Maybe I’m attempting too much here, but I’ve only got so much time left and I’m determined to spend it like a drunken sailor.
~ Presenting 6 parallel introductions of the same topic. Each with its own inherent bias ~
- The Generous and Funny Introduction: In all of Christendom, the revered Catholic Church is far and away the most consequential. For millennia the resolute Church has provided a dependable sanctuary and a loving interpretation of Christ’s moral philosophy. And even in the darkest of ages, it has been a beacon of hope and a light unto the world. And I use the phrase “unto the world” instead of “in the world” because “unto the world” smacks of greater religious authority. In order to generate even more gravitas in the future, I might rollout out a “thee” or a “thou” and maybe even a few “thines” but I’ll try not to be holier than thou (see, it works). What can you say about an exemplary religion that’s spawned more copycat wannabees than Madonna did in her heyday (and here I’m referring to Madonna the singer, not to Madonna Jesus’s mom)? Sometimes spin-offs work (Doritos begat Nacho Doritos) and sometimes they don’t (Catholicism begat the Amish). Not to disparage the Amish, but my idea of horsepower and their idea of horse power are two very different things.
- The Damning with Faint Praise Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the glamorous Catholic Church is far and away the most Hollywood. Tinseltown’s glittery flair seems to have informed the Church’s practices and even decorated their Christmas trees. What can you say about a steadfast religion that’s resisted secular relativism and spawned more spinoffs than Fast and Furious? Sometimes spin-offs work (Chevrolet begat the Corvette) and sometimes they don’t (Chevy also begat the Chevette). Not to disparage Chevrolet, but my idea of horsepower and a Chevette’s idea of horsepower are two very different things.
- The Contemptuous Zoological Introduction that Goes Off the Rails: Of all the animals in the Christian Zoo, the outsized Catholic Church is the elephant in the room no one wants to clean-up after. In the menagerie of Christian denominations masquerading as the ultimate path to God, Catholicism has the biggest footprint – and why wouldn’t it? It’s the elephant in the room with 4 huge stamping feet that parishioners hope will walk softly and carry a big trunk. What can you say about a religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than an RC Cola accidentally set on a Tommy Dorsey record played at 78 rpms? Make that a Jimmy Dorsey record. In fact make that a reference from less than 80 years ago that people might possibly understand or appreciate. Clearly, I’ve got work to do and I implore you to stay with me and keep reading. You can get back to the familiar satisfaction of your iPhone in 10 minutes, I promise. Hmmmm…but what if you’re on your iPhone now reading this. Suddenly it’s Alice through the looking glass and a tsunami of anxiety overwhelms me. This is no time for a panic attack and yet this fretful, disjointed introduction is a panic attack just waiting to happen. Check that. Oh sh*t! It’s not waiting. It’s happening. Right now…to me. Jesus, where’s writer’s block when you need it. As I hyperventilate and begin rocking back and forth, a semantic question pierces my anxiety: Did writers who lived behind the Soviet’s Iron Curtain suffer from Writers’ Bloc?
- The Vacuous, Out-to-Lunch Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the Catholic Church is one of them. It’s a big one. Elephant big. The Church knows it’s important to be good (or at least to not get caught doing anything bad). But if you are caught, you are invited to confess to a priest and all is forgiven. The idea of being good seems to have informed their practices and is somehow indirectly responsible for all the glorious decorations on their Church ceilings. What can you say about a legacy religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than Pepperidge Farm has with their cookies? Sometimes spin-offs work (Darth Vader begat Luke Skywalker) and sometimes they don’t (Hamburger Helper begat Pancreas Helper). Not to disparage all other religions, but…oh forget #4. I’m just relieved my panic attack is over.
- The Unforgiving Malevolent Introduction: Of all the Christian sex, the unpoliced Catholic Church has far and away screwed everybody the most. Unvetted priests have groomed and corrupted impressionable followers in the most irreligious ways imaginable. Self-serving silence seems to have informed their practices, even at the cost of millions in settlements and untold psychic harm. What can you say about a religion that spun-off a Hall of Fame to enshrine its most luminous players – they call it Sainthood? Sometimes spin-offs work (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and sometimes they don’t (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie). I guess it all depends on your perspective in judging whether something works or not. Not to disparage Johnny Depp, but his imitation of Keith Richards as Capt. Jack Sparrow gives no Satisfaction.
