November 20

A Saintly Monarch

ACM was well represented on the first Anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Karl of Austria at St Dominic’s Church, Flemington on 2 October, 2005.
We are planning to have a report on this in our next newsletter.

In the meantime Rosemary Colman from the ACM Kingsford branch writes that she was very pleased that she went.

“The choir was superb; seven strong voices singing the Latin Mass of, if not Palestrina, then one of his contemporaries. One has to go to Musical Viva concerts to hear that sort of music these days.

“The talk on Karl by the Bishop was inspiring. The Celebrant was the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney His Lordship Bishop Anthony Fisher O.P.

“A few years ago Robert Stove wrote an article on Princess Zita (Karl’s wife). She was also inspiring and died well into her nineties, only about 10 years ago.”
Rosemary Colman has sent me with a copy of Bishop Fisher’s homily, which begins:

“The recent publications of the Latham diaries will have confirmed, in many people’s minds, a rather bleak picture of our political masters.

“Although many of us will have dismissed much of the text as bile and defamation, we will also have wondered whether there was not a good deal of truth in it.

“After all, politicians are no saints!

“Yet strangely tonight we celebrate a political leader who was just that: a saint.

“Although he was deeply devoted to affairs of state and to his own family, Karl’s top priority was his relationship with God…”

Bishop Fisher pointed out that the Emperor "..established the first national social security system. He appointed officers to oversee rent control, child and youth protection, family rights and social insurance, industrial law and employee welfare—all new dimensions to social politics which Austria continues to enjoy today.

“Amidst the cataclysmic battle between the great powers of Europe, Karl saw his sacred duty as that of peace-maker and refused to condone that Total War which was to mark the terrible twentieth century.

"He forbade his troops to plunder, to engage in wanton destruction, or to use mustard gas. Karl was, in fact, the only one of Europe’s political leaders to support Pope Benedict XV’s peace efforts.

“The writer Anatole France wrote that “the Emperor Karl has offered to make peace; he is the only decent man who has appeared in the course of this war, but they won’t listen to him… He sincerely wants peace, so everyone detests him.”

Karl did not go into business, or become a playboy.

His successors in Austria and Hungary were not of the same mettle, particularly the dictators.

There were attempts to restore him to the throne of Hungary, but they were unsuccessful.

He was exiled to the island of Madeira, reduced to poverty, and died aged only 34.

“Yet even this he offered to God as a sacrifice for the peace and unity of his peoples” the Bishop observed.

Until next time
David Flint


Austria, Hungary, Karl of Austria

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