The Devil’s Advocate

  • The Devil’s advocate was a person appointed to testify against the canonization of a saint.
  • advocatus diaboli: John Paul II abolishes this position in 1983 providing the catalyst for a wave of beatifications and canonizations
  • Christopher Hitchen’s testified against Mother Teresa.
  • Sainthood is dependent on the acceptance of miracles and the saints’ ability to intervene from beyond the grave
The history of the term Devil’s Advocate was new to me as well as the controversy around Mother Teresa.  Right now Mother Teresa has been beatified and not yet canonized.  Beatification is the third of four steps in the canonization process.  Having been beatified is a a statement that a person enjoys the beatific vision or direct and visual perception of God.  The Catholic Church requires a second miracle to complete the canonization process, but it appears there is plenty of controversy around the first.  A Bengali woman claims to a beam of light appeared from a picture of Mother Teresa and it cured her cancer.  However her doctor has testified that she never had a tumor to begin with.
Regardless of the validity of her sainthood or my feelings on the entire canonization process, I had no idea there was so much controversy around her life before death.  (more on this later)
My research raises endless questions, but there were a couple of questions I wanted to raise that we didn’t have a chance to discuss live at Night School.
Firstly, is Mother Teresa’s canonization based on a lie and does that matter?  Why does an intervention after her death prove what kind of life she lived?  I’m sure I could get some of these answers in the Cathechism, but I’m more interested in a discussion outside of the church.
We may never know if the Bengali woman really had cancer but what do you think about mind over matter healing in general?  Removing loaded terms such as prayer and even meditation, do you believe in the power of the mind to change our physical reality?  If our belief in a person, thing, or event is strong enough does that make it somehow real?

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