- The Even-Handed, Glossed Over Introduction (so we may finally get on with our entertaining little story): The Catholic Church has done its god damned best to attend to its needy flock. Sometimes they’ve fallen short, but not for a lack of good intentions. Whether Crusading through Europe, or just gently interrogating the Spanish to make sure they were really, truly Catholic, the Church always had its heart in the right place. Sometimes that heart had only 2 creaky chambers distributing the milk of human kindness stingily and unevenly, instead of 4 robust chambers pounding out truth and justice equally to all seekers. What can you say about an institution that’s produced more copycat religions than there are copycat Beatles tribute bands? Not to disparage these tribute bands, but my idea of revolution and their idea of Revolution are two very different things. At any rate, our evolution can only happen at a speed we can handle. Godspeed everyone!
And Now We Begin Our Story
Similar to the way Steven “Book of” Jobs founded Apple by tinkering in his dad’s garage, Jesus started writing code for his start-up cult in his dad’s stable. Sometimes Joseph would poke his head in and suspiciously inquire, “Jesus Christ, what’s going on in here?”
To which his exasperated son would reply, “Daaaad! I told you, I’m formulating a moral philosophy for mankind to live by.”
“Yeah sure son. Every night for 6 months?,” Joseph would huff in Aramaic. “I’m not sure what’s going on in here, but I smell frankincense.”
“I told you dad. I got that as a gift when I was born. It helps me to think.” Jesus explained.
This all took place in Nazareth around 17 AD. Of course back then everyone was a Jew and they used the Hebrew calendar, so 17 AD was actually 3780. Jesusmania hadn’t hit Europe yet necessitating the reset of all calendars to coincide with his birth. Things were very different in ancient Judea. Back then the sun orbited the earth and getting “stoned” was something you really wanted to avoid. In the year of 3780 death, famine and pestilence were known as Tuesday, which was then known as שלישי (the Hebrew name for Tuesday). For a simple time it was pretty complicated.
As Jesus’s Sermon App became popular among end users, several updates were issued in order to get the bugs out, and the followers in. Finally, after Build 3.14, his cult coalesced into a movement. And when Saint Peter determined to build his church “upon this rock” in Rome; critical mass had been reached and a religion was born. It also helped that the religion was sanctioned in 313 AD by Emperor Constantine who issued the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. And ever since that time, the Catholic Church has set the Christian standard for majestic architecture, inspirational artworks and dazzling vestments. It should be remembered that although the Pope dresses magnificently, he does not wear Prada – only the devil wears Prada.
Vatican City – A Nation so Small It’s called a City
It truly helps the Church’s clout to have their own sovereign nation in Vatican City. This is a government where, quite naturally, there’s no separation of Church and state. How could there be? It’s all Church and no state in this storybook micro-kingdom 2000 times smaller than Disney World. The Catholic Church is a formidable institution of higher aspirations. Vatican City alone is an eclectic arsenal of sovereignty and grandeur even if it is the smallest country on the globe. On its 0.2 square mile grounds are St. Peter’s Basilica (the largest Christian church in the world), the Sistine Chapel (ceiling by Michelangelo) and a private army – the Swiss Guard – who’ve been protecting the Pope since 1506. Vatican City even issues their own postage stamps for Christ’s sake – and not just for Christ’s sake, but also to facilitate mail delivery. As you can imagine, in a country this small, there is no airport. In fact, it’s so small there’s not even a droneport. It’s so small there’s only room for 6 of the 10 Commandments. You get the picture. There are other testaments to Vatican City’s microscopicity – some old testaments and some new testaments.
