March 25, 2008 | Graham

Bring out your dead

Here’s another reason I could never be a Roman Catholic. A press release from the World Youth Day Sydney, the religious extravaganza being staged by the Catholic Church in July this year, alerted me to the fact that Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati would be attending.

The charismatic Blessed Pier Giorgio is revered for his social activism, sporty nature, sense of humour and generous spirit.
“His youthful good looks, charm, fun-loving nature and dedication to God and humanity make him the perfect inspiration for young people,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator of WYD08.

So far so good. Sounds like a great guy and maybe we can get him to write an article for OLO.
Well, maybe not. I should have read the headline more closely. The press release continues:

“Pier Giorgio loved sport, horseriding, mountain climbing – and practical jokes.”

Past tense? And then…

Born into a wealthy, influential but unreligious family – his agnostic father became Italian Ambassador to Germany – Pier Giorgio joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 at 17, committing his spare time to the sick and needy.
An extremely passionate social activist, Pier Giorgio joined student organisations, opposed fascism and established a daily newspaper.
His great acts of charity included donating his graduation money to an elderly woman evicted from her apartment and supporting a sick widow’s three children.
In 1925 Pier Giorgio was afflicted by an acute attack of polio, which doctors speculated he caught from the sick that he tended. He died at the age of 24.

So a key attraction will be the body of someone who has been dead for 83 years! Not my idea of Christianity – very medieval. What ever happened to worshipping in spirit and in truth!

Posted by Graham at 8:26 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Religion


  1. The title of the event is a lie too.
    It has no relevance whatsoever to the over-whelming majority of world youth who are NOT catholic.
    And isnt the entire event essentially an exercise in “religious” power politics, and “religious” one-upmanship too.
    On another level it is pure barnum & Bailey showbiz—with thousands of suckers.
    Come and see the clown (the star attraction) dressed up in his fancy costume. And listen to him talk his usual archaic double-minded mumbo-jumbo.
    Better that he appear totaly naked and show us that he too, is a vulnerable human being who really hasnt got a clue about anything.

    Comment by Sue — March 25, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  2. In partial defence of my erstwhile co-religionists, surely they don’t have a mortgage on irrational beliefs?
    I read a Jack Marx post where he offers some links to some pretty damning stuff about the belief system of Tibetan Buddhism, which is convincing enough for Richard Gere.
    The various Protestantisms still stick with the basics of Christianity, which are implausible enough from some points of view. Anglicanism has its ancient and medieval holdovers – the Nicene creed, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Book of Common Prayer…
    Of course, relics seem pretty strange from the outside, but they’re consistent with the practices of what really is a broad church 😉
    Anyway Graham – was this your “Easter Message” 😀

    Comment by Jason — March 26, 2008 @ 7:43 am

  3. Jason, you’ve sent me off to do some research on veneration of relics. It appears to be something which developed some centuries after Christ, and may relate to honouring of martyrs killed in Rome
    According to “The attitude of the Protestant churches to relics was expressed by Luther in his Larger Catechism when he said, “es ist alles tot Ding das niemand heiligen kann.” They are lifeless, dead things, that can make no man holy.”
    The difference in attitudes between Catholics and Protestants to relics is significant. We might share a number of beliefs that others might label “irrational” but the Catholic Church has a lot that are unique to it.
    I guess that’s what motivated me to write about it. In a world where some people can’t see the difference between a Muslim and a Christian, or a Buddhist and a Jew, they think the differences within religions are a little esoteric. I think this example shows they aren’t.
    The whole area of saints’ relics is steeped in fraud and superstition. And while some of the Christian story is a bit hard to take – resurrections and such like – it’s even harder to suppose that the only relic left of Christ is his foreskin. Yet it is supposed to be, and it is venerated in a church in France.
    At least Pier Giorgio will have a death certificate and we’ll be fairly sure he is who they say he is!

    Comment by Graham Young — March 30, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

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