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Portrait: Blessed Charles of Austria

October 22, 2007


From The Beatification of Europe’s Heart: Emperor Charles of Austria, James Bogle, The Remnant, October 15, 2005:

For his commitment to peace and his attempt to free his own peoples and all the peoples of Europe from the most devastating war in history, the Blessed Emperor was rewarded with exile first in Switzerland and then Madeira, after he had made two attempts to return to Hungary where the treacherous Admiral Nicholas von Horthy claimed to be ruling as Regent in his place but was actually intending to supplant him. Once he realised that Horthy was a traitor and that more bloodshed would follow a restoration attempt, Charles ordered his faithful troops to disband and he left the country with his wife and family.

The Austrian and Hungarian governments then seized all his family money and property and left him and his family penniless and exiled to Madeira. He was still young but already his hair had greyed. In Madeira, being penniless, he had to live on charity and a Hotel owner in Funchal lent him a villa in the mountains where the weather was foggy and damp. He caught a chill and developed pneumonia. Having little medical assistance he offered his life to God for his family and peoples and, after a lingering and painful illness born with great courage and fortitude as an offering to God for his peoples, he died, uttering the Holy Name, at the age of 34 leaving a pregnant wife and 7 children whom he entrusted to King Alfonso of Spain in a quasi-miraculous manner, appearing to the Spanish king in a dream.

Despite the heroism, vision and courage of this young ruler whom his people called Der Friedenskaiser, the Peace Emperor, the newspapers have been vile about him. The British media, during the week of the beatification, called him an adulterer and drunkard, and accused him not merely of permitting the use of poison gas but of ordering gas attacks upon the Italians. At the same time they accused him of losing northern Italy by incompetence (they plainly have not heard of Caporetto!) and of being variously a weakling, a fool and a buffoon. For good measure they accused him of lying about his negotiations with the Entente powers.

So wild and excessive were the accusations that they missed their mark.

In truth, this was a most significant beatification of a layman, husband, father, soldier and above all political ruler in whom was joined both the spirit of Christian chivalry and the Christian political vision of the Social kingship of Christ upon the earth. It is this that the enemies of the Church so much revile and detest, preferring, as they do, the anarchy and lawlessness of immoral government under which they can give free vent to their dark deeds and indulge their vulgar appetites and wicked desires and designs. Above all they hate with a bursting hatred the idea of the government of men submitting to the gentle yoke of Christ. They prefer the harsh, unruly and arbitrary rule of men to the peaceful, just and merciful rule of God.

This was the government that they and their faithless and unbelieving predecessors had sought to destroy. This was the government that the Church had ever celebrated and supported since the time of St. Peter. This was the government celebrated even in the Church’s liturgy until as late as 1955 when the Imperial prayers1 were removed by Italian nationalist, Archbishop Bugnini. It was St. Peter who recommended honouring the Imperial government in his very first letter [1 Peter 2:13,17].

In the person of the Blessed Emperor Charles of the House of Austria the unbelievers rightly see the government of Christ and His Social kingship personified. Accordingly they reject him and all he stands for. Indeed, they were even successful in stopping his cause for beatification altogether in 1976 so that it was, in effect, discarded even by the Vatican. But the late Pope John Paul II quietly revived it and put it back on track. Now it has remarkably succeeded and put to flight the machinations of the enemies of Christ.

See also:
James Bogle:Emperor Charles I: World War I peace campaigner
Vatican: Charles of Austria (1887 – 1922)
Catholic Forum: Charles of Austria
Dom Antoine Marie OSB: Letter of St. Joseph Abbey (Blessed Charles I of Austria)
Andrew Cusack: Our Holy Emperor
Knight-Errant of the Cross: Memorial of Blessed Charles of Austria
Gary Potter: Ven. Emperor Karl I of Austria and Empress Zita

Related Post:
Portrait: Otto von Habsburg: Catholic Statesman


From → Portraits

  1. The greatest man of 20 century.He is indeed the Patron

    Saint of Europe.from Frank Meehan.Ireland

  2. David garvan permalink

    The more i learn about blessed Charles of Austria the more im drawn to his manly faith and loyalty to his people and unique push for peace above all.

  3. David garvan permalink

    The more i learn about blessed Charles of Austria the more i love this deeply spiritual emperor. A great hidden treasure lost for so long , but at long last been found.

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