Sunday, June 5, 2011

Could there be any 1st class relics of Jesus after the Ascension?

And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts of the Apostles 1:9)
Jesus has Ascended to heaven not only in his soul, but in his body also. The very body which he received from the Virgin Mary, which grew to adulthood, which suffered, died and was buried, which rose again and remained for forty days – this very body has been taken up into heaven.
While it is true that some have claimed to possess first class relics of Christ (e.g. The Holy Prepuce), the historical veracity of these claims is dubious. Setting aside the historical question of the authenticity of the various first class relics of Jesus, we would do well to consider the theological question: Is it even possible that a piece of Jesus’ body could remain on earth as a first class relic after his Ascension? Given that the very body of Christ has been raised, glorified, and taken up into heaven, could there be any remnants of the body of our Savior still on earth?

The Eucharist (even in the case of a Eucharistic miracle) is not a first class relic of Jesus
The Eucharist is really, truly, and substantially the body and blood of Jesus. Nevertheless, the Eucharist is not a first class relic of our Savior. Although “Christ is present whole and entire in His physical ‘reality’” and we may even say that he is “corporeally present”, we also add that this presence is “not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.” (Paul VI, Mystici Corporis 46)
While the Eucharist is truly Jesus, and Christ is really and corporeally present in the Eucharist; we must admit that he is not present in his proper species (i.e. as he was present on earth and is present now in heaven), but in the sacrament. We can easily recognize the difference between a relic and the Eucharist – the relic is only a part of the saint, but Christ is wholly present in the Eucharist.
Even in the case of a Eucharistic miracle, we must not conclude that the sacrament has become a relic of Jesus. If, as in the case of Lanciano, the Host physically changes and becomes heart tissue; we must not think that the Eucharist has become a first class relic, being Jesus’ heart. No, even in this miraculous occurrence, it is not simply a piece of Jesus’ heart tissue which is present, but the whole Christ – his entire body is sacramentally present in the Host. Again, in the case of the miraculous change of the Precious Blood into physical drops of blood, it is not that only a drop of Christ’s blood is present but rather the whole Christ is present in each and every ounce of the Precious Blood.
Theoretically, there could be remnants of Jesus’ body after the Ascension
While it is certain that the physical body of Jesus, the very same which was born and which died, has been raised up and glorified; we need not necessarily conclude that each and every particle of Christ’s physical body has been reunited and glorified. For example, it would be quite absurd to think that all of our Savior’s hair and finger nail clippings were reunited with his body. If we consider all the portions of the Lord’s body which had been separated from him throughout his life (from sweat, to blood, to tears, to saliva, to skin particles, to hair and nails, etc.), we must admit that it would be utterly absurd to think that all of this would be reunited in the resurrection.
St. Thomas Aquinas discusses this matter with his usually clarity: In the Summa Contra Gentiles (Book IV, chapter 81), the Angelic Doctor tells us that, since a man may gain or lose hair in this life without suffering an essential change in his body, it is clear that all that hair does not need to be restored to him in the resurrection in order for him to receive his own body once again. Thus, it is not necessary that each and every particle that was ever a part of a man’s body should be restored to him in the resurrection.
From this it is clear that, at least theoretically, it would be possible for some remnant of our Savior’s body to remain even after his Resurrection and Ascension. A lock of hair, or a finger nail, or a drop of blood – any of these could certainly remain without compromising the integrity of the risen body of the Lord.
Would these remains be relics?
Given that it is theoretically possible for some portion of what was once united to the Lord’s body to remain on earth even after the Ascension, we must consider whether these remains would properly be called “relics”. If a lock of hair or a drop of blood were left to remain on earth after the Ascension, would this be a first class relic of the Lord?
Part of what makes a first class relic to be a relic is that the saint, from whose body the relic is derived, is dead. In this regard, it is helpful to consider the pronouncement of the Council of Trent which states “that the holy bodies of holy martyrs, and of others now living with Christ – which bodies were the living members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost, and which are by Him to be raised unto eternal life, and to be glorified – are to be venerated by the faithful; through which (bodies) many benefits are bestowed by God on men.” (Session XXV)
The logic of the Council is that the relics of the bodies of the saints are to be venerated on two accounts: Firstly, they were once united to these saints. Secondly, they will again be united to the saints through the general resurrection.
Hence, we recognize that the very logic of first class relics points to a period prior to the resurrection of the body. Therefore, as the bodies of Jesus and Mary have already been raised and glorified in heaven, it is not at all clear that any remnants which may still be on the earth (i.e. locks of hair or drops of blood, etc.) would be true first class relics. These hypothetical remnants would certainly not be united to Jesus in the Resurrection, since he has already been raised (and the presumption must be that they were left behind).
When a soul is separated from the body, it is possible for each and all remnants to be venerated as relics. However, once the soul is reunited with the body in the resurrection, any remnants left behind would no longer be relics – for they no longer have any real connection to the soul and will never be reunited to the soul.
Therefore, I propose that, even in the case of supposed first class relics of Jesus or of Mary, there can be no first class “relics” properly so-called of the Savior or of his Blessed Mother. They have been raised and their bodies have been glorified, anything which may possibly remain ought not to be considered a relic.
The sense of the faithful and the case of St. John the Beloved
Finally, it is worth noting that the faithful have always had a sense that there are no relics or remnants of those whose bodies have been taken up into heaven prior to the general resurrection. We can see this quite clearly in the popular medieval belief in the assumption of St. John the Beloved.
On account of the fact that there seem to be no first class relics of St. John the Apostle, many have speculated that he was taken up into heaven. Indeed, even St. Thomas Aquinas seems to believe that St. John was assumed when he writes: “We should say that he [i.e. John] died and arose with his body, indicated by the fact that his body cannot be found.” Moreover, Fr. Cornelius a’ Lapide is deeply impressed by this fact and, although he gives a very strong argument that St. John was not assumed, he concludes: “Be this as it may, it is not possible at the present time to find any other relics of the body of St. John.” Clearly, the absence of relics is an indication that the individual has been assumed into heaven.
[In an earlier article, I have argued that the Beloved Disciple was not, in fact, assumed into heaven; but I point to this medieval devotion as an indication of the intuitive sense of the faithful.]
Given this general intuition of the people of God – that there are no relics or remains of any sort from those whose bodies have been taken up into heaven – we are inclined to conclude that, in the cases of Jesus and his Mother, there are neither relics nor any remains whatsoever of their bodies. While it is not at all likely that each and every particle that was ever united to Jesus’ body has been raised up, we speculate that the remnants have been utterly dissolved to their simplest state and have been reconstituted under some other material form.


