Poll: The burial story of Thomas a Kempis in relation to his canonization is...
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a hoax created by the Devil
16.67%
1 16.67%
a likely story which certainly wouldn't nullify his sanctity but would prevent canonization
33.33%
2 33.33%
definitely happened
0%
0 0%
unsure
50.00%
3 50.00%
Total 6 vote(s) 100%
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Thomas a Kempis?
#1
Question 
I've heard he can't be canonized because of issues regarding his burial but can't find any reliable sources to back this claim. It's been disturbing me as well for quite a bit that such a thing would happen to such an otherwise holy person and it's led me into my own pitfalls of despair throughout the last 24 hours. Maybe I'm dwelling on it too much...I need to talk to someone about it. People keep telling me to talk to my parents but they're not Christian so I they wouldn't understand.

Any way, the issue came up yesterday when my godmother mentioned it and I know Charles Coulombe also has maintained it. But I cannot find any reliable source. His remains have been on display for quite a while according to excerpts from Ignatius Press introduction on one of his works on the Gospel and yet no mention of alleged scratch marks any where. The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia mentions his case for beatification was simply just dropped after the bishop pushing for it in the 17th century died. No mention of the scratch marks...

Even Wikipedia does not make such a claim which is now puzzling. My godmother is an intelligent lady and Charles Coulombe is quite the intelligent man so I don't know why they would be wrong. OTOH, I wonder if the Devil may have inspired the story of the scratch marks to dissuade people from reading such a holy work?
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#2
I don’t know, but if they can canonize some of the people they’ve canonized in recent years, they can canonize Thomas a Kempis. He supposedly was accidentally buried alive and they found scratch marks on the inside of the coffin. Evidently they don’t want to move forward because they’re not sure if he despaired due to his situation at the end of his life. I would argue that what feelings of despair there may have been wouldn’t be mortally sinful because, well, who really has full use of their mental faculties when they’ve just been sick enough to make others think they were dead, only to wake up in a closed coffin? What was he supposed to do?  Just accept being buried alive as God’s will, and lay back and die?  Wouldn’t it have been more heroic to at least try to survive?  Please...if the Church can canonize Paul VI and John Paul II, who had a multitude of very serious flaws that inflicted untold damage, the Church can canonize Thomas a Kempis.
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#3
(09-14-2020, 05:02 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: I don’t know, but if they can canonize some of the people they’ve canonized in recent years, they can canonize Thomas a Kempis. He supposedly was accidentally buried alive and they found scratch marks on the inside of the coffin. Evidently they don’t want to move forward because they’re not sure if he despaired due to his situation at the end of his life. I would argue that what feelings of despair there may have been wouldn’t be mortally sinful because, well, who really has full use of their mental faculties when they’ve just been sick enough to make others think they were dead, only to wake up in a closed coffin? What was he supposed to do?  Just accept being buried alive as God’s will, and lay back and die?  Wouldn’t it have been more heroic to at least try to survive?  Please...if the Church can canonize Paul VI and John Paul II, who had a multitude of very serious flaws that inflicted untold damage, the Church can canonize Thomas a Kempis.
Exactly. Thomas a Kempis's works have made saints such as Therese of Lisieux. But even still, I'm not convinced about the burial story any more either. Given that his remains were known about at the time of the writing of the New Advent article here, it seems curious that they wouldn't mention it as being the reason for the dropping of his beatification cause. Maybe a new cause should be made after all?
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#4
Here's actually another good point against the canonization of Thomas á Kempis.

The Imitation of Christ is written anonymously. If the work cannot be proven satisfactorily to be his own work, that is grounds he should not be canonized. St. Francis de Sales indicates the work may have another author (Gerson).

Then the rest of Thomas á Kempis is human. A canonized saint is known by their supernatural fruit. But if the only work of Kempis that can be understood as supernatural may not actually have been written by him, the case for his canonization is over.
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#5
I think it shouldn't be "If the Church can canonize Escriva, John XXIII, Paul VI, and JP...surely Thomas Kempis can be too!"

