Thursday, February 2, 2023

Devoted to Death?

There are devotees of some spiritual paths who could find it quite difficult to be formally recognized as clergy, limiting their ability to officiate weddings or to pursue a profession in chaplaincy. Fortunately, the Universal Life Church has everyone covered. When we apply for ordination we're simply agreeing to do only that which is right, and to support religious freedom. There are no definitions or doctrinal standards beyond that, freeing the new clergy person up to build a ministry according to the dictates of their conscience. This really applies to everyone, including followers of Santa Muerte.

Andrew Chesnut is essentially the scholar of Santa Muerte, and he wrote a book about her and the people who call upon her. There is also a Facebook Group Chesnut runs that might be worth a look for you. That said, I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining devotion to this entity. She is viewed variously as a folk saint or as a goddess in her own right, and she is adored by people of all walks of life, not just narcotraffickers like in series and movies. She is called upon often for things other saints would not attend to, and can bring both weal and woe. There are temples, chapels, and so forth dedicated to her, although the Roman Catholic Church opposes her adoration and teaches against it emphatically. While she got her start in Mexico, and remains strongest there, she is known now throughout the world, with people in numerous nations either including her at their home altars, or dedicating them to her. 

In the United States a person could incorporate a Santa Muerte church and ordain themselves, but that's a lot of work and costs money. Meanwhile, the Universal Life Church headquarters in Modesto, California sends a credential for free to anyone who applies for ordination. The newly-minted minister can proceed to officiate weddings and any other rituals after the fashion of their faith, and where legality matters, it will be recognized. Further, those ordained through the headquarters can get on the track to become certified chaplains, as only the original Modesto-based denomination can sign off on that as one of the steps. Imagine ordained and certified chaplains who follow Santa Muerte offering comfort, encouragement, and presence to those in need. 

So, whether you are 'devoted to death' or follow some other less-well-recognized path, the Universal Life Church welcomes you and is ready to endorse you. Click here to apply

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