The Catholic King Who Supported the Muslim Invasion of Europe

Deal W. Hudson
February  5, 2018

That Catholic king was Francis I who in the 16th century openly sided with Suleiman the Magnificent in his Muslim wars on Christians in Eastern Europe.

The reason was simple, as explained by historian John Julius Norwich in Four Princes: Henry VIII, Francis 1, Charles V, and Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions That Formed Modern Europe, Francis I wanted the Muslims to check the expansion of Charles V’s Hapsburg Empire as well as weaken it internally.

The beginning of what became known as the Franco-Ottoman alliance began in 1526, a year after a humiliating defeat of the French army by Charles V. After spending several months in prison, Francis I was forced to sign the Treaty of Madrid giving away significant territorial possessions to the Hapsburg ruler. The King of Francis immediately sent secret letters to Suleiman’s court in Constantinople seeking an alliance against Charles V.

Francis made his intentions to clear throughout Europe and Great Britain. As he would say to an Italian ambassador in 1531:

“I cannot deny that I wish to see the Turk all-powerful and ready for war, not for himself – for he is an infidel and we are all Christians – but to weaken the power of the emperor, to compel him to make major expenses, and to reassure all the other governments who are opposed to such a formidable enemy.”

Francis I himself was made ready for war, as a result of the alliance. For example, he was given use of the naval power of the Barbary Pirates, who held thousands of Catholics as slaves in their territory across the southern rim of the Meditteranean, to take control of Hapsburg land in on the Italian coast.

Norwich points out that the French alliance with the Ottoman empire led Charles V to seek reconciliation with the Protestant movement in Northern Germany led by Martin Luther.  Charles V was already fighting on two fronts, France to the east, the Turks to the west, and needed military support rather than more conflict from German princes to the north.

This Catholic-Muslim alliance continued in various, but substantial, ways over two centuries until Napoleon attacked Egypt in 1798. The French would reassert their presence in the Middle East at the end of WWI through the Treaty of Versailles which put control of the former Ottoman lands under France and Great Britain.

I consider this as another example in the long history of self-professed Christian leaders who have sold-out their faith and the faithful for political gain, for power.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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