Secular Saintdom and the Real Thing

The death of Hugo Chavez at the early age of 58 is presumably a tragedy for his family who, in the ordinary way of things, would have expected him to live many years longer. It may also be a tragedy for the people of Venezuela, although I have some reservations on that score. What cannot be in any doubt is the way in which his death has shown us, yet again, that the appetite for saints is not diminished. Even the BBC, which is not known for its enthusiasm for religion, seems to have decided that Chavez should be treated with the reverence accorded the unassailably good. It is all rather rum.

When you drive religion out, you end up with superstition and perhaps worse. The deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, or, in a South American context, of Eva Perón, show something similar at work. Could it be that our need for heroes and heroines can never be extinguished? If so, on this International Women’s Day, I’d like to suggest that, after Christ, the most perfect — in every sense — being who has ever lived is Mary of Nazareth, Our Blessed Lady. She is indeed an inspiration, and the real thing.


2 thoughts on “Secular Saintdom and the Real Thing”

  1. Our Lady has always been my inspiration. How much faith and courage she had when as an unwed teen an angel appeared to tell her what God had planned! How much faith and courage she had when traveling while pregnant then escaping to Egypt! And how much strength, courage and faith she had as she witness her beloved son suffer and die for humanity. I can only pray for such strength, courage and faith as a mother and wife, that it will not leave me when I am discouraged and afraid. She is my best friend and confidant.

  2. You are quite right, and of course there are many other female Saints for people to note for their Holy Lives.

    I’ve never subscribed to the Cult of Celebrity which contributes to the sort of Idolatory that you write off. Certainly marking the passing of someone who has made a contribution to the human condition during their lifetime is a worthy thing, but when that same person has also a history of rebellion and suppression of valid dissent, I’m not sure that it’s appropriate.

    I can remember an old northern saying “There’s no accounting for taste”.

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