Dawn Eden Goldstein said...

Enlightening post, Father--thanks. But I think you mean Paul VI's Mysterium Fidei, not Pius XII's Mystici Corporis.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Yes! It should be Mysterium Fidei ... sorry for the mistake, I was working on another article at the same time (referring to Christ's beatific vision ... hence the mistaken reference to Mystici Corporis).

Blessings to you in the good work you are doing! +

Anonymous said...

The discernment of the faithful is regarding Faith, not regarding legend or speculation.

So it cannot be that according to the discernment of the faithful, St. John was assumed into Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Father thank you for posting this article. In a different forum I had an argument with someone that claimed to be a priest with a PhD in chemical physics. His statement was that Jesus is sacramentally present in the Eucharist but NOT physically. I cannot understand why people waste so much trying to go into explaining transubstantiation and real presence in order to deny the physical presence. As a Christian I can affirm that I believe that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist, as a physicist I can affirm that a body is a physical entity and there is no way out of it. As a Christian and as a scientist I can also state that what my senses perceive is not always the complete thing or even the true one. I think that we fool ourselves when, as scientists, we spend too much time arguing about substance vs. accident when in reality we know that we are still quite confused if not ignorant about physical realities. I am surprised that some people are more willing to accept mathematical conjectures (unproven statements) than religious mysteries. I guess that our egos are bigger than our brains. Reason tells me to trust in God and that is why I choose to do so.


