So yesterday, I had been having a lot of depression and despondency...the reasoning for this may seem odd to many but having talked about it with a good deacon I know, I must say I not only feel a lot better but also better prepared to simply state that even intelligent people
are and can be wrong about things. While I started suffering a severe depression attack Saturday evening, the worst was actually triggered when my godmother, a very intelligent lady, was telling my why Thomas a Kempis, the attributed author of the well-known Imitation of Christ,
cannot be canonized. Allegedly, there were scratch marks in his coffin. I had heard this story actually from @RCCoulombe first so I felt it must be true. But it was such a disturbing story, it felt as if, to me, the Church was

(It's at the 32:00 mark)
actively throwing this holy man away by burying him prematurely and saying that since he did not have the "proper response" that he cannot be canonized. Indeed, the statement is put it bluntly...rubbish. The rules that Pope Benedict XIV laid out are that 1. there
must be an ancient cultus (despite the fact that Thomas a Kempis is well-read, this hasn't really quite developed except where his remains are at in Germany) 2. general and constant attestation of virtues and 3. uninterrupted fame of the person as worker of miracles. Hence why
St. Thomas Aquinas's canonization was particularly controversial. But there is nothing about the condition that one must be buried in that suggest a premature burial would nullify one's canonization process to begin with. If anything, such a burial and prying free would be an
understandable action to preserve the God-given life one has been given and further, mortal sin can only be committed when the mind wills...when one is oxygen-deprived, waking up from a coma to find themselves locked in a tomb, they are not in their right state of mind. Indeed,
such a person may make for a better "patron saint of claustrophobes" the deacon joked at this point. It would simply just be bad moral theology to insist that anything done in the coffin in a moment of panic while under the earth constitutes a mortal sin as it would not be done
in a right state of mind. But that said, I cannot find any reliable or credible source to back the claim that he was prematurely buried to begin with. The deacon asked about maybe asking my godmother for a source so I'll ask her for one and @RCCoulombe for one as well. But all
of the reliable sources I've been able to find in both introductory notes to translations of his works and the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia entry make no mention of this. Neither does Wikipedia's entry on him which is odd. Instead, I read in an introduction to his work
Bountiful Goodness: Spiritual Meditations for a Deeper Union with Christ that "his remains were unearthed, and in 1672 they were duly placed in the church of Saint Joseph in Zwolle." They were transferred again in 1892 to the church of Saint Michael and have their final resting
place in Zwolle in the Church of Our Lady. This doesn't seem to speak of remains whose sanctity was ever doubted. From the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, "Maximilian Hendrik, who showed such zeal in preserving and honouring the relics of à Kempis, was also eager to see the
cause of his beatification introduced and began to collect the necessary documents; but little more than a beginning was made when he died (1688) and since that date no further steps have been taken."

Suffice to say, I don't think this premature burial…
thing happened at all. Though it does feel like an urban legend was in the making.

"Bishop Maximilian Hendrik was honoring the remains of Thomas a Kempis and when he died, no one picked up the cause to further the beatification of Thomas a Kempis. They say..."

and so came the
rumors. I mean seriously, this does seem to speak of this. But again, that goes back to what was addressed regarding mortal must be voluntary and done in proper state of mind. This is why people make pilgrimages to the grave of Anneliese Michel. There is nothing in
canonical proceedings that would appear to disqualify someone for such a struggle if they found themselves buried alive other than the possibility of mortal sin, which, would be an impossibility because the struggle in such a situation cannot be attributed to proper-mindedness
any way. This, the deacon pointed out in my discussion with him on this topic.

But I don't think there was a premature burial though and I still would like a source on this because the other sources conflict significantly with this theory.

What I think though further
discredits the story is the massive variations in the story. Once, it's just scratches on the coffin, next it's biting of the nails, then he's got clumps of hair in his hands, finally there's the look of despair on his face. All of them vary, forum to forum, never a reliable
source that is ever cited or referenced in these forums. I would definitely love to see a reliable source on this story though! It seems more like people have wanted it to be true or something. I do not know for what reasons...??? But I think the fact the bishop leading the
beatification case having died ultimately is what gave the roadmap to the rumors if anything else.

The more likely reason he isn't canonized is because The Imitation was written anonymously, not having anything to do with premature burial. It's only attributed to him.
Even if the story is not accurate, I do not disparage the intelligence of either my godmother or of @RCCoulombe. Instead, I see at as a prime example (and @insanitybytes22 does it all the time) of an intelligent person going down a "rabbit hole".

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