Monday, May 13, 2013

Saint Factory

The Catholic Church is a saint making factory. Starting with Pope John Paul II, the factory dramatically increased its production. Pope Francis in a matter of weeks has already surpassed all of his predecessors. In one fell swoop, he canonized 813 15th century martyrs, last Sunday. These “Martyrs of Otranto” were beheaded by Ottoman soldiers for refusing to convert to Islam.

Per the Catholic Church's rules, attaining sainthood is a two step process which requires one miracle per step. But martyrs can proceed to step two without a confirmed miracle. They just need one miracle to attain sainthood.

Enter Sister Francesca Levote. Sister Levote reportedly recovered miraculously from ovarian cancer after her fellow nuns prayed to the Martyrs of Otranto. This paved the way for Pope Benedict XVI to confirm the miracle and Pope Francis did the rest. It hardly matters that the sister's doctor insists that chemotherapy and radiotherapy helped! The silly doctor must think he knows better than the holy church!

If you think martyrs for Christ are unique, think again. A student of history would know of many many such instances and not just for Christ. For instance, in 782 AD, Charlemagne beheaded 4500 Saxons (pagans) for refusing to convert to Christianity. In 1492 AD, the Spanish King and Queen decided to drive all Jews (about 200,000 of them) out of Spain. Tens of thousands likely died in the exodus. These are but two examples. Want more? Pick up a history book!

So, one is forced ask Pope Francis, why are the Martyrs of Otranto all sainty and special? Is martyrdom for any other god worthless? Is it because of the “miraculous” cure of Sister Francesca Levote?

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