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4683.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 10:57 am Reply with quote

'B' is for blessed and beatify.

4685.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:12 am Reply with quote

St Barbara

Patron saint of Artillerymen.

The chapel in HMS Excellent (The Royal Naval Gunnery School at Portsmouth) is dedicated to her.

There are two completely different legends about St Barbara, who, though very popular during the Middle Ages, is almost certainly mythical. The first one, favoured by the Royal Navy, is as follows:

St Barbara's father was a chemist in the town of Hippo in North Africa ľat the time when St Augustine (354-430 AD) was bishop there.

Her father had learned the secret of gunpowder when travelling in the East. When he died, his daughter, a novice nun, was the only one who knew his secrets.

When Hippo was besieged by the Vandals in AD 430, Barbara left her convent and carried on her father's work making explosives, manufacturing bombards and other weapons. . When the town fell, Barbara blew up the convent and all its occupants rather than let them fall into the hands of the Vandals.

Frederick The Monk
4687.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:18 am Reply with quote

St Bairre (also known as St. Finbar) was an Irish hermit and the first bishop of Cork. After his death on 25th September 623 it is said that the sun didn't set for a fortnight.

They had proper miracles in those days.

Frederick The Monk
4704.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:16 pm Reply with quote

St. Blane, a sixth century Scottish saint, whose monastery became the cathedral of Dunblane, was said to be able to light fires by passing small bolts of lightning between his fingers.

Gandalf eat your heart out.


Frederick The Monk
4705.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:33 pm Reply with quote

Here's a a good Alfredian one:

St. Birstan was a pupil of St. Grimbald (one of the scholars brought to England by Alfred, and later Bishop of Winchester) whose particular devotion was to the dead. Now the dead are usually quite a difficult audience and praying endlessly for them might seem a little thankless. But this was the ninth century when wonderful things could still happen and, after a particularly involved bout of praying for them, the dead became so impressed by St. Birstan's dedication that they shouted 'Amen!' One can only imagine just how thrilled he must have been by this. Not long after, Birstan himself died - whilst praying for the dead as it happens - and as such went from being the provider to receiver of his own devotions in a flash.

Sadly for old Birstan he was rather forgotten after his death - probably because he had hung around with bigger and more famous saints, like St. Swithun, but it seems that eventually the other saints took pity on him and he appeared to the (still living) St. Aethelwold in a vision with Ss Swithun and Birinus. Having been 'seen out' with such illustrious company St. Aethelwold then spread the news that Birstan was 'In Glory' with the saints and sure enough he was elected to their number.

And they all died happily ever after.

s:Earles, J. Life and Time of St. Swithun.

4706.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:47 pm Reply with quote

From another bit of Fred's Catholic Forum link above I discovered that you - yes, you, sinner in the back row there - are also a saint if you are a believer. If you're not a believer, you're buggered of course, but there's always time to mend your ways:

The word in the Bible for "saint" or "saints" is the word (hagios) also translated "sanctified" or "holy ones." The root word hazo, means "to venerate." Hagios means to be separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God.

Hagios is used of God (Lk 1:49; Acts 3:14; Mt 1:18, etc.). It is a word used of men and things (1 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 2:5,9, etc.)

When Paul uses the word "saint" in the singular, he refers to a state into which God calls men with His grace.

Phil 4:21
Give my greetings to every holy one (hagion) in Christ Jesus.
In its plural form, Paul uses the word to refer to all believers. For Paul, the word is not applied only to persons of exceptional holiness, nor to those having died characterized by an exceptional life of saintliness.

(See Eph 2:19; Rom 12:13; Rom 16:15; 1 Cor 16:1; 1 Cor 16:15)

Paul also uses the term for both those who are living and for those who are dead.

(See 2 Thess 1:9-10; Jude 14-15)

The Apostles Creed says "I believe in the communion of saints." Communion of saints refers to the bond of unity among all believers, both living and dead, who are or have been committed followers of Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God, in eternity, the distinction between His People who are "living" or who are "dead" is not at all important.

( See Mk 9:4; Mk 12:26-27; Lk 23:43; Rom 12:5)

So is there a question here - or is it all a bit too theological - about all believers being saints?

4707.  Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:48 pm Reply with quote

How about: When the saints go marching in, what are the odds of you being in that number?

Frederick The Monk
4763.  Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:58 am Reply with quote

Me a Saint? I don't believe it. i fact it all depends of course on whether I'm after public or private veneration. If it's the full on public 'St. Fred' I'm after then my case would have to go to the "Congregation of the Causes of Saints' at the Vatican who have a method for deciding all that. In fact the Pope has taken full charge of deciding who is ( and who isn't) a saint since 1634 when a Bull was issued reminding Bishops (who liked to do a bit of beatification themselves) that both the rites of beatification and canonisation were reserved to the Holy See. As this was a Bull and the Pope was infallible, that rather put an end to the argument.

