Fides et Ratio Redux
by Jan Baughman

I've been thinking a lot about Pope John Paul II and just what his legacy will be. Apparently, he has been pondering the same thing. His recent decision to pronounce Edith Stein a saint and martyr was hailed by some, and criticized by many. Edith Stein was a Jewish intellectual who converted to Catholicism, became a nun and died at Auschwitz. Whether she died because she had been Jewish or because she was a nun is the source of debate. I found this to be quite a progressive move for John Paul, despite the criticism he's received. However, the fact is, the Pope has declared more people saints than any other Pope before him and he wants to leave his position in good standing. Or perhaps, as is true with annulments, the requirements for sainthood have merely been loosened a notch or two.

In any event, I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to be beatified.

Now, I know my limits, and I'm not claiming to be a saint or a martyr, but I think I qualify for some sort of recognition. I have been the subject of miracles, having dodged two layoffs in the past twelve months. I've contributed significantly to the well being of humanity through my role in the development of many of today's popular antidepressants. I'm kind to most of God's creatures, have never killed anything larger than a rat; I've never coveted my neighbors' wives or asses or the like, and I believe that Sundays are sacred. With John Paul celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Popehood, and the new millennium approaching, I could play a significant, if not interesting role in defining his papacy. After all, how many popes have had the courage to beatify a thirty-something-white female born-again agnostic?

Okay, so I'm not Catholic. However, I was raised in an Episcopal Church, which is close, or so I hear. I was baptized and confirmed, and even got married in the church. My marriage was subsequently annulled, so the Catholic Church has recognized me before. And, after all, isn't succumbing to non-existence in the eyes of the church a variation of martyrdom?

I'm really hoping that John Paul will step out on a limb for me, and soon. The fact of the matter is he's not getting any younger, and neither am I. And I'd like to set a precedence by being beatified while I'm alive enough to enjoy it -- I've never understood the notion of being revered after you're dead. Such a waste of talent. 'Tis nobler, indeed, to recognize what you have when you have it, than to glorify it after it is long gone...

I swear, John Paul, I will make you proud. I could do so much for women and homosexuals and abortion rights, if only I had a little notoriety to back me up.

Published October 24, 1998
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