according to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are over 20,800 Christian denominations [Link]Historical Background of the Christian Denominations, gives a brief overview of the early Schisms between the various early forms of (mainstream) Christianity, as well as an indication of where the new denominations fit in.
... in the earlier chapters of my "Crises in the History of the Papacy" I have exposed many [martyrs]. I have shown that Roman Popes who died comfortably in their beds (after equivocal lives) are honored as "Saints and Martyrs." I have shown that even anti-Popes and their supporters, slain by Christians in the bloody fights for the Papal throne (which I show in another book), are in the Martyrology.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by historian and former Franciscan monk Joseph McCabe
Even the Catholic Church now admits that many of the saints who have been revered for centuries, never existed. A great many of the early martyrs or their lives were already exposed as pious fictions, among these were to be found many saints whose non-existence was exposed as well.
Non-existent Saints based on pagan deities or of pagan origin
The legends of St George the dragon slayer are from pagan sources, as hinted at even by the Catholic Encyclopaedia:
The spurious literature that existed in the fourth century is a mere trifle in comparison with the river of forgeries of the early Middle Ages. But it was serious enough to bring discredit on the Church. The "infidels [Roman pagans]," says the decree, are laughing at the Christians because their stories of martyrs are full of historical errors and patent absurdities. The Pope names, in particular, the accounts of St. George (who is still treasured by British Catholics), St. Quiricus, and St. Julitta, and says that they were probably written by heretics. He specifies a large number of spurious works, and he gives a general caution that many others are in circulation.
Let me give the Catholic reader one further illustration. He is permitted, even encouraged, to read the "Catholic Encyclopedia." Ordinarily I would not recommend any person to waste his time in that unentertaining and unprofitable way. The work is a tissue of inaccuracies, antiquities, and lies. But the truth about the martyrs is now so well known that even this egregious "Encyclopedia" has to admit a good deal of it. Look up, for instance, the article on St. George. "Remembering," says the Jesuit writer, "the unscrupulous freedom with which any wild story, even when pagan in origin, was appropriated by the early hagiographers to the honor of a popular saint," we have to be on our guard. That is a very rare morsel of Catholic Truth. Father Thurston tells you, coldly, that all that we know about St. George, the patron of England and for ages the most popular saint in Christendom, is that he existed, and that he was martyred in or near Lydda some time before 300 A.D. What a disillusion after the old story!
Even the most orthodox reader will recognize the force of the modern criticism of martyr-legends when so retrograde a work as the "Catholic Encyclopedia" is compelled to admit it. Usually its writers deny the most certain facts of science or history with an ease that must command the envy of a politician.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk
Other Pagan Deities transformed into non-existent saints:
- St Demetra of the Greek Church, originally the Greek Goddess Demeter
- St Mercurius, originally the Roman God Mercurius (Mercury)
- Ireland's St Briget, originally the Celtic Goddess Brigid. See Mythology's Last Gods: Yaweh and Jesus, by William Harwood.
- St Benedict, whose name was appropriated from the Greco-Roman God Apollo Benedictus. In a typically Christian twist, this Saint was attributed the destruction of the temple of Apollo Benedictus - though the act itself was actually performed by a mob of Christians.
- St Catharine of Alexandria:
To remove Hypatia from our collective memory, the Church made up a new Saint: Catharine of Alexandria. More than 100 years before Hypatia, this "intelligent, beautiful and very conscientious young woman" (fansite) in Alexandria was to have converted pagans to Christianity and had supposedly been murdered for this. Since there's no evidence for her existence, she was stricken from the General Roman Catholic calendar. For six hundred years, she had been one of the most beloved of all the saints, and many Christians revere her still. It is but a beautiful story.Translated from the final paragraph of the German article Zur Seligsprechung von Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, alias Mutter Teresa.
- More: Pagan deities used as fictional Saints and martyrs
There is some doubt about the existence of a few of the following Saints, especially Saul. But since several scholars have accepted their existence in one form or other (not necessarily conforming to the tall tales of miracles and heroics spun about them) they are listed here.