Unknown said...

Great post. Thank you also for the link the Assumption of St John. St John is my patron and I've always been curious about this theory.

T said...

Father, what about second class relics, ie the mantle our Lady wore (or the prayer scrolls or dishes she used)? Why do none of these remain preserved?

Also, as to pieces of our Lord's body having dissolved away by this time, the crown of thorns (of which supposedly pieces, at least, are extant) would contain traces of Jesus' blood, surely. As would the True Cross, recovered by St. Helena. And the Shroud of Turin (presuming its authenticity, which having read of the extensive investigations it's undergone, I have no reason to doubt) and the veil of Veronica.

I understand your point about these traces of His blood not being united to His soul presently or in the future, but am not sure I wholly agree that that means no reverence is due them. Surely those traces of blood deserve as much or more reverence as the objects (2nd class relics) to which they adhere.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Anonymous (12:03pm, June 5),
Your comment quite amuses me!

You state that the discernment of the faithful can't be about the Assumption of St. John because this is mere legend or speculation ... I wonder what you would have said about the sense of the faithful regarding the Assumption of Mary before the ex cathedra pronouncement (perhaps you forget that the Pope referred his pronouncement to the long-standing Tradition which was found in the discernment of the faithful).

In any case, as I have stated elsewhere on NTM, I do not think that St. John the Beloved was assumed -- on this matter, I differ from St. Thomas Aquinas.

My response to your comment is simply to point out that the question of whether a particular person has been assumed into heaven can indeed be a point of Faith (rather than mere legend) -- as in the case with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Anonymous said...

I am not the only one I know who has a first class relic of St. John the Evangelist, the Beloved Disciple, which I, a priest, brought back myself from Rome from the home of relic sisters with the certified seal of the Diocese of Rome. In my case, it is included with the other 11 Apostles (Paul being the 12th) in a reliquary. How does this square with what you are saying?

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Cristiano (anonymous 1:20pm),
The question of whether Christ's presence should be called physical is quite complicated.

For now, I simply point out that the Church has never (and, I am quite certain, will never) state that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist -- really, truly, substantially, sacramentally present; but we do not say physically present.

On the other hand, I quickly add that he is present in his physical reality, his physical body is substantially present, his presence may even be called "corporeal". But I personally don't think it is all too helpful to say he is "physically present" (and neither does the Church, since she has never said this).

I will be writing more on this subject for Corpus Christi ... in the mean-time, however, I do want to stress that I sympathize with your concern. Often times, when someone says that Jesus is not physically present, they mean it in a way that would probably be heretical.

You are certainly correct -- a body is a physical entity, and must be such (i.e. a body must be material). Therefore, a physical reality is most certainly substantially, truly, and sacramentally present in the Eucharistic species.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

What a difficult question we have here! St. Thomas says "yes", the Beloved is assumed. But St. Augustine says "no". Even Fr. Cornelius a' Lapide waffles on the issue and doesn't really come to a conclusion (though he seems to favor an assumption).

Where to turn? Well, for my part, Dante is a decent (although weak) source -- and he says "no", following St. Augustine and a number of the scholastics.

What is most unsettling to me is that not only the average Catholic but even the average "theologian" will dismiss the whole discussion as a waste of time!

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

What I mean to say is only that, by divine dispensation, there would be no remains of Christ's person (and I am simply speculating here).
Most certainly, there are 2nd class relics -- I have seen several myself!

Personally, I do not believe that any of the trace of blood have remained -- and, in fact, those who possess these 2nd class relics generally do not claim that they also have 1st class relics (i.e. blood, etc) [though, in truth, there are at least one or two who do claim this].

So, yes, I most certainly do believe that there are many many 2nd class relics of Jesus -- you have mentioned several (and I have seen these myself). But, no, I do not believe that there are any traces of blood or of flesh.

