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Saturday, June 6, 1998

St. Christopher was demoted but remains a saint

By Ellen Creager / Knight Ridder Newspapers

St. Christopher is described as a tall ferryman in the third century who one day agreed to carry a child across a river.

The heavy child turned out to be Jesus with the weight of the world upon his shoulders. The allegory inspired centuries of Roman Catholics to depend on St. Christopher to usher them safely down the road of life. The name "Christopher" even means "Christ bearer."

But in 1969, the Catholic Church stripped him of his feast day and announced there was no proof St. Christopher ever existed.

So among believers, confusion has reigned for 29 years. Was St. Christopher demoted? Downsized? De-canonized? Is he still an actual saint?

Yes.

No.

No.

Yes.

"He wasn't really downsized," says the Rev. John West, theologian for the Archdiocese of Detroit. There are thousands of saints and not one has ever been de-sainted, he says; in fact, the Vatican is seeking new candidates for sainthood all the time.

---

(c) 1998, Detroit Free Press.

Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at http://www.freep.com.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

 

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