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Historians Question the Beatification of Blessed Charles
Deutsche Welle ^ | 19.01.2004

Posted on 01/19/2004 3:16:27 PM PST by Lessismore

A man of peace or a blundering buffoon? The Catholic Church thinks Charles was a miracle worker.

The last emperor of the Habsburg dynasty, Charles the First of Austria, is to be beatified by the Pope. News that the deceased monarch will become Blessed Charles has prompted many to question the pontiff’s choice.

Controversy is brewing over reports that the Pope is to beatify Charles I of Austria, the last Habsburg emperor who came to the throne during World War I and ended his days in exile on the island of Madeira in 1922 at the age of 35.

Some, including Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, a leading campaigner among the admirers calling for the monarch’s beatification, consider Charles to have been "a man of peace," a gentle person surrounded and overwhelmed by the backstabbing diplomats, ministers, and generals who conspired to bring about the end of his reign and the end of his empire.

A final failure on the Habsburg throne?

But others consider the Kaiser to have been an incompetent leader who brought about his own demise, consigned his lineage to the annals of history and instigated the fall of the Habsburg Empire.

These same critics believe that Charles was the man responsible for ordering the use of poison gas by his troops during the war; the man whose leadership led to hundreds of thousands of Austrian soldiers being captured during the closing days of the conflict and a man with such an ability to spin great untruths that his claims to Christian grace are considered a mockery.

Sole wartime leader in pursuit of peace?

However, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, Charles I of Austria was a devout man, a worker of miracles, a man whose actions proved that politicians could be good Christians and man deemed to be worthy of being set on the road to becoming a religious icon.

These conflicting views are accepted by the Church which maintains that the decision to beatify is a suitable one. "The figure of the Kaiser is viewed differently," admitted Erich Leitenberger, the church's spokesman in Vienna in an interview with the British daily broadsheet The Guardian. "But he led a very religious life, especially in his latter stages."

Experts confirmation

In December, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints -- the Vatican commission responsible for examining claims to sainthood -- officially declared that Charles was to be credited with a miracle that occurred in 1960, backed up with the requisite evidence of three expert medical opinions needed to pursue the case for beatification.

The alleged miracle was experienced by a nun in a Brazilian convent who prayed for the late emperor's beatification and woke up the next morning able to walk for the first time in years. Since this event has been certified by the Catholic Church, Charles is now well on his way to his imminent beatification, the intermediate stage to canonisation, which will be formally acknowledged in September.

Sainthood just a miracle away

Despite this fast track to piety, his supporters will have to wait a while if they hope to see the soon-to-be Blessed Charles reach sainthood. One more miracle has to be attributed to him before that step can be taken.

The ascension to beatified status is unlikely, however, to alter the views of those historians who have plotted the career of Charles and have recorded less than Christian behaviour in their accounts.

Helmut Rumpler, a history professor who heads the Habsburg commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences told The Guardian, “He was a dilettante, far too weak for the challenges facing him. Out of his depth, not really a politician. I don't know why he is being beatified.”

Ridiculed by staff and entourage

Coming to the throne on the death of Emperor Franz Josef in 1916 mid-way through “The Great War” and with the Austro-Hungarian Empire in tatters, many within the royal entourage viewed the new Kaiser with contempt. "He can't even write properly," complained his chief of staff while one of his prime ministers quipped: "He is 30 years old, looks 20, and thinks like a 10-year-old."

In 1917, with the war still raging, Charles made a secret plea for peace with France assisted by his French brother-in-law. The proposed agreement would have seen the Austrian emperor deserting his German ally at a critical stage of the conflict.

Denial leads to widespread mockery

When news of the proposal leaked, Charles denied having ever entertained such an idea. The furious French then published letters signed by him, infuriating the Germans and making him a comic figure on both sides.

A year later when the war was over, Charles fled to Switzerland, leaving his empire to collapse without him, and yet he refused to abdicate the throne. After two failed, and embarrassing, attempts at reclaiming the throne in Budapest, Charles was taken by the British and forced into exile on the island of Madeira where he eventually died of pneumonia.