Regarding the reverence and devotion due to the instruments of the passion (i.e. the Cross, Nails, etc), I affirm (with St. Thomas Aquinas) that these are to be adored with Latria -- i.e. we worship the True Cross and the Nails ... I have written on this point several times [consider the following article:]

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Anonymous (3:14pm)
Father, I cannot make a claim for or against the authenticity of such relics -- as I think of it, I too know of at least one priest from Rome who acquired a relic of the Beloved Disciple.

All I can say is that St. Thomas and Fr. Cornelius a' Lapide are quite certain that there are no authentic 1st class relics of St. John the Evangelist.
[and they both spent time in Rome themselves ... Fr. Cornelius spent a great many years there; he was in the City as late as the early 1600's]

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame in Paris is supposed to have the Crown of Thorns - St. Louis (the King - Louis IX) paid a large sum to the Byzantine emperor of the time to acquire it.

Anonymous said...

Of course there can be 1st class relics of Jesus.

In the marvelous "Mystical City of God", by Venerable Mary of Agreda, we can read as part of her description of events around the Circumcision of the divine Infant, how Mary and Joseph preserved in a crystal vessel the blood and flesh of Jesus.

Some of the text:
"They preserved it in a crystal vase, which saint Joseph had purchased with the money sent to them by saint Elisabeth. In this they had enclosed the particle of flesh and the sacred blood shed at the Circumcision, which had been caught up in pieces of linen. The opening of the vase was encased in silver, which the mighty Queen, in order to preserve the sacred relics more securely, had sealed by her mere command. Thus the silver opening was more firmly sealed than if it had been soldered by the artisan, who had made the vessel. In this vase the prudent Mother treasured the relics during her whole life and afterwards She entrusted it to the Apostles, leaving it as an inheritance to the holy Church."

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame in Paris is supposed to have the Crown of Thorns (2nd class relic?) purchased by St. Louis (Louis IX of France) from the Byzantine emperor.

T said...

Hm... I have a great deal of respect for the Angelic Doctor, but I'm not sure even he could get me to give any inanimate object - even the instruments of the Passion - latria!

The adoration due to God alone? Whereby I praise or supplicate Him and he understands? Whereby I listen to Him and obey His commands?

The instruments of the passion deserve great veneration to be sure - greater than any other object I can think of - but they are still mere objects without understanding. How could I possibly pray to them? I couldn't. Venerate/reverence them, yes. Worship them, no.

Still, I will examine and think about the article.

Anonymous said...

Regarding this, I think of both the Shroud of Turin, which has blood (didn't they even derive blood type AB from a sample?), sweat, and other bodily fluids. There is its companion piece, the Sudarium of Orvieto, which has a provenance back to the 600's at least, which was the hood placed over the head of the dead Christ after he was taken from the cross, and with sweat (hence the name sudarium, from the Latin word to sweat) and blood stains corresponding to the Shroud. And the blood type on it is also AB.

Anonymous said...


I am confused because in "Mysterium Fidei" it states "sub quibus totus et integer Christus adest in sua physica «realitate» etiam corporaliter praesens" That to me is a clear statement about the physical presence. The following statement (licet non comodo quo corpora adsunt in loco) is a clear indication of our limitation in understanding the physical world. There are a lot of physical phenomena, non related to religion, that could be addresses by the second statement


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

The text sited states "corporaliter" not "physicaliter" ... yes, the body is present in his physical reality; but we do not say physically present.

In fact, I am quite convinced that we cannot say "locally" present ... and it is hard to imagine a physical presence which is not local.

In any case, I will be writing more on this soon. Please do not worry too much ... I am no liberal!
When the article is published, you will see that there is a way to maintain a very strong understanding of the real presence while still making use of the language the Church has given us (which does not include "physically present").

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@anonymouses regarding relics of Christ's blood,

First, PLEASE have the decency to leave some sort of tag/id/pseudonym! I have asked this over and over again! It is even written in the combox right above where you make your comment.

When you have this little courtesy, I will respond to your comments.

In any case, even if there were true remnants of Christ's blood (and I doubt this myself), I do not think they would be relics ... since Christ's soul is now united to his risen body and there is no longer the connection between the remains and the soul (as I explained in the article after citing the Council of Trent).

