Saint Mary’s Fighting Fund

19 December 2009

It looks as though Australia is about to get its first Saint.  Mary MacKillop.  A time for joyous celebration all round or a PR exercise by the Catholic Church?

From all I’ve read about her (and it’s difficult to avoid doing that at the moment), she was a good and kind woman who really made a difference to a lot of people’s lives, mainly children.  And in the eyes of some people, that alone would make her a saint.  But in the eyes of the Church, that’s not quite enough.  It has to be shown that she has performed two miracles since her death. 

The admission criteria for sainthood has been changed immensely in the last few years.  Pope John Paul II canonised more people than all his predecessors put together.   Sainthoods were handed out left, right and centre – nearly 500 in all.  But to do that, the rules had to be changed.  What could be thought of as a miracle 200 years ago, 100 years ago or even 20 just doesn’t satisfy the medical and scientific community any more.  So the Church no longer requires 4 miracles but just 2.   And Mary Mackillop has apparently cured one woman of an “inoperable cancer” and another of leukaemia.

Of course, this really doesn’t concern me.  A church in Rome wanting to dole out accolades to add a bit of excitement to the lives of its members in Australia is I suppose only the concern of that church and those members. I just find it really sad that when Europeans came to this country only 200 years ago they didn’t throw off these shackles along with all the others they left behind. 

And why has our Prime Minister got involved in this – even to the extent of visiting Rome and speaking to the Pope about it?  This isn’t a Government matter nor should it be.  Does he view it in the same way Australians view the Olympic medal tables – the more saints we have, the more the rest of the world will respect us? 

As you all know, I took a rather cynical view of the money this country spent to host World Youth Day.  In the light of this latest pronouncement, maybe I can be forgiven for believing that it was perhaps a contribution to the “Make Mary MacKillop A Saint” fighting fund. 

Every Olympic Gold medal costs Australia $15 million.  It would appear that the cost of canonisation comes in at $165 million. 

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  1. If you have a bit of time on your hands, why don’t you apply for the job of Devil’s Advocate? It sounds good fun – being paid to argue – and you get to wear a fancy frock.

    • Unfortunately the position has been abolished (in 1983?). Otherwise my cv would be on its way right now.

  2. It would have been made for you! Quite a commute from Sydney, though.

  3. Very well put! I agree on all counts.

  4. I’m still firmly of the opinion that the $165 million of taxpayers money paid out by the NSW and Australian governments for World Youth Day was expended purely so the then NSW Premier’s children could meet the Pope.

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