According to midrash, Yaakov did not want to be buried in Egypt because the Egyptians might make him a deity. Especially as his coming ended the years of famine early. Similarly, we do not know the location of Moshe Rabbenu's grave, and this is good, because this way no one will worship him.
And this has now happened to the mystic monk Padre Pio. According to Reuters,
The body of the mystic monk Padre Pio, one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered saints who died 40 years ago, has been exhumed to be prepared for display to his many devotees.Even the former is idolatry in my book, but this (saint worship) strikes me as even more idolatrous and more polytheistic than just referencing the Trinity, in which at least they consider three to equal one. Of course, they can offer the standard answer we see by people who hope that dead tzadikim will act as intercessors, and address them. But it is useful to point it out by another religion, such that members of our own faith can recognize the inherent difficulty therein.
A Catholic magazine once found that far more Italian Catholics prayed to Padre Pio than to any other icon of the faith, including the Virgin Mary or Jesus.
He seems to have been a type of Christian mekubal:
I would agree that he was a fraud, and I think that many readers here would agree. But if such fraud, in e.g. telling people their sins before they confessed them to him, is possible to perpetrate, then how sure are you that the practical kabbalist visiting your neighborhood is not using similar tricks?
Padre Pio is also said to have predicted future events, to have been seen in two places at once, and to have been able to tell people their sins before they confessed them to him.
made him a saint in 2002 at a ceremony that drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the after the Church said it had found evidence that the miraculous cure of a sick woman was due to the dead monk's intercession.
But Padre Pio was dogged during his life and even after his death by accusations that he was a fraud.
A new book last year suggested he was a self-harming man who may have used carbolic acid to create wounds in his hands mimicking those of Christ when he was nailed to the cross.
I don't know enough about Padre Pio to know whether he would be pleased to have people praying to him after his death. But we see here how easy it is for someone to be made into a deity when there are miracle stories floating about about him.
Indeed, perhaps it would have been better if there were no Ohel in Cambria Heights, with the location of that particular grave unknown and unmarked. For even Jews could potentially give this treatment to even Yaakov avinu, saying Yaakov Avinu lo meis, etc. BeEzrat Hashem, in the somewhat near future I intend to consider some of the sources about doresh el haMeisim, visiting and praying at kivrei tzaddikim, and how it relates to gemaras in Sotah and Taanit, and to Zohar and the Bach. Roughly, Rabbi Moshe de Leon admits that praying to gentile dead is doreish el hameisim, but holds that doing so to Jewish dead is not, and this opinion has held considerable sway despite dissenting opinions. But I want to look into it a bit more and give a more concrete post on the subject.