Papacy: A Goofy Word for a Peculiar Set of Powers
It is known, that staunch Catholics assertively remark to any Christian denomination considering challenging their enduring eminence, “Put that in your pope and smoke it.” When considering everything the Protestant movement has lost in separating from the Church forming their own factions based on Christ’s beautiful ministry, one can almost hear the Holy See admonishing, “Oh, you’ll be back my wayward denominations in rebellion. And my predictions are never wrong, because according to Vatican I of 1870, I’m infallible. I’m not saying I’m infallible. They did. I guess I’m just graced with unfailing judgment. Oh well, flawless assessment is a cross I’ll just have to bear.”
And the Pope has a point. Some of the newly formed Christian spinoffs are hard to cozy up to: the Lutherans with their Diet of Worms, the Pentecostals speaking in tongues and the Shakers abstaining from sex (not a good succession plan). I’ll grant you the Mormon Church does run the state of Utah, but you can’t get your passport stamped there or kiss the ring of their leader like you can at the Vatican. Some of the more earnest denominations are actually pushing vacation Bible School as a voluntary activity people would actually pay for. Compare that to the less ascetic Catholic Church that encourages its married parishioners to have as much wholesome Christian sex they can consummate, as long as it’s in the prescribed face to face position so appreciated by our Lord. In fact the Church doesn’t even want to burden its married worshipers with mood-dampening birth control devices. They believe that each loving act of sexual congress be open to the transmission of life – a kind of coitus maximus. A noble sentiment indeed, except years later when the little cherubs turn 26 and have to get their own health insurance. The Catholic Church has everything you’re looking for in a retail religion – sacraments, apostles, stained glass and rummage sales. But what hurts the Church’s reputation most has been a history of poor management.
If the Church didn’t get sloppy during its mid-life crisis, it might have continued as the unified religious juggernaut it was. Similarly to the fortunes of Vito Corleone when he got “hit”, you’ve got to admit, by the 2nd millennium, the Church was slipping. They became more doctrine-oriented and less flock-oriented – essentially telling their loyal parishioners to go flock themselves. When the Church should’ve been consolidating power they were involved in far flung and costly enterprises (the Crusades). When they should’ve been building bridges they allowed the great schism of 1054 to occur (formation of the Eastern Orthodox Church). When they should’ve been instilling confidence in their brand, they resorted to the corrupt practice of selling indulgences. When they should’ve drawn clear lines of authority, they permitted Popes and Anti-Popes to co-exist. When they should’ve been allowing the clergy to exercise their God-given right to intimacy, they imposed celibacy. When they should’ve been removing any litmus test for faith they convened the Spanish Influenza – maybe it was the Spanish Inquisition. I’m not sure anymore. I just know a lot of people died due to Church malfeasance. And then there was the whole Hank the 8th divorce debacle. And I’ll just add 2 words and leave it at that: priest misconduct. If they avoided these pitfalls the Church might’ve been able to remain intact instead of suffering the diaspora of Christendom’s 2.5 billion faithful spread over 30,000 denominations in 171 countries. Currently the Catholic Church has about half that many members as communion card carrying Papists. The Protestant Christian and Eastern Orthodox sects comprise the other half. I’m not here to judge which is the better half. However, I do know who my better half is.
But I’ve not come here today to bury the Catholic Church. Nope. They’re doing just fine digging their own hole – and digging out of that same hole. I mean, after all, their work with the indigent, the infirm and the misbegotten are strikingly underappreciated, deeply needed and quietly conferred. No, I’ve come here today for another purpose in which I’ve arrived at in probably the most roundabout way imaginable. I’ve come to highlight some of the lesser known Catholic saints whose works were not only highly tangential to the Church’s mission (one presumes saving souls), but also whose works were probably not deserving of sainthood in the first place.
Here Comes the Obligatory Digression (Is it Dave’s Ball of Confusion or Key to Secret Worlds?)
Admittedly it’s easy to catalogue the Church’s long train of abuses (to borrow Thomas Jefferson’s phrase describing British depredations in the colonies), and yet the institution endures. This doesn’t so much speak to the strength of the Catholic Church as it does to the spiritual malnourishment of humans who’ll hungrily feed their manna-starved souls on the thinnest of spiritual gruels and mistake it for divinely nourishing succor. Sometimes we just don’t know any better. So we gorge ourselves on the short reach of an explainable and conceptualized universe available to us through cross and mortar retail religions. In doing so we surrender the esoteric, yet ultimately more enlightening journey within.
