Monday, December 21, 2009

Mother Mary Mackillop

The news has been full of the declaration that a second miracle has been attributed to Mary Mackillop and so she will be canonised a Saint in the new year. She will be Australia's first saint.
I am afraid my evangelical upbringing means I do not feel the need for any intermediaries between me and God but if praying to a Saint helps other people, I have no objection.  I certainly believe Saints can be used to inspire and teach us.

It does annoy me that it took 100 years after her death and a lot of kerfuffle over the existence or not of two miracles before this was achieved. I think it was the previous pope who declared the first miracle ages ago. I believe Saints should be recognised for the good they did on earth and Mary Mackillop was certainly a saintly person. 

Unlike the two popes,  Pius XII who made some very doubtful decisions during WWII and progressing him towards sainthood is hardly a diplomatic move in maintaining good relations with the Jews.  I thought John Paul II was a silly old man. No doubt he did some good but he also seemed to move the Roman Catholic church back from the enlightenment of Vatican 11 which the present idiot is furthering.  Sorry to my Roman Catholic friends but during the 20 years I taught in Catholic schools, I often considered converting as I admired much in the priests, brothers and sisters with whom I worked and I found much more acceptance than from those in the Sydney Anglican Diocese. They led me back to the God of Love. However whenever these thoughts came into my mind, it was the position of the Pope which deterred me from taking that step.

Mary Mackillop has been described as a tough-minded, astute political operator, struggling against patriarchal city-based church authorities to assist the poorest of the poor in Australia's most remote corners.
She was no passive bystander in her fate. After being briefly excommunicated by her bishop, she begged passage to gain papal approval for her order above the heads of her bishops, battled a split among her own sisters, and then drove an expansion of missions across eastern Australia.

A Jesuit priest, James Martin, author of My Life with the Saints, suggests that the excommunicated nun's imminent canonisation should give heart not only to religious women in the United States undergoing a ''visitation'' by the Vatican but for divorcees and gay women disenfranchised from the church. He playfully suggests MacKillop might be regarded as the patron saint of troublemakers, a reminder that being in trouble with the church hierarchy is no barrier for holiness and a lesson to contemporary Catholics that holiness should not be conflated with unthinking, uncritical or blind obedience.
In Australia, supporters of women priests see in MacKillop a woman who - despite restraints on her by the church - lived out the gospel message by her conscience to do great things.

Now that is what I call a saint. 

I note Fr Bosco says that Mary Mackillop is already on the lectionary for the NZ Anglican church.

1 comment:

Davis said...

The chief difference is between the God of Love and the Church of Laws.