a royal entombment …

“ … when the body of a royal Habsburg is taken from the cathedral for burial, the solemn procession makes its way to the Habsburg tomb. An official knocks loudly on the sepulchral doors with a staff. 

“Who desires entry?” says a voice from inside the doors. 

“Otto of Austria; once Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary; Royal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parma . . . Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria . . . Grand Voivod of the Voivodeship of Serbia . . . [the pedigree goes on].”

“We do not know him.”

A second knocking.

“Who desires entry?”

“Dr. Otto von Habsburg, President and Honorary President of the Paneuropean Union and quondam President of the European Parliament, honorary doctor of many universities . . . [again the august list].

“We do not know him.”

A third knocking.

“Who desires entry? 

“Otto, a mortal and sinful man.”

“Then let him come in.”

Thomas Howard Two Deaths First Things May 2012