Patron Saint of Coffee Shops?

A few years ago, news agencies around the world described then-Pope John Paul 2's most recent god-making activities. Of particular interest was the report that the Pope had beatified a 17th century friar who whose alleged achievements are daily recognized all across America and in many other parts of the world. Even by non-Catholics!

More than 300 years after his death, Marco d'Aviano cleared the last step before sainthood, as the Holy Father recognised the friar's miraculous work including curing a nun who had been bedridden for 13 years. -- Pope beatifies cappuccino friar, 28 Apr 2003, (C) AP/BBC/Catholic News Service

I have no idea what infirmity had kept the nun in bed for so many years, but miraculously curing it seems like small potatoes compared to the other accomplishments of Honorable Marco. This is not to suggest that the friar had no other claim to fame. In fact, Mama Church holds his ghost in high esteem for having saved much of Europe from falling under Islamic control.

History books also show that with a vast Ottoman Turk army beating a path to Vienna in 1683, d'Aviano was sent by the then pope to unite the outnumbered Christian troops, spurring them to victory. --Ibid.

I just gotta wonder why JP2 failed to beatify either of the Presidents Bush, or generals Swarzkopf or Franks. After all, they sent/led armies that kicked the snot out of Muslim hordes. Likely no one was willing to pony up enough money to stimulate interest in such a project.

Of course, creating new Catholic demi-gods and other Romish ministering spirits was no big deal for JP2. During his reign over the world's Catholics, he made a bunch of new spirits to be turned into plaster statues for the Catholic faithful to pray to.

While reading these articles, it occured to me that they raise questions concerning the Roman Church's motto, "Semper Idem" (always the same). This suggests that the Catholic Church doesn't change. I imagine that Catholic faithful are to accept this declaration as referring to their church's stand on matters of faith and morals, doctrine and such. That being the case, how to explain Rome's sending a man to motivate a Christian army to fight victoriously against an Islamic army? In her catechism the Roman Church proclaims that the Muslims are playing a role in God's plan of salvation because they profess the faith of Abraham just as do Christians do, or so we are informed!

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day. -- Catechism of the Catholic Church,, 2nd Ed., (C) 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc

If it indeed is true that the Catholic Church is always the same, I wonder why she worked to prevent an Islamic army from entering Europe? Unless, of course, the pope's concern had more to do with worldly matters than spiritual ones.

The Magisterium identifies Muslims as being "in the first place" among those in the path of salvation (but not, I am sure, ahead of Roman Catholics). Muslims certainly do acknowledge and honor Jesus of Nazareth, but not as Creator, for they do not believe Him to be God! The Islam recognizes Jesus to have been human prophet; not true God and the Savior of mankind. He is just a prophet and a prophet of lesser standing than Mohammad.

O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. -- Koran, Sura 4:171

Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no god except Him, the Creator of all things, so serve Him. And He takes care of all things. - Koran, Sura 6:102

Islam tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was a human prophet and that their single-person Allah created all things. Scripure tells us differently:

16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him
-- Colossians 1:16-19, KJV

Personally, I don't believe that Allah is just another name for God, nor that anyone with that name created all things. I'm sticking with Scripture. It seems that The Catholic Church seeks rapprochement with Islam. Might we one day expect to see Mohammed cannonized? Such a possibility is not unreasonable. After all, over the centuries, Rome has created some strange demi-gods and -goddesses.

John Paul II created 482 saints (more than in the previous 500 years) and beatified 1,340 people (more than all his predecessors combined), dramatically modernising a process that used to take decades, if not centuries. -- Iain Hollingshead, Whatever happened to ... canonising John Paul II?, (C) The Guardian, April 1 2006

Way to go, Johnny!

The canonization business is the Vatican's cash cow, and John Paul 2 was the milk man. This information sort of puts a new slant on the peripatetic pope's perpetual perambulating, doesn't it? Looks like JP2 had a part time job that paid well and caused the Vatican's cash registers to go "ka-ching" with wonderful regularity.

