Bless this carbolic to our use and us to thy person

Dang, I’m always falling behind in my saint-memorization. I don’t know who the saints are. I don’t even know who all those crazy saints all over California are! I haven’t got a clue. Saint Rose – who? Saint Clement? Saint Diego? Saint Joe? Saint fucking Barbara? I don’t know these people! I’ve heard of Saint Francis, I can deal with that all right, but all these other ones – I suspect some map-makers just took them out of the Oakland phone book one day. And I’d never heard of Padre Pio – I’m happy to say. Padre Pio, indeed; the very name makes the toes curl. Yuk.

And for good reason, it turns out; the guy flounced around the place saying he had ‘stigmata’ when he only had them because he kept dumping carbolic acid on his hands. And for that they made him a saint? Well jeez – I have this fingernail that I squashed in a car door when I was ten and it’s had a slight flaw in it ever since – can I be a saint? I’m bad-tempered and slothful and occasionally violent, but can I be a saint anyway?

Oh never mind, I wouldn’t want to dress properly for it. But Padre Pio did, and now this book has spilled the beans about the carbolic. (Maybe he didn’t really dump it on his hands. Maybe he needed it just to give his comb a really good cleaning.) The Catholic Anti-Defamation League isn’t taking it lying down though – it’s saying the writer is ‘spreading anti-Catholic libels,’ the bastard.

Pietro Siffi, the president of the League, said: “We would like to remind Mr Luzzatto that according to Catholic doctrine, canonisation carries with it papal infallibility.”

Well quite! Canonisation carries with it papal infallibility, and therefore, if any evidence turns up later that the saint actually wasn’t all that saintly, well, it’s too late, because the papal infallibility works at the sub-atomic level, you see, to transform the saint retroactively into an infallibly saintly…person. So the evidence is beside the point, because the infallibility, like, trumps it. The infallibility is like an ace and the evidence is just like maybe a seven. ‘We would like to suggest to Mr Luzzatto that he dedicates his energies to studying religion properly’ – so that he would know stuff like that.

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