Skip to comments.Karl I Beatification Causes Uproar
Posted on 09/28/2004 11:49:03 AM PDT by Pyro7480
Karl I Beatification Causes Uproar
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria - Some think he's already a saint for seeking a peaceful end to World War I. Others think he's a scoundrel for commanding troops who used poison gas and for mounting two bloody comeback attempts.
On Sunday, Pope John Paul II is to beatify Karl I, but the Vatican's decision to put Austria's last reigning emperor on the road to sainthood has triggered a spirited political and religious debate at home.
Austria's government has come under fire for its plans to send a high-profile delegation to Rome. And the Roman Catholic Church has been ridiculed for the miracle it attributes to Karl: a Brazilian nun whose varicose veins were healed after she prayed to the monarch.
"As an active Catholic, I protest the beatification of Emperor Karl," said Rudolf Stanzel, among believers who think the Vatican is making a mistake. "The church is standing on the side of wealth and power."
Karl I's supporters have worked for 55 years to get the emperor beatified, the final step before possible sainthood. He is among five people the pope will beatify this weekend.
Karl I, sometimes called Charles I in the West, took the throne in 1916 and worked for peace as the Austro-Hungarian Empire neared its end. He abdicated at the end of the war and died in Portugal in 1922 at age 34.
The Vatican, which last December formally attributed a miracle to Karl I one of several necessary steps for beatification in April approved the emperor's "heroic virtue." Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, said the monarch "served his people with justice and charity."
"He looked for peace, helped the poor, cultivated his spiritual life with commitment," he said.
Martin Kugler, spokesman for the Hapsburg royal family that ruled Austria-Hungary, said he can't understand what all the fuss is about.
"As emperor, Karl pushed a comprehensive social program," Kugler told the Austria Press Agency. "He appointed the world's first social affairs minister and protected tenants and children. He instituted worker protections and a family's right to social security. The essence of these measures remain in place today."
Critics contend Karl I is a poor choice because as emperor, he had ultimate command responsibility for troops who used poison gas on the Italian front, although historians say he sought to limit its use, angering his own military command.
Some scoff at the miracle the Vatican credits to Karl I. The Vatican says a cloistered nun in Brazil was cured after praying for his beatification in the 1970s; Austrian church leaders say she suffered from a debilitating case of varicose veins.
Others note that Karl I made two attempts to regain power by force after the monarchy was abolished in 1918 as part of the settlement ending World War I, and that several dozen people were killed in street fighting on both occasions.
The emperor and his family were placed on a ship under British escort and taken to the Portuguese island of Madeira, where he died of pneumonia.
"Karl was a weak, uncertain young man who was dependent on those around him," historian Brigitte Hamann told the magazine Profil, which examined the debate in a cover story headlined: "The Emperor Karl Comedy."
"I'm against the constant trashing of the Hapsburg family but do we really need to beatify him?" asked Herbert Schreibner, a leader of the rightist Freedom Party.
The government's decision to send a delegation led by parliament speaker Andreas Khol, Health Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat and other top officials has been criticized as a violation of the separation of church and state. President Heinz Fischer, who as a university student worked to block the return from exile of Karl I's widow, Princess Zita, asked Khol to go in his stead.
Khol defended his decision to attend the ceremony. "I am no monarchist I am a Republican," he told Austrian radio Tuesday.
Karl I "sought peace and led a religious life with decisiveness," Khol said, insisting that "church and state are in all instances separate" in overwhelmingly Catholic Austria.
How so? I was under the impression that Poland was partitioned because the nature of its elective monarchy made it a tripwire for war in eastern Europe, especially since one faction invariably had the support of the Bourbons.
Canonization is, however.
