Wednesday, August 24, 2005


With typical clarity and wit, Mark Shea has some good reflections on why we crazy Catholics seem to like relics of dead people so much.

I like his opening anecdote:
She then produced from her pocket a little round box the size of a watch. It had a glass lid and in it, cushioned on some sort of velvety stuff, was a little piece of white something or other.

I pondered it uncomprehendingly, trying to figure out if this was a microchip or something.

Finally, she announced triumphantly, "That's St. Elizabeth Ann Seton!"

I was, it dawned on me, a piece of bone.

I wish I could say my reaction was pious and reverent. But, proving my Northern European cultural roots, I found myself thinking "Ick!" and trying to find a way to hand St. Elizabeth back to my friend as quickly as possible. Relics, I thought to myself, are not my thing. Indeed, like most Americans, I was a bit creeped out by relics.
Intrigued? Get the rest of his article here.


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