(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received family members of the House of Hasburg visiting the Vatican for a Jubilee pilgrimage.
To the some 300 people gathered in the Clementine Hall, the Pope said “I am happy to receive you in the occasion of this pilgrimage that you have undertaken as a family” and he highlighted the fact that ‘family’ implies a wealth of interconnections and variety and is a value to be “rediscovered” in current times.
The Pope recalled one of the Hasburg family’s most remarkable ancestors: Blessed Charles of Austria who was beatified in 2004 by Saint Pope John Paul II.
Remembering that some 100 years ago or so he ascended to the throne, the Pope said Charles’ spiritual presence is such that the Hasburg family is not nostalgically imbued in the past but, to the contrary, “it is actively present in the challenges and needs” of our time.
He mentioned how some of those present for the audience have roles of responsibility in organizations of solidarity and human and cultural development, as well as in the support of “the European project as a common home founded on human and Christian values”.
Pope Francis also expressed his joy for having learnt that in the new generations of the Hasburg family some have been called to vocations of priestly and consecrated life: “a confirmation of the fact that the Christian family provides fertile ground for the seeds of vocation – including that of marriage.”
“Charles of Austria was first of all a good family father and as such a servant of life and peace” he said.
The Pope recalled that Charles had been called to arms as a simple soldier at the beginning of WWI, and after having ascended to the throne in 1916, in accord with the appeals of Pope Benedict XV, “he used all his strength in pursuit of peace, at the cost of being misunderstood and mocked at. For this reason too he offers us an example for our times, and we can invoke him as an intercessor of peace for humanity”.
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