This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 21 -- St. Albert of Louvain

I fail to find much inspiration in what I've read about Albert himself, but I think the circumstances around his demise are a good example of things working out for the best. It's not a very holy story, but not all church leaders were especially holy people.

Albert was the son of the duke of Branbant. At age twelve, he was appointed a canon of Liege, Belgium, a church office intended to keep him comfortably wealthy. I don't blame a young man for wanting to ditch a job he got at 12 -- hell, I wouldn't want to spend my whole career working at the deli where I worked at 15. But I don't think it is appropriate for him to have resigned in order to be a knight under Count Baldwin of Hainault, since Baldwin was a bitter enemy of Brabant. Some knight -- he talked about Crusading, but never went. Eventually, he took his old gig as canon of Liege back. The story says this was a real religious vocation, but his behavior doesn't show it.

Albert's behavior does show a man who knew how to work the organization. When the bishop's throne opened up, Albert was among the candidates. Muscled out by the local politicians, he appealed to the Vatican, making it a church-state fight. He managed to get the chair, but then the Holy Roman Emperor's thugs murdered him (stabbings -- multiple). Their plan backfired as their candidate Lothair was excommunicated and exiled and their boss had to submit to the Vatican's wishes.

In the end, most of the creeps got their come-uppance. I prefer not knowing who the Pope at the time was, since he probably deserved, but did not get, the same. Tough times, tough men, tough consequences.

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