Are Saints Just Catholic Celebrity Worship?

We discuss the question over at the Register.

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  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Uh, yes?
    Maybe not so much today, but yes, that’s the role they played for the first thousand years, certainly.

    • sez

      We don’t worship saints. And the early Church didn’t worship the saints. Anyone who worships a saint is properly called a “heretic”.

      Worship is given to God, alone. Honoring and trying to imitate the saints and celebrating their lives is not worship. (If that’s how you worship God, then maybe your prayer life needs some attention.)

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        You are using the modern form of the word. I’m using the archaic form, and worship of celebrities goes on all the time and in all cultures. English solicitors address the judge as “Your Worship” in the courtroom.

        • sez

          Using the “modern form of the word” sure seems like the right and proper thing to do, unless there is a reason to interpret the word in another way. Using the archaic and/or legal interpretation is fine, but you have to give your readers a hint that you are doing that.
          Based on the title of Mark’s post, the modern form seems most appropriate.

          • HornOrSilk

            But it is STILL used as honor in English. Worship is STILL the modern word used in England for judges (and marriage ceremonies). Hint: it’s Protestantism which is trying to get us away from the use of the word, so we will stop doing the action. They always complain about the actions.

            • IRVCath

              Also, some guilds/trade unions are called “the Worshipful”, ie deserving of worship in the older sense of the word. Such appellations were gotten rid of in America, though, as they were seen as inappropriate for a society with no legally established social hierarchy

              • HornOrSilk

                And that is the thing, our society has tried to destroy honors like that — consider the bow before no man in Ten Commandments, which many Protestants take as God given truth!

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “Using the “modern form of the word” sure seems like the right and proper thing to do, unless there is a reason to interpret the word in another way. ”

            There is within a Catholic setting. Modernism is a heresy.

      • Asemodeus

        “We don’t worship saints.”

        The actually interesting question is the diminishing returns the Catholics have on saints. What did saints do hundreds of years ago to earn their sainthood?

        Saint Patrick is a saint because he went to Ireland and somehow managed to banish all of the snakes from the island. That alone would have had devastating consequences for the food chain and a slew of other consequences, but somehow that is good enough for sainthood.

        What is interesting is how saints today don’t even come close to that level of observable deeds. What does current saints have to do to get sainthood? Cure some woman’s ailment that doesn’t have any obvious physical disfigurement, that most of the time cures itself when left unattended.

        It’s almost like the CC is aware of their own BS about sainthood or something….

        It is also worth noting that there isn’t a saint Einstein or a saint Newton. Two men whom would actually deserve such afterlife promotion if there was actually such a thing in the first place.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          It is also worth noting that there isn’t a saint Einstein or a saint
          Newton. Two men whom would actually deserve such afterlife promotion if
          there was actually such a thing in the first place.

          Neither of whom were Catholics and so not properly considered for recognition by Catholics. Neither one seems to have been noted for promulgating the faith, being martyred for the faith, prayer and contemplation, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, etc. Einstein treated his wife and children badly. There is nothing especially spiritually uplifting about developing mathematical models.

          And so for your consideration:
          Mother Katherine Drexel
          Kateri Tekakwitha
          Maximilian Kolbe
          John de Matha
          John Baptist de la Salle
          Benedict the Moor
          as a modest sample.

          • Asemodeus

            “Neither of whom were Catholics and so not properly considered for recognition by Catholics.”

            So? The inequality of faith to deeds by the catholics is completely nonsensical. According to your dogma, if some scientists do actually discover a cure for cancer, they wouldn’t be entitled to sainthood if they weren’t catholic.
            Meanwhile some priest, who did nothing worthwhile his entire life, gets sainthood just because some old woman claims that he cured her arthritis.

            There is no better example of why Catholics should never be taken seriously. Well, besides transubstantiation.

            “Neither one seems to have been noted for promulgating the faith, being
            martyred for the faith, prayer and contemplation, feeding the hungry,
            caring for the sick, etc.:”

            None of which is remotely comparable to helping discover the fundamental structure of the cosmos. It’s a complete reversal of responsibility to humanity to claim that charity is the same as quantum field dynamics.

            Thanks for proving my point, by the way. Take Maximilian Kolbe, for example. The reason why he got sainthood was that some lady claimed he helped cure her intestinal tuberculosis. A decease with no obvious physical ailment.

            Where are the real miracles that can be witnessed by hundreds of people, that are literally all over the bible? The sort of miracles that would leave tons of physical evidence haphazardly across the country side.

            Diminishing Returns is something you catholics require a lot of cognitive dissonance to deal with.

            • chezami

              It must be awfully embarrassing to thoughtful atheists and skeptics to have you representing them.

