Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong

Didn’t the Reformation start with objections to the cash nexus between grace and financial contributions? So how much did the Council of Trent reform ecclesiastical abuses in the light of recent announcements about new criteria for becoming a saint?

To approve a miracle, at least 5 out of the 7 members of the body of medical experts within the congregation must approve, or 4 out of 6, depending on the size of the group, as opposed to a simple majority.

In case a miracle report is rejected on the first go-around, it may only be reexamined a total of three times.

In order to reexamine a miracle claim, new members must be named to the consulting body.

The president of the consulting body may only be confirmed to one additional five-year term after the original mandate expires.

While in the past payments to experts could be made in person by cash or check, now the experts must be paid exclusively through a bank transfer.

I don’t know about you, but my impression of the miraculous is that if part of a group of believers thinks an unusual event was not miraculous, then it probably was not. Generally speaking, the works of God are pretty straight forward to those with eyes of faith (questions about ongoing miracles notwithstanding). And do we really need science to tell validate a miracle? Isn’t faith sufficient?

But the kicker is the financial aspect to these policy changes:

In his book “Merchants in the Temple,” Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi charged the congregation was among the most reluctant Vatican offices to cooperate with new transparency measures imposed as part of Francis’s project of Vatican reform, and asserted that the average cost of a sainthood cause was about $550,000.

U.S. Catholic officials traditionally have used $250,000 as a benchmark for the cost of a cause from the initial investigation on a diocesan level, to a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, though that cost can increase depending in part of how many people take part in the canonization ceremony and the logistics of organizing the event.

In March, Pope Francis had already approved a new set of financial procedures for the congregation, outlining procedures for handling contributions and specifying which authorities are charged with overseeing the flow of money.

Also notice that even though the path to sainthood has become more — let’s say — complicated, those already saints stay saints:

The new rules are not retroactive, and hence they do not invalidate any beatifications or canonizations performed under earlier procedures.

Fulton Sheen’s advocates are no doubt disappointed.

For any apologist out there, this is the sort of thing that makes no sense to a Protestant (and is truly audacious). We do concede that sainthood can be bought. The price that Jesus paid with his precious blood is worth more than all the silver and gold you can put in a Vatican bank safe. So yes, there is a payment for sanctity. But it is entirely beyond the economic calculations of this world.

One might think that after five hundred years, Roman Catholic bishops might have learned that lesson.

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10 thoughts on “Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong

  1. Miracle Max: “You rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles. You got money?
    Indigo: “65”
    Miracle Max: “Sheesh. I never worked for so little. Except once. That was a very noble cause.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My father commenting on the Padre Pio bio on EWTN: “Typical Roman Curia crap, some lady in London donated half a million under the auspice of building a hospital” You don’t have to be a protestant to throw shade at the Vatican. #WhatCradlesKnow

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  3. Why won’t nonbelievers believe in the miracles “saints” perform?

    I was reading a description of the miracles that were investigated as part of the canonization process for Mother Teresa. The findings were persuasive. One miracle involved the disappearance of an incurable cancer in an Indian woman, the other the recovery of a Brazilian man with a brain infection. In both instances, prayers to Mother Teresa had been offered when the medical authorities had concluded no cure was possible.

    Reading these accounts led me to turn over in my mind why these unexplainable cures do not lead nonbelievers to open themselves to the reality of the miraculous, the supernatural, and the power of God in our lives.

    Then why does the church require scientists and — ahem — contributions?

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  4. Here’s a question about sainthood. Am I assuming too much that those who are praying to saints for their healing are also praying directly to God? Probably they are in at least some of the cases.

    How, then, do the investigators know that it was the prayers of the saints, such as Teresa, that led to the miracle? Maybe it was just the direct prayers of the individual to God. How would they know?

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