “different Church” must necessarily have a different Bible! Where’s that going to come from?

  11. mbutton says:

    If we were truly listening to the Spirit, we would hear “Ultramontanism is dead”.

  12. Irish Timothy says:

    ‘Dear readers… go to confession. Examine your consciences, looking for possible holes in the way you are living your state in life. Redouble your devotions and your will to do penance in reparation.’

    Quite honestly…….this is all I need to hear. Thank you Father. As things continue to go nuts, we in the laity must do our part to turn the tide and it’s doesn’t and shouldn’t be complicated. The leftists love change and confusion and additions. Simplicity is what is required now. The message of Fatima from Our Lady was simple and direct to save souls and the Church.

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  14. TonyO says:

    Just a few items I noticed:

    and to initiate discernment in our time,

    Does anyone recognize the similarity to Neville Chamberlain’s infamous “peace for our time”?

    All of us, without distinction, and we Pastors in particular,

    Doesn’t Francis notice the oxymoronic phrasing here? Is he that ignorant? Doesn’t he have proof-readers to help catch these things?

    Or, perhaps, he was just falling into Orwellian newspeak out of necessity: all animals are equal, pigs more so than others.

    and mission, that is, apostolic commitment to the contemporary world”(Angelus,11 October 1970), which is not proselytism.

    I wonder what Christ meant, then, when he said “Go, make disciples of all nations”? Not proselytism, surely! Something else. Something that all the apostles did…I know, become well-paid CEOs of NGOs! That’s what they did.

    since “it has always been done this way” (Ap. Evangelii Gaudium,33) – this word is a poison in the life of the Church, “it has always been done this way” – it is better not to change.

    No, I am sure it is better to change. In fact, it is better to change everything, including being the very Church founded by Christ. I invite all the synodists who believe this claptrap to go found their own church, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Leave us to our old, befuddled, hide-bound Church that Christ founded.

    The risk is that in the end old solutions will be adopted for new problems:

    I don’t suppose that SIN is one of those new problems, is it? Or is it one of those old problems. Because, Christ gave us solutions for old problems, and I thought we had been busy applying old solutions to those old problems.

    If there is no real participation of the whole People of God, the discourses on communion risk remaining pious intentions.

    (Raising hand) Ummm, I hate to mention it, but NOBODY asked me to participate at the Synod (“flying apart at the seams and talking past each other like the Tower of Babel”). Can we do a re-start when I get my invitation and get there?

    To participate everyone: it is an indispensable ecclesial commitment!

    RUUUNNNNNN! As fast as you can! Do not spend even a moment in range of someone who makes “participate” into assault and battery. “We will participate you, and not only that, you will like it, whether you like it or not.” Probably accomplished with either electrodes or scalpels.

    Is there any way we can retroactively declare Yves Congar a heretic for that “not another…a different church”? I mean, isn’t it pretty much heretical on its face? What more proof is needed? I repeat: for all those who want a different Church – go ahead and leave us OUR Church, and make up your own. Feel free. Why must you try to drag us with you, since you clearly DON’T WANT us in your church?

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  16. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    Bergoglian doublespeak.

  17. hilltop says:

    Another Jesuit “what three things can we talk about today as our theme?” homily.

    Come up with three words
    Offer pious platitudes about each
    Tie them all together, and
    Presto! Enlightenment for all!

    Does anyone agree it’s all so trite?

  18. mlmc says:

    Quoting Congar would be a big step up for me. In the last month homilies have referenced Bultmann (the multiplication of the loaves & fishes was d/t sharing by the rich) and Matthew Fox. I do not criticize in public (& I realize few in the pews know who this people are) but a little more orthodoxy would be soothing.

  19. hilltop says:

    LIBERTY: see paragraph 10: “Because we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who frees us from all closure, … loosens the chains …

    EQUALITY: see paragraph 2: “All of us, without distinction…”

    FRATERNITY: see paragraph 2: “. To this we are called: to unity, to communion, to the fraternity that is born from feeling embraced by the one love of God”.

    SOLIDARITY: see paragraph 1: “… becoming in solidarity with the labors and desires of humanity”.

  20. Greg Smisek says:

    I’m all for purifying and enlightening our notions of Who the Church is, but I fear that the Christian understanding of communio tends to be deformed more by the secular notion of democracy rather than being truly informed by the Blessed Trinity, its source. Distinction is at the very heart of “communion,” which is a an exchange of gifts, duties, roles, services, and dependencies (munus). You have been given a gift, charism, or office within the Body of Christ (the mystical Person of Christ) that I have not, and I have been given something that you have not, for the good of the whole. And we are a lifeless body (or a useless or dead member thereof) if we are not ruled by our Head and not animated by the Holy Spirit, who infuses the Church with the very life of the Holy Trinity.