- St Saul (Paul): Paul the Mythmaker, his statements on slavery, Epistles
- St Justin Martyr: Early anti-Semite who passed on such teachings to the Church. To support his Christian Apologetic writings, he went so far as to forge documents in the name of two Roman Emperors.
- St Helena: Constantine's mother, who ordered her son to destroy pre-Christian Greek and Roman shrines all over the empire and replace them with Churches.
See: Greek temples destroyed, Greco-Roman temples of Palestine.
She also had an indirect hand in the murder of Constantine's wife Fausta:
...in 326, Constantine had his wife Fausta, his illegitimate son Crispus, and his nephew, murdered in his palace at Rome. Clerical writers try in vain to shift from him the guilt of these new crimes. The evidence is overwhelming. It is clear that the illegitimate son of the illegitimate Constantine was guilty of some outrage in regard to his beautiful and refined step-mother [Fausta], and in a blaze of temper Constantine ended their lives.Though Fausta had been falsely accused of adultery and then murdered, Helena had borne Constantine out of wedlock and nevertheless made it all the way to Sainthood:
Fausta was a very beautiful and, as [Emperor] Julian himself tells us, most refined and virtuous lady, and she was only thirty-four or thirty-five years old at the time her husband murdered her. It is clear from the historians that Helena, his Christian mother, stung him into committing the murder; and it is highly probable that Fausta had justly accused his son [Crispus] and so incurred the fierce anger of Helena.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by historian and former Franciscan monk, Joseph McCabe
Constantine was, as I said, the illegitimate son of a rural barmaid and a Roman officer. The educated Romans always hated and despised him, and they do not conceal his birth. St. Ambrose, in fact, tells it. His father Constantius was an officer of distinction in the Roman army, and a robust tavern-wench, afterwards dignified with the name of Helena, in an outlying rural province of the empire, caught his soldierly fancy. She was so fortunate as to become the mistress of one who was destined for the purple; and, as if Providence did not deem that enough, her purblind generosity to the clergy earned in time for the Bithynian barmaid -- a profession next door to that of courtesan -- the chaster halo of the saint.
In my "Empresses of Rome" (1911) I have carefully analyzed all the original authorities in regard to the character of Helena, the illegitimacy of Constantine (which Gibbon chivalrously denied), and these murders. Constantius could not validly marry Helena in Roman law.
-- The Story of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
- St. Constantine: canonized by the Greek Church which adores his memory, Constantine the first Christian Emperor was a murderer, as revealed by many historians. Even the 19th century Dean of Westminster (Arthur Stanley) wrote that Constantine had five of his near relatives put to death. Those whom Constantine had murdered include his wife Fausta, and one of his sons. Other victims of Constantine were two of his brothers-in-law, one of whom was co-emperor Licinius. Constantine also had the 11-year-old son of Constantia (Constantine's half-sister) and Licinius murdered. But that's not all:
Roman emperor Constantine — the first Christian emperor. After being converted to Christianity, Constantine put to death his wife, his son, a nephew and his wife, and had Licinius (his coemperor) and his son strangled after promising them their lives.Link
according to Church Father Lactantius, Constantine was "a model of Christian virtue and holiness." [Link]His equally murderous second son and successor, the Christian Roman Emperor Constantius II:
had both of his uncles and seven cousins murdered to rise to power. Only two other cousins, twelve year old Gallus, and seven year old Julian, who was to become the last pagan emperor, survived this butchery in the first Christian dynasty. [Link]See more: a page on Constantine and Christ to Constantine.
- St Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria: the man in charge of the rampaging monks. He and his monks infamously murdered the learned Hypatia of Alexandria's Great Library. Saintly Cyril also bribed bishops to hold the Council of Ephesus before his rival Nestorius of Antioch could arrive, which enabled him to have Nestorius condemned as a heretic. This set the stage for the later persecution of the breakaway Christian sect of Nestorians. Cyril, like all other early Christians, was also an anti-semite and instigated the expulsion and persecution of Jews in his region.
- St John Chrysostom: He hated Greek civilization and was bent upon its destruction. He gathered monks to destroy ancient Greek buildings and their "idols". Like many another Churchfather, he was a great anti-semite who added much to the Church's teachings on the matter. He was also an advocate of slavery. And like Bishop Eusebius, John was a well-known author of outrageous Christian fiction which he passed off as fact. He was also a self-confessed proponent of lying:
Do you see the advantage of deceit? ...Link
For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind ...And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived."
