From our religion correspondent.
Fatima, Portugal: Perhaps like me you followed with interest the Pope's visit to Portugal where he conferred sainthood on shepherd children who saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary on six occasions in 1917. Three kids witnessed the miracle and the Virgin revealed three secrets that foretold the horrors of the Twentieth Century. However, when it came time for the Pope to name the saints only siblings Francisco, 9, and Jacinta, 8, won the prize. Their cousin Lucia, 10, was left out. What the hell? I felt bad for poor little Lucia and searched the web for an explanation.Then, like a vision, it struck me that Lucia, as the oldest child, was the one who made the whole story up, the little brat. I now know that Lucia died in 2005 at the age of 98, and hasn't been dead long enough to become a saint. The two sainted ones, on the other hand, died in 1919 during the flu pandemic in that year. It seems to me that either Our Lady of Fatima has a diabolical sense of humor or a clever little girl went on to show that sainthood isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.