Saturday, 16 July 2011

“Otto — a mortal, sinful man!” “Let him be admitted."


I just watched these questions put and answered on television. They were very moving, from a religious and historical point of view,  though less moving to watch on television than to read.  The Capuchin monk looked nervous as he answered and glanced at the television camera. The end of a very old song.


Capuchin Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader of funeral party:  “Otto of Austria, former Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bukowina; Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Osweicim and Zator, of Teschen, Friaul, Dubrovnik and Zadar; Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca; Prince of Trento and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria: Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenburg; Lord of Trieste, Kotor and Windic March; Grand Voivod of the Voivodship of Serbia” But in fact he skipped some of these and ended “etc etc”

Friar : “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”
Leader  : “Dr Otto von Habsburg; President and Honorary President of the Pan-European Union; Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament; Holder of honorary doctorates from countless universities and freeman of many communities in Central Europe; Member of numerous noble academies and institutes; Bearer of high and highest awards, decorations and honours of church and state made to him in recognition of his decade-long struggle for the freedom of peoples, for right and justice.”

Friar: “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”
Leader  : “Otto — a mortal, sinful man!”
Friar: “Let him be admitted."

I might have been in Vienna today to line the streets for Otto von Habsburg's funeral. I remember Andrew Roberts making me very jealous by telling me he was there for the Empress Zita’s in 1989 just as Communism came to an end and now I have let a second chance slip by.

"In the hour of grief over this tragic loss, I associate myself with you and the entire imperial family in prayer for the deceased." — Pope Benedict XVI

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