I touched on “relics” and how much they’re venerated within Catholicism a few posts ago and I’d like to share some additional thoughts.
As early Christianity became increasingly institutionalized and began to adopt many of the concepts of paganism, there was a frenzied race to acquire items mentioned in the Bible or the alleged personal effects of Jesus and his family. Centuries before scientific authentication, churches vied against each other for the most valuable “relics.” Making their appearance, sometimes at multiple sites, were pieces of the “true cross,” the crown of thorns, the water pots of Cana, the crib of Jesus, the baby clothes of Jesus, Jesus’s foreskin, Joseph’s carpenter tools, the cup used at the Last Supper, the empty purse of Judas, Pilate’s basin, nails from the cross, Mary’s breast milk, etc., etc. The focus of Catholicism has always been on the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).
Perhaps the most audacious claim for a relic (besides Jesus’s foreskin) is the Holy House of Nazareth located inside the Basilica at Loreto, Italy (see photos). Catholic tradition claims Mary grew up in this small 13′ by 31′ house and Jesus was raised in it also. According to Catholic apologists angels carried the house from Palestine to Croatia in 1291. Not content with that site, they moved the house to Recanti, Italy and finally to Loreto in 1295.
Lest anyone think the grizzled Catholic hierarchy just winks at these ridiculous medieval relics, both “Saint” Pope John XXIII and Pope Benedict XVI visited the house signifying their stamp of approval.
Catholic friends, accepting Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior by faith alone is the thing, NOT collecting and venerating bogus religious relics!