Stephen Kurczy of the Christian Science Monitor tried to dispel "persistent myths" about St. Patrick in a Monday article on the patron saint of the Irish, but ended up forwarding outlandish claims. Kurczy even went so far to inaccurately contend that "Patrick...isn't even recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as an official saint
The correspondent made that astonishing claim three paragraphs into his article, titled "St. Patrick's Day: Did Patrick become Christian for the tax breaks?
" In fact, at his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday
, Pope Benedict XVI "addressed a special greeting to Irish faithful who are today celebrating the feast of their patron, St. Patrick." The Catholic Church wouldn't commemorate his feast day if he wasn't an "official saint." Even the Eastern Orthodox, who have no substantial presence in Ireland, recognize Patrick as a saint
. Kurczy could be confused by the fact that the saint was recognized prior to the institution of the formal canonization process by the Church.
Husna Haq, Kurczy's colleague at the Christian Sciene Monitor, actually pointed out the very fact of the official recognition of St. Patrick in a Wednesday article on why people wear green
on March 17: "St. Patrick's Day was originally a Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland’s patron saint
, celebrated only in Ireland since before the 1600s."
In the following sentence, the writer made another wild claim: "Perhaps more jarring, he [St. Patrick] likely became a Christian for the tax breaks," and linked to the History Channel's website on the saint
. Actually, the link doesn't say that. In fact, it says that "his father
was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives." So the theory is that Patrick's father took the office for the tax benefits, not the saint himself. Also, a key word in that sentence is "suggested." The history on the matter is unclear.
Later in the article, Kurczy, despite claiming that the Catholic Church doesn't recognize Patrick as an "official saint," went on to contend that it was the Church that made a big deal out of him in the first place, citing former Johns Hopkins professor Carmel McCaffrey: "During her research, she [McCaffrey] found that because of the two letters that Patrick left behind, church officials developed a cult of personality around him, much of it untrue. Such myths include that he used the shamrock to teach the concept of a trinity." Why would the Church develop a "cult of personality" around St. Patrick if he wasn't an "official saint"?
It just goes to show yet again that the media can't get its facts straight when it comes to Christianity.