-- St John Chrysostom, in Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1
- St Ambrose: Anti-semite who ensured the death of the ancient Greco-Roman religion.
The Governor of the East reported to the emperor that a synagogue of the Jews and a church of the Valentinians had been burnt by the Christian populace at the instigation of the bishop. [Christian Emperor] Theodosius gave orders that the synagogue should be rebuilt at the bishop's charge. Thereupon St. Ambrose wrote to him a letter which is still extant, [35:2] declaring that the order was not consistent with the emperor's piety, defending the action of the bishop and those who burnt the synagogue, and maintaining the unlawfulness of rebuilding it. He further declared that he would have done the same thing at Milan if God had not anticipated him by burning the Jewish synagogue himself, and even threatened to deprive the emperor of communion if he did not recall his order. The pious monarch complied with the will of the haughty ecclesiastic and excused the incendiaries from making restitution. [35:3] The same saint, in advocating the plunder of the vestal virgins and the Pagan priests, maintained the doctrine that it is criminal for a Christian state to grant endowments to the ministers of any but the orthodox religion, [35:4] and expressly praised and recommended the zeal of Josiah in the destruction of idolatry.Link, which has more on how Theodosius proceeded. See also Codex Theodosianus, the laws enacted against the pre-Christian Greek and Roman religions.
Dean Milman assigns to St. Ambrose all the credit or discredit of extinguishing Paganism.
"It was Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who enforced the final sentence of condemnation against Paganism; asserted the sin, in a Christian Emperor, of assuming an Imperial title connected with Pagan worship; and of permitting any portion of the public revenue to be expended on the rites of idolatry. It was Ambrose who forbade the last marks of respect to the tutelar divinities of Rome in the public ceremonies." [36:5]When Theodosius had become sole master of the Roman Empire, he proceeded with the utmost zeal to extirpate the Pagan religion.
-- Crimes of Christianity, by G W Foote and J M Wheeler
St Ambrose cheated when disputing with the heretical Christian sect, Arianism, and contributed to the dishonest trade in relics:
There came a time, in the fourth century, when St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, found himself in bitter conflict with the Empress, a Christian but an Arian. In order to inflame and sustain the zeal of the faithful, St. Ambrose (the story runs) was directed in a series of visions to dig in the ground and discover a number of bodies of the early martyrs. Thus came to light the precious bodies of Gervasius and Protasius; and such was the zeal of the faithful that Ambrose beat the Empress.
Tillemont fastens truculently on this story. The bodies were of a remarkable size, and Tillemont seems to wink as he notes Ambrose's explanation, that this at least proved them to be centuries old. Then, as now, people were supposed to be bigger "in the good old times." Further, no less a person than St. Augustine was at that very time in Milan, and he tells us that the bodies were miraculously "uncorrupted," whereas Ambrose tells us that he found only bones -- which lets us see how myths grow. In the end Tillemont proves that the remarkable story of Gervasius and Protasius -- strange that Ambrose knew even their names, he says -- is built entirely upon spurious works attributed to Ambrose, and is quite worthless.Tillemont does not venture to impugn Ambrose, though he makes a few nasty innuendoes. We need not be so diplomatic. Ambrose found an old cemetery and exploited it. "Gervasius and Protasius" were probably Goths from the north, or brigands from the mountains, who had been buried there. Their relics are still in great honor in the Church of Rome.
-- The Story of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk
- St Gregory of Nazanzius (Nazianzum/Nazianzen): A 4th century church father, bishop of Caesarea and Doctor of the Church. Because of his great learning of Christian doctrine, he is also known as St Gregory the Theologian.
A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire.He was also misogynistic.
