Pope gave away ‘precious’ bits of St Peter. Discontent ensues.

Pope gave away ‘precious’ bits of St Peter. Discontent ensues. August 3, 2019
St Peter by Rubens. Image via Wiki CC.

IN June, Pope Francis, on a whim, handed nine bone fragments of Peter the Apostle to the Orthodox Church in Constantinople – without so much as a by your leave.

Now awkward questions are being asked – in particular by Fr Raymond J de Souza, a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario. In a piece written for the Catholic Herald, de Souza revealed that the relics gifted to Constantinople had originally been placed by Pope Paul VI (now a saint) in the private chapel of the papal apartment in the Vatican, where they would be:

A source of comfort, strength and intercession for Peter’s successors.

While no Pope has ever declared the bones to be authentic, St Paul VI announced in 1968 that the relics have been:

Identified in away which we can hold to be convincing.

But on June 29, the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, Francis gave to a delegation representing Bartholomew, Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, a reliquary containing the bones.

According to de Souza, no satisfactory explanation has been given for the Pope’s action.

The manner in which it was done remains inexplicable.

Pope Francis told archbishops that the idea had occurred to him the previous evening.

I no longer live in the Apostolic Palace, I never use this chapel, I never serve the Holy Mass here, and we have St Peter’s relics in the basilica itself, so it will be better if they will be kept in Constantinople. This is my gift to the Church of Constantinople. Please take this reliquary and give it to my brother Patriarch Bartholomew.

Said de Souza:

The rationale that the relics were languishing in the unused papal apartment is not sufficient to transfer them to Constantinople. They could have been moved to the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Holy Father does pray. If it was thought that Rome had a superabundance of Petrine relics, the fragments could have been sent to Antioch, the first place where Peter was bishop, before he moved to Rome. Given that there are five patriarchs of Antioch – three eastern Catholic, two Orthodox – Pope Francis could have chosen to show beneficence toward the Eastern Catholic Churches or the Orthodox. Or perhaps a joint shrine as a bold ecumenical project?

Second only to the relics of the Passion, the bones of St Peter are the most precious thing the Holy See ‘owns’. That ownership is more that of custody than proprietorship, but in either case an explanation is needed. Had Pope Francis given Vladimir Putin the Pietà for the Hermitage, the world would not have accepted as sufficient the explanation that it had occurred to the Holy Father a few hours earlier.

The transfer – ‘translation’ in official parlance – of relics is a matter most grave in the cult of the saints and the Church’s liturgical life. The proposition that relics of such importance would be moved as a spontaneous act, without discernment or collegial consultation, without preparation or explanation, without ceremony or solemnity, is wholly and entirely alien to the entire tradition of the Church.

Rather than agonise over a few scraps of a crucified saint, De Souza should be concerned over the real problems the Roman Catholic Church has, such as the global sexual abuse of children – especially as the Vatican still retains most of Peter’s relics which are kept beneath the high altar of St Peter’s Basilica.

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  • barriejohn
  • Jim Jones

    There’s no reason to assume that they are human.

  • Jim Jones

    Jesus wept, religion is nuts.

  • Broga

    This is well out of order. Frankie should be held to account on this. You can’t just go around handing out Saint Peter’s bones. I wonder if he gave them to dog owners? If so, we have a motive as dogs love bones and are not picky even with ancient bones. A bone is a bone is my hound’s attitude. (Dog feeding note: I don’t give him bones as the slivers are dangerous.)

    How much crazier can the RCs get? It’s bonkers.

  • Broga

    Plausible. They are using them to make magic soup.

  • barriejohn

    No nuts, please!

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Maybe Frankie wants to get a &#8203boner back in exchange. Why should all the other priests have all the fun.

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    Just more evidence that religion is completely bonkers.

  • barriejohn

    Not completely. Question the Catholic clergy and they will freely admit that most of the relics are bogus, but also inform you that they do NOT claim that these possess any real mystical powers themselves; rather that they are “aids” to people’s faith, to bring them nearer to God, or some such nonsense. It’s the faith that works the miracles. Similarly when it comes to visits to places like Lourdes; they are usually very careful not to make spurious claims that people are going to experience “healing”, but make very generalized statements about their faith being strengthened by the experience, etc. However, they and we know full well that millions believe that touching a relic; touching or kissing the case that contains it; going on a pilgrimage to a “holy site”, and so on, is going to bring them some miraculous “blessing”, and result in the answer to their prayers. It’s a gigantic con that has been going on for centuries, largely with the object of parting the faithful from their hard-earned cash!

  • rubaxter

    So, what I’m hearing is the donation is ineffable …, like The Ineffable Plan …


    Exactly what difference to YHWH does ANY of this make?

  • rubaxter

    It’s like complaining Duh Pope gave Duh Orthodox Flapdoodle some Papal Pull Tabs from his Cokes without consulting a Vatican Office of Pull Tabs for Charity.

    There REALLY needs to be a cull …

    Best line from a John Wayne movie:

    “Cuthbert H. Humphrey, Governor of our territory, is a cull. Do you know
    what a cull is, ma’am? A cull is a specimen that is so worthless that
    you have to cut him out of the herd. Now if all the people in the world
    were put in one herd, Cuthbert is the one I would throw a rope at.”