And "Anonymous" of 4:50pm, June 5 ... you are particularly rude in that, after being so disrespectful as to comment without leaving even a pseudonym, you used words in bold so as to indicate my stupidity and your intellectual superiority ... I find that, in an argument, the fool always yells first.
Good day!

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I am very open to the idea of 2nd class relics of Jesus and Mary. I have seen many myself.

@T, St. Thomas' claim is really not that radical (it is actually quite simple). The main point he makes is that we worship the Divine Essence in itself and for itself. We worship the Humanity of Christ on account of its union with the Divinity. And we worship the Cross etc. on account of their union with the humanity (and through the humanity, with the person of the Word).

If any think we should worship Christ's sacred humanity (whether this be his body and blood in the Eucharist or his body and blood in its proper species in heaven), then we must admit that Latria can be given to more than simply the Divine Essence.

In any case, I think the article will give some sense to the claim.
Peace to you! +

Anonymous said...

If we have relics of St Joseph I ask who was higher than him? St John?

And why is it that a relic of Christ will make the devil and his cohorts flee in an exorcism?

It would be total folly to undermine the Holy Relics.

Holy Relics are so important that a Latin Mass used to be said in honour of the Holy relics on November 5th.

If Our Lady could treasure the relics of the holy then we had better too.

Blessed Katerina Emmerich said that the saints hover over their relics. So why should Christ not be present with his?

The very thin veil over our eyes is a test of our love and faith. I am grateful that the father reveals himself to those who have childlike faith so enough of our own so called wisdom.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what you would have said about the sense of the faithful regarding the Assumption of Mary before the ex cathedra pronouncement (perhaps you forget that the Pope referred his pronouncement to the long-standing Tradition which was found in the discernment of the faithful)."

Doctrine is NOT legend. There is a difference, one which you seem to be confused about, so it seems. Allow me clarify the two for you.

A doctrine is a long-held belief, rooted in the Word of God (Scripture and Tradition), whereas a legend is a long-held tradition, rooted in a doctrine. It is the difference between Divine Tradition and human tradition.

That is why the Assumption of Mary is a dogmatically defined doctrine, whereas the assumption of John is just a legend.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

You simply MUST start using some id/tag/pseudonym!
It is simply too difficult to carry on serious discussion when I cannot tell who is who ... then again, as you all are continuing to refuse this simple courtesy, may you really aren't interested in serious discussion?

In any case, I will not be posting any comments that do not have at least a simple pseudonym, at least the bottom of the comment ... like so ...


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@anonymous (11:21pm),
Your comment is utterly bizarre!
Nothing I have said would undermine the devotion of the Church toward relics.
My point is simply that it does not seem like there could be "relics" of Jesus and Mary in the same way as there are relics of the saints ... since Jesus and Mary have already gone up to heaven in their proper bodies.

Your ramblings make no sense to me at all! (literally, I cannot tell what you are trying to say)

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@anonymous (12:44am),
I am amazed that you are so competent regarding the official pronouncement of what is "mere legend" and what is "Dogma"!
Many of the saints have believed that John's assumption was more than mere 'human tradition'! Many (even St. Thomas) thought that the tradition of the faithful was more than 'just a legend'!

There are biblical reasons to think John was assumed. There are reasons stemming from the Tradition to think John was assumed.
If you had read the article (which I am quite sure you have not) you would have recognized this.

In any case, my point is not to debate whether or not John was assumed (personally, I think not), but rather to point out that the faithful have a certain sense that no relics remain of those who have been assumed into heaven -- and this is testified to by no less an authority than the Angelic Doctor!

annointed Tau said...

Wasn't there an apparition of St Joseph at the last apparition on October 13 1917 when the miracle at Fatima occured? He appeared with the Holy Family. If so, how can we have bone relics of St Joseph today?

This will totally turn your theory upside down.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

annointed Tau,
The apparitions of Mary, Joseph, the other saints, and even of Christ are not apparitions in their proper bodies.