-- St Gregory writing to St. Jerome, quoted in The Ruins by C. Volney
- St Gregory the Illuminator: This revered saint (died early 4th century) led his Christian followers to bludgeon the Armenians into conversion. Though the Armenians resisted heavily, their country eventually became the first Christian nation. Because its people had been converted to Christianity, Armenians today revere Gregory - the man who "illuminated" their ancestors with violence, destroyed their shrines and had Churches replace them. Because Gregory only persecuted and murdered pagan Armenians in order to convert others to Christianity, Gregory's actions are now forgiven and present-day Armenians are ignorant of or defend his murderous part in their history. Nevertheless, he and his faithful followers were little better than the Moslems from Turkey who perpetrated the heinous Armenian genocide around the start of the 20th century.
- St Nikon of Armenia: used violence to convert the ancient Hellenes (Greeks who followed their pre-Christian religion).
- St Augustine: to this 4th-5th century bishop, each woman was still Eve the temptress and devils appeared as Ethiopians. In this way he furthered the prejudice against women and added to the negative connotations Christianity had associated with Africans and others, which would eventually be used to support slavery and racism. His writings had also specifically endorsed slavery. His negative doctrines on free will and fate would later be taken up by the Reformers. He was also one of the many Church fathers who vehemently affirmed the Doctrine of Infant Damnation, by reason of which unbaptised children would go straight to eternal Hell.
Augustine was among the first in a long line of Christian teachers to call for coercive conversion (CC) - cogite intrare - and for punishment for heresy, thus paving the way to the medieval inquisition tribunals and persecution of other beliefs.Link
While the earliest Christian theologians had been of differing opinions on the matter of warfare, while some like the noble [heretic] Origen even were outspokenly opposed to war, Augustine's utterances on the matter were strongly in favor of divinely inspired wrack and ruin. In a letter to the Manichaean heretic Faustus, he wrote:
"Why do you object to war? Surely not, because men, who eventually die anyway, are killed in war?"His views have been summarized:
"Any violation of God's laws, and by easy extension, any violation of Christian doctrine, could be seen as an injustice warranting unlimited punishment ... of the enemy population without regard to the distinction between soldiers and civilians. Motivated by righteous wrath, the just warriors could kill with impunity even those who were morally innocent."
-- The Just War in the Middle Ages, Russell
He, like Bishop Eusebius and St John Chrysostom, was a proponent of lying for God:
It is lawful, then, to him that discusses, disputes and preaches of things eternal, or to him that narrates of things temporal pertaining to religion or piety, to conceal at fitting times whatever seems fit to be concealed.
-- De Mendacio [On Lying], by St Augustine
- St Jerome: like St Augustine, the 4th century Jerome also wrote about devils appearing as Ethiopians. He also consciously introduced an error when translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, perpetuating the "prophetic virgin birth" myth.
Scion of northern Italian landowners, he had originally been forced out of Rome by a sex scandal. He had organised a 'women's group' and one of its members, a girl, had died, possibly of anorexia. Indeed,In keeping with Christian anti-semitism, he described Jews as
'this had been the last of a series of public scandals which dogged Jerome throughout the first half of his life.' (J. Romer, Testament, p237).
'single-hoofed, unclean animals.'Link, which also shows how he plagiarised the works of earlier commentators of the Old Testament
...he became a sour ascetic and champion of (other people's) virginity. He decried health itself as 'a sign of worldliness' and argued for bodies to be kept 'pale and hungry.' He extended the principle to personal hygiene: 'He who has bathed in Christ,' said Jerome, 'does not need a second bath.'
- St Nicholas of Myra: this voting member of the Council of Nicea is attributed the destruction of a number of ancient Greco-Roman shrines, the most famous of which is a temple to Diana. He has been merged with various other characters to create Santa Claus.
- St Basil the Great: just like St John Chrysostom, Basil also hated ancient Greek civilization. Following pre-Christian traditions, the Orthodox Christians leave special foods out for him on the Feast of St Basil - this is a pagan practise, as in ancient Greece, the Greeks had carried out the same for their pagan deities. Basil is also considered an inspiration for Santa Claus, as in some regions he was thought to come down the chimney to get some of the food items.
- St Boniface: attributed many a destructive work amongst the pre-Christian peoples of Germany and thus achieved the conversions for which he is famous. For example, he had been credited with destroying the sacred Oak Tree of Donar.
- King St. Stephen (10th-11th centuries): King of Hungary who had his country forcibly converted to Christianity.
