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Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Politician In Heaven?


I remember when I was in college, a friend of mine was doing an essay on whether a Christian could be a politician. Weighing up what was required of a Christian and what practicalities are involved in modern politics, my friend found herself veering towards a No. Interesting, I thought. And yet, among the Saints, there are men and women who were politicians in one way or another. Indeed one of the greatest of them was St Thomas More, but he did eventually fall foul of the prevailing political climate. We have a few modern politicians among those being investigated for sainthood, we shall see how those Causes go.

Well today is the feast of another politician, St Peter Orseolo, a Doge of Venice. If ever there was a political position that could vex a Christian it was that of the Doge. Remember the Republic of Venice was mercantile through and through. While they venerated the remains of St Mark (which they robbed, as they did the remains of St Lucy), and they had many churches, money was the thing, and they committed many foul deeds to help keep their coffers overflowing, the Sack of Constantinople among them (although that event is much more complicated than usually presented with an Byzantine emperor refusing to pay his debts slap bang in the middle of it). 

It seems, however, St Peter did a good job navigating the intrigues of state and the ambitions of Venetians to achieve sanctity - a saint among sinners, as the saying goes.  That said he did not remain in office for life, as was usual, but abdicated after two years and went off to a monastery for the rest of his life. He did not even inform his wife that he was hightailing it off to the monks (maybe she had something to do with the decision too, who knows?).

Anyway, you read more about his life here. In the meantime, let us pray for our politicians.

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