Now More Than Ever: Blessed Karl of Austria

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Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three child visionaries of Fatima, prophesied that the “decisive battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be over marriage and the family.”

In May 2015, Ireland voted to legally recognize gay marriage, joining other (once) Catholic nations of Europe in debasing the family. Next year the country will hold a referendum on whether or not to repeal its current ban on abortion.

Following this past May’s presidential election in France, journalists noted that Western Europe’s major leaders (Merkel of Germany, May of Britain, Gentilon of Italy, and Macron of France) are all childless.

It is in this unbelieving age then, at this moment in time, that God has given us an exemplary intercessor to look to. The last of the Habsburg monarchs, the last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, he would reign for less than three years (1916-1918). A ruler who, though dying in exile, never abdicated his throne.

Blessed Karl, emperor and king, was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on October 3, 2004. Though he was born August 17 (1887), and died on April 1 (1922), Holy Mother Church in her wisdom celebrates his feast on October 21, the date of his wedding. This is key to understanding his importance for us today. As noted by Pope John Paul at Emperor Karl’s beatification:

On the 21st of October, 1911, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma. The couple was blessed with eight children during the ten years of their happy and exemplary married life. Karl still declared to Zita on his deathbed: “I’ll love you forever.”

Marriage and family. At a time when the west attacks the family at its foundation and degrades life from conception, Blessed Karl is the epitome of an authentic Christian vocation fully lived. He is a contradiction to “modern sensibilities.” Karl contra mundum.

And this is why the cult of Blessed Karl continues to grow. The faithful are drawn to his witness and recognize the need for his intercession. The official website for the Emperor Karl League of Prayer, which promotes his cause for canonization, expresses it beautifully.

Regarding life and the family:

In a world where many do not believe in God, we need Blessed Karl’s faith. In an epoch when the world is indifferent to the poor and needy, we need Karl’s example of charity. Where abortion and euthanasia are rampant, we need Emperor Karl’s compassion and care for human life. Where the number of couples cohabiting without the benefit of matrimony, we need Karl of Austria’s example of Christian matrimony. Where divorce is rampant and absentee fathers all too common, we need Karl’s steadfast love for his wife and children…

Concerning our elected leaders, most particularly those who are Catholic:

In lands where politicians rely on polls to create their policies rather than on moral and ethical principles, we need the moral convictions of Emperor Karl. Where politicians seek office for personal gain, we need the selflessness of King Karl. Where Catholic Politicians vote against Catholic moral and social teaching, and their conscience, in order to stay in office, we need the fidelity to the teachings of God and His Church exhibited by Blessed Karl.

And finally, the need for authentic Catholic social justice:

Where laws are made to benefit wealthy lobbyists rather than common people, we need the example of Karl’s love and concern for people of every race and social class. Where war, strife, discord and conflict abound, we need the passion for peace of the last Habsburg Monarch. Where millions suffer from illness and infirmity, we need the example of Karl who bore all trials and tribulations with the words: “Thy Will be done!”

This year there are no less than ten highly promoted Masses being offered on his feast day or the week immediately following. Two in particular, one at St. Mary, Mother of God in Washington D.C. and another at St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte, are both being offered in the Extraordinary Form by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan.

Now more than ever we need to ask for Blessed Karl’s intercession. We also need to recollect his saintly life and discover for ourselves his humility and obedience. May we join with him in praying the very words he uttered shortly before his untimely death at 35:

Thy Holy Will be done. Jesus, Jesus, come! Yes—yes. My Jesus as Thou willst it—Jesus.

Blessed Karl of Austria, pray for us!

Posted on October 21, 2017, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I think it is an admirable example of the wideness and catholicity of our faith that the Church has proclaimed as “Blessed” among the Germanic peoples both Karl Habsburg, who has drawn devotion from many more conservative leaning Catholics, and Blessed Nikolaus Gross, whom many progressive and politically Left Catholics pray for his intercession. Blessed Nikolaus was a labor union leader and family man who was murdered because his Catholic and labor union activism by the Right Wing regime in Germany.

    • Thank you Kurt.

    • Fr. Donald Kloster

      Are you referring to Nazi Germany as a Right Wing regime? The party was called the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. The party was founded to be anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist! Wikipedia and others have labeled it right wing, but I cannot figure out why. The name of the party screams left wing.

