advocatus diaboli…

Right. So. Mary MacKillop. Here’s the sticky…

In order for someone to be deemed a saint they have to have performed a couple of miracles, right? A miracle, I have learned, is something which defies medical evidence. By this rationale Bikram Choudhury could well be a saint– or you know, my mum for successfully remedying her own breast lumps once upon a time through diet. Or maybe even you or I for, I dunno, disagreeing with a doctor or some such. I avoided having to have a hysterectomy by dedicating my life to yoga and learning as much as I possibly could about food as medicine and meditation. I only realised recently I was expected to have another op this August just past. I know longer see a specialist. I know none of these “ailments” are terminal but it does make me wonder why people really continue to believe in God, rather than themselves.

I was reading up about advocatus diaboli this morning. Interesting guy. I’d have liked his job. Basically, his role was went a little something like this:

During the canonization process of the Roman Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith (Latin: promotor fidei), popularly known as the Devil’s advocate (Latin: advocatus diaboli), was a canon lawyer appointed by Church authorities to argue against the canonization of the candidate.[1] It was their job to take a skeptical view of the candidate’s character, to look for holes in the evidence, to argue that any miracles attributed to the candidate were fraudulent, etc. The Devil’s advocate opposed God’s advocate (Latin: advocatus Dei; also known as the Promoter of the Cause), whose task is to make the argument in favor of canonization. This task is now performed by the Promoter of Justice (promotor iustitiae), who is in charge of examining how accurate is the inquiry on the saintliness of the candidate.

The office was established in 1587 during the reign of Pope Sixtus V and abolished by Pope John Paul II in 1983.[2] This reform changed the canonization process considerably, helping John Paul II to usher in an unprecedented number of elevations: nearly 500 individuals were canonized and over 1,300 were beatified during his tenure as Pope as compared to only 98 canonizations by all his 20th-century predecessors, which has led many persons[who?] to question the validity of the process and whether all of those canonized today are deserving of the recognition.[citation needed]

Such a dramatic increase suggests that the office of the Devil’s Advocate had served to reduce the number of canonizations. Some argue that it served a useful role in ensuring that canonizations did not proceed without due care and hence the status of sainthood was not easily achieved. In cases of controversy the Vatican may still seek to informally solicit the testimony of critics of a candidate for canonization. The British born American columnist Christopher Hitchens was famously asked to testify against the beatification of Mother Teresa in 2002, a role he would later humorously describe as being akin to “representing the Evil One, as it were, pro bono”.

Thanks wikipedia.


Hitchens argues everything better than I do. So have a wee gander at this:

And remember this:

To the men and women
who own men and women:
those of us meant to be lovers
we will not pardon you
for wasting our bodies and time…

– Leonard Cohen.




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