- St Bernard of Clairvaux: 11th-12th century Cistercian monk, who encouraged ignorance and was responsible for launching the Second Crusade:
Bernard of Clairvaux, since 1115 abbot prior of Clairvaux, an offshoot of the monastery of Cluny, was at the time celebrated like a prophet or apostle and was possibly the most powerful man of the time - "they say that I am the pope, not you," [Bern. ab. Cl., Epist. 239] Bernard once wrote smugly in a letter to pope Eugenius III, a former disciple of Bernard. In 1146 the pope commissioned Bernard to preach a new Crusade, which, considering Eugenius' weak character, was hardly his idea alone. ...Without a second thought to the numerous victims of the first crusade - not to mention compassion - Bernard launched his campaign for further blood-baths in Vézelay, preaching accordingly of Christian morals:From: The Christian Heritage
"Total extermination of the Heathen - or definitive conversion!" [Bern. ab. Cl., Epist. 457]Of course, God could easily send more than
"...twelve legions of angels to the battlefields," [but He prefers to] "entrust us tiny worms with this mission: Now thou seest the great skill wherewith he wants to procure for your salvation!" [Bern. ab. Cl., Epist. 363]...in terms of the subsequent body-count his crusade was a full success, in terms of regaining control of the Holy Land it was a total failure. ...in 1153 he died, not in blood, dust, and screaming of pain like his victims, but peacefully in his bed in the monastery of Clairvaux. On January 18, 1174 he was canonized and placed on the calendar of saints by pope Alexander III. [WW42-84]
- St Thomas Aquinas: 13th century Doctor of the Church. According to him unbelievers ought to be exterminated, women were defective by nature, he looked forward to the heavenly reward of witnessing the suffering of all those in hell, his writings furthered Church teachings on slavery and anti-semitism.
It is mainly his doctrine of evil demons - incubi and succubi, allegedly cohabiting with witches - that served as theoretical basis for thousands of inquisition verdicts.Link
The influence of his fancies became immediately evident upon his death: within a year, the first woman (Angela de la Barthe) was burnt as a witch for supposedly "cohabiting with satan". And this would be but the beginning.
- Other famous misogynistic Saints of the medieval period include Aquinas' teacher St. Albertus Magnus, as well as St. Odo of Cluny.
- St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556): the Basque founder of the Jesuits.
Rome had never seen such a figure as that of the first General of the Society of Jesus. He was a saint: yet half the priests in the city hated him.
-- The Story of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
"We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides."This kind of statement explains how such a line of unscrupulous yes-men came to be founded.
-- St Ignatius of Loyola, Exercitia Spiritualia
However, the Jesuit Order has not been generally well-regarded. Catholic clergy of the entire continent hated the Jesuits for their constant scheming and trouble-making, as did Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590). See also: Candid History of the Jesuits, by Joseph McCabe.
The Jesuit societies that were founded all over the place were also given to much scandal, even in the early decades:
In Italy itself degeneration was not slow in appearing. In 1561 the fathers were driven out of Venice and Naples for their attention to ladies. At Milan two years later there was a furious storm when the Jesuit college and its fathers were found to be tainted with unnatural vice. The Jesuit confessor of the cardinal-archbishop was said to be enamored with the page of a noble lady, and he was, in fact, deprived of his post and condemned to the foreign missions.
By 1581 the Jesuits were very numerous and prosperous, and corruption was announced from all sides. At Rome one of the chief Jesuits was condemned by a commission of the Society. In Spain a Jesuit, Mariana, wrote a scorching work on the "excessive and scandalous enjoyments" of the wealthy Jesuit houses in that country. In 1586 a Spanish Jesuit, Hernandez, wanted to leave the Society, and, when the General refused him a license, he reported to the Spanish Inquisition that this was to prevent him from telling the secret of certain Jesuit gallantries. The Inquisition at once put four of the leading Spanish Jesuits in its prison, seized their documents and began an ominous examination of the rules and practices of the secret Society.The General of the Society at Rome tried to avert the ruin of his body in Spain -- for the exposure would have been sensational -- by inducing the Pope to see that the Inquisition was encroaching upon his province in this inquiry. Catholic Spain was so bitter against the corrupt and intriguing Jesuits that it even fought the Pope for a time. But Pope Sixtus V was a man of fiery energy, and he wanted those documents for himself. He loathed the Jesuits and was determined to destroy them -- less than a half century after their foundation. The documents he now read utterly shocked him, and he ordered that the name of the Society should be altered and its procedure thoroughly reformed. It is a long story how the Jesuits, the special humble servants of the Pope, now fought Sixtus V with every means in their power, and obstructed his designs until he died.
