A 'SAINT MACHINE' SOON TO BE
apparently believe in the sentimental notion that a part of them which
survives death – the soul – will 'live' somewhere for ever. The
location of this haven is to be 'found' 'up there', while our soul,
which we're told spirits itself away at the moment of death, cohabits
with loved ones' souls.
has been able to
provide unequivocal evidence for the existence of a soul, or for any
kind of life after death, or for the supposed location of a heavenly
soul depository. For me, there’s no God, so no prayers are heard, not
one miracle has occurred, and all who’ve departed are equally
one is dead it's
biologically impossible go anywhere or do anything, and one returns to
a state of non-existence.
from the news that Pope John II, though dead for only two years, is
being fast-tracked by those eager for his canonisation (“Sainthood
now!”). At least five years is the usual waiting period, while some
have had to ‘wait’ for centuries – Joan of Arc, for example, was
canonised in 1920, 489 years after her death! The ‘glacial’ pace of
papal approval of new saints was transformed by John II – criticised as
his "saint factory" – because he ordained 464, over 150 more than
during the previous four hundred years!
undoubtedly realised that he was soon to be sainted went in to bat for
dead Catholics regarded as "heroically virtuous" and “special friends
of God”, all of whom were believed to have performed miracles. These
saints are thought to be close to God, well placed to intercede on
behalf of those who pray. As Robert Carroll, author of the online
Skeptic’s Dictionary, points out, what’s in it for saints? Why would
one go through a middleman when one can go direct to the source? Why
would an all-knowing entity bother with an unworthy and unholy person
attempting to use an intermediary to curry favour?
beatification process is in action, the investigation has been
concluded, and the first step to John II's eventual sainthood is well
underway. His ‘authenticated’ miracle concerns a French Sister, Marie
Simon-Pierre, who once suffered from Parkinson's: having prayed to the
Pope, she awoke one morning clear of her disease, two months after his
death in April 2005. The Vatican gives extra weight to a miracle
wrought post-death, as it demonstrates a "continued special
relationship with God".
sainted so many,
John II's spiritual 'Nobel Prize' was guaranteed, and will occur in
record time. As a result of his 1983 reforms, beatification and
canonisation now require one miracle each (formerly two and four) and
what is believed to be his soul will join the ten thousand others ‘up
hoping to ride the wave of popularity enjoyed by his predecessor, began
that process only 26 days after John's death, and Benedict too is
likely to be mindful of his own possible canonisation, assuming that
his CV will have the requisite miracles.
undoubtedly a terrific bloke, whose life even non-Christians can
admire, but belief in an ancient, "infallible" and constantly
reinforced dogma that will 're-assign' his heavenly status strains
credulity. For the faithful, he'll join an otherworldly 'club of Rome'
which has at least three saints for every day of the year and includes
St Isidore (patron saint of internet users), St Clare of Assisi (TV)
and the in-demand St Monica (for those having trouble with unanswered
as an atheist
there's a comforting egalitarianism in sharing my ephemeral earthly
journey with billions of others, all to one final destination, "the
undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns".
John H Williams
(Investigator 122, 2008
800 MISSING MIRACLES?
piece on saints in #122 reminded me of a letter of mine published in
the local newspaper in May 2005. It was about the time that the name
Mary McKillock was being touted for sainthood.
while Mary may have
been a doer of good works and well deserving some sort of recognition I
cannot ever recall hearing about any miracles performed by or
attributed to her.
pontificate of John Paul II nearly 400 people were canonised as saints.
A prerequisite for sainthood is the authentication of two miracles
performed by them during their lifetime. A miracle being defined as "an
extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs."
Of the nearly 800 alleged miracles attributed to these saints, surely
some of them would have made media headlines. Can anyone advise me of
was no response!