Vienna, Austria, Jul 5, 2011 / 23:56 pm
Otto von Habsburg, a Catholic leader for a unified Europe and heir to the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire, died July 4 at the age of 98. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino remembered him as one of the twentieth century’s “greatest defenders” of the Catholic faith and human dignity.
“Even well into his nineties, Otto von Habsburg campaigned tirelessly to uphold Europe's Christian values and the sanctity of all human life,” the cardinal said in a statement from the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute.
“Otto von Habsburg's father, (Emperor) Blessed Karl of Austria, instilled in him from an early age that the office of a ruler is one of holy service and selfless sacrifice for the good of the peoples entrusted to him. It was a philosophy that would influence him all his life. He will be greatly missed.”
Cardinal Martino, who is the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, noted that the dynastic leader’s “uncompromising position” on human dignity was evident in his agreement to become a patron of the Dignitas Humanae Institute despite his increasing frailty.