-- The Story of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
- St Francis Xavier: 16th century Basque Jesuit who used violence to convert more people to Christianity than anyone else. He terrorised people in China, India and Japan. However, in Japan - where he's known for setting up the country's first mission in 1549 - he managed to convert no more than a 100 people before departing once more. Besides having non-Christian shrines destroyed, he requested Inquisitions to terrorise the indigenous people of Goa in India, though he did not live long enough to see the terrible ordeals take place.
As usual, after his death, miracle tales were ascribed to him. He was supposed to have given sermons to various peoples in their own tongues, where each present heard the same speech in their own language. However, Xavier's own profuse writings on the matter reveal the facts: he repeatedly writes about the difficulty he had in communicating with his chosen flock and his use of many interpreters. He also resorted to gestures and tried to learn bits of various languages for translating Church teachings. Yet, despite his own written testimonies to the contrary, devout Christians are still taught to believe that he worked this 'miracle'. See: A History of the Warfare of Science with Christendom by Andrew Dickson White.
Tomás de Torquemada, (1420-98), was a Spanish Dominican friar, fanatic organizer of Spanish Inquisition, and had at least 2,000 persons burned to death. He also incited expulsion of Jews from Spain. Torquemada's chief protégé Pedro Arbués was assassinated by relatives of some of his victims in a church in Aragon, Spain, as he left his guards and went alone to the altar to receive the sacrament. During the 19th century, Pedro Arbués was canonized as a saint by Pope Pius IX.(Pope from 1846-78)Link
Another inquisitor-saint was Peter Martyr (Piero da Verona), whose case has never been adequately explained. He was so zealous in Lombardy, Italy, as to embarrass even the church; apparently, it was decided that he would be more useful dead than alive. In 1252 he was assassinated, and within a year he was canonized, the fastest creation of a saint on record. His killers were captured but not prosecuted. One of them later became an inquisitor himself. Another entered the Dominican order, died at an old age, and was canonized as St. Acerinus; his portrait appeared in a stall of Peter Martyr's own church in 1505. A third conspirator was arrested and imprisoned by the Inquisition 43 years after the murder, possibly because he was beginning to talk too much.
Surprisingly, they have not (yet) canonized the devout inquisitor Torquemada. Doubtless, he won't have to wait long. Considering the company he'd keep, one would expect him to be at the top of the still-to-be-beatified list.
Disqualified for sainthood on account of heresy:
Another curious case was that of the heretic who nearly became a saint, Armanno Pongilupo, a high-ranking official of the Catharan [heretic] sect at Ferrara, Italy, in the 13th century. Pretending devout Catholicism, Pongilupo secretly gave aid to imprisoned heretics. He played the part of piety so well that after his death, altars and images were dedicated to him; he received a magnificent tomb in the cathedral; stories were told of his miraculous cures of the sick, the lame, and the blind. Ferrara's citizens demanded his canonization, but the church refused, ordering that his remains be exhumed and burned for his heresy. Ferrara would not comply. The cathedral was placed under interdict and its chapter was excommunicated. Arguments about Pongilupo dragged on for 33 years. Finally, the inquisitor Guido da Vincenza ended the matter by having Pongilupo's bones burned, his altars destroyed, and his heirs deprived of their property, which naturally reverted to the church. Guido was rewarded with the episcopate of Ferrara.Link
The Catharan heretic Pongilupo who helped imprisoned heretics, did not deserve to be sainted or put in the company of the many evil men who were canonized anyway.
