Saturday, February 9, 2013

A sinning mortal

A commenter on the controversy about where Richard III ought to be re-interred, was reminded of this story. Zita was the last Empress of Austria-Hungary. Deposed from the throne in 1918, she lived until 1989.
The 8,000 mourners filed out of Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral and fell in line behind the catafalque drawn by six black horses. Two hours later the procession ended at the Capuchin Church, where, in keeping with tradition, a member of the funeral party knocked on the door and a priest asked, "Who goes there?"

The titles were read aloud: "Queen of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia. Queen of Jerusalem. Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Cracow..."

"I do not know her," said the father.

A second knock and "Who goes there?" brought the response, "Zita, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary." Again the reply, "I do not know her."

When the inevitable question was put a third time, the answer was simply, "Zita, a sinning mortal."

"Come in," said the priest, opening wide the door not for royalty, but for a faithful member of the Church, whose life had finally reached its end. ....
Europe's Heads, Crowned and Otherwise, Bury Zita, the Last Habsburg Empress : People.com
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