It should read: "If Thomas Kempis wasn't canonized, neither should Escriva, John, Paul, nor JP."
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#6
As for his canonization, I don’t know enough about the process.
But if the man was indeed buried alive, and scratches were found on the inside of his coffin... would that really be anything against the man?
As said previously/similarly in the thread, would the “right thing to do” be to simply lie back and accept death? In fact, wouldn’t the right thing to do be to try to preserve his own life??
Also, even if he DID panic and scratch the coffin, I mean, what are we supposed to say about that? We have no access to the man’s interior life at that time.
God bless the poor man if that did indeed happen.

I truly hadn’t even heard of this prior to this thread.
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#7
(09-15-2020, 09:58 AM)FultonFan Wrote: As for his canonization, I don’t know enough about the process.
But if the man was indeed buried alive, and scratches were found on the inside of his coffin... would that really be anything against the man?
As said previously/similarly in the thread, would the “right thing to do” be to simply lie back and accept death? In fact, wouldn’t the right thing to do be to try to preserve his own life??
Also, even if he DID panic and scratch the coffin, I mean, what are we supposed to say about that? We have no access to the man’s interior life at that time.
God bless the poor man if that did indeed happen.

I truly hadn’t even heard of this prior to this thread.
You may like this thread I wrote earlier...
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/13058...11553.html
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#8
As I point out in the thread I wrote earlier, the forums where the "buried alive" thesis tends to be reiterated the most keep making the story whackier and whackier. This gives more incredulity to the story.

First, you'll hear he was found face down. Next, you'll hear there were scratch marks in the coffin. Then you'll hear of chewed fingernails and clumps of hair in both hands. Finally, you'll hear of a "look of despair" (not at all the possible final attempted gasp for oxygen???). That's just simply not the working of a factually based story.

I still have yet to find a credible source. What I have found is the remains were unearthed in 1672 and the bishop working on the case for his beatification died over 15 years later in 1688. No one ever took up the case to complete it. "And they say..."

That just leaves ripe territory for these urban legends to creep in. But of course, fatal theological flaw is that mortal sin must be voluntarily committed. A buried alive state (after waking from a coma) in oxygen deprived conditions doesn't provide that full moral culpability. As such, not certain how the idea can be used to prove the existence of sufficient doubt.

Anneliese Michel is more likely to be canonized right now than Thomas á Kempis. Why? Cult status. How many pilgrimages does Thomas á Kempis get each year? How many does Anneliese Michel receive? Also relates to moral culpability. Anneliese Michel was a demoniac but that is actually not counted against her sanctity since whatever her sins were happened in a state where she had no moral culpability.
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#9
I found this in a biography of Thomas á Kempis by Francis R. Cruise. No flake when it came to Thomas á Kempis, for certain! Though his profession was medical science.

"[O]n the 13th of August [1672] the coffin was opened, and the bones of the holy man exposed to view. The remains were in wonderful preservation, and the bones were attached in situ. The head was nearly perfect and rested on a mass of peat. The teeth were white, those in the upper maxilla being present, but on being touched they fell from the sockets. The lower jaw retained only a few of the teeth. The right side of the skeleton lay somewhat lower than the left, and had mouldered considerably. The hands were crossed, the right lying on the left. The bones of the fingers and toes were in tact, but the ribs and shoulder-blades had crumbled to dust. The stole, made of white satin and embroidered with flowers, lay around his neck, the lower part being quite consumed. The portion which had escaped destruction was taken by the Elector as a relic. From the inner aspect of the left ankle an abundance of beautiful coloured flowers were found growing--doubtless a variety of lichen. Many circumstances combine to identify these remains, and lead to the conviction that they were undoubtedly those of Thomas à Kempis." (Thomas à Kempis, 322-323)
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