Habsburg has recalled as an epiphany the day he first spontaneously answered the nationality question with “I am a European,” but his definition of that term was steeped in a rudely Huntingtonian paradigm vis-à-vis Orthodox Christianity. He supported the destruction of the Njegos Chapel on Mt. Lov?en in Montenegro and Montenegrins’ eventual conversion from Orthodoxy to some form of union with Rome. His attitude to Orthodoxy was in sharp contrast to his conciliatory benevolence to Islam. ~Srdja Trifkovic
There may be a temptation for traditional conservatives in the U.S. to confuse respect for some of the more admirable aspects of the Habsburg dynasty with straightforward enthusiasm for Otto von Habsburg on the occasion of his death, but Dr. Trifkovic’s article is a helpful reminder of why this is too easy. Obviously, his views on the Bosnian and Kosovo wars were wrongheaded, but it is the underlying antagonism towards Orthodox nations that is more significant. It was this same antagonism that helped to fuel the rivalries in the Balkans that led to the ruin of Europe, the destruction of the empire that Otto von Habsburg’s family had ruled, and the collapse of his family’s dynasty. More important, it reflects a basic misunderstanding of the nature of European civilization to exclude from its definition half of the European Christian inheritance.
Update: Foreign Policy has a number of pictures of Otto von Habsburg’s funeral in a slideshow here. Looking at them reminded me of a video of the funeral procession of the Zita that I had seen in my graduate course on Austrian history. The most interesting moment is when the procession reached the doors of the monastery where the crypt is located. As Armin Thurnher describes it in an article published today:
There, the Master of Ceremonies knocked three times on the door before the monks inside opened it to make way for the coffin.
Thurnher does not relate this about the most recent procession, but as I recall from the video the monks refused entry to the procession after Zita’s titles were read out and claimed not to recognize her, saying, “Wir kennen Sie nicht.” It was only when she was presented to the monks as nothing more than a sinful human being that her coffin was permitted to enter the building. Here is the video from Zita’s funeral in 1989.