Please don’t say toss it in the trash because that has already happened – which is why a London waste disposal company is asking people to suggest what should be done with the thing.
According to The Catholic Herald, the bone fragment is a piece of Pope St Clement who is said to have hobnobbed with some of Jesus’s 12 apostles around 2,000 years ago. Clement reigned as Pope from 88 to 99 CE. He apparently came to a sticky end when he was tied to an anchor and thrown into the Black Sea.
Enviro Waste workmen discovered the bone fragment – in a red and gold wax-sealed case – during a routine collection last year.
The company is now appealing to members of the public to suggest a new home for the relic.
Said James Rubin, the company’s owner:
You can imagine our amazement when we realised our clearance teams had found bone belonging to a Pope. It’s not something you expect to see, even in our line of work.
We know this is an important piece of history and are keen to find the most appropriate place for its final resting place, which is why we’re asking for help from members of the public.
There has been growing concern in recent decades over the treatment of sacred relics. Canon law states that it is “absolutely forbidden” to sell them, but many were moved or discarded when churches were reorganised during the changes after the Second Vatican Council.
Georges Kazan, a researcher at the University of Turku in Finland, said:
It could have been stolen, it could belong to someone and been accidentally thrown out. If it’s authentic, it’s not the kind of thing you throw away. It looks like a nice piece, with quite a decent sized bit of bone.
An online form has been created so that members of the public can submit ideas for a new home for the relic.