18 January 2011

Would-Be Saint for Our Times, and for All Times: Blessed Karl of Austria

The seven readers of this blog may have noticed that I am on a Blessed Karl of Austria kick lately. True enough. I have long been intrigued by him, and his unsuccessful efforts to save some remnant of Christendom from the remorseless, grinding wheels of modernist revolution. But now, in the wake of the beatification announcement of John Paul II, I think it only fair that one of the best things John Paul II did in his life-- to beatify Blessed Karl-- should further redound to his credit by leading the the canonization of this great monarch subito.

Blessed Karl was the last reigning Emperor of Austria-Hungary, and the last reigning claimant to the Holy Roman Empire. Though he did not abdicate his claim, he ended his life in exile under the watchful eye of the new order, prevented by the victorious allies from regaining his rightful throne. Our own nation's leaders had their own share of guilt in that injustice, and not a small one.

Though his earthly efforts did not succeed, in heaven he has a better influence over the affairs of nations, if we but ask his intercession.

With a nod to
Elena Maria Vidal, I wanted to put together some background posts about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (the bullet that killed nine million people and brought down Christendom), the efforts of Blessed Karl to carry out Pope Benedict XV's wishes and restore peace with order and honor, and Blessed Karl's attempts to regain his throne, thwarted by his "trusty" regent and the powers of the secular West.

Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria:

[To be prayed at the beginning of each day of the novena.]

Heavenly Father, through Blessed Emperor Karl You have given Your Church and the people of God an example of how we can live a discerning and spiritual life in a convincing and courageous way.

His public actions as emperor and king, and his personal acts as a family man, were firmly based in the teachings of the Catholic Faith. His love for his Eucharistic Lord grew in times of trial, and helped him to unite himself to Christ’s sacrifice through his own life’s sacrifice for his peoples. Emperor Karl honored the Mother of God, and loved to pray the rosary throughout his life.

Strengthen us by his intercession when discouragement, faintheartedness, loneliness, bitterness and depression trouble us. Let us follow the example of Your faithful servant, and unselfishly serve our brothers and sisters according to Your will.

Hear my petitions and grant my request [mention your intention here].

Grant that Blessed Karl of Austria be deemed worthy of canonization, for the glory of Your Name, the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for blessings upon the Church.


Rest of the novena and other information about Blessed Karl here.


Anonymous said...

But Timman, he can't be hailed as a great exemplar of tolerance non-confrontationalism! It almost seems like this Karl guy wanted everybody to be Catholic -- and he wasn't even a democrat!

How dare you recommend he be placed next to John Paul the Superlatively Fantastalicious?!?!?

Mike said...

I am very happy you posted this as I am a huge fan of Blessed Karl of Austria. It is truly a shame that the United States entered World War I. Just a few months ago, my neighboring country of Germany has just paid its last payment from that war. Of course they had their own role to play in the eventual collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But it's sad to think that the spread of so-called "American Democracy" can do so much harm as to tear nations, communities, and kingdoms apart. I believe that not all Americans realise what harm they did to Europe in WWI..and I'm saying this as one who lives in BELGIUM. Imagine ME of all people saying this! The Germans bombed and destroyed my city twice and twice Americans actually liberated the city! But I know how to contextualise and historicise events as hardly an American knows how to do. Also, as a theologian and one who works in international relations, I pray for Blessed Karl's intercession over the affairs of all nations so that peace may reign.

Badger Catholic said...

Hypothetically if you had to pick between Bl. Karl's canonization or his line returning to the throne in Austria, which would you pick?

Just read 1917 and was incredibly moved by the last years of his short life. He should have been bitter and angry but he was full of love and forgiveness.

thetimman said...

Badger Catholic,

For his sake, I'd take canonization. For ours, I'd take restoration.

That being said, perhaps the first will lead to the second. The second is hard to imagine apart from some serious heavenly intercession.

Mike, I would say MOST Americans do not realize the harm we did in World War I. Thanks for commenting here.

Badger Catholic said...

Ha, maybe the return of the king IS the canonization miracle! May it please God!