"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
THE Pope has endorsed the cult of a 17th-century "flying monk," declaring St Joseph of Copertino to be "a model for our times."
In a message marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of St Joseph, the Pope said that the Franciscan friar, who was said to amaze congregations by levitating and flying through the air, was spiritually close to our times. He is the patron saint of aviators and students.
The son of a carpenter, St Joseph was born in 1603, allegedly in a stable, at Copertino near Lecce, and was ordained in 1628 despite being so illiterate and simple- minded, according to contemporaries, that he walked around with his mouth open all the time, earning him the nickname "the Gaper."
His reputation for flying brought Vatican disapproval and he was forbidden to say Mass. But he found refuge in monasteries and churches in Naples, Assisi, Pesaro and Fossombrone and became famous for his "flights."
Witnesses record that after falling into an ecstatic trance, St Joseph would utter a loud cry and soar into the air, sometimes flying down the nave and sometimes flying out of the church and across the hills for several miles.
He was put on trial by the Inquisition, but when he flew over the heads of his inquisitors, the judges referred the case directly to the Pope, Urban VIII. The Pope dropped the case after apparently witnessing an "ecstatic flight."