Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Bl. Emperor Charles

Today is the centenary of the wedding of the Archduke Charles to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, the future Emperor Charles and Empress Zita, and now the day appointed as that of his commemoration as a beatus.


The future Empress and Empress on their wedding day October 21 1911


The Emperor Francis Joseph with the Archduke and Archduchess and other family members on the balcony at the Villa Schwarzau.
Archduke Francis Ferdinand can be seen to the rear on the left.

In addition to the continuing cause for the Emperor's canonisation the cause of the Empress has also been introduced and the websites for these can be found at Emperor Charles League of Prayer and at Empress Zita cause.

It is worth reflecting that no other head of state from the twentieth century has been raised to the altars of the church, and one has to go back along way to find one, even canonizations centuries later such as that of the thirteenth century King Ferdinand III of Castile in 1671, let alone one within the lifetime of their children.

The story of the Empress and Empress is a tragedy not only in political and international terms for their peoples, but also a personal one, the piecemeal wearing down of a high-minded, devout, decent young man, devoted husband and father leading to a premature death at the age of 34. What redeems it is his personal holiness, as set out in the readings of the Novena for his cause which I have been saying, or in the various biographies of him.


Anonymous said...

Mr Whitehead (John!),
My father stumbled on your blog by chance and forwarded it to me. How fascinating to catch up with your news. I wonder if you remember me (Andrew Dalgleish - the youngest member of the Pontefract Historical Society after you). I'm a diplomat now, working for the FCO in our Embasssy in Seoul, South Korea. I married in 2002 and we now have two boys. I was received into the Catholic Church in 2008. If ever we're in Oxford I shall be sure to look you up. If ever you're in Seoul you must do the same! Do you get back to Pontefract? We'll be there from 16 to 27 December this year. Do let me know if you're around (andrew_dalgleish@hotmail.com). Best wishes, Andrew

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

Dear Andrew,
Thank you for this - I will reply off line, but I am delighted to hear from you again