Jesus and Mary do not descend from heaven in their own proper bodies in these apparitions.
This is what makes St. Paul's vision so unique -- Jesus did appear to him in his own proper body (he came down from heaven to visit Paul).

However, the saints have never claimed that the apparitions received (whether Fatima or Lourdes, etc) entail the literal second coming of Christ -- i.e. his return to earth in his proper body.

So, no, I do not think that this would "totally turn my theory upside down". Because I am quite convinced that neither Joseph nor Mary nor Jesus appear in their proper physical bodies.

Cf. CCC 659 which explains how unique was Paul's vision.

annointed Tau said...

"Jesus. Mary and Joseph are not apparitions in their proper bodies..".so you say. Well what bodies or ghosts or whatever do you mean? And with what authority do you say such a thing as if it was not them really present? Are you really serious? How can you say such a dreadful thing? Do you mean that every apparition is nothing more than some type of hologram?

annointed Tau said...

What about Catherine Laboure? She actually leaned on the knee of Our Lady in an apparition. But you say, no Mary would not descend in her proper body... Explain that please.

Fred said...

Perhaps I've perused this article -and these comments - too quickly, but the Shroud of Turin is not merely a third class relic as a coth that has touched our Lord, but is a first class relic because it is suffused with His Precious Blood.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

annointed Tau,
Please do not missunderstand -- the apparitions are true and real. However, I am quite certain (and the Church herself seems to be quite certain) that Jesus does not appear in his proper physical body.

Have you looked at CCC 659 yet? The point is that, if Jesus' apparitions to saints were the same as when he appeared to his disciples after the Resurrection, then the Ascension would not be a definitive moment.

Jesus does not appear in his proper physical body, because that body is in heaven and no longer on earth.
By analogy, the same holds true for Mary.

Likewise, please do remember that many of the saints have appeared and "touched", "held", "lifted" various persons and objects -- however, we would be quite wrong to presume that this means that those saints have been assumed into heaven! (this seems to be your reasoning with St. Joseph ... as though any saint who appeared in an apparition, must necessarily have been assumed into heaven)

I do not say that the apparition is a mere "hologram", but I do insist that it is not the proper body of the Lord or of his Mother or of the saints (especially in cases like St. Joan of Arc's, where St. Michael appeared in bodily form, though he is an angel and has never had nor could ever have a proper body).

I hope that this helps ... and, yes, I am "really serious"

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

annointed Tau,
Since you ask "with what authority" I say such "a dreadful thing", I presume that you did not read my reference to the Catechism (perhaps you do not know that "CCC" refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church) ... I have copied the relevant portion of CCC 659 below:

"Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. [...] Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand. Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul 'as to one untimely born', in a last apparition that established him as an apostle."

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

My point in the article is not so much to deal with particular historical questions, but more with the philosophical and theological foundations.

In that regard, I am of the opinion that, even if there are remnants of Christ's blood (e.g. the blood stains on the Shroud and the Sudarium), these remnats are not properly "relics" so-called.
After Christ has been raised and has ascended into heaven, his soul no longer bears the same relation to these remains as it had before the resurrection.

This is the point of my citation from Trent -- the whole logic of relics is that these pieces of bone etc. will one day be re-united to the souls of the saints.
However, as Christ has already been raised, it is evident that any possible remains will not be re-united to his soul and therefore are not properly 1st Class Relics.

Does this make sense?
Certainly, I mean no disrespect to the Shroud or the Sudarium ... I think we can worship both with the true adoration of Latria (following St. Thomas Aquinas and the logic of St. John Damascene)

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I think something that might be misunderstood here is that the body of Jesus is quite different from the body of any other human.

When Jesus died and his body was placed in the tomb, that body was God. The Catechism states this quite clearly: "During Christ's period in the tomb, his divine person continued to assume both his soul and his body." (CCC 630)
[for more on this see:

The point here is that, if there were remains of Christ's body that were truly 1st Class Relics; these remains would not simply be Relics, they would be God (for they would be hypostatically united to the divine essence through the person of the Word).
Now, I don't think anyone here wants to claim that!

