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Saint

That’s me, practicing to be a saint. First, you got ta organize a halo, like me. Doesn’t matter if it is thin and stringy. A halo is a halo. It remains in place right above your head and adjusts itself like a gyroscope when you move your head. Just don’t move your head too suddenly. Bumping into your own halo is a sin. But if you’re careful and just sway your head around, you can play with it like a ‘head hoolahoop’.

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It’s a long drive to work – 60kms one way – an hour to and an extra half hour, fro. If you’re sitting there staring out at the undulating pavement stretching out into eternity, your mind inevitably gravitates to sex and that’s not good. Y

I have my Ipod, loaded with my fav podcasts and I have my ITunes library on the tap, through the bluetooth. If there is one single guy I would like to kiss, it is the guy who invented bluetooth. And I have 107.9FM – NPR, the best talk show radio there is.

But this piece is not about talk show radio or sex. This is about miracles, as seen by the Roman Catholic Church.

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All I wanted to say was I heard over the car radio that Mother Teresa’s canonization proceedings have concluded successfully, after a second miracle was authenticated – that of a Brazilian man who was completely cured, after he was diagnosed with malignant tumors all over and given little chance by his doctors of making it.

I’m not sure how Mama T comes into this one ‘intervention’ (she died in 1997) but I’m afraid to ask. In case you are confused – no, canonization is not what an Iraqi infantryman faced outside Baghdad in 2003. Canonization is bestowing sainthood to a mortal, a recognition by the Catholic Church in the same vein as the highest military medal.

In comparison, beatification is like Canon-lite. It is the recognition by the church that a guy has entered heaven. Until the mid-1600s, just about anyone, even local bishops, had the power to beatify, but in time the church realized that complete jerks were being beatified, so much so that there were more ass–les in heaven than in hell.

Not that Christian saints cannot be ass–les either. Just this September, Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary who first brought Catholicism to California in the early 18th century. He achieved this by brutally suppressing the native American culture and banning native rituals under pain of torture and even death. I understand that, compared to the deeds of some others who came before him, Serra was a very mildly sinful saint, but we won’t go into that at this point. Suffice it to say that saints are no better or worse than the rest of us.

Here’s a few things you need to know in case you fancy the idea of being canonized into a saint. The number one requirement is that you need to be dead before the procedure can even begin. Of course there is an oxymoron here – if you are dead, would you give a f—k if you became a saint or you didn’t? It is somewhat like winning a posthumous medal. Did it matter to Capt. Vikram Batra that he won a Param Vir Chakra at Kargil?

The other thing is that you will be among the 900+ canonized guys and gals and you’ll be in haloed company. The first three saints were male – the archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel. While Raphael and Michael were low-key except when they were required to slaughter sundry non-believers and assorted barbarians and reps of the Satan, the rock star was definitely Gaby.

Gabriel was the one who came down and mumbled to Mohammad – ‘Psst! Repeat after me – Jihad is good! Jihad is good! Jihad is good! But look, the boss says just don’t get carried away with it, that’s all. By all means, chop off a few heads if you will, but just ensure that they are adulterers and infidel. And please, keep the meaning of the word ‘jihad’ always tantalizingly vague, okay? Let the bastards scratch their heads for the next millennium or two, over whether it means to purify oneself or to whack folks en masse .

The three archangels were a bit different from the rest of the saints – they wore white chiffon that didn’t look as if it was tied down by a clasp and yet it didn’t slip off in a sudden gust. The chiffon was so fine that it was almost farcical, hiding nothing, not even their tiny richards. (Visit Le Louvre and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Being naked didn’t mean that the archangels were harmless though. All three are depicted in art as being heavily armed.

Raph, Mike and Gaby were the only ones who didn’t have to earn their sainthood. They were born to it (somewhat like the Dalai Llama or Nepal’s Living Goddesses). They were God’s way of advertising limited editions, I guess. They were God’s Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Don Rumsfeld. Of course unlike Dick, Karl and Don, these three don’t have a prick for a boss.

Last but not the least, in order to be a saint, you have got to perform at least two verifiable miracles. The most popular way to get to sainthood has been through curing someone of a terminal illness. If you think you’ll be made a saint because you found the neighbor’s dog for him, forget it. This is not the Nobel Peace Prize. That’s not the way it works.

Here lies another oxymoron – if one of the basic tenets of Christianity is the principle of ‘as you sow, so you reap’, ie: if Christianity says that we ultimately get what we deserve, then why should someone be miraculously saved without having to suffer? Maybe sainthoods are God’s way of correcting errors he made?… ‘Oops, wrong guy. Mama Terry, go fix the Brazilian guy’s tumor problem, will ya?

Doesn’t a miracle set a wrong example, send the wrong message? You got tumors protruding out everywhere, tough shit, man, you musta done something wrong and so you had it coming. Isn’t that what Christianity preaches – that we must suffer for our sins, even when we do not always know what they are? Why should a few chosen ones be miraculously benefited?

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Don’t get me wrong. I hold nothing against Mother Teresa being canonized. It wasn’t her idea, I am certain of that. Left to her I am sure she wouldn’t care even a bit if she was made a saint or she wasn’t. She was a great human being and the world already knows it. Does her sainthood change anything, make us revere her more, turn us into better human beings? No, it doesn’t, not one bit.

Or is it just one of those last-ditch efforts by a failing faith that is in it’s death throes, trying to prop itself up by petty self-aggrandizement? One of the things that Hitler started doing at the fag end of the Second World War was to award every (Tom)as, von (Dick)en and (Harry)hausen the Knight’s Cross with the Oak Leaves, to raise flagging morale. If I look hard enough, I am sure I’ll find that Nixon did pretty much the same thing, throwing around Medals of Honor like confetti, after sensing the failing gasps of the American military during the closing days of the Vietnam War.

I believe that if one has done something exceptional, it shall be automatically registered and recognized up above, if at all there exists an all-knowing supreme being. Attaining true spirituality means that one doesn’t care about earthly recognition, like canonization.

Today, we have a world virtually on fire, consumed on all sides by racism, bigotry and hate and here we have a church that is totally out of sync with reality, busy making someone who died two decades back, a saint.

Now, we are all supposed to sit up and say, ‘Wow, look what a great faith Christianity is! It has another saint! Hurrah!..What? Drones? Collateral what? Damage? Awww, that’s nothing. Tell you what, we’ll make one of those dead Afghan kids a saint too.’

When will the Catholic Church learn that crap is crap and needs to be cut out?