One would think that everyone interested in royalty would be united in wishing the newly married couple happiness, but unfortunately that has not been the case. In certain corners of the royal-watching internet, to which I will not link, some people have not been able to get past their disagreements (to put it mildly) with the deeply held religious and moral convictions of the bride, who has been active in the anti-abortion movement. This blog generally avoids taking explicit stances on such divisive contemporary issues and recognizes that monarchists can disagree on such matters. However, I have been dismayed by the sheer meanness of some of the comments I have seen. How can anyone find it at all surprising that a member of Europe's greatest Catholic dynasty (long known for its defense of the Church), a great-grandson of the Blessed Emperor Karl who was beatified by the staunchly pro-life Pope John Paul II, would marry a woman who actually believes in Catholicism and takes it seriously? Whether one shares the faith and views of Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen (as she now is, since the current head of the House of Habsburg, himself married to a former minor baroness, does not insist on the maintenance of the traditional requirement for Habsburg spouses to be of royal blood) or not, any decent person who claims to care about royalty ought to be able to respect their convictions and wish them well in their new life together.
The newlyweds met two years ago at a mass at the same church (which just dedicated a shrine to Bl Karl this past Sunday) honoring the groom's saintly great-grandfather, and this weekend received an official Apostolic Blessing from Pope Benedict XVI (referring to the groom as "Archduke Imre of Austria," which can't have pleased the republican anti-title brigade). What, for Catholics, could be more auspicious and appropriate? I for one congratulate Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen and am confident theirs will be a happy, fruitful, and enduring union that will prove all the naysayers wrong and offer hope to the beleaguered Western world, which has suffered so for nearly a century from the destruction of the Habsburg Empire and the values that underpinned it.