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Michael Toth-Fejel wrote:

Hello!

I'm married and live in Hungary. A number of years ago I work with someone who a fallen-away Catholic but still a Bible-believing Christian.

He said that he lost faith in the Catholic Church when in the 70's, it turned out that a person the Church had declared a saint, was really not. I am no longer in contact with him, so I can't get any more information.

Since then, what he said has been bothering me. I personally don't remember anything like that.
It could be just some anti-Catholic rumor created by a misunderstanding.

Any information would be of help.

Thanks,

Michael

  { Did the Church declare someone a Saint who was really not a Saint? }

Eric replied:

Hi Michael,

It's a misunderstanding.

At that time, it was determined that there was precious little historical information on these saints, who had a large crowd of devotees. Given that during the first 1,400 years of the Church's history, saints were declared by popular acclaim, it's not surprising that saints with dubious credentials gained popularity.

It was decided it would be best therefore, to suppress on the universal calendar, the feasts of saints with little or no historical evidence. That is, their feast days had been celebrated throughout the world, but now they would not be. Some are still celebrated on local calendars, although some have had their cult suppressed entirely, which I suppose is a way of saying let's not go there.

If there were purely imaginary saints, this should not cause us any distress as they were declared, as I said, during a time when popularity governed who was declared a saint, and the Church had no formal opportunity to screen them. It would not be surprising, under the circumstances of the time, if some imaginary saints made it through, while at the same time, there was no negative reflection on the Church today, which now screens saints much more carefully in its canonization.

This article on St. Christopher deals with the issue:

Hope this answers your question!

Eric Ewanco

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