I don’t want to throw too much shade on us struggling souls and our traditional way of pursuing self-awareness. How’s this aphorism for granting a license to fritter away a lifetime: We’re doing the best we can. Are we? Most of us are just doing. And maybe not in a very exploratory manner as we face our same old consciousness every day. The self-dialogue when greeting our consciousness each morning goes something like this: Oh yeah. There you are again. Yup. That’s me with my usual train of attributes. My consciousness is all very familiar to me. I got this. Hmmm…but just what is this thing that I’ve got. So many questions: What’s it’s nature? Where does it come from? And, more importantly, who gave my skin permission to get wrinkly? I wish it would go back to collagen and get a Bachelor of Botox degree.
Generally, our society doesn’t readily sanction alternative forms of expanding one’s consciousness – alternatives that offer a more direct spiritual experience through meditation or the boundary dissolving facilitation of ancient Amazonian plants. It’s not that society is hostile towards them, it’s more like these paths are not promoted because they’re too New Age-y or because chanting is involved. But for whatever reason, society prefers we use the medium of firmly established, authoritarian religions dispensing prescribed codes of conduct. Codes that, if followed, make you eligible for some kind of reward at the end. This rubric of submitting our existential angst to a hierarchical religion whose model of the cosmos is fully formed, enables many to banish the unbounded anxiety of wondering just what in the hell they’re doing here in these wrinkling bodies to begin with, and what they’ll be doing once they’ve expired. I’m not saying religion is a conspiracy. Hardly. It’s no more diverting than any other distraction. I’m just broad brushing a sense that most religions are the kiddie pool of a profoundly deeper experience. It’s a familiar habit we’ve formed that nourishes many people – a kind of effective spiritual triage that grants temporary relief of minor existential pain.
We often leave it all for someone or some institution to provide a cosmic template for us to trace, because it all seems overwhelmingly unapproachable and unknowable by l’il ole me. The closest parallel I can draw is that trying to understand the cosmos is like trying to understand the arcane rules of Marriot’s Vacation Club point reward structure – so many levels, so many bonus points, so many exclusions. Does the “Spa Drink Package” really include absinthe? Like religion, it’s arcane and inscrutable. The fine print of the rules comes with a microscope. You need a Marriot Vacation Club Wrangler (their version of a clergyman I suppose) just to navigate the seven levels of Hell if you ever hope to stay at the Cancun resort. It’s maddening. How is it that my resort of first resort becomes my resort of last resort? The wrangler says I may need to resort to re-sorting my resort choices. Bogglingly complicated. Enough to scare me straight…to a staycation.
But, in leaving explanations of one’s place in the universe to off the shelf, prepackaged models we shortchange our souls. This is the part that’s not that funny because it’s true. We really think we’re separate egos – spun off into a vast, wooly universe as distinct, doggie-paddling entities where we’re doomed to (or maybe “destined to” is a more apt phrase) an existence of alienated separateness. And we feel this way with some justification. In surveying our brethren, we notice that some doggy paddle more gracefully than others, making them worthy of emulation. But if you’re here on Earth (and if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you are), you’re keeping your head above water, more by habit and convention than by truly navigating the inner road where magnificent unseen worlds, not readily available to our human senses, reside. But as soon as I hear myself say “inner road” and “unseen world” I want to play the bullsh*t card – on myself! Inner road, unseen worlds? – Piffle. Now who’s sounding New Age-y?
