John Paul's relics appearing in Poland

Several weeks before the former pontiff’s scheduled beatification, remnants and reminders of his life are everywhere.   Pictured below: the blood-stained sash he wore when he was shot, now on display in Czestochowa, Poland.

Details:

Pope John Paul II is not yet a saint, but objects donated by his longtime secretary are already being venerated as relics in his staunchly Roman Catholic homeland.

Polish Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica keeps a medallion containing a fragment of the late pontiff’s robe and a drop of John Paul’s blood given to him by Krakow’s Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz after a high-speed accident at a race in Italy.

At the Sanctuary of Our Lord’s Divine Mercy church in Krakow, a new altar also will include a vial of the Polish Pope’s blood donated by his secretary and friend.

The relics are just one sign of Poles’ devotion to their homegrown pope, who served 27 years, and was put on the fast-track for sainthood after shouts of “Santo Subito!” — or “Sainthood Immediately!” — erupted during his funeral Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Though beatification, the last major step before possible sainthood, is still six weeks away on May 1, many Polish Catholics already revere him for his religious devotion and as a national hero who helped bring down communism.

But some critics reject the veneration of relics, saying it smacks of medieval or pagan practices. Others say that by introducing relics into the public cult of John Paul, Dziwisz is reducing the memory of a complex and multidimensional figure to simplistic mementos.

“Relics were needed in times when people could not read or write,” said Rev. Krzysztof Madel, a Jesuit priest in Nowy Sacz, near Krakow, who has spoken out against the promotion of the relics. By placing a vial of John Paul’s blood in the altar of a church in Krakow, he argued, “we will return to the Middle Ages and magic-based Catholicism.”

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Comments

  1. I would suggest that “by placing a vial of John Paul’s blood in the altar of a church” we will return to the supernatural rather than to “magic-based” Catholicism. Just a thought.

  2. Did a priest really say this? Me thinks he might be confusing statues with relics. After all, there is a relic in every Catholic Church in the altar (of the patron saint of the church).

    Unlike relics, statues require the faith behind them otherwise they do become like “magic lucky charms”, or something.

    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure relics of saints work differently, in that unlike statues, they are not “faith based.” The way I understand it, “relics” work with the power or intecession of the saint, per God’s will. Statues, scapulers, etc., are all relative to the faith of the person using them.

  3. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    People–even “Biblical” Protestant ministers I have known– do not know that the Bible records approvingly the collecting of relics–even what we would call 2nd Class relics (parts of a saint’s body being 1st Class-”the top of the line”.)
    Read Acts Chapter 19 verses 11 and 12: “And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”
    And looking at scenes in the Gospels. Jesus used mud to heal. Also when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Note, not his foot, or his heel, or his skin, but the cloth that was touching His body) He turned around and said that he had felt power leave his body.
    Sadly, we have a lot of Catholic scholars and highly educated priests that would turn the Church into a community fit only for brain-worshipping and mind-trips. Whereas relics –of whatever class– appeal to the heart in a very simple. basic, and physical way. Maybe also in a childish way–Didn’t Christ say something like : unless you become as simple as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

  4. Relics collection is not only a very old Christian practice (to be found everywhere in original Christian regions, for example Armenia, the first country to become Christian in whole), but also a Jewish practice and Muslim practice as well. Though the latter two religions don’t recollect parts of the body of the Saint, their faithful do pilgrim to the grave of Saints and prophets. I read in a medieval travel book written by a Rabbi, he travelled through out the Middle East and he recounted now and then a visit to a holy grave. As for Muslims, the Grave of John Baptist in Yemen comes to mind (he is also holy to Muslims), and also some grave of saintly women whose name I forgot.

  5. pagansister says:

    Why would anyone want to see a blood stained sach, no matter who it belonged to? I’ve never understood “relics” anyhow. Why are they so attractive to some religious folks?

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