For Evangelicals who are convinced that the Vatican has changed since the 1962-65 Ecumenical Council II, recent news of "new rules for relics" should be a wake-up call. Because the internet has opened up a new way to trade in relics, the Pope needed to update the rules. That trading platform also allows relics to be obtained for satanic ceremonies.
For a "church" to even be involved in the "veneration" (worship) of parts of dead bodies should be a red flag for any who profess to be Bible believers. But this news item confirms that Roman Catholicism has only changed its spots, not its claws.
The whole relic business is difficult for a Bible believer to grasp. Catholicism divides relics into three categories: first, second and third class relics. The new rules only apply to the first class, the whole body or body parts of a person declared to be a "saint" or on the way to becoming one.
Second class is anything that was frequently used or worn by the saint. Third is anything that has come in contact with a first or second class item.
One super-relic is the famous shroud of Turin, a long cloth supposedly used to wrap the body of Jesus. It contains an imprint pattern consistent with someone who was crucified. Recent chemical testing was inconclusive.
Since it is not an actual body or body part of a saint, technically it is only a class two relic. However, if the stains are actually blood, then it would be a class one, provided they came from a bonafide "saint." Of course, the possibility of it being Jesus' blood makes it a sort of super-relic.
Another first class relic is on display in Goa, India. It is the body, or parts thereof, of "Saint" Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuit order in the 1500s and a Catholic missionary from Spain to India.
Parts of his body have been distributed as first class relics to various places in Europe and India. When his body was displayed for veneration soon after his death, the little toe of the right foot was bitten off by a Portuguese lady, Dona Isabel Carom and preserved as a personal relic. The toe, preserved over the centuries, is still on display for "veneration" in Goa. It was amputated while crowds were allowed to kiss the feet of the cadaver.
But relic worship is not some sideline fixation by Roman Catholics. Some type of relic is required to be part of the altar in every one of their churches and cathedrals.
One of the new rules is that the family must give permission before a body can be used as a relic. The family of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is in a legal battle with the Archdiocese of New York. Sheen's body is currently under the high altar of St Patrick's Cathedral. The family wants to move it to his childhood home in Peoria, Illinois.
Another new rule deals with the proper steps in permitting a relic to go on "pilgrimage," or traveling exhibitions. Many who flock to these displays are hoping to obtain the saint's favor for some healing or other problem.
Most such Roman rituals are rooted in some baptized pagan idolatry. This "saint" worship can be traced to the heathen practice of multiple gods for various purposes. Can praying to Saint Gerard for fertility be any different than a Hindu petitioning Parvati?
Decades ago, God led Jack Chick to speak against the pagan practices of this prostitute church. (See Rev. 17-18.) Numerous tracts and books are available to help these precious Roman Catholics escape their bondage. Visit www.chick.com or call 909-987-0771 for a free catalog.