Seriously, the process of making saints is a costly one. Money changes hands at times during the nominating, researching, beatifying/canonization process and the costs mount up, as this extract from a detailed look at the process involving the nomination of a Slovenian for sainthood:

The whole process takes very long because the Ministry of saints in Rome has currently some 1,700 such pending cases. Each individual case can take years, decades. Although, if the proposer is better off, the colour of his money can drastically speed things up. Or, as Korosak instructed his flock: "Almost all nations hire Jesuit experts. But, beware, they are expensive! When I started preparing documentation for Baraga, they asked for 120 million liras just to start the procedure!" For the sake of comparison - 120 million liras are equal to DM 1,2 million! Just for starters.

Be that as it may, father Korosak and Baraga's followers did not have that much money. They couldn't pay the Jesuit team. In addition, they had to pay the lawyer's fee, half a million liras - as a beginning! Next, Jesuits charge 12 thousand liras per a page of a document with journalistic spacing (25 to 30 lines per page). At this moment that is equal to some DM 12. That should be multiplied with several thousand pages, because until now the case of Slovenian saints is three thousand pages long. The text in Italian and the formulas in Latin. In addition, someone will have to write at least 300 pages long doctoral thesis on the saint in question. It is then clear how much one "national" saint costs.--Svetlana Vasovic, Slovenia and the Vatican: Industry of Saints, July 30, 2000 (My emphasis)

The amount mentioned represents a most significant sum for the folks in Slovenia, which is not a wealthy nation. So why would Slovenians be willing to skimp and scrape in order to round up the money necessary to buy promotions to sainthood for a couple of their good old boys? Believe it or not, nationalistic pride seems to be the motivation, at least according to Svetlana Vasolivic:

One of the most sensitive questions for the Slovenian Catholic Church is the problem of saints. Namely, the question of saints is the question of prestige. Until recently, the Slovenian believers of Catholic faith did not have their authentic saints: they had to borrow them from others. During the time Archbishop Alojz Sustar ruled the Slovenian Catholic Church, who was submissive to the communist rulers, beatification of Slomsk or Baraga was just a pie in the sky. --Ibid.

Igor Mekina, another Slovenian reporter, also looked at the cost of getting a favorite son promoted to saint, but he focused on the Vatican's motivation:

If anyone thought that one becomes a saint only thanks to miracles and merits, he is greatly mistaken. Everything has its price, including the beatification of the first Slovenian saint. According to calculations which have leaked out from the church circles, the initiation of the beatification procedure alone costs 120 millions liras, while the price of one page of the documentation to be submitted during the procedure is 12 thousand liras (around DEM 120). On average, several thousand of pages of such documentation have to be collected for a solid saint. For example, documentation for the beatification of Frederik Baraga, which was initiated in early nineties, amounts to some 3,000 pages, while the current "Slomsk's documentation" has 2,400 pages. In short, the "basic capital" for entering the competition for the inauguration of saints cannot be below DEM 200 thousand! Those well-versed in beatification business claim that during the mandate of the current Pope some 800 saints have been beatified which has increased the Vatican's profit for about DEM 160 million.--Igor Mekina, The Pope in Slovenia: Bad Publicity?. 03 OCT 1999 (My emphasis)

But doesn't all this McSainthood business smell just a little bit like simony? Simon Magus wanted Peter to sell him the secret for using/imparting the Holy Spirit, and was on the receiving end of Peter's wrath. Looks like the boys of the Vatican found a way to sell the keys to the Catholic version of Heaven--which must surely smell of sulfur and brimstone.

9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. -- Acts 8:9-23, KJV

Everything you need to know to learn about God and how you can be forgiven and saved is to be found in the Bible. What you will learn in reading God's word is that Christ is both the Son of God and God the Son (both God and man) and that forgiveness of sins and redemption is available only through Him. To God be the glory, now and forever!

So, you might ask, what is it about Blessed Marco d'Aviano that brings him to the minds of thousands every day?

As the Turks fled, legend has it they left behind sacks of coffee which the Christians found too bitter, so they sweetened it with honey and milk. -- Pope beatifies cappuccino friar, 28 Apr 2003, (C) AP/BBC/Catholic News Service

This must surely be Marco's more enduring legacy: Cafe Capuccino. I wonder? How long will it be before he is made patron saint of upscale coffee shops?

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