      Blessed Nikolaus was anything but a bleeding heart liberal. He was a Latin Mass Catholic who was promoting the tradition of the rights of the workers. Worker’s guilds long predate unions and they were never tied to left wing politics.

      • Yes, I am referring to the Nazis. The Nazi Party (like the Christian Socialists, a very conservative and Catholic party in present day Bavaria) had no connection to the Second International. No more than the US Republican party is connected to the Irish Republicans.

        Following the practice from which the terms “Right” and “Left” originated, the Nazis sat on the far right of the Reichstag. Their allies the conservatives next to them, followed by the Liberals and Center Party, with the Socialists in the center left and the Communists on the far left of the chamber. Of course, the Nazis came to power by forming a coalition with the conservative party against the Weimer coalition of Catholics, liberals and socialists.

        Blessed Nikolaus lived long after the guilds of the middle ages. He was a modern labor union leader.

    • Fr. Donald Kloster

      The usual suspects line up on both sides of the arguments. I rather trust actual Hitler quotes and actual Blessed Nikolaus Gross quotes.

      In a 1927 speech of Hitler: “We are socialists. We are the enemies of today’s capitalist system of exploitation … and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

      Hitler imposed gun control. Not a conservative position. Hitler took over all private industries in Germany. Not a conservative position. Hitler was pro abortion and pro sterilization. Not conservative positions. Hitler coopted the press. Not a conservative position. Hitler went after the Catholic Church. Normally a socially conservative ally. Hitler did not allow dissent from his “right side of history” positions. Not a conservative stance; it is very liberal.

      Blessed Nikolaus Gross would agree with me about the Sacred Liturgy on every point and would be very askance at your liturgical positions.

      “We, Catholic workers, strongly and clearly reject National Socialism, not only for political and economic reasons, but also, decidedly, because of our religious and cultural position.” Blessed Nikolaus Gross

      He had 7 children and was fiercely loyal to his family. My feeling is that he would take great umbrage with Pope Francis’s allowance of Holy Communion to the divorced and re-married…he’d be left scratching his head!

      You are quite wrong to label him as some sort of “Progressive Catholic” on the one hand and then try to claim that Adolf Hitler was a conservative! The party of Hitler had no part of Republic or Democracy in its title. My great grandfather 13 generations ago Stefan Muckli was the President of Graubunden (1665). The Swiss were the founders of Republic ideals, so you’d think Hitler would have aligned himself with them and their ideas if he were so conservative.

      • Dear Father, you are correct that Hitler’s actions and philosophy have obvious disconnects from the claimed philosophy of conservatives. Yet at the time of greatest need, they helped put him in power. That many explain the reservations many of have about conservatives and their claimed principles.

        As for Blessed Nikolaus, he never said any of the things you imagine he believed in. (Of course, the liturgical reform originated in the German speaking lands — may the name of Father Pius Parsch be blessed!). He stood for the same principles today’s trade unionists stand for. If you view trade unionism nothing objectionable to your views, then good for you. You are a principled Catholic. Solidarity Forever!

      • Fr. Donald Kloster

        The Reform of the Mass was lead by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini and Pope Paul VI. They were not Germans. For me, the key point is that the best liturgists in the Church, going back to Dom Gueranger and including some superb theologians like Romano Guardini and Pius Parsch, recognized the need for liturgical reform, decades before Vatican II. But their reform looked more like the Mass of 1965, not the Novus Ordo of 1970. Their advocated changes were very minor. It is also very suspect that our Eastern Catholic brethren have not changed their Divine Liturgy. They have remained faithful the to Apostolic liturgical tradition of the East.

        Actually, the 1970 Novus Ordo is more like high Lutheran worship than a traditional Catholic Mass. Martin Luther wanted three major changes. He wanted vernacular in the Liturgy; check. He wanted the priest to face the people; check. He wanted communion in the hand; check. Pius Parsch advocated for none of those.

        The 1970 Mass would never have gotten anywhere near 50% approval from the Bishops of the World at the 2nd Vatican Council! It would most likely have struggled to get more than 25% approval; much like communion in the hand was roundly rejected. Pope Paul VI had every right to change the Mass, but the huge majority of Bishops at the Council were not on board with the innovations.