If Charles does eventually make it to sainthood, the Austrian weekly Profil already has a section of the population earmarked for his patronage. The magazine believes that Charles should be nominated as the patron saint of losers.


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To: Unam Sanctam
I have said the Pontiff was unorthodox, not that he broke with dogma and is heretical. There is a difference. I stand by this. I am not being "hateful" when I say this--that is your construction. The truth is we have a pope who is radical in his behavior and policies and nothing you argue changes this. It is UNORTHODOX to promote to the cardinalate someone who doubts the Resurrection. There is no dogma against doing this; it does not make the Pope a heretic. But it is highly UNORTHODOX for a pope to award the red hat to an individual who is a heretic. It is a radical thing to do and this should be pointed out, not glossed-over. It is not hateful to sound the alarm on this, as you say, nor is it false.
41 posted on 01/21/2004 8:10:29 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: Unam Sanctam
No, you are incorrect, not I. Dogmas are doctrines of the Church--but not all doctrines of the Church are dogmas. We say someone is unorthodox who teaches or follows unsound doctrine. Heresy, on the other hand, always involves a break with dogma, which is much more serious.
42 posted on 01/21/2004 10:16:48 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: Unam Sanctam
Being an incompetent statesman does not mean that one cannot be a saint, since logically two different criteria apply. 2 posted on 01/19/2004 3:45:42 PM PST by Unam Sanctam

Excellent point.

43 posted on 01/21/2004 10:24:47 AM PST by Kermit the Frog Does theWatusi
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To: ultima ratio
No, you are incorrect, not I. Dogmas are doctrines of the Church--but not all doctrines of the Church are dogmas. We say someone is unorthodox who teaches or follows unsound doctrine. Heresy, on the other hand, always involves a break with dogma, which is much more serious.

Nonsense. Your definition of heresy is much too narrow. Scripture and tradition contains plenty of teaching forming the deposit of faith that has never been dogmatically defined in a precise formula. Heresy is the teaching of unsound or unorthodox doctrine contrary to the deposit of faith. We know something is part of the revealed truth if it is a dogmatic definition of an ecumenical council or a pope, or if it has always and everywhere been taught in the Church (the Vincentian canon definition of orthodox belief or the "ordinary and universal magisterium). Dogma is merely a verbally defined doctrine. The Pope has not taught in contradiction to any dogmatic definition of an ecumenical council or a pope or in contradiction to the ordinary and universal magisterium. He is therefore not unorthodox and does not teach or follow unsound doctrine. Your statement is therefore false and calumniatory. Your complaints relate to prudential matters, or perhaps reformable ordinary magisterial matters not part of the ordinary and universal magisterium (although I won't concede that unless you want to discuss specific issues). They do not show that the Pope is unorthodox.

BTW, I wish to correct myself. After some etymological research, I see that the Greek root behind both the words orthodox and dogma is "dokein" meaning "to think". Thus orthodoxy is a matter of correct thought, not correct teaching. However, that does not change my analysis materially. The word dogma, as you can see from the online Catholic Encyclopedia discussion, means "opinion", and by extension "decree", on doctrinal matters, e.g., like an "opinion" of the Supreme Court or a "fatwa" of an ayatollah.

Finally, I did not mean to say that you were Marxist in philosophy, but only your tactics, e.g., abusing the meaning of words and making them mean what you want them to mean.

44 posted on 01/21/2004 10:33:11 AM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: RobbyS
Prussian arrogance was at the root of the gamble they were about to make, which was to go to war with the United States.

That's absolutely correct. I think it was von Moltke who, when asked what he would do if the American army landed in Europe, boasted, "I will send the Berlin police out to arrest them."
45 posted on 01/21/2004 10:47:19 AM PST by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces )
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To: Unam Sanctam
The deposit of faith is comprised of DOGMAS, whether formally defined or not. In fact, a dogma is not always "precisely defined" as you say. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, refers to articulating or practicing correct DOCTRINES. A doctrine is simply a TEACHING, it is NOT always a dogma.