PAPAL INFALLIBILITY AND CANONIZATION
Is the pope infallible in issuing a decree of canonization? Most theologians answer in the affirmative. It is the opinion of St. Antoninus, Melchior Cano, Suarez, Bellarmine, Bañez, Vasquez, and, among the canonists, of Gonzales Tellez, Fagnanus, Schmalzgrüber, Barbosa, Reiffenstül, Covarruvias (Variar. resol., I, x, no 13), Albitius (De Inconstantiâ in fide, xi, no 205), Petra (Comm. in Const. Apost., I, in notes to Const. I, Alex., III, no 17 sqq.), Joannes a S. Thomâ (on II-II, Q. I, disp. 9, a. 2), Silvester (Summa, s. v. Canonizatio), Del Bene (De Officio Inquisit. II, dub. 253), and many others. In Quodlib. IX, a. 16, St. Thomas says: "Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints [quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error." These words of St. Thomas, as is evident from the authorities just cited, all favouring a positive infallibility, have been interpreted by his school in favour of papal infallibility in the matter of canonization, and this interpretation is supported by several other passages in the same Quodlibet. This infallibility, however according to the holy doctor, is only a point of pious belief. Theologians generally agree as to the fact of papal infallibility in this matter of canonization, but disagree as to the quality of certitude due to a papal decree in such matter. In the opinion of some it is of faith (Arriaga, De fide, disp. 9, p. 5, no 27); others hold that to refuse assent to such a judgment of the Holy See would be both impious and rash, as Suarez (De fide, disp. 5 p. 8, no 8); many more (and this is the general view) hold such a pronouncement to be theologically certain, not being of Divine Faith as its purport has not been immediately revealed, nor of ecclesiastical Faith as having thus far not been defined by the Church.
What is the object of this infallible judgment of the pope? Does he define that the person canonized is in heaven or only that he has practiced Christian virtues in an heroic degree? I have never seen this question discussed; my own opinion is that nothing else is defined than that the person canonized is in heaven. The formula used in the act of canonization has nothing more than this:
"In honour of . . . we decree and define that Blessed N. is a Saint, and we inscribe his name in the catalogue of saints, and order that his memory by devoutly and piously celebrated yearly on the . . . day of . . . his feast." (Ad honorem . . . beatum N. Sanctum esse decernimus et definimus ac sanctorum catalogo adscribimus statuentes ab ecclesiâ universali illius memoriam quolibet anno, die ejus natali . . . piâ devotione recoli debere.)
All irrelevant to the discussion. Scroll down a little further in that Catholic Encyclopedia article and you will find the following statement:
"This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification..."
...which is what I was saying all along.
Was für schöne Lied! Danke schön.
Das Heilige Römanische Reich, der Deutscher Nation, Doppelkröne und Heilge Kirche für immer und ewige. Hoch Habsburg!
This is really too bad, because then when a truly deserving candidate like Emperor Karl comes along, it doesn't seem to mean quite as much.
Rather than bickering about the political correctness of this decision, these people should stop talking for a while and study the life and works of this man. They might learn something to their advantage.
Well....I think there may have been some legitimate questions about Fr. Josemaria Escriva of Opus Dei. I've read some disturbing things, about him (he had a terrible temper and could be viciously cruel to subordinates), his organization (regarded by many devout Catholics as having cultlike tendencies), and his canonization process (the only witnesses to his "miracles" were Opus Dei doctors) from respectable, Catholic sources. At the very least, he was not as obviously deserving of the honor as Emperor Karl.
As I said in my previous post, I wish that there had not been so many beatifications and canonizations recently due to lowered standards; it would make the Emperor stand out more if this were a rarer event, as it used to be.
One of the requirements for a papal teaching to be infallible is the intent to bind upon the entire Church (see Vatican I, Papal Infallibility). This is typically not met with beatifications, which grant worship to certain people or places and do not extend the cult to the entire Church. Therefore, beatifications are not infallible.
If there's proper basis, then fine. But you don't understand. All of these beatifications under the reign of JP II will, someday, have to be revoked and reconsidered. The process is out of control, without checks and balances. And repentant, wise, holy and Saintly people are mixed in with those who may not be. They will have to start over, in future, re-reform the system, and take it all seriously - which they have not done under JP II.
I understand, completely, that you completely disagree.
I don't know much about Opus Dei, thought having a short-temper is not at all uncommon among the saintly (Padre Pio being a fine example). I guess I always assumed that if the Spanish republicans tried to kill him, he must have been doing something right.
Everyone has their supporters and detractors, I've never read enough about Escriva to be definite one way or the other.
The only ones that make me a little nervous are the mass canonizations (often involving martyrs). I wonder sometimes if they truly take into account all of the facts surrounding these events and if the people in question really died for Christ or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In cases like this, there were doubtless martyrs among them, but when so many are canonized en masse it does make me a tad uncomfortable.
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