In The News: #LoveWins, #TakeItDown, #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

The Meaning of Relics

If the Pope says it’s real… Pope Benedict XVI has declared the Shroud of Turin authentic. Writes Chris Armstrong at Grateful to the Dead:

This also seems a bold move by a pope–to declare something authentic that it is well within the realm of science to later declare a fraud (though so far no conclusive proof has been given).

I pulled out my copy of Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead by Peter Manseau, co-founder with Jeff Sharlet of our sister site, Killing the Buddha, to find this quote:

Even if an object is not genuinely what believers profess it to be — such as Chaucer’s feather of the angel Gabriel — it becomes the locus of belief for centuries. And it is in this belief that faith is made. For the faithful, to pray to a relic displayed in its reliquary — even to a blackened and shriveled tongue — is like shining sunlight through a magnifying glass. A relic concentrates the beliefs surrounding it until they can be seen: it is faith so intense it has, at times, set the world on fire.

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Getting Pre-Modern.

Ah, the simpler times. When mass was in Latin, pedophilia was not spoken of, and suffering brought cries for mercy, not cries for justice. Catholic News Service reports on a two-and-a-half hour high mass held on April 24 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Bishop Edward Slatterly (Tulsa, OK) was called in at the last minute to replace Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (Columbia) who was, as Kevin Clarke at America writes, “forced to withdraw after a furor erupted over a letter he wrote in 2001 as the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, praising a French bishop for not reporting an abusive priest to authorities.” For the first time in the Basilica in decades the mass, dedicated to celebrating the fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s ascension, was delivered entirely in Latin. The Latin mass wasn’t the only sign of pre-Vatican II nostalgia. Continue Reading →