St Chad: Patron Saint of Disputed Election

As the dispute over the presidential election drags into a second month, those who are heartily sick of it might consider praying to Chad for an end.

Yes, Chad — St. Chad of Lichfield, England — no relation to the bits of paper punched out of ballots that have been the focus of so much scrutiny in Florida.

However, the 7th-century saint’s life may still be an excellent example to those involved in the present-day wrangling over the White House.

He Said He Wasn’t Worthy

Saint Chad was initially elected and duly installed as the bishop of an area of northern England called Northumbria, but some bishops objected to his ordination because his consecration had not been performed correctly.

Unlike the presidential candidates, however, Chad bowed out humbly in favor of another cleric to avoid division in the church.

According to the Web site of the parish of St. Chad in Litchfield, Chad told the Archbishop of Canterbury: “If you know I have not duly received episcopal ordination, I willingly resign the office, for I never thought myself worthy of it; but, though unworthy, in obedience submitted to undertake it.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury was so moved by this reply that he eventually installed Chad as the first Bishop of Lichfield. Shortly after Chad died on March 2, 672, he was venerated as a saint.

In fact, sources say the Oxford Dictionary of Saints verifies St. Chad as the patron saint of disputed elections.

A Bustling Web Site

Readers scouring the Internet for more on the disputed U.S. election have brought the world’s attention to the Web site for the parish of St. Chad in Litchfield.

The Web site contains little more than a historical account of the saint’s life and details of the church. There are no references to the American election though — but visitors have made their own, using the site’s guest book to debate the situation.

“Conceding the election may be the saintly way but it would not be the American way. The United States was founded by people who fight for what they believe in no matter what the odds. It’s what makes our country great!” wrote Rob Kowal from Bono, Ohio.

Numbers visiting the site have increased from four a day to more than 300, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Matt Samsel, at the heart of the elections storm in Tallahassee, Fla., wrote: “May the humility and piety of St. Chad be a lesson to us all!”

But most contributors to the Web site’s guest book, like Jeffrey Presley Silverman of Davenport, Iowa, hailed St. Chad with a mixture of hope and bemusement:

“It’s good to know someone is watching over all this craziness!” he wrote.