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Second Miracle of Blessed Karl I of Austria

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Feb 2008 21:45    Onderwerp: Second Miracle of Blessed Karl I of Austria Reageer met quote

Kissimmee Baptist edges emperor toward sainthood

Mark I. Pinsky | Sentinel Staff Writer
February 1, 2008


The last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire moved a little closer to Roman Catholic sainthood Thursday, thanks to a Baptist woman from Kissimmee who claims the monarch's intercession saved her from metastatic breast cancer.

Emperor Karl von Habsburg, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004, needs a Vatican-approved miracle to be canonized, the final step to sainthood. The Central Florida woman claims she was cured of terminal cancer after she prayed to Karl of Austria to intercede with Jesus on her behalf.

The Kissimmee woman, who remains a devout Baptist, attended a Mass and ceremony at St. James Cathedral Chapel on Thursday, but she would not be identified or interviewed. Bishop Thomas Wenski, who celebrated the Mass, said the matter involved discretion rather than secrecy.
However, Paula Melancon, a Catholic from Baton Rouge, said after the ceremony that she had become interested in Karl while traveling with her husband in Europe. She sent the emperor's prayer cards to a number of relatives and friends, one of which found its way to Kissimmee, where the cancer sufferer was near death.

"It is an honor for our diocese to be part of something that is larger than all of us," Wenski said. "Miracles are not done for show. Jesus didn't do miracles because he was a showoff."

A judicial tribunal convened by the Diocese of Orlando and officially concluded Thursday has found that there is no medical explanation for the woman's dramatic recovery, and more than half a dozen doctors in two states -- most of them non-Catholics -- agreed.

Who is this saint-in-waiting?

Karl took the throne in 1916, during World War I, reigning as Charles I of Austria and Charles IV of Hungary. A pious Catholic who opposed the war, he was forced to abdicate in 1918, when his empire collapsed, and died of the flu in exile on the island of Madeira in 1922 at the age of 34. Among his accomplishments, Karl censored obscene materials, closed soldiers' brothels during World War I and sent the troops more chaplains. Until his death, he tried to regain the throne of Hungary.

Few argue that Karl was a political or diplomatic success as a leader.

"He was well-intentioned, but he was ineffectual," said Vladimir Solonari, a University of Central Florida history professor.

But church officials and observers of the sainthood process say that is not the issue.

"It's fair to say you have a failed emperor who is being canonized," said Bert Ghezzi of Winter Park, author of Voices of the Saints. "But the criteria are not success in the political or secular arena. The church looks at how the person behaved in a Christian way. Did they live wholly for God? He lived a holy life -- and that's what people do, except that he's a Habsburg emperor."

After Mass, the sealed findings were turned over by Wenski to Andrea Ambrosi, an Italian lawyer who is Karl's chief advocate. On the table near the documents, which were sealed with red wax, was a reliquary containing a piece of Karl's rib. The documents now go via the Vatican's diplomatic pouch to Rome and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where more scrutiny will follow.

Ambrosi said it is highly unusual for the person claiming the miracle to be a non-Catholic.

The 16-month process of investigating the miracle claim was a first for the Diocese of Orlando.

"We didn't have any knowledge of the process," said the Rev. Fernando Gil, the diocese's judicial vicar, a situation that required him to do "a lot of study and a lot of reading."

The doctors who testified, Gil said, "would never admit there was a miracle."

However, they could find no medical explanation for the recovery -- which is the standard Rome requires to accept the evidence. Informally, Gil served as the tribunal's "devil's advocate," a Vatican position that no longer exists.

While the medical miracles play a central role in the Church's sainthood process, so does money. Some experts say this may especially be true in Blessed Karl's case. Ambrosi, who does not work for the Vatican or any order or religious organization, said he is employed by the Habsburg family.

"You can't buy a halo, but the process for getting someone canonized takes a lot of time and effort and work to do the research," said the Rev. Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "That costs money."

There are, he said, larger issues.

"This is the kind of canonization I don't think is terribly helpful," said Reese, a Jesuit and former editor of the magazine America. "We don't need any more kings or princes or bishops . . . We need to find saints that connect to ordinary people.

"The cult of beautiful people and royalty and superstars -- that should not be what the church is about."

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/community/news/kissimmee/orl-saint0108feb01,0,6855092.story
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Feb 2008 21:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

This article reports the miraculous healing of a woman with breast cancer. Interestingly enough, she was (and is) a Baptist who was on the verge of death when she received a prayer card of Blessed Karl from a friend. She began praying to him, and her cancer was soon healed.

A judicial tribunal convened by the Diocese of Orlando and officially concluded Thursday has found that there is no medical explanation for the woman's dramatic recovery, and more than half a dozen doctors in two states -- most of them non-Catholics -- agreed.

From John Zmirak's Bad Catholics' Guide to Good Living:

Karl is known for abolishing flogging, dueling, and other abuses in the army he briefly commanded, restricting the use of poison gas and civilian bombing, and attempting to decentralize power among the ethnic groups of his polyglot monarchy, which he came to rule in 1917. Karl insisted on eating the same rations as an ordinary civilian—refusing even white bread, which he handed out to his troops. His court photographer reported seeing the newly-crowned emperor visiting a battlefield full of corpses—and collapsing into tears. Karl murmured, audibly: “No man can any longer answer to God for this. As soon as possible I shall put a stop to it.”

Almost immediately, Karl began attempts to negotiate a “peace without recriminations” to end the criminal slaughter of World War I. He was the only sovereign in Europe to attempt such a peace. Had he succeeded, the world might never have witnessed a Bolshevik or Nazi regime, a Holocaust, a Ukrainian famine, a Dresden or a Hiroshima.

Karl’s clarity and charity, alas, were no match for the war parties that ruled in London and Berlin, Paris and Washington, from 1914-1918. President Woodrow Wilson insisted personally on the dismemberment of the Austrian monarchy. Fighting dragged on another fateful year—giving Lenin the chance to seize power in Russia—before it ended with the collapse of Germany and Austria. The victors’ peace imposed by the Allies sowed the bitterness which would someday bring the Nazis to prominence. The weak republics carved out of Austria’s corpse would all, one day, fall first to Hitler’s armies—and then to Stalin’s. So went this world “made safe for democracy.”

Exiled on the wintry island of Funchal with his young family, Karl soon succumbed to disease, and died while still a young man. The night before he passed, he whispered to his wife Zita: “All my aspiration has ever been to know as clearly as possible the will of God in all things and to follow it, and precisely in the most perfect manner.” By the Church’s infallible judgment, he succeeded.

http://laudemgloriae.blogspot.com/2008/02/second-miracle-of-blessed-karl-i-of.html
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