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Burial of an Emperor

Peter Kreeft tells us that in the Latin rite for the burial of an Austrian emperor, the people carry the corpse to the door of the great monastic church. They strike the door and say: “Open.” The abbot inside says: “Who is there?” “Emperor Karl, the king of ...” The response from inside: “We know of no such person here.” So the people strike the door again. “Who is there?” asks the abbot. “Emperor Karl.” “We know of no such person here.” So they strike a third time. “Who is there?” asks the abbot again. “Karl,” say the people. And the door is opened.

One World, May, 1982

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