- St Teresa of Avila ("greatest Catholic mystic" 1515 - 1582) and other mystic saints:
Saint Teresa and (these) other nuns ... harmed no one, except at most themselves. Teresa and others appear here because their life and their writings show how much a millennium of Christianity had adversely affected human life; how much healthy thinking, healthy feeling, healthy sexual life, and compassion had been replaced by sick teachings, sick emotions, sick reasoning and sick morals. Some of the actions of these saints are almost unbelievable.From: The Christian Heritage
Already on entering the monastery these nuns received a lash with the instruction to use it frequently. Many chastised themselves twice a day, some three or four times. As a historian put it:
"Reading the lives of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century women saints greatly expands one's knowledge of Latin synonyms for whip, thong, flail, chain, etc. ... Among the more bizarre female behaviours were rolling in broken glass, jumping into ovens, hanging from a gibbet, and praying upside down [as well as] thrusting needles into one's breasts, and praying barefoot in winter." [BH209f]In an era when it was considered sin to wash regularly, such behaviour was motivated by the traditional Christian compulsion to deny and to rout the pleasures of the flesh.
Jesus Christ appeared as a bridegroom to the nuns, these "sponsae Christi" (brides of Christ) and "Christi copulatae," (!) [Hieron. epist. ad Eust.], who lived a celibate life in a monastery, some even feeling impregnated (sic!) by their Lord, Jesus Christ. [BF91]
Saint Magdalena dei Pazzi (1566 - 1607), a Carmelite nun from Florence, wallowed in thorns, had hot wax poured onto her skin, and had herself whipped, moaning "Oh enough, this is to endure too much blessedness, too much blissful ecstasy!" Often she stood motionless, "until feeling the love poured into her, filling her body with new life."
At other times she ran raving in a frenzy through her monastery, catching another nun and crying: "Come on, run with me to call for love" or "Love, love, love, oh it is too much!" [TU]
The French Salesian nun Marguerite Marie Alacoque (1647-1690) cut the monogram of Jesus into her breast, and when it was healing too fast, burned it in again with a candle. At times she drank only washings, ate rotten bread and fruit, and once licked up the sputa of a patient with her tongue. In her autobiography she described the joy she felt when she had eaten the faeces of a patient suffering diarrhoea (!). For this ordeal she was allowed to kiss the heart of Jesus, who apparently held her in his arms the subsequent night. [Thurston, Die körperlichen Begleiterscheinungen der Mystik; Underhill, Mystik]
Saint Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) even relished the washings of lepers. "Never before I drank with such joy," she confessed, "a piece of scurfy skin from one of the lepers' wounds was stuck in my throat, and I tried very much to swallow it, finally succeeding. I felt like having received Holy Communion. There are no words to express the shudders of joy that ran through my limbs." [Thurston, Die körperlichen Begleiterscheinungen der Mystik; Underhill, Mystik]
Like other saints Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) felt no joys worth mentioning in her youth. During twenty years she was "a wicked woman", the "most wicked among the naughty," and was "worthy of the company of infernal demons," as she put it. [Teresa I, 48, 53, 71, 85, 139, 164, 174].[BF] Bauer, Die deutsche Frau in der Vergangenheit, 1907.
The first to really satisfy her was her father confessor, a "great admirer of Virgin Mary," especially "of her conception," but also of another female of the same locality, and now of Teresa as well. [Teresa I, 56ff] Obviously all these women overtaxed the poor monk, he died a year later.
The devil, tempter, was always on pursuit of her, especially after this buffet of fate. Until, yah, until the Lord, Jesus Christ, came to her rescue, first in the monastery of Veas, there putting a ring on her finger as a sign of heavenly betrothal, but, alas, showing only his hand. Only later he showed his face, then, piece by piece, all of his body, since "she would not have endured all at once." [Teresa I. 487, 261] Thus, Teresa became a poet out of love, seeing "the flag of the Lord erected," which turned "into the highest tower," and while "the trees filled with sap"!
[BH] Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast, Berkeley 1987.
[TU] Thurston, Die körperlichen Begleiterscheinungen der Mystik, 1956; Underhill, Mystik, 1928.
