I was born a Protestant. I will more than likely die one, too. Intense excavation into family history has shown me that my genes are Protestant for at least 8 generations on both sides. Baptised and confirmed a Lutheran, I was taught a thing or two about the most successful (not the first) split from the Catholic Church by Martin Luther.
During public school mandated â€œreligious educationâ€, I was taught by the local Catholic Priest. He seemed nice enough; kindly taking us through the New Testament book Romans. It took many years for me to realise that this was an attempt at turning me from my heretic ways to the true canon. If I recall, he didnâ€™t even use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Yes, Peter and Paul: the fathers of the catholic church.
After travelling to Europe in 1997 and 2004, I saw enough Saintsâ€™ relics: shrunken heads, fingers, toenails and shrouds to last me a lifetime. Large cathedrals raised in the name of the Virgin or some Saint across the cities of Europe show the folly of man, attempting to reach for terrestrial god status. The veneration of Saints and other popery not only rubs me the wrong way: I am sure my ancestors turn in their collective graves.
So as Mary MacKillop has moved through the man-made process of canonisation within the Catholic Church, my genes quiver.
We hear that the church wants old and young to travel to Rome to witness the canonisation ceremony. That will fill the coffers of the Romans.
I also heard many discussions on the â€œbrandâ€ of Mary MacKillop being valuable. Like a product. Even our ABC both on radio and TV seems to have caught the â€œMary MacKillopâ€ fever. So much for editorial independence.
And that is exactly what this canonisation is about. Money. Never get in the way of a large corporation and money.
Luckily the Catholics re-admitted her to the church. Otherwise they would have missed out on their cash.
This tradition and hunger for money is not new. Sainthood and pilgrimages have created many a city in the world as supplicant masses crawl on their knees to assuage their mortal sins. Paying money for Indulgences, as done in the Middle Ages, and more recently with special visits to random virgin sightings.
Donâ€™t get me wrong: I am not anti-personal faith.
But please separate Mammon from Mary. She was, and I highlight was, just a notable Australian woman who did more for the downtrodden than any group of Cardinals, Abbotts or Bishops ever did. And I would argue, ever will.
2 thoughts on “Saint Shenanigans”
As a Protestant, I also have issues with Popery and “Saintery”. Most Christians know that the Bible commands that only God is to be worshipped; but to expend such energies and monies in the veneration of a mortal woman – or any dead “relic” – constitutes a form of idolatry, saint or no saint.
I’m an atheist heathen, but when I see the lush extravagance of gigantic cathedrals while there are devout worshippers living in slums I don’t cynically think “religion is such a breathtaking con” (well okay, maybe a little), but rather that if Jesus did exist 2000+ years ago, would he have approved of any of this? I was under the impression Jesus didn’t even wear shoes and spoke for the downtrodden. Sorry that was a bad pun even for me.
It’s cliche to say it, but it makes me think.
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