28 January 2019

Those Blessed Kings

Today, January 28, in many places the Emperor Charles the Great is commemorated liturgically. His canonisation was performed by an antipope (Paschal III, a creature of Barbarossa), and he is not in the Roman Martyrology, so he is nowadays tactfully celebrated as a Beatus. I hope those with a devotion to him will forgive my cynicism when I remark that the article on him in Gueranger is rather amusing to read, as it attempts with angry indignation to rebut accusations that Charlemagne's matrimonial life was less than exemplary.

And, in two days time, there will be those who commemorate blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) Charles Stuart, who has had the word blessed attached to him liturgically by Anglicans since 1662 (the authorised texts, to the best of my knowledge, have never called him Saint).

That was during an age when Kings had mistresses as a natural adjunct of Royal Majesty. (I believe there was even one German king, a laudably uxorious chappy, who maintained a number of titular 'Mistresses', although he never laid a finger, or anything else, on any of them.0

But blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) Charles was notorious for marital chastity. The Court Masques of his reign exalted the theme of chaste marital love. There are worse themes than this to incorporate into royal ideologies.

I think this blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) is quite a good candidate for imitation in this age of ritual and government-encouraged promiscuity.

May blessed Charles the Royal Martyr pray for us all.

And, of course, may the unmartyred and matrimonially debated Blessed Charlemagne do the same.

4 comments:

Scribe said...

Dear Father, It may be of interest to your cradle-Catholic readers to know that King Charles I had his own 'saint's day' at one time in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.I have an old edition, dated 1687,in which he appears in the Calendar for January as:
30. K. Charles, Martyr. A special service is provided for the 30 January, entitled:
A Form of Prayer, with Fasting, to be used Yearly on the 30th January, being the day of the Martyrdom of the blessed King CHARLES the First: to implore the mercy of God, that neither the Guilt of that Sacred and Innocent Bloud, nor those other Sins, by which God was provoked, to deliver up both Us, and our King into the hands of cruel and unreasonable men, may at any time hereafter be visited upon Us, or our Posterity.

Prefaced by an engraving, with the title K. Charles I Murthered, there follows a special order for Morning Prayer, with Propers for use in the Holy Communion service, together with collect, epistle and gospel. A similar order is provided for Evensong.

The whole context of these services shows that King Charles was counted as a Martyr; only the separation from the Catholic Church prevented him from being called 'Saint'. I believe that some Anglicans still celebrate the Martyrdom, though the services have long disappeared from the Book of Common Prayer.

vetusta ecclesia said...


Presumably martyrdom washes away these sins which, being “below the belt” are not, acc. PF, very serious.

Mark said...

Pusey House will have a Mass for "Charles King and Martyr" on Wednesday.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Charles the Great, like many, struggled with the 6th and 9th commandments. But it appeared he persevered and died well.

AvB