We need more leaders such as Saint Henry (+1024) Emperor of the Romans and King of the Italians, the last of the ‘Ottonian’ line – deriving from the original Emperor of the (new and later mediaeval) Roman Empire, Otto I. Henry was from Bavaria – whence Josef Ratzinger would also hail a millennium on – upon whom was bestowed the iron crown of Rome in 1014 until his death on this day in 1024, a decade of pious ruling, wherein he consolidated Europe’s alliance with the Church, and was a remarkable almsgiver, to the poor, to parishes, to schools.
As the Emperor himself wrote of the nature and purpose of his reign:
Would that Trudeau and Biden, both Catholics whose authority in some mysterious way also comes from God (even if as a punishment for our sins) would write something that would reflect even remotely similar sentiments of humility and piety! Commandments, churches, almsgiving…attaining heaven?
Underneath Henry’s complex reign in a tumultuous time shines a soul of holiness, rare in politics, one might imagine, where the ‘art of the practical and utilitarian’ dominates, but not impossible. He married Cunegunde, whom we may presume was charming and also saintly; indeed, she, like her husband, was later canonized. Their marital union, alas, produced no children, but their example and intercession live on, in eternity. We should pray for those in high office; for those to whom much is given – even if they be not worthy of it, and who of us is? – much can be accomplished, but much will also be demanded.