|gonorrhea in the highest!|
think i can see why it was relatively easy for deeply catholic nations to convince people to adopt their faith, because after starting with the bombshell "there's only one god", they quickly followed up with "but there are lots of saints, people who are deemed to be holy but aren't gods and who have powers over a particular area or group of things or people. and there are hundreds of them, individual ones for everything you can think of and when new things come along, we just assign them to a saint who doesn't have much to do, or we make a new saint and they take over."
"oh and when you join us, you get to choose your own personal saint, who takes care of you."
i don't know how much personalised service you really get, particularly if you choose one of the really popular saints like andrew or mary. with the number of people queued up to be in their group, i have to think that they have some teachers pets who get extra attention. things would probably go easier if you chose, say, st. vitalis, the patron saint of venereal disease. although you're forever going to have to explain how you came to choose him as your patron.
it's truly amazing how many things have their own special saints. there's a saint for gardens, which isn't that surprising, but apparently a different saint for gardeners. one hopes they get along.
there's a saint for the mentally ill. a saint for the internet [because you might as well pray that your download is successful]. a saint for restaurant workers [sort of a celestial union rep], a saint for disappointing children and a separate one for juvenile delinquents. every disease has a patron saint, including the strangely named st. polycarp [there's a town by that name just outside montreal that i thought was made up, but it turns out he really did exist], who is the patron saint of dysentery. i am never stopping in st. polycarp [polycrap?] for any reason.
then there are those who are patrons of a number of things...
saint nicholas [santa claus!] works the off-season as the patron saint of pawnbrokers.
saint john of rila is the patron saint of bulgaria, but also of pies and pie-makers. bulgaria should really use that in their tourism ads.
st. hubertus covers hunters, mathematicians, opticians and metalworkers. someone was totally late getting in the patronage line and got the leftovers.
st. benedict, likewise, has a really weird portfolio that covers schoolchildren, italian architects and nettle rash among others.
but no one beats st. genenius, patron saint of plumbers, actors, circus clowns and torture victims. i'm trying to think up a life story that could account for all of those.
then there are the really ironic saints, like the guy who was falsely accused of getting a woman pregnant and then became the patron saint of pregnant women [like they couldn't have given that to a chick?] or saint appollonia, who had her teeth pulled out with tongs and is now the patron saint of dentists. or saint anthony of padua, the patron saint of lost objects, who seems always to be painted holding a small child. "did somebody drop this??? hello????"
and of course, st. brigid is the patron saint of brides, but also the patron saint of children born out of wedlock [bastards!]. i'm guessing a gathering of her followers is the world's most awkward swap meet.
so whatever you're hoping for right now, consider catholicism as an option to help you get there. because no matter how weird your goals and desires, some demigod by another name is in charge of helping you get it.