Heresy always involves a break with dogma. And yes, a dogma is a doctrine (or teaching). But not all teachings of the Church are dogmas and therefore part of the deposit of faith. You seem very confused about this. Moreover, heresy has nothing to do with behavior per se, except insofar as it is a judgment. Heterodoxy (being unorthodox), on the other hand, may involve PRACTICING unsound teachings. That is to say, it does not always involve merely articulating some unsound doctrine, it may involve wrongful behavior as well.

Thus I am correct to note that it is UNORTHODOX for a pope to give honor to heresy by elevating to the cardinalate someone who has publicly doubted the Divinity of Christ and the Resurrection. It is not heretical for him to do so; but it is unorthodox behavior. And this, remember, is only one of this Pope's many unorthodox actions. Pouring out a libation to an animist god or kissing the Koran would be equally unorthodox behaviors. But neither deny any dogmas.

I will grant the Pope speaks often in orthodox ways. For instance, when he urges priests to eliminate liturgical abuses, particularly in regard to the Blessed Sacrament, he is speaking in a wholly orthodox way. But when he himself celebrates public Masses in which the worst of such abuses take place--and does so repeatedly and apparently by design--then he is being highly unorthodox.

Try to be fair and objective about this. JPII has had a very radical and troubling pontificate. We cannot blame lesser churchmen for the multiple ills which have beset our Church when the man at the top is so deeply implicated by reason of his own actions and inactions.
46 posted on 01/21/2004 11:41:13 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: Unam Sanctam
You say, "Heresy is the teaching of unsound or unorthodox doctrine contrary to the deposit of faith."

Agreed. Heresy is always unorthodox, but being unorthodox is not always heresy--just as all rabbits are animals, but not all animals are rabbits.

I am not incorrect therefor when I say this Pope is unorthodox. I refer to his behavior in not following sound doctrines. But I do not suggest by this that he is guilty of making a break with dogma. I am not a sedevacantist.
47 posted on 01/21/2004 11:56:52 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
No, I don't except the premise. Heresy is unorthodoxy and unorthodoxy is heresy, except that to be convicted of heresy under canon law, one has to be continual in the maintenance of heretical doctrines. Sorry, you are just wrong.
48 posted on 01/21/2004 12:45:29 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: ultima ratio
I refer to his behavior in not following sound doctrines.

Behavior does not mean unorthodoxy. If anything that is "unorthopraxy". But in any event, the Pope has done nothing contrary to sound doctrine. And I challenge you once again, and I will continue to do so until you give me an example, where has the Pope taught contrary to any defined dogma of ecumenical council or pope, or against the ordinary and universal magisterium. Since he has not done so, he is not in the least bit unorthodox and it is calumnious of you to say he is.

49 posted on 01/21/2004 12:49:05 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: Unam Sanctam
You ask me once again, "Where has the Pope taught contrary to any defined dogma of ecumenical council or pope"?

I never made this claim. I have said the contrary over and over--that this pontiff has not broken with dogma. He is not heretical--so why should I demonstrate this? I have said many times the Pope is not a heretic. How many ways can I put it? "Heresy" has a very specific denotation whereas "unorthodoxy" has a much more broad connotation and does not necessarily mean a break with the faith--though it can indeed include this. Notice the following, as cited in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"the ORTHODOX, that is, the custodians of sound doctrine and followers of right teaching" (De Vera Relig., cap. v)."


50 posted on 01/21/2004 1:21:54 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
You ask me once again, "Where has the Pope taught contrary to any defined dogma of ecumenical council or pope"?

I never made this claim. I have said the contrary over and over--that this pontiff has not broken with dogma. He is not heretical--so why should I demonstrate this? I have said many times the Pope is not a heretic. How many ways can I put it? "Heresy" has a very specific denotation whereas "unorthodoxy" has a much more broad connotation and does not necessarily mean a break with the faith--though it can indeed include this. Notice the following, as cited in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"the ORTHODOX, that is, the custodians of sound doctrine and followers of right teaching" (De Vera Relig., cap. v)."