Part of me wants to run as far and as fast as I can from the irrelevant, extra-dimensional paradigms I refer to. The problem with paradigms is that they = 20¢ (If you don’t understand why paradigms = 20¢, think pair-a-dimes). Welcome to my world of inconsequential connections. But now I’m going to jettison all these extraneous matters. Why? Because “Extraneous Matters Don’t Matter.” I’m getting on with my earthly life. I’ve got needs to satisfy. Patterns to run through. Guilt to process. Ideas to cling to. Plus, since I cut the cord, it’s almost impossible to keep up on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and you can forget that god damned Marriot Rewards Vacation Club. Jesus, could they make a one week stay at their Buenos Aires resort any more complicated? Well, ♫don’t cry for me Argentina ♫. It’s not that I’m not drowning, because I’ve learned to doggy paddle. It’s just that I sometimes feel my mystic connection to the One has been erroneously severed. This was not the cord I wanted cut. Cable cord, yes. God cord, no. But not to worry. It will all be reconnected or, more specifically, re-membered soon enough. Meanwhile (or is that erstwhile?) I’m onto the game. Howzabout thou?
Thank You for Indulging My Cosmic Harangue. Very Cathartic for Me and I Hope You’re Feeling Better Too. We Now Rejoin Our Main Story Already in Progress (Let’s Listen In)
My 20¢ paradigm of the cosmos aside, the aforementioned train of self-inflicted wounds caused the balkanization of the Catholic Church; now splintered into more sects than there are distinctions to categorize them. It’s actually easier to explain Quantum Mechanics than the distinction among Christendom’s roughly 30,000 denominations of Christianity’s 2.5 billion adherents. Truly bind-moggling, and probably not what Christ had in bind when he first presented his glorious works 2000 years ago. I mean you can’t slide a prayer card between the Shakers and the Quakers philosophy. And there’s no difference between a Jehovah’s Witness and Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program, except that one is in hiding. This avalanche of religious groups is bewildering to a child, who must wonder why adults haven’t figured out the one path to God yet. Children see religion employed more as a crutch for support, and less as a springboard for launching to new levels of consciousness.
Specificity: The Soul of Wit
But the purpose of this expose, and what I want to focus on like a laser votive candle, is to highlight a strange facet of the Catholic Church. A facet I find extravagant, and perhaps more about cheerleading than about enlightenment. Namely, the ultimate postmortem award the Church bestows upon its best performers: Sainthood. I’m not talking beatification; the orphaned step-child of Sainthood. I’m talking full blown Sainthood. And if you’ve ever seen a saint hood (it looks exactly like a halo), you know what I’m referring to.
Just like the sports leagues create their own Halls of Fame to generate and maintain fan interest, the Church acts similarly by enshrining their best players into a kind of posthumous Valhalla. By adding just a little Hollywood tinsel to a sometimes drab and guilt-ridden institution, the Church honors its legendary performers the way baseball honors Babe Ruth or football lauds Joe Montana. Of course the Church would never do something as garish as induct a candidate into a Hall of Fame. No, a Hall of Fame denotes an excessive celebration of the individual and bespeaks self-promotion. So instead of enshrining exemplary candidates into a Catholic Hall of Fame, they elevate them to an even more august pantheon: Sainthood. Sainthood is when an ex-high-flying performer is canonized. The good kind of canonized where deeds and miracles are recognized and not the bad kind of cannonized where fuses are lit, gunpowder explodes and grapeshot flies. I know a lot has been written about alleged miracles worked by the intercession of God through a particular saint. But for me, miracles begin and end with the ’69 Mets winning the World Series. That was obviously a miracle wrought by Manager Gil Hodges and pitcher Tom Seaver. And yet I believe St. Gil won’t be granted sainthood, and I’m doubting Thomas will be either.
Sainthood merchandising generates much needed revenue for the Church, especially with the sale of autographed saint cards, game worn priest collars and Pope hats, which some of the hipper Catholics wear backwards as if to say, “He’s all that.” When the Church elevates someone to Sainthood it virtually guarantees their bobblehead will be on the dashboard of a Pope-loving Catholic.
The eligibility requirements for being a Saint are:
- A candidate must have departed this earth more than 5 years ago – whether a deceased priest, a done nun or a fossil apostle, your soul must withstand a 5-year cooling off period so there’s no rush to judgment or bandwagoning. Exceptions have been made for Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa and Mama Cass (she didn’t make it).
