25 August 2011
The Associated Press has reported that the "relics" of Pope John Paul II have arrived in Mexico to begin a four-month tour through 100 Mexican cities.
For non-Catholics, this sounds almost quaint. Many of us think of "relics" as family heirlooms and trinkets kept by our grandmother in an old chest with mothballs. But that's not what "relics" means to the Catholic Church. For the Church, "relics" are the REMAINS of the actual dead relative!
Per the AP report: "Worshippers applauded, cried and prayed Thursday morning as a vial of the ex-pontiff's blood and a wax figure of the pope donning a papal robe arrived at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe."
This ghoulish practice of worshipping the body parts of deceased saints dates back to the days of Roman emperor Constantine, when his mother Helena travelled through Palestine in the 4th century to visit alleged holy sites of Jesus and his apostles and collected whatever the locals offered to her as proof. Among the things she is claimed to have collected were the original crucifixion cross of Jesus, his burial shroud, his crown of thorns, the sponge offered to Jesus on the cross, and the bones of many of the apostles. There were even claims that she had recovered Jesus' foreskin! This collection effort set off a frenzy of competitiveness among the Christian churches to secure one of these trinkets as their own, as any such trinket was practically a winning lottery ticket to attracting worshippers and their donations to their local church.In this case, the "relic" appears to be vials of blood taken from the late Pope just before he died: "Several vials of blood were taken from Pope John Paul II during the last days of his life in 2005. They have since taken on the aura of holy relics, with Catholic faithful invited to venerate them." As he was dying of Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neural disorder, the only reason to draw blood right before his death would have been in anticipation of the fundraising campaign that now appears to be underway.
It's a tried-and-true moneymaker for the Catholic Church. Which is really the reason the Church is launching this current promotional effort. All those pedophilia lawsuit payoffs over the past two decades have really drained the Church worldwide, and they're down to their last billion Euros and desperate to refill their coffers. Mexico was the third most-visited country by Pope JPII, and was extremely popular there. The Church should do well in their fundraising efforts.
One has to wonder how such brainwashing occurs to Catholics. Why is it that waving a vial of blood of a long-dead person would bring adulation and praise rather than revulsion? How could they even know whose blood it was, or whether it wasn't really just a little cocoa and red dye in that vial?
Now there would be an interesting experiment - take the original vials to half the towns on the tour and take placebo vials to the others, and see how many claimed 'miracles' arise for each during the tour.
It's easy to sympathize with those pre-Christian savages who used to fear and mock Catholicism for being a 'cannibal' religion. Although I would admit, I would probably be willing to put up a few dollars myself to see the current Pope consume the contents of the vials in imitation of the wafers and wine that they consume each week "in memory of" their god.