  • Raging Bee

    I am NOT repeat NOT asking what “precious parts” are being given away here. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

    So Trump is giving the store away to an Eastern despot, while Pope Francis is giving his store away to a backward Eastern authoritarian church. I see a certain symmetry to that…

  • Raging Bee

    As people-herding fantasies go, that one sounds harmless. Mostly…

  • evodevo

    “Relics of Peter” … sure….of all the fakery associated with the Church, “relics” have to be at the top. No actual provenance, no actual documentation, no actual person, probably, but they have his bones…would love to get a bit for DNA testing lol (Santa Rosalia turned out to be a goat; etc. etc. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jmbwzg/the-weird-and-fraudulent-world-of-catholic-relics-456)

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    Parting the faithfull fron their money is what the RCC are very good at. that and protecting the paedophiles in their ranks

  • Where does anyone get the idea that bones from the 1st Century CE could be from one single person? The proposition that these bones are bones from St.Peter is utterly ridiculous and minbendingly ignorant. It’s sad that some people put that stock in the old bones from no one knows when or how they were obtained.

    But putting stock in holy relics, is very important to Roman Catholics. They revere the relics of saints and people who were ‘godly.’ It’s sad to see a people so wrapped up in the reverence of another person’s bones or some other part of their body. We were not meant to create a ‘cult of personality,’ out of any human being, draw inspiration from their life, but never create a, ‘cult of personality,’ around them.

  • kyuss

    seems fine. as long as they still have jeebus’ foreskin, everything is FINE.

  • Brian Davis

    That must be a spicy sauce if it requires hazmat suits.

  • Freethinker

    That “relic” never made it to Rome. The foreskin was ritualistically consumed by the three wise men after the mohel tore it off with his teeth – as is the Jewish tradition in many cases to this day.

  • Freethinker

    Saint bone soup broth is one the world’s most prized and expensive dishes.
    Also automatically certified kosher and halal.

  • Freethinker

    The problem is that the bones are entirely meaningless. Selling the country to a foreign enemy however……

  • Matt G

    And a powerful aphrodisiac, I hear.

  • Anri

    “It belongs in a museum!”
    “So do you!”

  • CoastalMaineBird

    But one of them is actually autographed : ” P.t.A. A.D. 68″ (“Peter the Apostle”).


  • terremoto415

    Could they be his naughty bits? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • towercam

    Religion is mind poison. Those who value truth know this to be so.

  • Mythblaster

    Bet you a dollar they’re chicken bones…

  • ‘relics’ are rarely proven to be what they claim to be. they’re just fodder created to inspire the ignorant. like exhibits in a side show. barnum would applaud.

  • sweeks

    “Is it soup yet?” 😉

  • sweeks

    The same difference *anything* makes to a non-existent being.

  • Sophotroph

    Well, it’s the non-consensual, irreversible, absolutely unhygenic maiming of an individual.

    We will eventually treat it like every other instance of such, but it’s going to take some doing.

  • Flint8ball

    “Apostolic Palace”… Jesus would’ve frowned on such a place… if he was real.

  • David Cromie

    ‘Ther’s magic in them thar bones’.

    Frankie boy could have auctioned off these unauthenticated bits of bone, and the richest, most pious, cardinal could have acquired them for his own glorification, and bequeathed them to one of his illegitimate children (or his boyfriend) in his will, or something.

  • David Cromie

    ‘Relics’ have always been used to attract ignorant superstitious ‘pilgrims’, willing to part with their money for the privilege. The Roman church has made shed loads of money over the ages from this particular scam.

  • David Cromie

    How do supposed ‘holy’ people, or their relics, inspire others in a way that the supposed JC does not?

  • rationalobservations?
  • barriejohn

    When I was a young Christian, I was reliably informed: “There is more evidence for Jesus Christ than there is for Julius Caesar”, and people STILL believe that!

  • rationalobservations?

    The 4th century founded Roman “christian” religion was built upon myths, legends and lies.
    For too many decades to mention I have asked christian religionists who recycle such lies to present the authentic and original, 1st century originated historical evidence of the existence and exploits of “Jesus” but not one has or can.

    How could a heroic leader of crowds in thousands and the cult leader who rode in triumph into the capital city of the nation to the cheers of thousands who strewed his path with palm leaves not be noticed and reported by anyone?

    How could a miracle worker who revived corpeses and walked on water escape the notice of every Roman, Greek and Jewish chronicler, historian, poet, priest and clerk?

    How is there not one single historical trace of the existence and exploits of such a newsworthy character?

    The existence and exploits of Simon bar Kokhba born Simon ben Kosevah, the only “messiah” acclaimed as such in Rabbinical circles, is well recorded in history and the coins depicting him under the messianic star outside the temple can be found in museums and private collections today.

    The original 4th century founded Roman “christian church” agrees, there’s no original 1st century originated evidence of the existence and exploits of “Jesus” saying:

    “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
    (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

    The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

    “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

    (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

    This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

    In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

    “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

    (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

    No one (NO ONE!) has ever discovered any historical evidence of the existence and much later written exploits of “Jesus”.

    Legends written 300 years after the time n which they are set are no more valid than different legends written 1000 or 2000 years after the time in which they are set when no authentic and original historical evidence exists that can be dated as contemporaneous to the fictional events described in later written ever changing bibles and other propaganda.

  • barriejohn

    “the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”

    Which is precisely what Christians do. We are dealing with closed minds here, sad to say.

  • Zetopan

    “Identified in away which we can hold to be convincing.”

    Translation: We want them to be authentic no matter what the evidence or lack of same indicates.

  • rationalobservations?

    The key to a closed and locked mind can only be found within it.
    The rapidly growing number of empty locked redundant churches that litter the villages, towns and city streets of the developed world may indicate that education and free secular democracy is shining the much needed light for the less thoroughly n=brainwashed religiots to find that key and escape the enslavement of superstition.

    It is to be hope that the evidence supported arguments on those comment columns and open forums has also helped some escape from delusion and ignorance.