Jake Finkbonner was injured while playing basketball and ended up with a split lip. He developed a Strep A Necrotizing Fasciitis (flesh eating disease). His face, neck and chest were disfigured before the infection was put under control. Today the Vatican declared his healing a miracle. NPR Link As the story goes, at the point the disease stopped progressing, a relic of Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian who lived 350 years ago was placed on his pillow and a prayer was said. This, not the medicine, is clearly why Jake is alive today. Why even go to Children's hospital, just find a relic of Kateri.
The claim is that Kateri interceded with God on Jake's behalf. Of course my first thought is, does God not answer prayers on his own? Is Kateri more intelligent or knowledgeable than God on his plan for Jake and able to change his mind? Frankly, what kind of sacrilegious garbage is this? We have a relic placed on the pillow. Why does the relic need to be placed there? Are they ascribing a power to this action? How is that not idolatry? This relic is the direct hotline to God it would seem.
So let's look at the statistics here. Necrotizing Fascitis results in death 25% of the time according to the CDC. I'm not sure why ending up in the 75% category denotes a miracle, but who can argue with the Vatican? The last time someone tried that they ended the Renascence with political pressure on the Medici's and Galileo. If they say it's a miracle, you had better agree until they realize that they are wrong.
What seems pretty obvious to me is that they now have an excuse to deem a Native American a saint. The Catholic Church has only seen 57% growth since 1960 when the world has doubled it's population (1960 - 2002) and went from the #1 church to #4. It was even talked about openly that selecting a Latin American for the last Pope appointment would be a strong political move. They are more than aware of the need to appeal to other races and ethnicities. Anyone who has spent any time in Native circles knows that this will be droned on about for decades. It's an astute move to draw in more active members. In fact, Pope John Paul Beatified more people than all other Popes combined. It generates credibility for new churches to be formed in the name of someone more relevant than St Francis from 1226. It excites religious people to feel that connection to God through someone they knew. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Lummi's build a new church in Kateri's name soon. And just in time to take advantage of some of that Casino money that tribes are bringing in too. Theology be damned, there is some money to be made and influence to be won here.
There clearly was no miracle here, but there certainly is opportunity to take advantage of people in a weakened emotional position. Congratulations Catholics. You've still got it.