Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baden's Blessed Bernhard

Beautiful statue of Bernhard,
the Christian warrior
Today in the Sunday Newspaper I read an article about the blessed Bernhard of Baden and how all attempts so far had failed to make him a saint. Having studied regional history for nearly a decade I was shocked that I hadn't read about him earlier.

Margrave Bernhard lived from 1428 until 1458 when he died from the plague in Moncalieri, Italy. Little is known about Bernhard and is this scanty information worthy of a saint? He as all rulers of that, earlier and later times tried to find glory in war activities. So in 1453 Bernhard led a group of mercenaries to Italy to conquer Naples for his uncle René of Anjou.

But mind you there are just and unjust wars depending from which side you are looking. What makes Bernhard worthy in the eyes of the Church is his call for a crusade against the Turks, who had taken Constantinople in 1453. They called the city Istanbul what according to a song of the 70ies anyway is nobody's business than the Turks. What helps in Bernhard's canonization process is that this crusade with all its war atrocities never took place such that the Battle of Varna in 1444 is considered to be the last crusade.

Now Freiburg's archbishop makes another attempt to convince the Congregation for the Causes of Saints of Bernhard's holiness. I regard this with envy for who is looking into Blessed Manfred’s cause (see previous blog).

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