5 replies, 4 voices Last updated by Profile photo of fetchfelix fetchfelix 2 weeks, 5 days ago
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    Profile photo of fetchfelix

    Im coming up on my 5th Anniversary of  being accepted into the Catholic Church, and one of the strangest things I see in Catholicism is about to come to PA. One of my favorite Saints, St Pio, is about to visit Philadelphia so we can go see his body for veneration this coming weekend. I find this very odd, a little disturbing and will certainly have a hard time explaining it to any of my non-RC friends. Can anyone explain why we Catholics do this? As this is a favored Saint that I pray to most days, I will probably go see his body………..but what is one supposed to do when you venerate the body of relics of a Saint???


    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    @David W. Emery

    Felix, here are some links which explain the veneration of relics.

    From EWTN

    From Catholic Answers

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia

    From an Eastern Orthodox Source

    Protestants in particular tend to be leery of anything physical in their worship. This inclination borders on a rejection of physical creation, including the human body, as something “evil” or at least “dirty.” But God made all of material creation and, in particular, the human body. Therefore, these things are good, and the Bible speaks well of them. Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 6:19, St. Paul speaks of the human body as sanctified by God’s very presence: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” Note particularly the grammatical construction of the verse: Paul uses the relative pronoun “which,” referring to the body as received from God; if he had meant the Holy Spirit, he would have said “whom.” This is why we honor even the relics of the saints: in them we see the temple of the Holy Spirit.


    Profile photo of fetchfelix

    Thanks David!

    Profile photo of gachristian

    Very interesting reading, David. I never understood it but was always fascinated with the controversy over the Shroud of Turin.

    I tend to believe that if the veneration is ultimately pointing to and encouraging the worship of Jesus, then I am OK with it. If those who believe that a relic, etc is in itself a miracle producing cure, then I question who or what one is putting their faith in.

    I remember seeing church service shows on tv where the big name pastor will send you some object he has prayed over for a substantial contribution. That is something I questioned as it put the focus on that person and not God.

    Profile photo of Dave Armstrong
    dave armstrong
    @Dave Armstrong

    From one of my papers on the topic:

    Examples of second-class relics (objects that came into contact with holy people) are also clearly found in passages about the prophet Elijah’s mantle, which parted the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:11-14), and Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16) and Paul’s handkerchief (Acts 19:11-12), used by God to heal sick people and to cast out demons. If all of this is “magic,” then it is a sort of “magic” directly sanctioned by God Himself.
    Protestant objectors will agree with some of this. But they claim that what cannot be found in the Bible is the excessive veneration of relics. They think that goes too far, and is idolatry. They remember the deeds of great heroes of the faith (Acts 7; Hebrews 11) and thank God for them, but contend that we shouldn’t get into worshiping bones or pieces of hair and so forth, or go on pilgrimages to “holy places.” That’s too much like paganism or heathenism and adds nothing to our spiritual life, so they say, because all places are equally “holy.”

    We reply that if matter can indeed convey grace and blessing, according to the Bible, then we can give glory to God for what He has done with lowly matter by venerating (not worshiping) even now-inanimate objects.

    And from another related paper:

    Veneration is essentially different from worship or adoration (reserved for God alone); it is a high honor given to something or someone because of the grace revealed or demonstrated in them from God. The relic (and the saint from whom it is derived) reflects the greatness of God just as a masterpiece of art or music reflects the greatness of the artist or composer.

    Therefore, in venerating it, God is being honored. The saint is being venerated only insofar as he or she is reflecting God’s grace and holiness. If such an item is worshiped, the person doing it is not following Catholic teaching, which fully agrees with Protestantism with regard to the evil of idolatry, or putting something besides God in the unique place of God.

    Here are two more somewhat related papers of mine:

    Sacred / Immaculate Heart Devotions & the Bible

    Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart: Biblical Reflections

    Profile photo of fetchfelix

    Thanks again to both of you

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