  21. Semper Gumby says:

    “a different church”

    No thanks, and it doesn’t belong to Jorge Bergoglio or his minions to make “different.” The anti-Christian hierarchy can pound sand.

    The Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open next year. The public purpose of the Abrahamic House is to “preserve the unique character of each religion.” The Vatican is clearly not interested in preserving Christian tradition, they are intent on something else.

    In 2010 Prince Charles (who is pro-Great Reset) stated in an Oxford speech: “the Islamic way will save the environment.” He’s repeated that several times since 2010. The prince and future king also stated: “the whole earth has been declared a mosque.” (In the context of environmentalism, the “earth as mosque” is from Hadith Fiqh Sunnah 2:67.)

    Prince Charles also has stated: “Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost.”

  22. ex seaxe says:

    I see they have finally produced an official version in English, and “master of the shack” is officially “landlord”. I take it “padrone della baracca” is an informal term for an exploitative landlord, since the scare quotes are in the original and in the translation.
    More importantly, to what extent is this an attempt to outflank the Germans?
    — I reiterate that the Synod is not a parliament,
    that the Synod is not an investigation of opinions; —

  23. The Cobbler says:

    His Holiness,

    A second risk is that of intellectualism – abstraction, reality goes there and we with our reflections go elsewhere – to make the Synod a kind of study group, with cultured but abstract interventions on the problems of the Church and on the evils of the world; a sort of “talking to us”, where we proceed in a superficial and worldly way, ending up falling back into the usual sterile ideological and party classifications and detaching ourselves from the reality of the holy People of God, from the concrete life of the communities scattered around the world.

    Doesn’t this describe the entireity of modern theology?

    For this reason it is important that the Synod be truly such, a process in progress; involve, in different phases and from below, the local Churches, in a passionate and incarnate work, which imprints a style of communion and participation marked by the mission.

    I rest my case.

    In all seriousness though, a more helpful concept may be that of the experience of Christ that the Church’s tradition preserves. Not that we need go so far as the Orthodox and say that whatever theology we disagree with is wrong because it’s “theorizing” (and what of sound, orthodox theology?), but I would say much of modernist talk (debate whether trads used to overapply the label or not, this stuff about changing the Church for new times seems to actually fit the bill) is simply foreign to the experience of Christ. Aside from one or two prooftext-style references to verses that seem to support his own views out of context, I’m not seeing scriptural understanding here, nor concern for growth in holiness – growth into God Himself; the rambling commentary is dominated by a purely worldly, thinking-as-humans-think concern for satisfying some abstract notion that we need change to balance future and past, discourse by vague metaphor without the underlying moral clarity of parables, etc. etc.

    Semper Gumby,

    Considering that the whole head of the Church of England thing got a man off the throne over marital issues (of all the ironies) as recently as WWII, one wonders if they’ll have the nerve to say that a would-be Muslim cannot be king? I suppose it would be too much to hope for from today’s England, church or state.

    Chad the Great,

    Don’t you know that women doing all that work is how they’re oppressed?

    I jest, but I’ve seen feminists argue things like that both ways. If you put them in charge like they want, they start complaining about the “mental labor” you’re placing on them or something like that. It’s not a reasonably valid, falsifiable proposition.

    Suburbanbanshee,

    Thanks for that tidbit! And for the many others you’ve left here (and elsewhere – was glad to see you at the ILOH’s place the other day) over many years.

    hilltop,

    Baiting Gumby? ;^)

  24. TonyO says:

    one wonders if they’ll have the nerve to say that a would-be Muslim cannot be king? I suppose it would be too much to hope for from today’s England, church or state.

    To borrow from the great “Yes, Prime Minister” tv show, in response to a pair of proposed candidates for bishop of a Church of England diocese, that one candidate wanted to get the Queen out of the Church of England, and the other wanted to get God out:

    “Well, by definition you can’t get the queen out of the Church of England…”

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    The Cobbler and TonyO: You’re probably right, many, but not all, in Britain today would probably celebrate the Glorious Diversity of a Muslim King- perhaps they’d have a go at making him Caliph. There was some sort of kerfuffle a few years ago over Prince Charles’ musings about dropping “Defender of the Faith” for “Defender of Faith” or “Defender of the Faiths” when he is crowned.

    A classic example of a Western monarch dabbling in Islamism is Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany prior to and during WW I.