              • Asemodeus

                Good to see a total lack of argument from you. Real classy.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  Yep. You, on the other hand, are the definition of “classy”.

            • Alma Peregrina

              “According to your dogma, if some scientists do actually discover a cure for cancer, they wouldn’t be entitled to sainthood if they weren’t catholic. (…) None of which is remotely comparable to helping discover the fundamental structure of the cosmos.”

              So?

              Someone may help find a cure for cancer and discover the fundamental structure of the cosmos and be, you know, a d*ck who doesn’t deserve the title of a saint whatsoever.

              Also, you seem to be confusing sainthood with the Nobel Prize. Your elitist and arrogant definition would exclude from sainthood anyone who is not a scholar. Which just proves how your definition of sainthood is hogwash.

              I see more saints between selfless lower class people that I know of than in many wise academia members, who tend to be self-absorved individuals masturbating in their intelects… you know, people like you.

              Maximilian Kolbe didn’t discover the structure of DNA? No, he didn’t! He gave his life to save someone else! That’s a saint for ya! That’s why there is no Diminishing Returns (and ergo, no cognitive dissonance): saints are not there to feed you miracles, they are not your little genies of the lamp! Miracles are there just to prove they are in Heaven, but sainthood is something attained on Earth, through actions. Saints are not there to serve you, they are there for you to emulate.

              So stop whining about miracles, and become a saint yourself. If not, then go your merry way and find the cure for cancer. No one’s stoping ya.

              • Asemodeus

                “Someone may help find a cure for cancer and discover the fundamental
                structure of the cosmos and be, you know, a d*ck who doesn’t deserve the
                title of a saint whatsoever.”

                Good to see that you seem to think that expanding human knowledge, or helping the medical conditions of countless people, are not worthy of sainthood just as long as they are not utterly perfect in every way.

                Nope, all you need to do is be a nobody your whole life and then help some old woman with her small medical problems.

                “Also, you seem to be confusing sainthood with the Nobel Prize.”

                Sainthood is misplaced hero worship. There are far better people to promote into such a title than Maximilian Kolbe. Percy Spencer alone deserves it more.

                “Your elitist and arrogante definition would exclude from sainthood anyone who is not a scholar.”

                Why are you punishing success? Which is more important? Feeding the poor via charity, or developing more efficient farming techniques? One only serves to boost your own ego, the other feeds millions.

                “I see more saints between lower class people that I know of than in many wise academia members (maybe even like yourself).”

                Without academia those lower class people would all be dead from starvation or decease. Wake up to the reality of the world we live in.

                “He gave his life to save someone else!”

                Any asshole can do that. It isn’t even noteworthy.

                “saints are not there to feed you miracles”

                Yet are required by catholic dogma to perform to get sainthood. Why the importance on magical thinking when there are real accomplishments to admire?

                • chezami

                  “He gave his life to save someone else!”

                  Any asshole can do that. It isn’t even noteworthy.

                  For some reason, atheists very often come off as incapable of normal human social and affective abilities. They mistake this sort of disorder for being smarter than everybody else. Embarrassing to watch. Goodbye.

                • Smithgift

                  Martyrdom is sufficient to becoming a saint, AFAIK.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  “Any asshole can do that. It isn’t even noteworthy.”

                  Yeah… publishing science, on the other hand, is something noteworthy. It isn’t something any asshole with a degree can do. Hell, I myself I’m on the verge of publishing 3 articles in peer-reviewed papers. And whatdoyaknow… those are all in the Oncology field! Do you venerate me now? Coz you shouldn’t, for I’m a jerk, just like you!

                  But glad to see that dying for another person is something any asshole can do. It’s soooo easy, especially when you have a keyboard to say how easy it is in the comfyness of your home.

                  If you had any authority to call other people to “wake up to reality”, you lost it with that statement. That was stupidest, most far-from-reality thing I’ve ever seen!

                  I’m glad that people like you will never become saints, just by being all scientzy about it. Go and give your life for someone else, if it is so easy, THEN call yourself a saint!
                  —————————-
                  PS: And I just love how you ask a question, like it wasn’t already answered. That only makes you look dumb, while you call everyone else stupid. Ridiculous! So let’s see your question: “Yet (miracles) are required by catholic dogma to perform to get sainthood. Why the importance on magical thinking when there are real accomplishments to admire?”

                  And the answer, from my previous comment: “Miracles are there just to prove they are in Heaven”.

                  Ta-dah! Read before you ask. Oh, but you didn’t want answers. You wanted to win an argument… pityfull. Just… pityfull.

            • irena mangone

              St Maximillian Kolbe a Polish priest took another prisoners place place in German concentration camp and died in his place so he is a martyr. And a saint . if you are an unbeliever keep it to yourself we know what we know .maybe one day you will too.

