Centuries ago, it was very popular for Roman Catholics to make pilgrimages to designated “holy” sites and shrines as part of a spiritual/penitential exercise or in an effort to obtain indulgences to shorten time spent in Purgatory after death. Catholic churches across Europe competed with each other to obtain the best “relics” (body parts or personal effects of “saints”) in order to attract potential pilgrims. The pilgrimage busine$$ is definitely not what it used to be, but devotees still flock to various sites.
I’ve previously posted a number of messages regarding the strange, ongoing legal tug-of-war over the corpse of former archbishop, Fulton J. Sheen. Sheen was one of the first Catholics to use the new media of radio and television to propagate the Catholic religion and became a national celebrity in the 50s and 60s. Sheen died in 1979 and is on the fast-track to sainthood because of his celebrity except for one huge snag. As we see in the recent news article below, the dioceses of Peoria, Illinois and New York City continue to fight over the final “resting place” of Sheen’s remains. He was born in El Paso, Illinois near Peoria but earned his great fame in New York as auxiliary bishop from 1951 to 1966. Both dioceses desperately want to be “home” to the crypt of this soon-to-be-canonized saint, but the Vatican won’t canonize Sheen until his “resting place’ is settled once and for all. They surely don’t want the negative publicity that would follow if he were canonized in the middle of this squabble.
None of this has anything to do with Christianity.
- “Holy” sites and relics impart no blessings.
- Natural man glories in the creature rather than the Creator. Can anyone imagine a passage in the New Testament in which two churches were fighting over the remains of a deceased believer? The veneration/worship of Sheen’s earthly remains is idolatry.
- According to the New Testament, saints are all those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, NOT some subgroup of super-sanctified “holy” people.
- Sheen proclaimed Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit rather than the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5:20-21
Bishop Fulton Sheen’s bones at center of raging court case
See my previous post on the fight over Sheen’s corpse here.