Ireland's patron St. Patrick is a saint in name only and has never received the official title.
While millions around the world celebrate St. Patrick's Day every March 17, the sad fact is that Patrick has never been canonized by the Catholic Church and is a saint in name only.
As writer Ken Concannon stated: "There was no formal canonization process in the Church during its first millennium. In the early years of the Church, the title saint was bestowed first upon martyrs, and then upon individuals recognized by tradition as being exceptionally holy during their lifetimes."
"Consequently, these Irish saints, including St. Patrick, were never actually formally canonized -- save one. The exception was Fergal, also known as St. Virgil of Salzburg, an 8th-century missionary scholar who was officially canonized in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX. Virgil is one of only four Irish saints to be canonized by Rome."
"There was no formal process for canonization in place when Patrick died. He was proclaimed a saint by popular acclaim, probably with the approval of a bishop. The official process for canonization did not come until about the 12th century."
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Patrick was actually the grandson of a priest back when marriage for clerics was not frowned upon. His genius was bringing together the old pagan traditions and the new religion together in harmony in Ireland in the 5th century.
Patrick was the first major figure to reject slavery and for that alone, he deserves proper canonization.
Did you know that Saint Patrick isn't officially a saint? Let us know in the comments!
* Originally published in 2014. Updated in 2022.