A typically popular figure or 'celebrity' within the Roman Catholic religion who has been granted fast-tracked or expedited 'sainthood' by the Vatican.
The recent practice of producing and promoting 'instant saints' reveals the intention of the RC Church to maintain some form of relevance within a celebrity-obsessed and mediated culture, by abandoning its traditional practice of spending decades or even centuries of careful reflection, investigation and debate upon the worthiness or truth of an individual's potential 'saintliness', and instead proclaming a popular individual as a 'saint' mere months after his or her death while the media spotlight still burns brightly on that figure.
The phrase 'instant saint' is reminiscent of convenience food products such as 'instant rice' which is formulated to be cooked in a fraction of the time of traditional rice; and of 'instant stars', celebrities whose popularity was orchestrated by a big-budget marketing and promotional team instead of by submission to the trials of long-term public scrutiny.
A mere two years after his death, Pope John Paul II is likely to become the world's first instant saint, meaning that the Catholic Church believes it has irrefutable proof he has performed at least two miracles. Not just great works, but actual fucking miracles. We're talking loaves and fishes, walking on water, heavy shit like that, folks! Cue the Twilight Zone theme song.
If Mother Teresa had performed one more magic trick, she'd have been an instant saint, too. Instead she'll have to settle for beatification. This means that in saintly terms she's a bit of a pussy. (At least until one more zealot comes forward and claims to have been 'healed' of cancer by magic beams of light emanating from a photo of the wrinkly little, blue striped towel-wearing troll.)
In an age of instant saints, sainthood just ain't what it used to be. - Saint Joan of Arc
Instant saint? Then what was with all those fucking arrows, you dickwads? - Saint Sebastian