Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Passing of an Age

Crown Prince Otto at his parents' coronation in Budapest in 1916
 Blessed Emperor King Karl, Crown Prince Otto and Empress Queen Zita in Budapest in 1916
Archduchess Regina and Archduke Otto at their wedding in 1951   
Regina, Otto and children
 H.I.R.H. Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen
Otto's funeral procession passes the Hofburg Palace where he lived as a child.
 Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of....
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
from Tennyson's "The Passing of Arthur"
Otto von Habsburg has been laid to rest on the Capuchin crypt with his ancestors, among whom is the great Empress Maria Theresa. Otto never commanded vast armies as did his forebears; the battle he had to fight was all the more heroic because he had no army...and for a large part of his life, no country. He fought against both Fascism and Communism as systems which seek to destroy and enslave the human soul. Today his heart is being buried in a Hungarian monastery, according to another Habsburg family tradition. Charles Coulombe, who corresponded with Otto for many years and met him on more than one occasion, writes of the Archduke thus:
The Archduke’s political causes were almost entirely defeated. From that standpoint, his career must be regarded as a failure. But it was not merely a long series of defeats for Otto von Habsburg, but for general sanity and decency. We all share the effects of his life’s tragedy, even as a victory for him in any of his political struggles would have benefited us all. If he was defeated, he at least acquired an enormous fan base: the Paneuropa Union, the Union of Austrian Catholic Student Fraternities, the Order of St. Lazarus, and Austrian, German, Hungarian, and Czech monarchists, to name a few. The Archduke was made an honorary citizen of countless towns and cities throughout his former realms and was received publicly (as a “Highness”) by Pope Benedict XVI.

And now this witness to all that has befallen the West since the Great War is gone...His son, the Archduke Karl, will attempt to fill his father’s shoes. God help him to do so.

Our stumblebum rulers are greedy, stupid, evil, insane—or all four at once. Contemplating their deeds and persons could easily lead one to think that leadership is the birthright of the mentally defective or the criminally malicious. But the Archduke Otto, both in his teachings and his work, was living proof that it need not be that way. He taught me that holding onto one’s principles in the face of overwhelming odds is not only praiseworthy, it is possible.
The Archduke's passing signals the end of an era, an era which saw the end of Christendom. By his life and teachings Otto pointed the way to light in spite of the encroaching darkness. His death, from both a spiritual and material point of view, should not be seen as a defeat but as a challenge to preserve what remains and restore what has been lost.

Please see the video of the funeral procession and read the eye-witness observations from

Magnificent photos of the funeral Mass at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, HERE and HERE.

The entrance rite at the Capuchin crypt, HERE and HERE.

The official website, HERE.

The following is a translation of a German article:
"Habsburg Burial and Leftist Political Pygmies"
Today is the climax of the long burial proceedings for Otto von Habsburg in Vienna. First, there was a funeral service on July 9 in Pöcking, the Bavarian town where he lived,  with residents and organizations there coming out in large numbers to express their sympathies.  Then there was a requiem mass in Munich on the July 11 and another requiem mass on July 13 in the Styrian town of Mariazell. Then Otto von Habsburg was brought to the Capuchin Church in Vienna, where on July 14 even Chief Rabbi Langnas and Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric of Sarajevo spoke their prayers for the dead. The Jewish community of Vienna held another prayer service for the departed yesterday in the Stadttempel, the city’s main synagogue.  Many people had already entered their names in the condolence book.

Today at 3 pm is the requiem mass in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, and at around 5 pm the “Pummerin” (English “boomer”), the cathedral’s largest bell, will sound, setting in motion the thousand-meter-long funeral procession through Vienna’s city center; tens of thousands of mourners will watch as Otto von Habsburg is taken to the Imperial Crypt (the “Kapuzinergruft”), where most of the Habsburg emperors and empresses, as well as dozens of archdukes and archduchesses already lie at rest. And before the dead Otto von Habsburg is allowed entry into the crypt, he will have to go through the traditional ceremony, whereby the door is knocked on three times, to which a Capuchin inside asks: “Who seeks entry”? The answer:
Otto of Austria, once Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow, Duke of Lorraine, of Salzburg, Steyr, Carinthia, Carniola, and the Bukovina, Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla, of Auschwitz and Zator, of Teschen, of Friuli, Ragusa and Zara, Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca, Prince of Trent and Brixen, Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria, Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenburg, etc., Lord of Trieste, Cattaro and the Windic Mark, Grand Voivod of the Voivodeship of Serbia, etc.
 To which the Capuchin responds: “We do not know him!” Another three knocks, and again the question: “Who seeks entry?” The answer:
Dr. Otto von Habsburg, President and Honorary President of the Paneuropean Union, Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament, honorary doctor of numerous universities and honorary citizen of many communities in Central Europe member of venerable academies and institutions, bearer of high and highest honors, medals, ad decorations awarded to him by church and state in recognition of his many years spent struggling for the freedom of nations, for justice and the rule of law.
Again, the Capuchin responds: “We do not know him!” The master of ceremonies once more knocks three times, and again the question: “Who seeks entry?” A new answer:
“Otto – a mortal, sinful human being!”
 The Capuchin: “Then come in!”