    Before WW I Kaiser Wilhelm befriended Ottoman Sultan Abdul “The Damned” Hamid (mainly for strategic purposes, but also partly to offend his royal relatives in Britain- Kaiser Wilhelm II had issues but I digress). After Turks massacred Armenians in 1894 and 1896, every Western leader except the Kaiser condemned the Sultan. The Kaiser planned a Berlin-Baghdad railway to strengthen Imperial Germany-Ottoman Empire relations. When Wilhelm visited Jerusalem in 1898 the Ottomans obliged Wilhelm by removing part of the Jaffa Gate to allow passage of horses, carriages, and German spiked helmets. (When British Gen. Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks in 1917 he and his staff walked in on foot.)

    This brings us to Max von Oppenheim, an advisor to Wilhelm who was eventually nicknamed for good or ill by German diplomats as “Abu Jihad” or the Father of Jihad- of course, jihad had been around since the 7th century. Oppenheim decided that jihad and the Ottoman caliphate would be useful in any future war against Britain, France and Russia. Oppenheim was from an old Jewish family which converted to Catholicism when he was an infant, and as a student in Cairo Oppenheim decided Islam presented a strategic opportunity and Imperial Germany should support a resurgent Caliphate.

    Oppenheim presented his proposal to the Kaiser in 1898 just before Wilhelm’s visit to Jerusalem- though Oppenheim was mocked by some in the German Foreign Ministry. Contrary to Oppenheim’s analysis, Ottoman Turk Muslims were not necessarily popular among Arab Muslims, and the Ottoman Caliph was practically irrelevant in India.

    But, the Kaiser enjoyed thinking of himself as a maker of Caliphs and as a Muslim liberator- Oppenheim had the Kaiser’s ear and the course was set.

    As WW I began, Kaiser Wilhelm, to foment jihad, had his agents spread the word in the bazaars from the Nile to the Indus that he had secretly converted to Islam, was now Haji Wilhelm Muhammad, and the German people would soon convert en masse to Islam. Pro-Kaiser Imams scoured the Koran, then thundered in the mosques that Haji Wilhelm was secretly doing Allah’s work by fighting Christian infidels on the Western Front.

    One example of activity in the Middle East. In 1915 in southern Iran the scene was basically this: popular sentiment was generally pro-Kaiser Wilhelm, but the Shah was somewhat skeptical and rather neutral, but certain German and Iranian politicians had longstanding relations. All of this resulted in the Iranian Prime Minister signing a secret deal with Imperial Germany.

    Now, on to the scene in 1915 Iran strode Wilhelm Wassmuss, the German consul, but actually an intelligence officer, stationed in Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. Wassmuss proceeded to stir up the tribes to pressure the Shah and fight any Allied forces in sight (this activity eventually brought in Russian and British troops to support the Shah).

    Wassmuss left Bushehr for the desert and hills, his horses carrying not only ammunition and food, but items such as headphones, wires and magnets. Wassmuss would claim to be Muslim and meet with certain tribes after sunset, he then set up his equipment claiming it was a shortwave radio, and while producing impressive but worthless sparks he claimed to be in direct contact with Kaiser Haji Wilhelm who was ordering jihad against the infidel.

    Yeah, I know, this is really getting out of hand.

    Anyway, it’s unclear if Prince Charles will ascend to the throne as King “Haji” Charles, but it’s a fair guess his reign will not resemble that of Charles “The Hammer” Martel or Charlemagne.

    Afternote: For more on this see “Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern East” by Rubin and Schwanitz. The first several chapters deal with Oppenheim et al before getting into Muhammad Amin Huseini’s pre-WW II General Islamic Congress in Jerusalem and his attacks on Jews and Brits (Huseini and other Islamists eventually met with Hitler).

    In 1937 Adolf Eichmann travelled to Haifa on a tourist visa to meet with Huseini, but the British confined his stay to two days then packed him on a ship to Alexandria, Egypt. In Cairo Eichmann met with agents of Huseini dispatched from Jerusalem. British intelligence soon after nearly captured Huseini, but he escaped to Beirut.

    The following may be only coincidence: on November 28, 1941 there was a meeting in Berlin between Hitler and Huseini, the next day SS official Reinhard Heydrich signed an order for the Wannsee Conference (which included Eichmann) to meet on December 8 (postponed due to the Pearl Harbor attack until January 1942) to discuss the Final Solution. Huseini remained in Berlin for weeks after meeting with Hitler, Eichmann providing to Huseini a pre-briefing of the Wannsee Conference agenda.

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