Charles I of Austria : biography
Official grand title
Imperial monogram of Emperor Charles His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty,
Charles the First,
By the Grace of God, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, of this name the Fourth, King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria; King of Jerusalem, Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow, Duke of Lorraine and of Salzburg, of Styria, of Carinthia, of Carniola and of 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, 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, Sonnenberg; Lord of Trieste, of Cattaro, and in the Windic March; Grand Voivode (Grand Duke) of the Voivodship (Duchy) of Serbia.
Catholic Church leaders have praised Charles for putting his Christian faith first in making political decisions, and for his role as a peacemaker during the war, especially after 1917. They have considered that his brief rule expressed Roman Catholic social teaching, and that he created a social legal framework that in part still survives.
Pope John Paul II declared Charles "Blessed" in a beatification ceremony held on 3 October 2004,Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One: The Global Revolution, p. 483 and stated:
From the beginning, the Emperor Charles conceived of his office as a holy service to his people. His chief concern was to follow the Christian vocation to holiness also in his political actions. For this reason, his thoughts turned to social assistance.
The cause or campaign for his canonization began in 1949, when testimony of his holiness was collected in the Archdiocese of Vienna. In 1954, the cause was opened and he was declared "servant of God", the first step in the process. The League of Prayers established for the promotion of his cause has set up a website,http://www.emperor-charles.org and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has sponsored the cause.
- On 14 April 2003, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the presence of Pope John Paul II, promulgated Charles of Austria’s "heroic virtues, and he thereby acquired the title of venerable.
- On 21 December 2003, the Congregation certified, on the basis of three expert medical opinions, that a miracle in 1960 occurred through the intercession of Charles. The miracle attributed to Charles was the scientifically inexplicable healing of a Brazilian nun with debilitating varicose veins; she was able to get out of bed after she prayed for his beatification.
- On 3 October 2004, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The Pope also declared 21 October, the date of Charles’ marriage in 1911 to Princess Zita, as Charles’ feast day. The beatification has caused controversy because Charles authorized the Austro-Hungarian Army’s use of poison gas during World War I.
- On 31 January 2008, a Church tribunal, after a 16-month investigation, formally recognized a second miracle attributed to Charles I (required for his canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church); in an uncommon twist, the Florida woman claiming the miracle cure was not Catholic, but Baptist. However, due to her experiences, she converted to Catholicism soon thereafter.GOODMAN, TANYA Florida Catholic 8 Feb. 2008"A Miracle in Florida." Messenger of St Anthony Apr. 2009: 19. Print.
In 1911, Charles married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. They had met as children but did not see one another for almost ten years, as each pursued their education. In 1909, his Dragoon regiment was stationed at Brandeis an der Elbe (Brandýs nad Labem), from where he visited his aunt at Franzensbad.Beeche. It was during one of these visits that Charles and Zita became reacquainted. Due to Franz Ferdinand’s morganatic marriage, his children were excluded from the succession. As a result, the Emperor severely pressured Charles to marry. Zita not only shared Charles’ devout Catholicism, but also an impeccably royal lineage. Zita later recalled, "We were of course glad to meet again and became close friends. On my side feelings developed gradually over the next two years. He seemed to have made his mind up much more quickly, however, and became even more keen when, in the autumn of 1910, rumours spread about that I had got engaged to a distant Spanish relative, Jaime, Duke of Madrid. On hearing this, the Archduke came down post haste from his regiment at Brandeis and sought out his grandmother, Archduchess Maria Theresa, who was also my aunt and the natural confidante in such matters. He asked if the rumor was true and when told it was not, he replied, ‘Well, I had better hurry in any case or she will get engaged to someone else.’"