Indian Saint Canonized
July 31, 2002 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Today in Mexico, Pope removes chin from chest to canonize the first Indian saint.
posted by swift (26 comments total)
Today in Mexico, Pope removes chin from chest...

The gold drool chalice didn't get in the way?
posted by flatlander at 3:05 PM on July 31, 2002

He also canonized the first Central American saint in Guatemala earlier this week. (and no, it wasn't Left Eye).
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2002

Right, 'cause all he ever did for anyone was drool and ignore pedophaelia in the church. If you're going to make a Parkinson's joke, at least make a good one, like "Do not adjust your vertical hold, it's just the Pope."
posted by yerfatma at 3:44 PM on July 31, 2002

yerfatma: That dosn't make any sense.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on July 31, 2002

the last two comments are classic metafilter.
Funny shit.
posted by thekorruptor at 4:13 PM on July 31, 2002

Its difficult to overstate the importance of Juan Diego and his visit from the Virgin Mary, known in Mexico as the Lady of Guadalupe. Mexican schoolchildren learn the story as part of their early religious education. The religious center of Mexico City is the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was built at the site of this event.

An interesting side story is that this is I believe the third cathedral to have been built at that location. The other two are still there but have, oddly, refused to stay upright. This picture does not convey dramatically enough the odd sight of seeing a huge tilted cathedral.
posted by vacapinta at 4:14 PM on July 31, 2002

Juan Diego was not Indian. Discuss.
posted by BlueTrain at 4:27 PM on July 31, 2002

Some historians also don't think he actually existed, leading others to say, "It doesn't matter." Juan Diego is seen as the catalyst for a Catholic Mexico, and sometimes I wonder how Mexico would have evolved without this "propaganda," as some scholar put it.

I remember watching a movie on Spanish TV based on the myth multiple times as a young kid. I also remember going to a downtown church where many Mexicans had congregated around an "apparition" of the Virgen de Guadalupe on a stone in the churchyard.

Juan Diego, the Virgin Mary, and the patron saints are huge Christian icons in Mexico. I've talked to non-Catholic Christians who are very uncomfortable with this practice; I think they see it as almost heathen. I for one am much more interested in the power shift created by telling the native Mexicans that one of their own saw and was blessed by this powerful Christian figure.
posted by lychee at 5:41 PM on July 31, 2002

The New York times called him an Indian.
posted by swift at 5:42 PM on July 31, 2002

I find it more interesting that this same sacred site was also where the Aztecs worshipped the goddess Tonantzin. Yet another example, perhaps, of the Church's masterful ability to incorporate paganism.
posted by vacapinta at 6:02 PM on July 31, 2002

Pope removes chin from chest


Nice comments from vacapinta, though.
posted by y2karl at 6:24 PM on July 31, 2002

ignore pedophaelia in the church
You say it like it's "no biggie". The Parkinson's joke was a cheap shot, but his "oooh, bad" policy toward an epidemic of child rapists has been disgusting.
posted by owillis at 7:09 PM on July 31, 2002


Wow, the Pope has Parkinsons? I just thought he was old and feeble. Sorry to offend all the Parkinsons-senstive people. It was retarded of me.

Fuck the fucking Pope. No shot is too cheap.
posted by swift at 8:08 PM on July 31, 2002

...Pope removes chin from chest... Harsh, swift. Hope no one you care about ever comes down with Parkinson's. Thanks to lychee, y2karl and vacapinta for thoughtful comments.
posted by Lynsey at 8:10 PM on July 31, 2002

The pope was just in my hometown. I think I'm wth swift.
posted by websavvy at 8:14 PM on July 31, 2002

Wheeling around an invalid who can barely speak...what an inspiration. Put somebody in there who can lead.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 8:19 PM on July 31, 2002

The stars are displaced
By this towering wisdom.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:31 PM on July 31, 2002

If it's bad poetry you want, it's bad poetry you'll get.
posted by swift at 11:05 PM on July 31, 2002

My maternal grandfather died of Parkinsons and lung cancer. Major double whammy.

Everytime I see the pope, that poor old bastard, all I can imagine is that going through his mind, over and over again, is the mantra "please god kill me now please god kill me now..."

