Vae, puto deus fio!

It’s good to see the old traditions kept alive. The Romans were fond of monumental marble architecture, formal public ritual, and deifying their emperors after their death, and look at the Vatican: monumental marble architecture, formal public ritual, and now the rapid beatification and expected canonization of their popes. Unfortunately, none of the popes have had the wit and humor to appreciate the custom, as Vespasian did, and laugh on their deathbed, “Alas, I think I’m becoming a god saint.”

So one dead pope, John Paul, is about to be officially beatified, which means the Catholic Church has determined that John Paul is actually in heaven right now. How do they know? Because they found a nun who said she prayed to the dead pope (which is weird right there), and her Parkinson’s symptoms were alleviated. Why is this a miracle and not a spontaneous remission or a misdiagnosis or a response to treatment or a hysterical game (“He turned me into a newt!” “I got better.”)?

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints said doctors “scrupulously” examined the nun’s claim and could find no scientific reason for her cure.

Ah, they don’t have any positive evidence of divinity…all they’ve got is a scientist saying “I don’t know,” and from that they leap to the conclusion that the ghost of John Paul is selectively and invisibly dispensing magic. Our ignorance is their evidence. All they’ve got is the bits and pieces we can’t answer yet.

So, Religion, how does it feel to be reduced to feasting on the scraps left from the table of Science?