(Vatican Radio) The challenges of our times demand the collaboration of all people of good will, especially with prayer and sacrifice. Pope Francis made the exhortation in a brief address to some 130 members of the Emperor Karl League of Prayer, who are in Rome for their annual general assembly.
The League promotes the cause of canonization of Karl I (1887-1922), the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, and the last monarch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Church leaders have praised Karl for adopting Christian faith in making political decisions and for his peace efforts during World War I. The Catholic Church has recognized Karl’s heroic virtues and a miracle through his intercession, following which St. Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed on 3 October 2004.
Pope Francis noted that the general assembly of Emperor Karl League of Prayer was taking place in Rome in the context of the centenary of the peace initiatives of Pope Benedict XV, a contemporary of the Austrian Emperor, in trying to avert the disaster of WWI.
The Holy Father drew attention to the three objectives of the League – namely, seeking and observing God’s will, committing oneself to peace and justice and expiating for the injustice of history, saying they were, so to say, a recurring feature of the life of Blessed Karl as a statesman, as a husband and father of a family, and as a son of the Church. “By giving himself to the will of God,” the Pope said, “he accepted the suffering and offered his life as a sacrifice for peace, always sustained by the love and faith of his wife, the Servant of God Zita.”
Pope Francis invited the Emperor Karl League of Prayer to maintain their promise of participating in the numerous efforts of the Pope on behalf of peace with their prayers and personal sacrifices. He said he counted on them, as the Successor of Peter cannot carry out his mission in the world without the support of the prayers of the faithful.