              • Asemodeus

                That’s nice, but not equal to what Newton or Darwin did. Where is their sainthood?

                “maybe one day you will too.”

                Fear mongering from Christians is always adorable.

                • chezami

                  “That’s nice”. Exhibit A in “Many atheists display autism spectrum inabilities to engage in normal human social and affective interactions.”

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              According to your dogma, if some scientists do actually discover a cure for cancer, they wouldn’t be entitled to sainthood if they weren’t catholic.

              Right. The Catholic Church recognizes Catholics, just as Oxford University gives degrees to Oxford Scholars, no matter how worthy a student at Princeton may be. The Orthodox Church also recognized saints, as does the Anglican Communion.

              Sainthood is a recognition of a saintly life, not a reward for some accomplishment.

              Meanwhile some priest, who did nothing worthwhile his entire life, gets sainthood just because some old woman claims that he cured her arthritis.

              You do not seem to grasp the nature of sainthood, or you would not have written “because.”

              There is no better example of why Catholics should never be taken seriously. Well, besides transubstantiation.

              And you understand transubstantiation no better than you understand sainthood.

              “Neither one seems to have been noted for promulgating the faith, being martyred for the faith, prayer and contemplation, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, etc.:”

              None of which is remotely comparable to helping discover the fundamental structure of the cosmos.

              Your scientism is showing. Discovering the structure of the cosmos is not a morally virtuous act. It feeds no one, comforts no one. It is simply another interesting fact (or possibly, theory).

              It’s a complete reversal of responsibility to humanity to claim that charity is the same as quantum field dynamics.

              Is this part of the anti-social gig that your folks are often accused of? Or are you simply tone deaf to humanity?

              Take Maximilian Kolbe, for example. The reason why he got sainthood was that some lady claimed he helped cure her intestinal tuberculosis.

              No, it was because he gave his life in Auschwitz to save another prisoner.

        • Alma Peregrina

          Maybe not Newton or Einstein (who were not catholics, as Ye Old Statistician rightly observes)…

          … but we do have Blessed Nicolas Steno (not a saint yet, but already venerated by his deeds), Blessed Francisco Fàa di Bruno and soon to be saint Matteo Ricci.

          Also, while not scientists as per the modern definition (but indubitably natural philosophers and scholars of renoum in the Middle Ages) we have St. Bede the encyclopedist, St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas.

          • Asemodeus

            “Maybe not Newton or Einstein (who were not catholics, as Ye Old Statistician rightly observes)…”

            So good deeds are only important if you are catholic? Interesting sense of totally warped morality you have there.

            “Also, while not scientists as per the modern definition (but indubitably
            natural philosophers and scholars of renoum in the Middle Ages) we have
            St. Bede the encyclopedist, St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas
            Aquinas.”

            You only serve to prove my point. That only catholic men of higher learning are allowed to be sainted, while there are far far faaaaaaarrrrrrrr better men out there that deserve such titles.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Sooooo, catholics are wrong because they don’t canonize scientists. But then “I prove your point” because there were canonized scientists, but they were catholics.

              Oh yeah, but the problem is that they were catholic! Riiiiight! Now I get it! Your problem isn’t that there are no scientist saints… your problem is that you’ll never be sainted if you’re not a catholic. You wanted to publish some papers and then just fall back and wait for eternal veneration without doing all those pesky catholic thingys, like dying for your neighbor or forgiving your enemies or having a chaste life.

              Well… tough.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            I think there is a St. Hildegard who wrote extensively about medicine as well and was quite an authority in her day. I might have her name wrong though.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              Hildegard of Bingen.

      • HornOrSilk

        It depends upon what use of the word worship is being employed. The word means “to honor” or “respect” in classical English, and we DO worship the saints in that manner. It’s also why English judges were called “his worshipful….” just like we say “his honor” now.

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15710a.htm for further explanation.

  • Mark R

    Of course it is not celebrity worship. Saints are not worshipped (doulia) in the same way as the Lord (latria). The veneration of martryed saints is older than the veneration of the Mother of God (hyperdoulia), whose veneration is very old too…there is an Orthodox prayer to her still in use from circa 250. Martyred saints were so venerated for joining Christ in their deaths in what is called the eighth day of creation after Christ’s death and resurrection.
    To my knowledge, no celebrity’s notoriety exists to direct one focus on Christ. That is the saint’s main role…and if that is not going on when venerating a saint, something is wrong. Christians from traditions from postapostolic times may be nonplussed by this practice, but they may be only kidding themselves, as they have their own heroes they look up to for the same reason, to increase focus on Christ.