First of all, I did not just ask you to show where the Pope taught contrary to any defined dogma of ecumenical council or pope, but also where he has taught against the ordinary and universal magisterium. If he has not done so, then he has not taught against sound doctrine or right teaching. You have not shown that he has taught against sound doctrine or right teaching, ergo, he is orthodox. If you do show that he has taught against sound doctrine or right teaching, then he is unorthodox and heretical. Heresy does not simply mean teaching against defined dogmas. You are wrong in conception of heresy, although I have to say, it is more usual for modernist dissenters to make this error and define heresy too narrowly. It is unusual for traditionalist dissenters.

51 posted on 01/21/2004 1:38:37 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: ultima ratio; sandyeggo; sitetest; Hermann the Cherusker
Here we go again.

Posted by ultima ratio to Polycarp; narses; sinkspur; Canticle_of_Deborah; Loyalist; Maximilian; Land of the Irish; ...

On Religion 09/26/2003 10:57:13 PM EDT #118 of 170

Good-bye all. I have said everything I've wanted to say for quite a while now and it's time to stop. This will be my last post. I need to get back to basics and spend more time with my family. Adios and God bless.

What a fraud.

Ultie, we all knew you'd be back. Your hatred of the Pope and the Living Magisterium and your love of the schism needs to be exercised. It is a compulsion you cannot resist.

52 posted on 01/22/2004 7:11:40 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: ultima ratio
Roma est Locuta, Causa Finita.

'cept for the neo-protestants like yourself.

Once an individual has been raised to the altars, that is it. I mean, that is it for a Catholic. Not for a schismatic though. They think THEY, not the Pope, have the authority to issue difinitive judgements.

And that is why, ultimately, you are back here. You can't stand the Pope being believed and acknowledged as the authority and the Vicar of Christ.

No Living Magisterium for you. Nope.

The schism is the authority for you.

53 posted on 01/22/2004 7:19:48 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: ultima ratio; sitetest; Hermann the Cherusker; St.Chuck
The Pope has made a real mess..... The so-called "miraculous" recovery recently of a woman who had been praying to Mother Teresa has been firmly debunked by secular physicians .... Escriva, a friend of the Pope, was canonized in record time ...... Much has been made of this in the secular press--which is justifiably scornful of such chicanery. Rome's credibilty on all this is zilch.

LMAO. I know you have no idea just how hysterically funny this is and how revealing it is of your opposition to the Living Magisterium, Vatican I, Matt 16:18...

You accept the authority of "secular physicians" and "the secular press" as Gospel while attacking Divinely Constituted authority.

Thanks for the laugh this morning. When I read your posts, I imagine you are firing these off looking like Howard Dean (A Donkey on Crack, as Ann Coulter calls him)addressing his Iowa supporters.

54 posted on 01/22/2004 7:33:19 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: ultima ratio
You are charging the Pope with establishing a "rigged" process so as to unworthily Canonise a man.

Your hatred of the Pope is sickening and your habit of imputing evil motives to the actions of the Vicar of Christ is vile, poisonous, and putrid.

55 posted on 01/22/2004 7:38:08 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: ultima ratio
"Heresy" always involves a break with dogma,

. Partially true which, for you, is not too bad.

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."11

<>end of quote<>

You will recognise that schismatics are headed for Hell, as your hero Ottaviani pointed out in his 1949 Letter to the Archbishop of Boston:

Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth.

Have a nice day.

56 posted on 01/22/2004 7:52:03 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: Unam Sanctam
Amen. Welcome to the club. We are Catholics who long ago recognised the hatred and perfidy of this gentleman. He repeatedly says one must be judged by their actions. His attacks on the Living Magisterium are as infamous as they are interminable and unrelenting.
57 posted on 01/22/2004 7:55:29 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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