      • I notice you have moved off the Right wing nature of the Nazis. But you are quite wrong about Father Pius Parsch and the celebrant facing the people rather than the apse.

        https://www.stift-klosterneuburg.at/en/monastery-and-order/vocations/science/pius-parsch-institute/

      • Fr. Donald Kloster

        I have noticed that I have not moved off the fact that the National Socialist Worker’s Party was not at all a conservative party.

        Hitler’s party forced banks to buy government bonds. Hitler took money from savings accounts and insurance company reserves. Hitler nationalized corporations. Hitler implemented deficit spending.

        Please give me a list of conservative positions in Hitler’s party. The list of his liberal policies dwarfs any supposed lean to the right.

        Fr. Pius Parsch is a great disappointment to me. I was wrong about him. Thank you for correcting me. In the seminary, I had only heard praise for him. Right when I wrote that line about him (in my October 30 post second paragraph), I knew I should have read more on him first rather than just going with my seminary impression.

        He died before any permission was given (explicitly or implicitly) to say the Mass versus populum. As a priest who has obeyed many faulty directives (sometimes against Canon Law) by bishops, I take great offense that he would knowingly disobey the rubrics. I don’t take obedience lightly. We, as priests, took vows of obedience. Every Missal (even the current 1970 Missal) assumes the priest is facing liturgical East. Prior to 1954, facing the people wasn’t even an option regardless of his bishop looking the other way. There is no way to justify it especially from a respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sacrifice aspect. It reminds me of the clown Masses in a neighboring parish over several years. My then bishop did nothing either to stop the Masses, but it didn’t thereby legitimize the illicit Masses.

        As for the vernacular, Vatican II clearly said that Latin was to remain as the preferred Liturgical Language and it was surreptitiously dumped into the dustbin.

        Fr. Pius Parsch liturgically was no better than Fr. Martin Luther. I am very sorry neither of them took their priestly vows more seriously.

      • I’ve not proposed the Nazi Party follows what conservatives publicly claim are their principles. I’ve noted that at the time of most importance they allied themselves with the Nazis to put them in power. It would be a matter of private judgment as to if the would act differently today or they would be part of the “Unite the Right” movement that (sadly) exists in our nation today.

      • Fr. Donald Kloster

        Kurt, your own words from your original post say that Blessed Nikolaus Gross was murdered by a “right wing regime.”

        That regime had almost no “right wing” manifestations. Perhaps the 20 million (on the low end of the estimates) killed by Stalin during World War II was also because of a “right wing” government? As the modern saying goes, “Come on man!”

        Blessed Nikolaus Gross could never be a poster child for modern day Labor Unions that are largely aligned with a very leftist mentality. He was a man who argued for fair wages for a fair work ethic. Many Union laborers today do not fit the mold of hard workers. They fit more the mold of cutting corners to work the least amount of time for the most pay.

        A Catholic ideally is never political. A Catholic is concerned with virtue. This is almost never discussed today. A modern day liberal is concerned almost exclusively with rights. There are no rights for anyone who is not prepared to practice the corresponding investment of honor and virtue.

        In the Church, a progressive Catholic seems to be very preoccupied with agitating. For my part as a traditional Catholic, I am very content with the Eternal and Permanent aspects of the faith. I don’t need to improve what Jesus and His Disciples founded.

      • “Kurt, your own words from your original post say that Blessed Nikolaus Gross was murdered by a ‘right wing regime’.”

        He was. It was tragic and sinful. A very evil right-wing regime. Sadly Nazis has been revived here in our own nation where they are leading efforts to “Unite the Right”. Someone said this United Right even has some “very good people” as part of it. I’ve yet to see that.

        BTW, productivity by present day American union workers is higher than it was by union workers in Germany in the 1920s. Blessed Nikolaus literally appears on posters for modern day labor. I have such a poster hanging in my office.

      • Fr. Donald Kloster

        @Kurt I checked into your claim about German productivity in the 1920’s. But you give no source. Germany led all european nations in the 1920’s. Germany 135 France 127 UK 100. (Office for National Statistics).

        In 2015, the USA had a productivity number of 104.5. Only above the UK in the 1920’s. (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

        The alt-right group only have racism in common with Hitler. That are not political groups with economic goals. They don’t even have viable candidates for public office. Hitler and the alt-right only have racism in common. Hitler’s Economic plans almost exactly mirror any socialist country of today. They mirror no conservative government.

