Okay, if you’re a believer and delighted Australia has its first saint, then here’s a warning for you – I’m about to rain on your parade.
I don’t get it. I really don’t. And if somebody out there would like to enlighten me, I’d appreciate it. I mean, what’s it all about? What is a saint, exactly? A half-human, half-god? If so, whatever happened to the whole ‘one god’ religion? If not, then how come she has the power to cure people of deadly diseases? I thought god was the only one supposed to have control over life and death. At least, that’s the excuse right-to-lifers have when they shoot people for carrying out abortions, or those people who sneered when the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year was given to the person who perfected IVF treatment. So if god has a monopoly on life and death – how did Mary McKillop save anybody’s life? If she didn’t do it herself, but god did it – then why are we making her a saint?
See – I have a lot of questions. They’ve been chasing each other around in my brain for months, ever since I heard the Vatican had accepted her second ‘miracle’. I did find it amusing they they’d done so after allegedly exhaustive investigation. I mean, how exhaustive could it have been? They saw the woman was still alive and threw their hands up in the air. “It’s a miracle,” they cried.
Which only begs a few more questions, really. For a start – how come only two miracles? I’m sure there were more than two people praying to Mary for help – was she so stingy she couldn’t help more than two? Or were the two the only ones she felt deserved it? What about all the children that have suffered in the meantime? You can’t honestly tell me they don’t deserve the help of a budding saint.
But more to the point – how come only two miracles – I mean, as far as the Vatican is concerned. It used to be three miracles before they’d consider sainthood. I mean, what’s that about? Are you trying to tell me that the Catholic Church – the same church that says it won’t budge on major issues like women priests, condoms, contraception use, homosexuality and abortion because of tradition – but when it suits them, they can short-cut what should be a pretty important criteria and just declare a saint at will?
And how does that work, exactly? Was Mary born a saint – was she born with some god genes in her, and just used her special skills after she died and went to heaven? Does that mean she was made special by god? If so, why has the pope just recognised it all these years later? And if god didn’t make her that way, who is the pope to decide that she’s a special person? Surely that’s god’s job?
I’m also confused about the type of miracles she performed. She was a school teacher, not a doctor – and yet, her miracles were of the healing type. For some reason – I’m not sure why – but these days the Vatican only makes saints out of people who have healing miracles. They don’t seem to go for the more showy miracles these days. Folks like Moses and his parting of the red seas these days would be slapped back down as simple magicians with silly party tricks only children would fall for.
But it’s true. Saints used to perform all sorts of miracles, but not any more. That’s because they cheat. The Vatican, I mean. See, if you’re going to claim a miracle that you don’t want anybody to prove false, the only one available is the healing miracle. Let’s face it, we’re all pretty sophisticated, modern human beings these days, even those in less developed countries. We all know that rain comes from the sky and that lightning is part of a weather pattern. Conjuring tricks can be seen on TV any day or night – so there’s nothing much left for the modern saint to do but heal.
And here’s the thing I really don’t understand. Why it is that the media in Australia swallowed the whole sainthood circus like it was real? There was never any scientific investigation of the ‘miracles’ – and yet, they’re reported as fact. How does that happen? How did our otherwise skeptical nation suddenly turn into a bunch of hoodoo believers? It was embarrassing! Are we really so desperate to be visible on the world stage, like a neglected child begging for Mummy’s attention?
And we shouldn’t be so flattered. Mary was made a saint to take the heat off the child abuse cases. Suddenly, we’ve all forgotten what a monster the church has been towards the victims, how it has supported the perpetrators. It’s all been brushed under the plush, hand-woven by blind nuns guilt carpet.
But what makes me most angry about the whole farce is that, in an almost-completely male ceremony, Mary McKillop was transformed. In the future, we will no longer remember her for her good works – the things she actually did with her passion for education as an antidote to poverty and her strength in standing up to clerical child abuse. Instead, we’ll remember her for two silly things she didn’t do.
I know, I have to stop. My problem is, I’m trying to make sense of it all. But how can I make sense of something that actually never made any sense in the first place.