Even if I can persuade the Congregation of my suitability (and they require me to be dead first, which is a little incovenient) I then need to worry about the cost. Canonisation is NOT CHEAP as the accounts for the canonisation by Leo XIII, of Saints Anthony Maria Zaccaria and Peter Fourier show:

It will not be out of place to give succinctly the ordinary actual expenses of canonization and beatification. Of these expenses some are necessary others merely discretionary, e.g. the expenses incurred in obtaining the different rescripts) others, though necessary, are not specified. Such are the expenses of the solemnity in the Vatican Basilica, and for paintings representing the newly beatified which are afterwards presented to the pope, the cardinals, officials, and consultors of the Congregation of Rites. The limits of this class of expenses depend on the postulator of the cause. If he chooses to spend a moderate sum the entire cause from the first process to the solemn beatification will not cost him less than $20,000. The expenses of the process from beatification to canonization will easily exceed $30,000. In illustration of this we subjoin the final account of the expenses of the public solemnities in the Vatican Basilica for the canonization by Leo XIII, of Saints Anthony Maria Zaccaria and Peter Fourier, as published by the Most Rev. Diomede Panici, titular Archbishop of Laodicea, then Secretary of the Congregation of Rites.
To decoration of the Basilica, lights, architectural designs, labour, and superintendence -- Lire 152,840.58
Procession, Pontifical Mass, preparation of altars in Basilica -- 8,114.58
Cost of gifts presented to Holy Father -- 1,438.87
Hangings, Sacred Vestments, etc. -- 12,990.60
Recompense for services and money loaned -- 3,525.07
To the Vatican Chapter as perquisites for decorations and candles -- 18,000.00
Propine and Competenza -- 16,936.00
Incidental and unforeseen expenses -- 4,468,40
Total -- 221,849.10 or (taking the lira equivalent to $.193 in 1913 United States money) $42,816.87.


Frederick The Monk
4766.  Sun Jan 18, 2004 7:18 am Reply with quote

And I almost forgot:

St. Bega. (a.k.a St Bee)

Born sometime in the 7th century in Ireland, Bega was the daughter of Irish Royalty and, as was usual at the time, her family arranged a suitable marriage for her - in this case to a Norwegian prince. Bega however had decided to dedicate her life to God and remain a virgin, something which rather annoyed her family and no doubt disappointed said prince of Norway. God was delighted however and sent an angel to give her a bracelet as a sign of her marriage to Christ, a useful gift which opened locked doors and hence helped magic her away from the Hall where her father and husband-to-be were feasting on the night before the wedding.

Her disappearance was noticed the next day and, as is so often the case in these family disputes, everything turned a bit nasty and Bega had to flee the country. On reaching the shores of the Irish Sea however no suitable vessel was available and so she chose to cross the water on a clod of earth. This being an age of miracles, all went well and Bega arrived in Cumberland where she lived as an anchoress in the forest where she was fed by the birds.

Perhaps the lonliness of the life of an anchoress eventually palled, perhaps a diet of seeds, worms and small insect simply no longer satisfied, but eventually Saint Oswald of Northumbria (who was out hunting highwaymen) persuaded her to take the veil in an convent and she was accepted as a bride of Christ by Saint Aiden of Lindisfarne.


4809.  Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:01 pm Reply with quote

since 1634 when a Bull was issued .... As this was a Bull and the Pope was infallible ...

Not till 1870 (First Vatican Council), he wasn't.

4810.  Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:11 pm Reply with quote

St. Paula the Bearded (feast day Feb 20th) lived in the 14th century in Cardenosa, near Avila, Spain. In order to escape the an over-enthusiastic suitor (poss euphemism for "rapist"? Don't know) she fled into a church, embraced the crucifix and prayed to be delivered from her pursuer. She was immediately blessed with a luxuriant beard, which saved her on that occasion and indeed enabled her to maintain a state of rigourous chastity without much effort for the rest of her life.

Frederick The Monk
4815.  Sun Jan 18, 2004 7:11 pm Reply with quote

Not till 1870 (First Vatican Council), he wasn't.

Technically true of course but the Vatican I statement was simply making concrete what was (at least until the Reformation) an explicitly taught doctrine. For a very long discussion on the origins of the doctrine of infalibility have a look at:

4864.  Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:12 pm Reply with quote

Oh, all right, I was wrong. But only because I wasn't speaking ex cathedra.

349045.  Sat May 31, 2008 9:20 am Reply with quote

Funnily enough, I was looking for something entirely different and stumbled upon this thread, which I'd been meaning to say something about since it was brought up in Thursday's recording. Stephen mentioned, in a dismissive aside, that the Pope was made completely infallible in Vatican I, in such a way that didn't gesture towards the established definition of infallibility--ex cathedra and all that, as you've rightly said. It was quite disappointing, considering he'd only a minute prior made me cheer by debunking one of the most prevalent misunderstandings of Catholic terminology, namely, to whom the "immaculate conception" refers. Fred assured me afterwards that Stephen had been notified of the subtlety, but as it's already on tape, perhaps that's a sentence that should be neatly snipped out of the cut. I would guess that it's easier to retract statements before they need formal retracting.

349477.  Sat May 31, 2008 6:51 pm Reply with quote

Yes. Don't count on seeing that statement in the broadcast version.


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