This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5 -- Zachary, Elizabeth, and the Anti-Saint

November 5 is the feast of St. Elizabeth, the elderly mother of St. John the Baptist and cousin of Mary the Mother of Jesus. It is also the feast of her husband, Zachary, a priest. We don't hear a lot about Elizabeth, but she had it rough. In order to spare John from Herod's slaughter of the innocents, Zachary refused to say where his wife and son were hiding, and thus forfeited his own life. Some years later, John was beheaded for his denunciation of royal immorality, perhaps leaving his widowed mother alone in the world (unless she predeceased him). She is, nonetheless, the patron of pregnancy.

November 5 is more famously Guy Fawkes Day, the day on which some English papists planned to blow up the British Parliament with King James I in it in hopes of restoring a Catholic to the throne. When discovered guarding his gunpowder stashed beneath the Parliament building and asked what he hoped to do with it, he replied, I am going "to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains." (King James I was a Stuart, a Scottish king invited to take England's throne when his cousin Elizabeth I died without an heir).

People who blow up buildings and kill people for God might claim martyrdom, but they are terrorists, not saints. They were then and they are now. Guy Fawkes, having spent a few ugly days being tortured for the names of his conspirators, was unwilling to submit to the drawing and quartering to which he was sentenced and leaped from the scaffold, breaking his neck. A fitting end for a terrorist.  It is right and proper that Guy Fawkes was never venerated, let alone beatified or canonized. 

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