- When a candidate is vetted all the evidence is presented pro and con before it is sent to the Pope for a final correct decision. In accordance with Vatican I of 1870 which proclaimed the Pope to be infallible, we are assured his decision is reliable. The Pope may be infallible but those around him are certainly subject to human frailties as evidenced by this quip from Pope John XXIII who, when he was asked, “How many people work at the Vatican?” instantly replied, “About half of them.” Interesting fact: The individual who presented the con or less savory aspect of a candidate’s life was known as “the Devil’s Advocate.” Nowadays they just call him Alan Dershowitz.
- A saint must be responsible for 2 miracles. They’re usually of the fudged “healing of the sick” variety. Hard to prove. Hard to disprove. Basically a technicality to get them in. Jesus holds the record at 7…that we know Jesus could perform miracles with his eyes closed. In fact, that’s how he did it. I’m sure his record of 7 is both untouchable and an underestimate. Today’s pharmaceutical charged atmosphere of MEDs – Miracle Enhancing Drugs, actually embellishes the accomplishments of past miracle workers who employed only the fervency of their faith to work a miracle.
Lesser Known Catholic Saints
The following is a list of lesser known Catholic Saints, enshrined more for a peculiar achievement than anything else:
- Saint Ain’t – The patron saint of grammar. Miracle: Saint Ain’t convinced Shakespeare to change the folksier “Is you is, or is you ain’t.” To the more regal “To be or not to be.”
- Saint Jimmy Stewart – The patron saint of Tom Hanks. Miracle: Every time his doorbell rang, an angel got its wings.
- Saint Prudence – Patron saint of conventionality. Miracle: Somehow persuaded dogs to use the missionary position.
- Saint Jemima – The patron saint of breakfast. Saint Jemima made great progress in getting Southerners to accept syrups of color on their fluffy pancakes. Miracle: Quietly updating her appearance so she no longer looked like a maid from Gone With the Wind.
- Saint Rorschach – The patron saint of interpretation. Some say his actions were a blot on the Church. Others see it differently. Miracle: He was constantly spilling ink on paper and everybody thought it was divine revelation.
- Saint Font – As printer to the Vatican, he was always typecast. But unlike Saint Bose at least he wasn’t stereotyped. Miracle: Getting anything clearly printed while working with, “That smudger Rorschach. I don’t know what some people see in him. If it wasn’t for me the church would still be employing thousands of monks writing books in calligraphy.” With his friend Johann Gutenberg, St. Font helped the Church enter the modern world of movable type.”
- Saint Grace – Prior to her sainthood she was known simply as Amazing Grace. Some called her awesome, well others called her amazing. Very dull arguments ensued as to how extraordinary she was. Miracle: On 34th Starring Natalie Wood.
- Saint Barbara the Arbiter – Barb the Arb is the one who knocks. She’s the one who decides if something is a thing. For example the Renaissance wasn’t a thing before St. Barbara said it was officially a Renaissance or rebirth. Miracle: In his painting of the Last Supper, St. Barbara told Leonardo DaVinci to expand the place settings from a cozy little four top to a banquet hall table suitable for 13, all sitting on the same side, Leonardo replied, “Since when do 13 people all sit on one side of a table?” “Just do it.” She emphatically advised.
- Saint Recluse – The alienated saint of Social Distancing. When you brought your mask in for repair, St. Recluse would provide you with a free loner mask. Miracle: Whip Salad Dressing.
- Saint Jude – Patron saint of taking sad songs and making them better. Miracle: Getting churchgoers to chant “na—na—na–-na-na-na-na” for 10 minutes while he riffed over the na’s.
- Saint Sephora – Patron saint of Jill Saint John, Eva Marie Saint and Susan Saint James. Miracle: Getting Rock Hudson to act interested in Susan Saint James during the filming of MacMillan and Wife.
- Saint Redundant – The patron saint of patron saints. Miracle: Because all the saints wanted to be in that number, St. Redundant organized them so that, when the saints went marching in, they were all in that number.
- Yves St. Laurent – Yves was the patron saint of eaves. Yves performed no miracle but was savvy enough to be born a saint; with a silver halo on his head.
