Mar 5 2003
Heretics Say Unbiblical Things
According to Catholicism, there is a very important reason for keeping relics in Catholic Churches.
“The place of relics: But do we really need relics, parts of the body of a saint such as bone, a hair (called a first class relic) or cloth that has been in contact with the saint's body (a second class relic)? If we have a lively faith in the Eucharist, do we need something infinitely inferior to the Body and Blood of the Lord? The origin of relics was largely associated with the Eucharist, which was celebrated at the burial place of holy people. In time the custom grew in the Church that Mass should be celebrated on the relics of the saints in the altar stone or wrapped in the corporal. Indeed, since Nicea II churches are not to be consecrated without relics, a point made again in Church law as recently as 1977 in the revised Rite of Dedication of a Church.
The Church is therefore comfortable with relics and the Eucharist being somehow coupled together. Indeed Mass begins with the priest kissing the altar, that is the relics contained in it” (O’Donnell, “Therese 2002,” www.carmelite.com, 2001).
While the presence of relics (i.e., remnants of a saint’s body) is necessary to “consecrate a church,” this Catholic teaching clearly did not arise from Scripture. The Jews were expressly told that touching the dead brought defilement. The Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and compared them to “whited sepulchers . . . full of dead men’s bones” which defile men which come into contact with them (Matthew 23:27; Luke 11:44).