Canonizing the Corpse

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Pope John Paul the second was shot on Wednesday, May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City. He was swiftly taken to AgostinoGemelli University Polyclinic for medical attention. Upon arrival the skilled physicians initiated five hours of emergency intestinal surgery, which required transfusions and a temporary colostomy. Once stabilized, he decreed that he owed his life – not to the physicians – but to our Lady for guiding the trajectory of the bullets (apparently she could not have intervened at any point prior to the trigger being pulled).

Such misguided credo is as commonplace in the Catholic Church as denying its past offenses. The late John Paul II exemplified the church’s misgivings by beatifying 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590).  And now, with unscrupulous haste, the church has taken to beatifying John Paul II. On May 1st, 2011, his first of two miracles necessary for sainthood was confirmed. According to the Vatican, the authenticity of the miracle required a multi-year inquiry.

“Each miracle must be confirmed by an investigative committee of the Vatican,” explained officials to the media. “The miracle must have occurred after the Pope’s death and following prayer to him.”

In 2001, Sister Marie Simon Pierre Normand, a French nun, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A Vatican investigation has determined that years later fellow nuns encouraged Sister Marie to pray to the then deceased John Paul. The nuns, and now the Vatican, claim that following the prayer she was cured of the disease.

Similar stories are surfacing all over the world. Thousands of Catholics want to play a role in the process of John Paul’s sainthood. This enthusiasm has led to the charismatic Pope becoming one of the fasted beatified figures since the early church set rules restricting the Papacy from immediately beatifying their predecessors.

So what kind of “miracles” do Catholics believe are worthy of canonizing John Paul? Christopher Lukasik of Chicago was building shelves when a metal rod gouged his eye, tearing about a third of his optic nerve fibers and leaving his family wondering whether he would ever see again.

"All I could think about is to pray to Pope John Paul II. I just felt him with me and I knew he would be the one that would heal my son," said Christopher’s 67-year-old mother Joanna Lukasik, who grew up near the late pontiff's hometown of Wadowice, Poland. "I was driving to the hospital and I was begging him and crying and begging him to save his vision and that's what happened."

When Christopher recovered from surgery he fully regained his vision. And when feelings of gratefulness arose, Joanna Lukasik gave her thanks to the corpse of John Paul II  -- not to the skilled physicians who saved his eye.

Imbecilic vanity becomes more grotesque when the recipient of such “divine intervention” looks at the unfortunate circumstances of others as God working in “mysterious ways.” If that’s truly what one believes, then why waste money utilizing the hospital as a divine intermediary?

Evidence abounds of how scientific advancement in the past 150 years has increased the quality and expectancy of life. However, to the detriment of scientific advancement and the well-being of countless people, conscientious stupidity and the denial of history are evermore apparent. Miracle accreditation is an injustice to everyone who strives to help others. Those who perpetuate belief in miracles over fact might as well admire the contours of their shoe while claiming that it dropped from the sky.

Don't forget that doctors save not only those who respect the knowledge and dedication necessary for their craft, but the religiously afflicted as well. On the other hand, miracles seem to prefer the religious. And like wise, when natural disasters strike the blame often falls on homosexuals and women exercising their rights.

The marginalization of science has been one of the Catholic Church's longest crusades.  Yet, when Catholics experience a healthcare emergency, where do they go? The hospital. For many hardworking Americans the closest thing to a miracle is when they can afford to see a doctor. In light of this many conservatives, those who make up the majority of the Christian lobby, believe two contradicting lies: that miracles exist and thus God has a divine plan for each of us, and that poverty is a choice made by lazy individuals. So which is it? Neither ideology can coexist, and neither benefits mankind. Although Catholicism is not the dominant Christian denomination in the US, with its fallacious attributions – it's not helping anyone.