St christopher not a saint?


i heard that the vatican determined in the 1970’s that st christopher never existed and declared that he is not a saint. does anyone know if this is true?


Not true.

The Church has never declared that a saint is not a saint.

What it did do is say that it could find no factual evidence as to the existance of St Christopher so he was removed from the Liturgical Calendar.


What it did do is say that it could find no factual evidence as to the existance of St Christopher so he was removed from the Liturgical Calendar

**To be precise, St. Christopher was removed from the Latin calendar as a required observance.

St. Christopher is still on the Byzantine Calendar–9 May, if I’m not mistaken.**


He is still on the particular calendar.


As stated before, they just admitted that they knew nothing of the Saints existence. They did the same thing for St. Valentine as well. I guess Hallmark missed that memo


He is still in the martyrology, as is St. Valentine. Under July 25, number 2 reads:

In Lycia, sancti Christophori martyris

and under February 14, the martyrology reading (also second) is:

Romae via Flaminia iuxta pontem Milvium, sancti Valentini, martyris


The error here is illustrated by pointing out the fact that canonisations are infallible acts. That is proof enough, for a Catholic at least, that St. Christopher exists.

The removal from the calender however, seems to have been done for the very reason of this idea that there was “no factual evidence as to the existence of St Christopher”. This was the reason given for the removal of St. Philomena, as well. You can see how this can undermine belief in the Church Herself.

You can also see that anyone who actually holds this position (that their was no evidence of their existence) implicitly holds that the Canonisations of the Church can not only be improper…but She could canonise someone who never existed.



One should also remember that centralization of the canonization process was a 2nd millenium phenomenon in the west, and is uniquely Catholic in the east.

Also, due to quirks of the reunification with the Eastern Churches, several saints are on the Eastern Catholic Calendars who were staunchly anti-Roman, and yet these saints commemorations were approved by Rome not once, but repeatedly. St. Gregory Palamas, St. Photius, and several others of the Orthodox side of the Great Schism.

Likewise, more than a couple Roman Saints were staunchly anti-Eastern Church…

And St Joan of Arc was burned as a Heretic.


Canonisations are infallible acts. Are you denying this…or just merely confused about it?



I don’t have the info in front of me, but if I remember correctly, the canonization process did not exist in the early Church and neither St. Christopher, nor St. Valentine, nor St. Philomena were ever actually canonized. In the early Church, martyrdom was sufficient for one to be given the title “saint” and to be venerated.


I think the point he was making is that many early canonizations were not Church acts at all. Some early Saints were basically canonized by popular acclamation, and the Church has no record of their lives or why in particular they were thought to be Saints. It is unlikely that those actions, not of the Church but of the people of one locality, would be infallible.

God Bless


So you are implying that any of the early saints may denied at any time because of this. But Tradition says differently as these saints were venerated as saints. The infallibility of the Church is at stake here.



So you are implying that any of the early saints may denied at any time because of this. But Tradition says differently as these saints were venerated as saints. The infallibility of the Church is at stake here.


SFD, you’re creating straw men again. I never said anything about “denying” saints. You said that removing St. Christopher from the calendar was an error because canonizations are infallible acts. I pointed out the fact that none of the saints being discussed in this thread were actually canonized. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t saints, just as removing a saint’s feast day from the calendar doesn’t mean that the person isn’t a saint. As I mentioned previously, in early times there was no canonization process, but since martyrdom is a sign of salvation, the early martyrs were and are venerated by the Church. Therefore, these saints are properly called saints, even without canonization or even a day on the calendar.


Little Saint Hugh’s feast day is no longer celebrated either. It used to be on either July 27 or Aug 27, but is no longer “officially” celebrated.


This does not apply here. Formal canonizations did not begin until after the year 900. St. Udaric is the first saint to be canonized by a pope in 993. Prior to that saints were proclaimed by vox populi and tradition. Saints like Christopher and Philopmena predate the institution of formal canonization. Saints were also canonized by Metropolitans. In 1170, Pope Alexander III declared that all canonizations were reserved for the Pope.

A canonization does not make a person a saint. It is a statement of faith that someone is a saint. This statement is based on truth. Therefore, a canonization continues to be an infalible act of faith.

For every canonization that the Church has formally declared there exists proof of the person’s existence. Most of the time it includes the remains of the person, writings, and other testimony by their peers in material form that makes their historical reality indisputable.

One of the earliest saints to be formally canonized by the Pope was Francis of Assisi in 1228. There is ample historical proof of his existence, including his writings, clothing, his tomb and the writings of his companions. But the canonization did not make him a saint. It proclaimed what the Church believes, that he is a saint, because he lived a heroic Catholic life over and beyond that of most people. This is the case for every papal canonization.