        There is a book by Christopher Browning (hardly a conservative!) titled Ordinary Men. In it he chronicles one of the highest killing rates among the Nazi killing units. It was a unit from Hamburg made up of an entire group of socialists and communists.

        Mao Tse Tung was a communist (leftist). Stalin was a communist (leftist) even in spite of American papers continually labeling him “hard line.” Fidel Castro (Cuba) was a leftist. Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) was a leftist who spoke horribly of the Catholic Church before he got cancer (perhaps Divine retribution?). Rafael Correa was a leftist and left the Ecuadorian economy in shambles. University graduates now have to settle for minimum wage jobs because Correa evicted or forced take overs of many foreign national companies here. By Hitler’s own words, he was a socialist and not a conservative. His government mirrored all of the above examples. You still haven’t even provided even one politically conservative policy of Hitler’s much less a list.

        The Liturgy is much the same. It doesn’t need tinkering. What the Liturgy needs is that the faithful drink in (with filial obedience) the inheritance of the 24 Catholic Rites as they were handed down by the Apostles.

      • Hitler defined himself as of the Right, as did his opponents (the Socialists, liberals and Center Party). In the Reichstag, the Nazis sat on the Right. He was brought to power by a pan-Right coalition of the conservatives and Nazis.

        The worry many of us have is that whatever the words of the moment by conservatives (like budget deficits, which until a week ago they opposed) that when the moment of great need arises will they do again as they did in Germany in the 1930s. I hope and pray not. But I am not going to stop praying about it as the “Unite the Right” movement is said to have “some very fine people” in it by the leader of the GOP.

        Blessed Nikolaus Gross, martyr by the Right Wing regime, pray for us!!!!!

      • Fr. Donald Kloster

        You still provide no proof that Hilter’s regime was right wing. Almost none of his policies were right wing. If it walks like a duck and acts like a duck….. You only have your continued insistence upon which to rely (very flimsy ground when trying to make a case). Mao Tse Tung and Stalin made Hitler look like an amateur. Left leaning governments always go after priests and the Church. That should make any objective observer wonder why that is a fact.

        The Church is neither conservative nor liberal. She illuminates the tradition and the praxis of the Apostles. The Church just is. She is the One Spotless Bride of Christ.

        When anyone tries to politicize the Church, they miss the whole point of why the Church exists. God has no political affiliation. We worship Him because one day we will go back to Him for our Final Judgment. We want to be well acquainted with the author and lover of our souls from the moment He created us.

      • The Church is neither liberal nor conservative. So it is no surprise that the Catholic Party in Germany during the Weimer period called itself the Center Party (“Zentrum”).

        Mao and Stalin are examples of the far Left/totalitarian Left/Communist Left. Taking for example the Weimer period, it is greatly admirable that the Socialist Party and the Liberal Party refused to have anything to do with them or enter a parliamentary coalition with the Communist Party. And it is admirable that these parties and the Catholic Center Party refused to enter into a parliamentary coalition with the Nazis. (the leader of the Right wing of the Catholic Center party — Count Franz Von Papen — tried to form a Nazi-Conservative-Catholic alliance. For his treason, he was expelled from the Catholic Center Party in 1932).

        What is tragic is that the Conservatives (along with Von Papen, now an independent member of the Reichstag) formed a minority government with the Nazis, winning the consent of the Conservative President Von Hindenburg.

        You purport certain principles as hallmarks of conservativism (like until last week opposition to deficits has been purported by conservatives as a principle). How accurate you are I don’t know and I don’t really need to know. What concerns many is that in the hour of great need, the negotiable principles were negotiated away and the Conservatives and Nazis formed a “Unite the Right” coalition.

        Had only the Center-Right behaved like the Center-Left and refused alliances with totalitarians of both extremes. If only……Blessed Nikolaus Gross pray for us!

  2. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when we cannot just celebrate and emulate good and faithful Catholics without waging comment battles to claim them for our own political team – bending everything that is good and true about the faith and acting as though it conforms in totality to the “Right” or the “Left.” Dear culture warriors, it is OK to admit that each of us is naturally poor in some respects and that we have much to gain from the strengths, perspectives and gifts of others. To acknowledge this with humility is strength. Holy people are holy for all people.

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