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Monday, November 07, 2005

Saint John-Paul? (not the Beatles)

Well, they're working to fast-track Pope John-Paul II into a saint. article here
Pope Benedict XVI launched the beatification proceedings in June. He waived the customary five-year waiting period to start the process following public calls to name John Paul II a saint as soon as possible.
I find this weird in many ways, let me count some of them:
1. What the hell is a saint anyhow? Some special person because they did good stuff, then had miracles happen in their name (after death). Must be Catholic to apply. I can only think that if there is still a Jesus and he were to return - this whole process would piss him off big time.
2. When miracles are attributed to a dead person - who's to say the intervention wasn't from elsewhere? How do we know that John Lennon didn't intervene thinking that prayers to John-Paul were to he and his bass player?
3. Do saints get benefits in heaven? Larger bedrooms, better music, good sex (finally)....
4. And finally, how can a man be a saint who is greatly responsible for many perishing from AIDS (no condoms please!); for women being oppressed within his own organization (nuns need not apply); for adding fuel to homophobic fires worldwide (bad, bad men); and for wearing what must be considered the most unusual hats? Surely these things would offset the fundraising, rigid management style, big parades etc. that might lead to sainthood.
Just thinking out loud.

I am so with ya on this issue Gary. JPII sainted? The Vatican must be freakin kidding me, right? Granted, he was the first pope to be "open" to the world outside of the Vatican and Europe, and he did recognize and "accept" other cultures and religions, but the blood on his hands for insisting upon no condoms is unforgivable. JPII was not the worst pope, but a saint??? This Catholic thinks not.
re #4, there are large swathes of the Catholic population (mostly African and Asian), that would say those reasons are precisely why he should be a saint. I (and many others) got so fed up I just left the church entirely. There are those who counsel remaining in order to "make a difference", but I can't see any profit in it mentally or spiritually, for me or "them". It's a shame.
Okay, I do need someone to tell me: what is a saint and what value are they? (Is it like God's Hall of Fame or are they busy helping out from wherever they now reside?)
Well... the long answer is this. The title "Saint" is applied by the Catholic or Orthodox churches to someone whose life is judged to have been of unusual sanctity, or who suffered a martyr's death for their faith. It used to be (up until about 1100 if I remember it right, I'll have to check again), that saints were so acclaimed by the laity, and that's why there were so many of them, and why their devotions were so regional. But the "official" Church decided that that was too unregulated and not creating enough beneficial paperwork, so they proclaimed that saints would henceforth be decided upon by Rome and only Rome. (Or wherever, depending on the Orthodox branch.) Was that the info you were looking for?
Thanks - I heard that the Vatican has limited the total number and that has required some to be 'de-sainted'. I can only imagine it is a surprise and disappointment to the saint in question.(Although as a saint, it's probably seen as an opportunity for humility...)
Looks like if the public wants you to be a saint, that will pretty much do it.

Reminds me of the Caesars who became Gods after death. (Remember Vespasian's deathbed utterance: "I think I am becoming a God.")

Demoting Saints? That's just funny.
I plan to utter this on my deathbed: "I think I'm becoming a Caesar..."

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