31 July 2011

Developing Skills

The children are each working on developing some important new skills these days. Edmund has figured out how to stand up, but he is still working up the courage to take more than a step at a time. His sword swallowing abilities are coming along as well. Thomas has been putting in hours in the batting cages to improve his pitch to contact ratio. He has also developed a bit more pop in his bat. Maria took it into her head to try out her friend Eli's bike this afternoon, and before you knew it she was breezing around the courtyard like you wouldn't believe.

20 July 2011

An Idea for a University in London

This looks interesting: The Benedictus Trust brings us 'A Proposal for Liberal Arts Education' based on the principles of Blessed John Henry Newman's Idea of a University.

From their website: "We seek to establish in this country a course of learning at foundation and undergraduate level, a return to true liberal education with the study of the traditional liberal arts, encompassing what are usually known as the humanities and mathematics, to be studied alongside philosophy and theology, using as texts the greatest works of the European tradition. This study will be fully integrated with courses on the history, arts, culture and languages of Europe."

... a University, taken in its bare idea ... has this object and this mission; it contemplates neither moral impression nor mechanical production; it professes to exercise the mind neither in art nor in duty; its function is intellectual culture; ... it educates the intellect to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it. (The Idea of a University, Discourse VI, I)

16 July 2011

Video from Otto von Habsburg's Funeral and Burial

Update: Here is what people are saying about H.I.R.H. Archduke Otto von Habsburg:

The Habsburger Burial Ritual

You can watch the funeral and burial of His Imperial Royal Highness Archduke Otto von Habsburg live on Austrian television at ORF. It is an historic event, and I hope you are able to witness at least a part of it.

Almost 2 billion people (that's the reported number, although it may be a bit hard to believe) watched the funeral and burial of H.I.R.H. Kaiserin Zita von Bourbon-Parma (wife of Blessed Kaiser Karl) in 1989. Below is some brief video footage of that historic day, in which you can also see the moving Habsburger burial ritual.

When the procession arrives from the Stephansdom, where the funeral Mass was held, at the doors of the Kapuzinerkirche, where members of the royal family are traditionally entombed in the crypt, the herald knocks on the door three times with his staff. From within a Capuchin friar asks: Who seeks entrance? The response: Zita, Her Majesty the Empress and Queen. The friar says: We don't know her. He knocks again. Who seeks entrance? This time the herald answers: Zita, a mortal, sinful woman. Friar: Then come in.

In the clip below you can see a more dramatic enactment of the same ritual from an Austrian television series which in one scene portrays the burial of Crown Prince and Archduke Rudolf von Habsburg of 1889. Here the dialogue is even more impressive, as it truly was, since the Empire was still a living reality.

Capuchin friar: Who is there?

Imperial herald: His Imperial Highness, Crown Prince of Austria, Kingly Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, of Lombardy and Venetia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria; Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece; General Inspector of the Imperial Infantry; Archduke Rudolf von Habsburg.

Capuchin friar: We don't know him. [The herald knocks again...] Who is there?

Imperial herald: Archduke Rudolf von Habsburg!

Capuchin friar: We don't know him! [The herald knocks again...] Who is there?

Imperial herald: Rudolf, a poor sinner.

Greatest Video Ever

What do you think? Does he have a future in the big leagues?

15 July 2011

Paying My Respects

I had the tremendous opportunity to pay my respects, with thousands of others, to Otto von Habsburg as he lay in state next to his wife in the Kapuzinerkirche in Vienna. The coffins are draped with the black and yellow of the Habsburg arms. (They are laying in the same side chapel where Edmund was baptized almost a year ago.)

You can also watch a brief news spot with footage from inside the Kapuzinerkirche.

14 July 2011

Otto von Habsburg, RIP

Otto von Habsburg, Crown Prince and Archduke of Austria, eldest son of Blessed Kaiser Karl I, the last emperor of Austria and of Christendom, died on July 4, 2011, at the age of 98. This morning a requiem Mass was sung for his soul at the Kapuzinerkirche in Vienna where his body lies in state next to that of his wife. It is truly the end of an era, the end of an era which began more than 1,200 years ago with the coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas day, 800. It is the end of an era that has been ending since 1789, that ended again in 1806, and again in 1917. 2011 is the end of the end of an era; it is the end of the end of Christendom. And we mourn its passing.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.

ITI Promo Video

Our beloved Institute has released a new promotional video which features a number of brief appearances by various members of the family.

05 July 2011

Pictures from Italy

We're just back from our two weeks in Italy, and have uploaded most of our pictures from the trip onto a web album for you.

Walking the old streets of Norcia

We took an overnight train from Vienna to Rome, spent a few hours in Rome trying (and failing) to get inside St. Peter's Basilica for Mass, and then headed for Norcia by train and bus with others from our group whom we met there.

Our studies in Sacramental Theology were in full swing over the next few days, until Thursday (Corpus Christi) we headed back to Rome by bus to attend the papal Mass and Eucharistic procession. We had lunch at Dino & Tony's (delicious!), went into St. Peter's Basilica for a little bit, and then headed for St. John Lateran for Mass with the Holy Father.

The next day we bailed out and headed back for Norcia on account of the children even though the others all stayed another day.

Then on Sunday, halfway through our trip, the chicken pox struck. First Edmund and then Thomas came down with them, and the next few days in Norcia were pretty rough. No sleep at night for the boys (or the parents), and then no playing at the park in the day for Maria. I had to take plates of dinner up from the dining room to Lisa and the quarantined children. No fun at all.

By Thursday or so they were well on the mend, though, and we were able to enjoy our last few days there, before heading back to Rome for another day, and then embarking on another overnight train ride to Vienna - without air-conditioning.

It's good to be back home.

04 July 2011

Very Special Happy Birthdays!

Well, we are back from two weeks in Norcia, Italy, where John and a classmate put on summer program focusing on the Sacraments. More about that shortly. First things first though, while we were in Italy my Papou (my kids call him "big Papou" celebrated his 80th birthday, and in just a few days, my Yia-Yia will celebrate her 80th birthday! We wish you all the best, and many happy returns of the day!

A few pictures of the birthday boy and girl, with a couple of their many (!) descendents: