Immortal Celebrity: Papal Edition


Used to be, sovaldi back in the day when people actually believed in stuff like Catholicism and it was just a symbol of ethnic identity like shamrocks and lederhosen, that to become a saint you had to do something really cool. Like when St. Lawrence turned back bacon into Canadian bacon or when St. Rocco turned Cheeries into Fruit Loops. Or that time when St. Shumer turned a Oaxacan peasant into an American. Now that was amazing!

Now… not so much. Becoming a saint is something like advancing in tenure as an academic (a process with which your old buddy Keyser, being a confirmed daemonologist of high standing, is quite familiar). You need a book to get tenure (advancing from assistant to associate professor status), and yet another (plus validation of your status as a High Muckety Muck) to become a full professor (such as yours truly). Pari gradu, as a Church-approved intermediary between you (God’s favored) and God, you need to show that you’ve got God’s ear before being recognized as a saint. (God’s a busy man, after all, and despite both omnipresence and omniscience, He’s got a lot of shit to attend to, so it’s a lot easier if, instead of weighing all the “well, there’s this”s and all the “well there’s that”s that can take up so much time and energy, somebody of tested sanctitude can lean over with a well-timed “psst” and let Him know who’s been naughty, and, more importantly, who’s been nice.)

In the old days, it could take centuries for God to get around to granting a would-be saint a suitable miracle and/or for the Church to get around to recognizing it. Like that time with St. Sambo. Boy, was nobody in a hurry with that one, as you can well imagine! Anyhoo, nowadays, not so much.

The Polish pope, a popular figure who headed the Church for 27 years from 1978, was said to have cured a French nun of Parkinson’s disease.
The Church then began a search for evidence of a second miracle and found it in Costa Rica. Floribeth Mora Díaz, a mother of four in her 50s, was taken to hospital in San Jose, the capital, and told that her persistent headaches were the result of a brain aneurysm. The doctors said it was inoperable. (That’s her below in the picture saying, “Boy, that feels better” (in Spanish of course)).

Oh, well, if that’s not proof positive, Keyser dunno what is. Some woman in Costa Rica is miraculously cured of head aches. Woo hoo, break out the reliquaries!


As the story notes, the Popolski People’s Pope was a crowd darling, and so his sanctification was pretty much a done deal since the moment his spiritus was no longer operative (though God knows it remained sanctus!).

As for John XXIII, the case is not so clear. He’d been hung up in saintly purgatory (as it were) for some time (decades in fact). Knowledge pope watchers were concerned that his cure of a really badly sprained ankle (damn, that hurt!) and the time that girl in Uruguay had a “woman’s problem” that threatened to keep her from going to the prom, but her earnest prayers of “John XXIII help us, you’re our only hope” wouldn’t be enough to do the trick, but apparently this was something of a mercy sanctification. But once you’re in, you’re in, and who’s to complain? (Particularly, when you chose to name yourself after the doctor-turned-pope who is best known for being condemned as a heretic and for having some Franciscans burned alive for complaining about the Franciscan Order’s deviation from its founder’s vows of poverty.)

Now the only question is what to do with “Emeritus Pope” (and you thought Keyser was kidding about the academic comparison!). Since pope’s don’t normally give up the job this side of the Pearly Gates, it’s a bit hard to know what the right protocol (of course back in the Middle Ages popes were at times forced out of office, but that hasn’t happened since Pope Guido XLIV was drive out with less than extreme prejudice by Ferdinand Hohenstauffen at the height of the Instinctiture Controversy in 1292). It’s said that he’s already caused a man in the US accuesd of being a member of the Galician Division of the SS to forget the words of the Horst Wessel Song, but many have cast doubts on the suitability of this “marvel” as a “miracle” (and it does make a difference!).

When asked to comment, his ex-papalicity is reported to have said, “I know nozink, nozink!”