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Marist Calendar - September

Agios.Mar 11



New regulations on relics of saints and blessed

03/02/2018: General House

The Vatican published new norms on relics of saints and blessed on Dec. 16, reiterating the prohibition of selling relics or exhibiting them without a certificate.

With this regulation, we want to reinforce the prohibition to sell them, the protocol of recognition, certificates of authenticity and respect for the will of legitimate heirs.

A “relic” is what remains of the body of a saint or a blessed. The concept is also extended to the things he used, or which belonged to him.

The instruction titled The relics in the Church: authenticity and preservation, published by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recalls that in no case “can they be exposed to the veneration of the faithful without a certificate of authenticity” signed by the postulator of the cause or the bishop, just as they cannot be exposed in profane places.

In very vigorous terms, the new norm reaffirms the absolute prohibition of the trade and sale of relics, disavowing not only the barter but especially the buying and selling that takes place today especially on the Internet.

Many of the relics that can be purchased on the Internet are false, but others are true and are put on sale by the children or grandchildren of the original owners as an element of liquidation of the inheritance. In that market, there are also relics from abandoned churches or that appear falsely as such without being able to make any verification.

Although medieval wars no longer exist for the property of relics of saints, thefts continue, many of them with the intention of selling them to private collectors.

The new norms establish in a more detailed way the protocol for the recognition of the mortal remains of people subject to the beatification and canonization processes.

It requires the presence of medical experts in anatomy or legal medicine, as well as witnesses. The minutes must be detailed. Participants are prohibited from disclosing images or information on their own.

Naturally, the bishops and the postulators of the causes are reminded of the obligation to respect the rights of the civil heirs of the saintly person, as well as the laws of the place.

Correcting the excesses of some dismemberments in previous centuries, it is forbidden to separate relevant parts of the body – to make relics – without explicit permission from the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in Rome.


Agios.Mar 11
Br Antonio Martínez Estaún, postulator general

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