- Saint Asbestos – Protector of people in Hell. Quote: “Asbestos is as best as I can do.” His mom said growing up Asbestos was a real scorch. Unlike most anyone, he could stand the heat, so he stayed in the kitchen. Miracle: Was never burned while playing with matches.
- Saint Pharma – Patron saint of pharmaceutical commercials. Miracle: Getting the adverse side effects of a drug TV commercial to run under 2 minutes while we all wonder why we’re watching gauzy images of a dog catching a frisbee thrown by a vacant-faced, silver-haired couple for a hundred and twenty seconds. All commercials filmed in StepfordVision.
- Saint Reed – The patron saint of literature. When a fellow monk wrote the first imagined story featuring fictional characters and complex plotlines, Saint Reed read it and responded, “How novel.” Miracle: Convinced Dostoevsky to combine his first book about combat, with his second book about tranquility, into one big book entitled War and Peace.
- Saint Elder the Younger – The patron saint of Youth. His father, Elder the Elder was well respected among older Church elders, some of whom were much younger than Elder the Elder, but older than Elder the Younger. Miracle: Saint Elder the Younger convinced the Ancient Order of Exhibitionist monks to stop walking around with their robes open or aperta vestimentis. This closing of the robes made kneeling at the altar a lot more comfortable for parishioners.
- The Flying Nun (Saint Sally Field) – Patron saint of Aviatrixes. Saint Sally flew all over the ‘hood – the Sisterhood. In later years she enjoyed coaching Quidditch teams. Miracle: 1. That she’s looked like a cherubic 14-year-old for the past 60 years. 2. John Lennon said that being so apple-cheeked, Sally Field was the inspiration for Strawberry Fields.
- Nike (Saint Phil Knight) – Because people worshipped at his feet, Saint Phil was a shoe-in and became known as the patron saint of “Just doing it.” Miracle: Getting people to pay $200 for a pair of sneakers.
Not all who are called are chosen. Here’s a list of candidates that didn’t muster enough votes for Sainthood either because their accomplishments were just plain cockamamie or because the Devil’s Advocate presented a strong case for the negative.
- *Saint Monsanto – Hoping to be the hybrid patron saint of crop-dusting fishermen. Farmers who knew him would look at wonder upon his works and exclaim, “I never knew anglers flew so low.” Miracle: After Mrs. D’Onofrio had her procedure at the dentist’s office, he somehow managed to fly underneath her newly installed bridge.
- *Saint Peaches the Hygienic – Vying for the patron saint of Prophylactics. Similar to St. Patrick accomplishments, *St. Peaches single-handedly drove all the crabs out of Georgia (both the state and the woman). Miracle: Getting permission from Georgia’s governor and Georgia’s husband to perform the miracle.
- *Saint Kohler of Hangover – The patron saint of reverse peristalsis. With so many praying at his porcelain altar, the Church thought, “Why not throw the guy a halo?” Miracle: Making regurgitation so powerful that it sometimes rockets out one’s nostrils – popularly known as a vomit comet. When worshipers noted that when they stopped barfing, they sometimes started squirting from the other end, *St. Kohler solemnly replied: “Yes my children, when one door closes, another one often opens.”
- *Saint Danson – His TED Talk seemed kind of scripted. In fact, anytime Ted talked it just seemed so rehearsed. Mary Steenburgen has a better chance of getting in.
- *Saint Csonka – Aspires to be the patron saint of dolphins. It figures Zonk would have an affinity for Dolphins?
Where Do We Go From Here?
Where ever we want. The fact that you’ve read this far indicates you either have OCD or you have a sense there’s more in operation here than meets the eye. I’m firmly in the latter camp and lay this offering on the collection plate in the hopes it enriches those it touches. Nah, that’s not true. I’m no saint. I do this because I love to, and however that translates is fine with me.
Well, I have to go now. I’m growing cat grass for my kitty and it won’t germinate unless I watch it. In fact it’s the same thing with my pots. They will not boil unless I’m watching them. Y’know you can observe a lot just by watching and vice versa. As Zeus advised Narcissus before he embarked on a long and dangerous, “Hey Narcissus, watch yourself.”