Saturday, August 25, 2012

St. Louis, Validity, and Legitimacy

 I am often given to poking fun at those in the Independent Sacramental Movement who seem a bit too obsessed with validity of orders and legitimacy of ministries, but today’s feast of St. Louis of France reminded me that far loftier personages can be bitten by the same bug.

In the French spa town of Vichy stands a beautiful Romanesque Revival church dedicated to St. Louis, built by the Emperor Napoleon III, who took the waters there with his family. The church links Bonapart insecurity to Louis IX, saint, king, and the ideal of Capetian legitimacy.

In later years, an apse mural and a fine statue were added portraying Louis IX as ideal monarch.