28 January 2024

Holy Charles(es?)

 Dom Gueranger indicates that, on January 28, we should observe "The Blessed Charlemagne Emperor"

Charlemagne was canonised by Pope Paschal III, in 1165. Or was he? Paschal III is now classified as an Antipope. That is why Charlemagne has never been 'properly' canonised, or entered upon the Roman Martyrology. But Rome has tolerated his 'cultus'.

Gueranger, for whom I have a considerable admiration, makes a spirited defence of Charlemagne's saintly status. Personally, I rather feel that the 'lady' is complaining a tadge too much. And not terribly plausibly. He cites Bishop Bossuet, who lived rather a long time after the Emperor. And rather a lot of his arguments are along the lines of "If his life had been dissolute, would he done/said XYZ?" "If his matrimonial arrangements had been questionable, would people have said ABC?" Among the bewildering plurality of women Gueranger names, we find this slightly desperate rhetorical question "this Prince's plurality of wives has never been proved to have been simultaneous"[Gueranger's italics].

"Granted that this great Prince had sinned, we must allow that it was only in the early part of his reign ..." "It would seem from the letter of Pope Stephen IV, that the marriage with Himiltrude was suspected, though falsely, of nullity ..."

Quite so, Lord Copper. Astutely argued. But I can't help feeling a sympathetic preference for another Charles, who was King of England, Scotland, France  and Ireland; executed on January 30 and accorded a cultus in his kingdoms from 1662 onwards.


Thomas said...

The idea that sinners cannot or would not say or do beautiful, valuable, useful or significant things seems flawed to me and untrue to experience. Human beings are complex and often full of contradictions. Public words and actions are no guarantee of personal sanctity. But by the same token, the fact that someone was guilty of grave sin does not necessarily vitiate the worth of everything they said or did. God can use flawed people to achieve his purposes. They are, of course, still responsible before God for those sin. The good does not wipe out the bad, not without repentance and sanctifying grace. But neither does the bad wipe out the good. Although it is only through personal sanctity that God's will is perfectly achieved and the beauty of his truth shines out most powerfully.

Atticus said...

"He brought me to the Banqueting House, and his banner over me was love."

Arthur Gallagher said...

I have another Charles in my mind- Blessed Karl, of Habsburg.