For this reason, I assert that any possible remains are not properly relics and no longer have a relation to the soul of Christ (as is the case with 1st Class relics of the saints).

Anonymous said...

We have greater than a first class relic of Our Lord -

He is present in every Tabernacle in every Roman Catholic Church body, blood, soul and divinity.


T said...

Father, I might be one of the "anonymouses" :) I posted a comment mentioning again the Shroud of Turin shortly after the one about St. Thomas and latria, but I never saw it get published and was wondering why not - perhaps I forgot to put my little T in the name box. Sorry about that, if that's what happened.

If it isn't - well, I'm befuddled as to where my comment went. Perhaps I only thought I hit publish - and actually just exited the comment screen instead. (That would be a bummer, 'cause at this point I don't remember all of what was in it)

Stomachosus said...


It was my understanding that in a Eucharistic miracle, where the host turns to flesh or something of that sort, the Eucharist ceases to be. That is, Christ is substantially present as long as the accidents of bread and wine remain, but when the accidents are gone, so is His presence. If the Host no longer has the accidents of bread, then the real presence should cease, even if the accidents are now flesh or blood?

annointed Tau said...

The point here is....they would be God (for they will be hypostatically united to the divine essence....

Well, I for one will claim that.I can truly say He is present in His relics and remains. I care not what the academics think as I personally believe you cannot limit God to mere human reasoning when it comes to mysteries.

Even the slightest particle of the consecrated host is God himself!

Lanciano is evident of this extraordinary phenomena.
Perhaps the Trinity's omnipotence is far greater in His love to remain with us than anyone could ever possibly imagine.We just cannot put limits on Him according to our understanding. You know and I know that if God stopped thinking of us for one zinth we would cease to exist' and this is just the Holy Spirit. Perhaps when Christ said I will be with you always even until the end of times it meant more than we realised. His precious blood could not just dissipate into a material altered state. It is alive with Him because He is present.It is from the same Christ before He ascended, it is the same Christ after He ascended, is it not?
Quite frankly your whole argument seems to be based upon assertions. The CCC has had to be corrected more than once. It is not infallible or is it Father?

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

annointed Tau,
If we are to the point of claiming that the Eucharistic miracle at Lanciano is a first class relic, then this discussion has really hit the bottom.
I have already discussed the Eucharist above in the article ... please re-read.
How can any reasonable person compare the living presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist to a dead, lifeless relic?!

Your dismissive comments about the CCC reveal your attitude toward Tradition and the theological developments of the Fathers, Doctors, and saints.

In any case, if you think that Christ's assertion that he is with us always means that his body is physically present on earth in just the manner he was present when he appeared to his apostles after the Resurrection (such that the Ascension is not a definitive event) ... well, I just don't know how to respond to that ...

[by the way, "anointed" is not spelled "annointed" (just fyi)]

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

The point you make is certainly open to theological debate.
St. Thomas Aquinas is of the opinion that the Eucharist remains the Eucharist when the accidents are changed by a miracle ... however, I do not believe that we must necessarily accept that.

cf. ST III, q.76, a.8 --
(the key point is that the dimensive quantity, which is the "essential accident" remains)

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I don't know for sure what happened to the comment ... I have not yet deleted any ... there is a comment at 3:07pm from June 5, in which you mention the mantle of our Lady and the Shroud.

In any case, thank you for all you have added to this discussion! +

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I am in complete agreement! :)

Michelangelo said...


Excellent exposition of the question, thank you. You have answered many questions which I have pondered for years. Your essential point is that we should not consider them relics. And your point that even eucharistic miracles, which could in a sense be called a physical presence, which we would normally not consume, but rather reserve for adoration, is still, as is the Holy Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine, the "Whole Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity", and not a "relic". Thank you, Father.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Thanks, I'm glad to know that this discussion has helped! +

Post a Comment

When commenting, please leave a name or pseudonym at the end of your comment so as to facilitate communication and responses.

Comments must be approved by the moderator before being published.