I know there are rules. I don’t know exactly what they are.
I have been told that every Roman Catholic church has a relic of a saint in it somewhere. No need to go into great details, you can look it up if you like. I would think, as the number of churches grow, that there might be a relic shortage. Although, there are three different classes of relics and I guess there are ways to increase the supply as necessary. Not to mention that there are probably plenty of relics for modern saints.
In Bruges, Belgium, there is a church, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, with the ultimate “relic” – though I don’t buy it as being real. It’s a phial containing a sample of Jesus’ blood. I am sure that brings in the tourists, though there weren’t many people when I was there a few years back. Maybe they were waiting for Ascension Day, when the phial is paraded through the town. And Ottawa thought we were privileged last month when we had a parade with the Grey Cup!
Call me a cynic, but I doubt anyone present at Jesus’ crucifixion was taking blood samples. Or that they were taken later, no matter what tradition says. Scripture doesn’t mention it, and I don’t think preserving blood was part of first century Jewish culture. But a lot of people believe this is the real deal.
That has me wondering about our makeup as humans. What is it about us that we have such a need to believe that we add to the facts? Why do some people need some physical evidence of distinctly dubious provenance to draw us closer to God?
If you look at the scriptural accounts, they should be enough. That is assuming you examine the context and history of the scriptures. If you believe Napoleon lost to Wellington at Waterloo, then you should believe Jesus was born in Bethlehem. If you accept that Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, you should believe in the historicity of Christ’s resurrection.
There is no-one alive who was there at those historic events, but we do have eyewitness accounts. There is no valid reason to automatically reject one set of witnesses and not the other. Many people do though, choosing what they believe according to their desires and not the facts as presented.
Maybe that’s why Catholic churches need relics. History is insufficient for so many people. They crave something more, no matter how unlikely. Mind you, most Catholic churches can’t claim anything as exceptional as Jesus’ blood.
I understand the phial hasn’t been opened in the almost a millennia it has been in this church. I wonder what DNA testing would show?