More on the St. Michael confirmation name controversy:
According to the definition of the word "person", an angel is indeed a person, as is God (three, in fact).
The teacher obviously meant "human" but even then... I don't see a reason why I can't take Guinefort as a confirmation name. (And it's a doggone good one, if you ask me)
Yes, St. Michael is a person, by the dictionary definition (and how we speak of God). However, I do think this is often how we get into trouble in the Catholic Church and how people (who are persons) get confused. On the one hand, the concepts with which we are dealing require precise language for us to understand. And on the other hand, most people don't talk that way or think that way and then next thing you know everyone is confused.
Ironically, your mention of St. Guinefort is a perfectly good example of how things go right off the rails.
For the uninformed, St. Guinefort is a dog. A greyhound to be precise, which actually matters in the story.
Is there a St. Guinefort, meaning, is there a dog that is a saint? No. Is there a dog that is called St. Guinefort? Yes, there is. The poor French fell for it.
The story of the noble greyhound (somehow, it's always a greyhound) actually dates way, way back to ancient times. There is some sort of noblemen, a king maybe even, who leaves his infant alone while he goes out hunting. Sometimes the noble woman has accompanied him and sometimes there is some sort of nanny who has also taken an ill timed break from the child. The child is always the only child of the important person (human being, not god or angel person).
While everyone's out being the worst parents and caretakers in the world leaving an infant to fend for itself for several hours, a viper comes in and the trusty greyhound tears it to pieces. The baby's bed is upended, the house is a mess and the dog and the house are covered in blood.
When the terrible parents return and see the mess, the baby is nowhere to be found. They see the mess, the lack of baby and the bloody mouthed dog and shriek with grief. The nobleman beheads the trusty greyhound.
Calm down, it never happened. It's a story that has made the rounds in many cultures.
The story ends with the terrible parents finding the baby under his upended crib and the snake parts all around and realizing that the dog had actually saved the child. They feel as terrible as they are and they bury the dog with honors.
This story made the rounds, and somehow when it got to France, the dog had the name Guinefort and they actually had a shrine where the dog was buried. (Actually he was thrown down a well and that was made into a shrine, if we need to be very precise.)
Here's where the story actually gets pretty funny, if it wasn't so tragic. The shrine in France becomes so popular as a baby saving saintly place that people are bringing their babies from miles around.
We have to step aside for one moment and make sure we're all on the same page here in the understanding that Catholic sainthood (the process of canonization)very often begins in just this fashion. Saints are made by having a cult (there's a loaded word that has come to mean something other than what it actually means!) built up around them. After the dead person (former member of the human race) has been venerated and miracles are occurring at his tomb, the Church will step in and take a look, make sure the person is worthy of veneration, dig the remains up to make sure that's really him in there, study the life of the individual to see if he was more holy than not (no one's perfect) and check to see if any actual miracles have taken place.
So, back to the Guinefort shrine. The Church sends out their man who is utterly dismayed to find that the 'saint' in the shrine is a dog. I'm sure he would have laughed if it wasn't so tragic that so many people were on the "a dog can be a saint" bandwagon. I'm not sure he knew that the noble greyhound story had been making the rounds for hundred of years. The poor French people. I wonder if they have sent money to the Nigerian millionaire who needs help. In any case, the priest ordered the shrine destroyed and it was destroyed.
And when he left, they built it right back up again and went on with St. Guinefort.
In a side note, in defense of the poor French peasants, St. Christopher is sometimes depicted with the head of a dog. St. Christopher, who also made the Church's "no fly" list a while back has many legends attached to him, one of which is that he was extremely handsome and asked not to be so handsome because of the burden of temptation and was given a dog head. And even that story may have only arisen because, in some language or another, "Christopher" is very close to their word for "dog head". I wish I was kidding. The poor French peasants may have at some time seen that depiction and thought that dogs as saints were acceptable.
You really can't take just any old name for your Confirmation name. You can't have Paul Bunyon or his Blue Ox Babe, you can't have "Large Marge", and you certainly can't have Guinefort. Unless, that is, some day there is a person--a former human being--who is dead and in heaven and therefore worthy of our veneration who has at least two miracles under his belt with the name Guinefort.