Le sabre et le goupillon

911car

Well-known member
This famous, symbolic, and ironic formula can be simply translated as "The army and the church". It was used in the early XXth century to denounce the tacit alliance between the military and clergy.
Here is an example. Note the diversity in headgear.
L1020253.jpg
 

cptbob

Active member
I find it interesting that the priest is wearing an iron cross. Thanks for sharing Bruno!
 

coert65

Active member
I find it interesting that the priest is wearing an iron cross. Thanks for sharing Bruno!
Yes he is, with the ribbon for Non Combattants, furthermore, at the back of the picture, you can see a sign which says Aufname, with a red cross above it. My guess is that this is a hospital were wounded soldiers were treated. And the priest just had that Iron Cross recieved by the officers you can also see next to him. But that are just my thoughts about this picture.
 

911car

Well-known member
I was also posting this photo hoping that someone could help identify this high-ranking clergyman and the officer next to him, as well as the circumstances of this meeting.
 

911car

Well-known member
Bruno would you mind explaining this a bit more? Many of us, (including myself) have probably never heard of this.
Tony, I would have said upfront that this refers only to French history. One of the founding principles of the modern French society is the total separation between Church(es) and State (not opposition, but independance). This was made effective by a law promulgated in 1905 (Loi de Separation des Eglises et de l'Etat), after a long evolution rooted in the 1789 revolution. You would never, ever hear a French politician or other public individual refer publicly to God, while it is, as we know, common in the USA for instance. "Le sabre et le goupillon" ("goupillon" is the sort of hand sprinkler used by Catholic priests to spray Holy water during Mass) is a usually pejorative expression used to illustrate the fact that despite this separation, the Army and the (catholic) Church remain associated. It is attributed to Georges Clemenceau but has been commonly used by left-wing politicians, polemists, writers since then...
 

911car

Well-known member
Yes he is, with the ribbon for Non Combattants, furthermore, at the back of the picture, you can see a sign which says Aufname, with a red cross above it. My guess is that this is a hospital were wounded soldiers were treated. And the priest just had that Iron Cross recieved by the officers you can also see next to him. But that are just my thoughts about this picture.
You are probably right, Coert, but I guess this clergyman is much more than a simple priest...
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
This is a very interesting photo Bruno and thank you for posting it. Aside from the priest, I see two stahlhelme being worn surrounded by numerous numbered and
plain uberzugs which I find unusual. I thought that by the time the metal helmet was introduced that regimental numbers would have been long gone?? We even have a lone Hussar Officer in the background. In addition, are there not several chaplains in the group as well, wearing visor caps with a metal device between the kokarden? Regarding the Catholic father, the size of the cross and thick gold chain to me would also suggest “no ordinary priest”. Ironically, the issue of separating church and state or religion and state has recently surfaced here in Canada with the Quebec government passing legislation banning the wearing of any religious symbols by government employees, teachers or other civil servants. Unlike the French, the Québécois did not challenge the power of the RC Church until 1970.
 

911car

Well-known member

Sandmann

Well-known member
You may have nailed it! Thank you.
I found on internet a picture of Cardinal von Hartmann in similar company, and they do look alike.View attachment 17057
Awesome, happy to help :)
PS: I just found a photocard with the identical group. Commented with „Cardinal Hartmann with the rhinelander in the field“
 

argonne

Active member
„Cardinal Hartmann with the rhinelander in the field“
Hi,
It makes sense: JR28 (Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz) and JR69 (Trier) were in the Rheinland, both VIII Army Corps. So the FAR23 in Coblenz ( the Artillery Officer at the back, left side of the pict). But JR49 was pomeranian (Gnesen) :unsure:

The very first and few M16 steel helmets were given to some front units Februar 1916 in Verdun. The last (green) numbers on the helmets covers had to disappear in the front area, October 1916. It is very possible that soldiers in german garrison still wore the unit numbers on Überzüge till 1918 (Recruts in the Ersatz-Bataillon, for exemple).

Philippe
;)
 
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