Some Papal Saints:
Beatified but not yet canonised: Victor III Famous Christians from all Ages - What they did, what they said, includes 4th century sainted bishop Augustine of Hippo, sainted Popes Leo I and Gregory VII, the 11th century monk Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th century Doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas, 16th century Teresa of Avila (and other mystic Saints/mad nuns).
Beatification puts them on track to sainthood.
Fascists, Nazi-supporters, dictators and terrorists
- Terrorist-missionaries who tormented the Chinese have now been beatified by John Paul II
- John Paul II also beatified a Polish monk known for working on anti-semitic propaganda:
Another controversial saint was Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan monk who died at Auschwitz in the place of another prisoner who had been condemned to death. Kolbe had edited an anti-semitic magazine in Poland before the war.Link
- A dictator and the fascist, anti-Semitic founder of Opus Dei, and more:
Some of the sainthood choices, though, are prompting controversy.From: Pope running "Saint factory"? John Paul beatifies monk accused of mental illness, fraud, philandering
The theocratic dictator and 15th century Girolamo Savonarola was approved last month.
John Paul also attracted controversy early in his pontificate when he beatified Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of the Opus Dei group who was a virulent anti-Semite and fascist sympathizer.
- Archbishop Stepinac: the 'Father Confessor' to the Ustashi (Croatia's Nazis), has been beatified
- Pope Pius IX an anti-semite who was also opposed to civil rights, has been beatified by John Paul II
- Pope Pius XII, Hitler's Pope Considered for beatification, though in 2000 this was postponed, whilst John Paul II opted for Pius IX instead at that stage.
Statements by Mother Teresa, on:
Aids: The retribution for "improper sexual misconduct."Although she is the pick of the bunch of most of those sainted, she's a nasty too. Having won the Nobel Peace Prize, not a few were left to wonder what exactly she had done for peace. It turns out, such unrelated awards have started going to any missionary working in non-Christian countries for whatever purpose. These are the least controversial aspects of her career, though, as the Mother had far more disturbing things up her sleeve.
Abortion: Is the greatest enemy of peace.
Poverty: It is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot. The world is much helped by the suffering of poor people.
Overpopulation: There is no problem of overpopulation, only God's will.
The 'kindly' little nun's bedside manner was demonstrated during a filmed interview where she told of her attendance to a patient suffering unbearable pain from terminal cancer. Smiling at the camera, she told of her counsel to the patient. "You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you." She then freely related the response of the sufferer, apparently unaware that it was a put-down. "Then please tell him to stop kissing me," he said.
-- The Missionary Position, by Christopher Hitchens
- Mother Teresa's House of Illusions by Susan Shiels, who was a sister working in Mother Teresa's congregation, the Missionaries of Charity
- Hell's Angel: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, revealing documentary by British journalist Christopher Hitchens
- The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens
The Illusory Vs. The Real Mother Teresa - Michael Hakeem from ffrf reviews Hitchens' The Missionary Position
- Mother Teresa - The Final Verdict by Aroup Chatterjee, some chapters online
- Interviews with and articles by Christopher Hitchens:
- The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa's Crimes Against Humanity, interview
- Saint to the rich, article about how "There was less - and more - to Mother Teresa than met the eye"
- Christopher Hitchens On Mother Theresa, interview
- Mother Teresa, Christopher Hitchens responds to "In defense of Mother Teresa"
- Mommie Dearest - The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, by Christopher Hitchens. Dispels the myth of her so-called miracle (required for sainthood).
- Nehmen ist seliger denn geben. Mutter Teresa - wo sind ihre Millionen? by Walter Wuellenweber in the German weekly Stern, September 10, 1998 ("To receive is more blessed than to give. Mother Teresa - where are her millions?"). An English translation.
- Zur Seligsprechung von Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, alias Mutter Teresa, German article ("Concerning the sainting of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, a.k.a. Mother Teresa")
- What's Mother Teresa Got to Do with It? Monica says she's proof of a miracle by the late nun; her husband begs to differ about the supposed miracle healing performed posthumously by Teresa.
- Teresa and politics, abortion and more. Warning: alludes to some graphic and disturbing historical information.
- The Good Christian? has some more
- Recent Popes
- Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, Billy Graham and more
- Senior bishops and priests in today's Greek Orthodox Church