Is that not touching? Aren’t traditions beautiful? The costumes in Pöcking, the  Gebirgsschützen (traditional Upper Bavarian militia) in Munich, the Kaiserjäger (special imperial light infantry) this afternoon, the prayer of Mustafa Ceric, which was written by his ancestor a hundred years ago for Emperor Franz Joseph? Yes, I know who Ceric is, but there were Bosnian sentry troops who protected Otto’s father and the entire imperial family in 1918 right up to the very end, after the Christians has long fled:
“I remember with great nostalgia the Bosniaks at out court. They were the sentries. They were loyal and true to the very end. While the others were running away, they remained.  At Schönbrunn in November 1918, the so-called guards ran off. There was a prince, Zdenko Lobkowicz, my father’s adjutant. He ran off as well. The Bosniaks stayed. That’s the kind of thing a person will always remember.
 Quite understandable! And the despicable leftists, the Communists, the Stalinists, all those miserable pinkos?  For days they’ve been railing about the ridiculous cost of the state funeral, and even some leftist and green Austrian politicians have joined the choir. (Of course, Otto von Habsburg was open to talking with everyone, including the Communists – there was only one person he wouldn’t talk to, his fellow countryman from Braunau, who would have loved to use him for his own purposes.)

In 1946, von Habsburg was once again expelled from his country. In 1956 he received an Austrian passport, in which was written: “Valid for all countries in the world, with the exception of Austria”.  He wasn’t allowed to enter Austria again until 1966. Just how must current president Heinz Fischer have felt as he, a lefty socialist, received Otto von Habsburg at the Hofburg on his 95th birthday, that is, at his own home, which was stolen from him back in 1918?

What do tourists in Vienna really want to see today? The red trade unions building or the headquarters of the SPÖ (Social Democrats)? Of would they rather visit “Steffl” (affectionate name for St. Stephen’s Cathedral), Schönbrunn Palace, the Spanish Riding School, the Sisi Museum at the Hofburg, or the Imperial Crypt? The Burgtheater, the opera, the town hall, Hotel Sacher, museums, like the Belevedere which once belonged to Prince Eugen, all are buildings from the times of the monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Without the Habsburgs, Vienna would be nothing!

There is another requiem mass tomorrow. In Budapest. After being driven from his homeland, his mother Zita made him take not only the Austrian Matura, the high school exit exam, but also its Hungarian counterpart. Along with ten other languages, he spoke Hungarian fluently. His heart will be buried separately in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma near Győr (not far from Vienna).


Mercury said...

I never knew he was such a good man.

I thought he was a promoter of the godless EU - but it was the Paneuropean Union he really wanted - it would have been a union based on Christianity and the rule of law. He must have been disappointed with the rabidly secularist EU and European Court of Human Rights.

elena maria vidal said...

I think Otto saw the importance of having a Christian and royal presence in the EU to counter some of the godless goings-on.

lara77 said...

The details of the funeral were absolutely beautiful; what an amazing history of the Hapsburg Family. How sad that we have another sleezy republic to replace one of the greatest dynasties of the Western World. I cannot imagine all the Emperors and Empresses of ages past that greeted Otto on returning home to Heaven. Rest in Peace. Class, heritage and breeding seem to be fast fading from this world.

Anonymous said...

May he rest in peace; and may he and his saintly father pray for us and the whole of the Christian west. Amen.

Beautiful coverage you have here, EMV.

elena maria vidal said...

Too true, Lara.

Thank you, Gette.

Gail F said...

I linked to your post in mine and thought you might want to see it:

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for the link!