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Editor’s Note  :  In this post,  T H O M  has the floor and his own choice of metaphors, drawn, in this piece, from the sporting worlds of cricket, boxing and horse-racing (of which two may not qualify as “sport”). Cricketese is Australia’s third language, after English and Strine : Down Under everyone knows what “silly leg” is and what “to declare” means.  “Nothing to declare” means what it says, at the Customs gate, in cocktail parties and especially in the blogosphere.  However when Thom says that His Holiness declared, he is not referring to the publication of an encyclical, but to the fact that he was “out”, having handed in his bat and gone Home.

“A quick Google search tells us that the six Pontiffs of the 19th century blessed us with 80 new Saints, although Leo XII and Pius VIII experienced a drought, both scoring NIL.  The 20th century was somewhat better with 215, due largely to the superb scoring of John Paul II who got 110 before he declared.  In our own times Benedict XVI added 45 before he threw in the towel and Francis has clocked up 17 with the innings hardly begun.  A grand total of 357 in the last 215 years.  Not all that impressive, really.  Until you realize that all have had miracles attributed to them.  Now that is really something.  There have obviously been a large number of people praying to virtual unknowns without established track records of miracles.  You have to wonder why anyone in his right mind would chance going with an untried runner, when there are numerous better fancied starters.  But even then you’ve got to question why the prayerful supplicants don’t go straight to the top anyway.  Why put your trust in a middleman (or woman) when you’ve got a hotline to Jesus for the asking ?  The belief that God in His infinite mercy is going to be swayed by some dead person whispering in His ear to do a special deal for so-and-so, is so ludicrously and outrageously macabre as to be literally unbelievable.  Yet the faithful continue with the mad charade.  If it gives them comfort, what the heck !  Or WTF as the young might say.”