It would seem that God's not listening, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:45 PM on July 31, 2002

For Catholics (and others) who advocate for liberation theology, the canonization of Juan Diego lends further credence to the social mission of the church. Many saints were canonized because of their ministry to the poor, the weak, and the devalued. However, to have a representative of these the groups identified within the Beatitudes as "blessed" is a rather remarkable event. I think that this is another way of removing the "otherness" of the poor and the suffering and highlighting the importance of social justice as a primary mission of not only the Catholic Church, but other denominations and religions that seek to redress the wrongs within society.

{savg*pncl} said: Wheeling around an invalid who can barely speak...what an inspiration.

Actually, it can be. Oftentimes, it is people who overcome (physically, mentally, or spiritually) great difficulties that show greater strength than the normal and the healthy. I do not mean to elevate those with disabilities, but these folks are more than their impairments.
posted by Avogadro at 8:24 AM on August 1, 2002

Did I read somewhere that this pope has beatified more people than all of the last 500 years worth of popes....and some of the decision making has been shaky to say the least....

I'm not going to get into the Popes wellbeing - but it's going to be fun if we have a surplus of saints....
posted by mattr at 8:34 AM on August 1, 2002

mattr: Did I read somewhere that this pope has beatified more people than all of the last 500 years worth of popes....

I heard "464" on NPR. But this may not even be 5% of the total number of saints (see below).

and some of the decision making has been shaky to say the least....

NPR talked about the apocryphal overtones to Juan Diego's history, and a recent reform that abolished a "devil's advocate" position whose job was to argue against a proposed canonization. But no saints were singled out as questionable.

Patron Saints Index lists over 3,500 saints but says there may be 10,000 total.
posted by kurumi at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2002

so was he an indian or not (if he existed)?
posted by signal at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2002

so was he an indian or not (if he existed)?

Ah-yup, he was definitely from native stock. I think BT was saying that he wasn't "Indian" with a capital "I" (as in from the Indian Subcontinent).
posted by Avogadro at 1:55 PM on August 1, 2002

There is a growing trend to no longer use the term "indian" as it does get confused with those originating from the Indian Subcontinent.

We (yes, I am aboriginal) now tend to use the following:
- native american
- native
- aboriginal
- First Nations People
or make reference to our own particular First Nation

Native Americans have long been subjected to the whims of others, whether it was Government or the Church, and it still continues to this day...

Here in Canada, the term "indian" is still used, but mostly because of the government's "Indian Act", in which the terminology is still being used, and not likely to be changed soon. It is because of the Indian Act that aboriginals have arbitrarily been divided into categories such as status, non-status and metis, and their rights limited as a result.

In fact, up until 1985, the Indian Act still had a very unfair section that meant that if an Indian man married a non-Indian woman, she would gain all rights and privileges of a full-status Indian. However, if a WOMAN married "outside" she would immediately lose her status, and her children and their descendants would lose their status as well. Bill C-31 finally equalized matters somewhat, but only extended to the first generation. (For more info on the [url]]Canadian Government's FAQ on Indian Status[/url])

The fact that the Church has chosen to use this particular saint as an example: "...we could say that Juan Diego represents all the indigenous peoples who accepted the Gospel of Jesus", just means that they are trying to find a more culturally appropriate contact point with aboriginal peoples. I suppose it's just another form of target marketing.

In Canada, many religious institutions were left in charge of native boarding schools from the early 1900's up until the 1960's. Many travesties were committed in the majority of those schools, from repeated sexual abuse to severe beatings. Native children were denied the right to speak their own language; in some cases these children were subjected to extreme punishment, from having a large wooden block put in their mouths for hours on end, to having a sewing needle put through their tongues -- all for speaking their own language. The worst part? Some of these kids were taken away from their parents at so young an age that they didn't even know any other language other than their mother tongue! Some kids entered these schools as young as 5 and in some cases never went home until they turned 16; losing all touch with not only their families, but their entire cultural identity. There is even a nickname for these folk -- "apples": red on the outside but white on the inside.

To this day, there are numerous group lawsuits against these religious orders and institutions, for the psychological and emotional damages they inflicted on mere children. As a result, these kids have often grown up to be so "messed up" in their adult years as to turn to drugs, alcohol and gambling in order to escape.

Do I hold a prejudiced view against the Church in it's treatment of natives -- yeah, I guess you could, but I think history has shown us their true agenda, and their inability to keep "control" over their representatives... You won't catch *me* holding my breath.
posted by Jade Dragon at 1:43 PM on August 2, 2002

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