Australia is about to get its first native-born saint, and it's a woman with a bit of scandal in her history. Pope Benedict will canonize Mary MacKillop, co-founder of a Catholic order dedicated to children and the poor, on Oct. 17. The somewhat unlikely candidate for sainthood had a reputation for "insubordination"—perhaps because she spoke out about the sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests.
According to a documentary set to air on Australian TV, she was excommunicated in 1871 at age 29 by Bishop Laurence Sheil after a vengeful priest convinced him to do so. Later, as he lay on his deathbed, Bishop Sheil rescinded the edict; MacKillop continued toiling away on the behalf of others in the Australian Outback until her death in 1909—which is what deserves the focus, says the priest who championed her sainthood. He calls her denouncement of abusers "a nasty footnote to a heroic story, and I don't think media people should take it as though it's the main story." Get the full story at Politics Daily.