Throwback Thursday: Pittsburgh Catholic chapel boasts of more relics than anywhere outside of Rome

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on January 3, 2016 and has been revised.


Few evangelicals are aware of the extent of Roman Catholicism’s preoccupation with religious amulets, ju-jus, and relics. St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasts that it has 5000 religious relics, the largest collection of relics in the world outside of Rome. Included in the collection are alleged splinters from Jesus’ cross, a fragment of the column of His flagellation, a stone from the Garden of Gethsemane, a nail that held Christ to the cross, material from Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s clothing, and a piece of bone from each of the twelve apostles. Only a small portion of the alleged relics at St. Anthony’s Chapel are shown in the above photo. Read how Catholic priest, Suitbert Mollinger, amassed the collection in the article far below.

The word “relic” comes from the Latin, “reliquus,” meaning “left behind.” The Catholic church teaches that “relics do not have power in and of themselves,” but that God works miracles in the presence of saints’ bodies/bodyparts or their material possessions or items they came in contact with. Catholics “venerate” relics while praying for physical healings or other blessings.

There was considerable traffic in relics throughout Europe in the Middle Ages as churches competed for these highly prized religious souvenirs. Unscrupulous merchants and dealers were more than happy to satisfy the demand. There is certainly no evidence for the authenticity of many Catholic relics, including some of the more outlandish ones like those mentioned above as well as claims to the thorns from Jesus’ crown, Mary’s breast milk, Jesus’ umbilical cord and foreskin, and the house Jesus grew up in as a child.

Everyone must accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Venerating/worshiping material objects is idolatry. If I possessed the ENTIRE cross that Jesus died on and it stood in my backyard, it would do me absolutely no good.

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” – John 6:63

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24

For more of my postings on relics see here.


The bizarre tale of 5000 relics finding a home in a Pittsburgh chapel

28 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Pittsburgh Catholic chapel boasts of more relics than anywhere outside of Rome

  1. The first instinct is to laugh at such nonsense, until the reality comes across that this no laughing matter.

    I was going to mention that bit about Mary’s milk. I was in Bethlehem back in 2012. There, I saw merchants selling this milk in jars. I never heard of such a thing. What’s tragic is that these merchants sell this milk because people actually buy it … both monetarily and in truth. Sheer madness!

    Otherwise, excellent post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, David! Yes, tragically comical. Thanks for the personal insight. One source says that 18 competing Catholic churches claimed to possess Jesus’s “holy prepuce” (infant foreskin) during the Middle Ages. These bogus relics all served as superstitious amulets.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Beth! Probably very few evangelicals know about this blatantly superstitious side of Catholicism. It’s popular to label everything a “hoax” these days, but these bogus relics take the cake!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 👋🏼
      Hiya! Hope you’re having a good start to your day!

      Very gray here in ROC and only 75F. I need a nap but I’m fighting it. BTW, I just read a news story about how DC had a big layoff a couple of weeks ago and it’s expected they will trim their poorest selling comic titles.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. People are so easily led into falsehood. Where is their thinking process ? Do they have a brain ? Believe a ridiculous lie regarding the relics you mentioned BUT tell them the Truth from God’s Word and they stone you .
    This is how the god of this world has blinded them . Does blindness and stupidity go together ?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Crissy. I can understand how people were duped back in the Middle Ages when most had zero education. But these fraudulent relics now serve to show how the RCC bamboozled people. This seedier side of Catholicism doesn’t get a lot of exposure in the U.S.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have seen a lot of relic worship during my years in Spain. I hated having to wear a scapular , even more so when they told me what it was . And the bones of st Teresa? I could go on ….
        I feel very strongly about these things. This is where the truth in love at times fail me. 🤷🏻‍♀️🙏
        Keep up the good work brother

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, I can become angered by the blatantly superstitious practices. Or when some inane rule or practice leads to a deeper and deeper legalistic rabbit hole.I have a post about one of those situations in the near future. While American Catholicism doesn’t emphasize relics as in Europe, Canon Law 1237 mandates that every single Catholic altar must have the relic (body part) of a saint placed beneath it.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow Pittsburgh has over 5 K relics in just one of their church? That is crazy. Examined in that light and consideration Christians should see Romainism isn’t biblical and not Christianity

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. It’s blatant hoax. All of those bogus items attributed to Jesus. And then the superstitious belief that these items bring blessings. Relics aren’t such a huge deal in American Catholic churches compared to Europe, BUT Canon Law 1237 requires that every Catholic altar worldwide must have a relic (body part) of a saint encased beneath it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yup, every altar (which is obviously also un-Biblical) MUST have a relic beneath it. So a bunch of monks somewhere are harvesting small pieces of cadavers of “saints” and shipping them off every time a new Catholic church is built somewhere in the world.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yeah, mandating that a body part must be beneath every altar is very revealing. It shows a “voo-doo/pagan witch doctor” dimension of Catholicism that they leave out of the glossy brochures. The vast majority of Roman Catholics don’t know there’s a body part relic beneath their church’s altar.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. When I encounter these bizarro, paganish rules of Catholicism, such as this body part beneath the altar rule, I often think about what the apostle Paul’s reaction would be. It would not be pretty.

        Liked by 2 people

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