The skeletal female figure has a growing devotion in Mexico, Central America, and some places in the United States, but don’t be fooled by the Mary-like veil or the holy-sounding name.
She’s not a recognized saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, in 2013, a Vatican official condemned devotion to her, equating it to “the celebration of devastation and of hell.”
“It’s not every day that a folk saint is actually condemned at the highest levels of the Vatican,” Andrew Chesnut, a Santa Muerte expert who has been studying the devotion for more than eight years, told CNA.
Chesnut is the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of “Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint,” the only English academic book to date on the subject.
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