Congratulations to Saint Mark Kleiman

St. Mark Kleiman
St. Mark Kleiman

Slate magazine’s investigative journalists deserve credit for breaking the big news of Mark Kleiman’s canonization. The light blue nimbus was the clue that Kleiman, widely tipped to be the next Pope, had nailed down a Sainthood, which was conferred today in an understated Vatican ceremony.

Original St. Mark (no relation)
Original St. Mark (no relation)

Far from feeling snubbed, the original St. Mark was upbeat “Given the vagaries of Google Scholar, this should help both of our citation indexes”

Kleiman’s rabbi could not be reached for comment.

I hope this stunning religious conversion doesn’t mean that Mark is having serious health problems. My anxiety comes from a story I heard about a terminally ill Jewish man who summoned his son to his side:

Son: What is it, Poppa?

Father: Call a priest. I want to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Son: But you’ve been a faithful Jew all your life! For 80 years you’ve kept the traditions, said the prayers and gone to synagogue. Why would you convert on your death bed to a religion you’ve always despised?

Father: Better one of them should die!

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

8 thoughts on “Congratulations to Saint Mark Kleiman”

  1. There's a definite resemblance to Titian's Pope Paul III. But these days the flowing beard suggests an Orthodox Patriarch, such as Bartholomew of Constantinople.

    His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

  2. Looks more like St. Paul (and I say that with the deepest affection as one who is well on his way to looking like St. Paul too one day…).

  3. Why convert to achieve sainthood? My recollection is that several of the earliest Saints were our guys. The Last Supper, after all, was not a Catholic celebration of Good Friday.

  4. The Catholic Church has a bureaucratic – and inevitably politicised – mechanism for recognizing saints, introduced to limit dubious or hateful popular devotions like that of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, an expression of the blood libel. However the rest of us should not concede the Catholic monopoly. The saint is a recognizable human type, and they occur in many, perhaps all, religions. Confucius, the Baal Shem Tov, and Cicely Saunders were clearly saints.

    Another problem with Catholic practice is the confusion of saints and martyrs. Martyrdom is a one-off thing, and depends entirely on why and how you die, faced with a choice between apostasy and death. Sainthood is your whole life. Thomas More died a martyr, but he did not live a saint, witness the six Lutheran martyrs (Thomas Hitton, Thomas Bilney, Richard Bayfield, John Tewkesbery, Thomas Dusgate, and James Bainham) he had burnt alive as Lord Chancellor. The confusion may have arisen very early on in Christianity, as the death rate among the early leaders of the new sect was staggeringly high.

    1. I agree that the concept should be open to all, but remember to be picky about it, folks. It's supposed to be heroic virtue. And I am not expressing any opinion on Mark — I don't know him well enough. I did hear this though, on a Korean soap last night — " a good teacher can change a thousand lives." (Or, something close to that. This is from subtitles…) Rather effing profound, and not something Americans say nearly often enough.

      Back to the picky part. I am pretty unconvinced about Junipero Serra, f.e. (I am not even a good enough Catholic that I know for sure how to address a Franciscan. Is he a Brother? He wouldn't have been Father, would he? Then again, he was head of the local outfit…) It seems so political. No doubt a lot of it is, and has been, but still. Just being slightly or somewhat better than the rest of the a-hole Spanish conquerors doesn't seem to get me there. Even with changing historical ethical standards and all. Oh well.

    2. This is in reply to my own reply. I went and looked up about the title and then I got on to the Serra wiki page, where it turned out (you already probably know this…) there was a worldwide purge of Jesuits during the time Serra was in "New Spain," from which his Franciscan "team" must have benefited. Fascinating stuff.

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