Thus there is no doubt in the mind of the Church that a papal canonization is infalible, because it proclaims a truth that has been proven beyond any doubt.

This is where the infalibility enters into the picture. There is no doubt regarding the person’s state of grace at the time of death. When there is no doubt, there only truth. Truth is always infalible. The Church also depends on God’s grace to sustain its study of a person’s life and God’s signs after a person’s death, such as a miracle. Though a miracle is not needed to prove that someone is a saint. Thus there are more saints who were never canonized than there are who were canonized.

Canonized means formally added to the canon of saints. Mary and the Apostles were never canonized, nor were the early Fathers of the Church. They were never formally added to the canon of saints. However, they are part of the canon of saints by Sacred Tradition.

People like Francis, Clare, Dominic, Aquinas and others who lived during the Middle Ages were venerated as saints long before they were canonized by the popes. The decree by the popes only confirmed what the Church believed. Thus the decree is infalible.

To remove someone from the liturgical calendar does not undermine the faith in the Church. The Church has the power to bind and unbind. Thus she can declare that there is insufficient evidence that a person ever existed. That does not mean that she declares that the person was not a saint, if they did exist.

In addition, there are only 365 days to a year. There are more saints than that. The Church moves feast days to make room for others.

There are also different cultures and different religious orders that have special veneration of their own saints. The Church allows for them to put certain saints on their calendar even if they have to remove others. This does not uncanonize a saint.

For example, in India and among many Franciscan communities, Sept 5 is the feast day of Bl. Mother Teresa. It is not a universal feast day, because she has yet to be canonized. But it is a feast day in the local church and in her religious family.

Bl. JohnXXIII also has a feast day in Italy and in the Franciscan liturgical calendar. In Italy because it’s his homeland and in the Franciscan liturgical calendar because he was a Secular Franciscan (SFO). When he is canonized, he may have a universal feast day or not. It’s up to the Church.

If John Paul II is beatified he will probably have a feast day on the Carmelite calendar, because he was a Secular Carmelite Discalced (OCDS).

Moving the calendar and have multiple liturgical calendars does not take anything away from the saints or the Church.


JR :slight_smile:



The point isn’t that saints were “canonised” the same way throughout the history of the Church, but that those who are venerated as Saints in the Traditions of the Church are truly saints.

[quote=A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben’s “Dogmatik” Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D. With A Preface By Cardinal Manning]SECT. 25.—Rules for demonstrating Revealed Truth from Ecclesiastical Tradition.

The rules for the application of the laws mentioned in the above section may be gathered from the laws themselves. Catholics, believing as they do in the Divine authority of Tradition, will of course obtain different results from Protestants who acknowledge only its historical value. Catholics, too, will apply the rules differently, according as their object is to ascertain with infallible certitude the apostolicity of a truth, or to expound and defend it scientifically.

I. For the Catholic it is not necessary to demonstrate positively from coeval documents that the Church has always borne actual witness to a given doctrine. The scantiness of the documents, especially of those belonging to the sub-apostolic age, makes it even impossible. The Tradition of the present time, above all if it is attested by an authoritative definition, is quite sufficient to prove the former existence of the same Tradition, although perhaps only in a latent state. Any further knowledge of its former existence is merely of scientific interest. When, however, the Ecclesiastical Tradition of the present is not publicly manifest, and the judges of the Faith have to decide some controverted question, they must investigate the Tradition of the past, or, as St. Vincent of Lerins expresses it, they must appeal to antiquity. It is not necessary to go back to an absolute antiquity: it is sufficient to find some time when the Tradition was undoubted.

Here is a note from the Catholic Encyclopedia on Scheeben’s Dogmatik, which was implicitly questioned by someone here as a proper Catholic Source:

[quote=CE on Scheeben]The list of Scheeben’s works opens with three treatises dealing with grace: (1) “Natur und gnade” (Mainz, 1861); (2) a new edition of “Quid est homo”, a book by Ant. Casini, S.J. (d. 1755); (3) “Die Herrlichkeiten der göttlichen gnade” (Freiburg, 1863; eighth ed. by A.M. Weiss, 1908, also translated into English); (4) “Mysterien des Christenthums” (Freiburg, 1865-97); (5-9) five pamphlets in defence of the Vatican Council, directed against Döllinger, Schulte, and other Old Catholics, all of sterling value; (10) “Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik” (seven parts, Freiburg, 1873-87). The author did not finish this classic work of permanent value; he died whilst working on “Grace”. The failing treatises were supplied in German by Dr. Atzberger (Freiburg, 1898), in English, by Wilhelm and Scannel, who whilst strictly adhering to Scheeben’s thought, reduced the bulky work to two handy volumes entitled: “A Manual of Catholic Theology based on Scheeben’s Dogmatik” (3rd ed., 1906).


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