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them bones, them bones, them dry bones

(14 Posts)
madlentileater Mon 28-Sep-09 22:10:54

OK, I hope this won't upset anyone as I don't mean to offend but would like the RC perspective....these saint's bones ...coming to a cathedral near me...
what's the deal?
it just seems madly superstitious, tbh, and idolatorous (SP?)
and what are saints supposed to do anyway?
surely she's dead?

whomovedmychocolate Mon 28-Sep-09 22:47:10

Not a RC perspective but a secularist one - sounds bloody unhygienic to me wink

madlentileater Mon 28-Sep-09 22:50:14

ah, no, because apparently the bones are in a box, which you can kiss, but there are ladies there who will spray box with dettox. (sure this is what I heard on R4)
also other ladies are making lots of cakes, so all in all it's A Good Thing.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 28-Sep-09 22:59:34

How do you know what's in the box? Is it a glass box?

We put symbolic value in all sorts of stuff - if you believe it, it probably does help you. But that doesn't mean it's real.

I find it a tad disturbing and am quite glad I will never be appointed a saint and have someone venerating my remains when I'm rotted away.

madlentileater Mon 28-Sep-09 23:43:08

I don't know.
we went to a church in Italy once and there was a supposedly uncorrupted (not rotted) body of a saint but as you weren't allowed closer than about 6m there was no way to be sure what was there!

I can imagine it could be an aid to contemplation.....but you'd have to ignore the fact that it was a box of bones...

SardineQueen Mon 28-Sep-09 23:48:45

I was a bit hmm at the way this was reported on the news.

They were saying that all these RC were lining up to kiss the relics, superstitious cretins that they were (ok they didn't put it quite like that).

Then they interviewed a couple of people who utterly failed to come across as superstitious cretins.

The box looked like an extremely elaborate work of art made out of gold (?) or something, and is no doubt an extremely beautiful thing to see irrespective of religious belief.

I am sure that there will be a lot of people who do believe who will get something spiritual from being close to it.

But stacks of people will be there to see the casket and join in with an exciting new thing to come to town.

kreecherlivesupstairs Sun 04-Oct-09 09:53:00

DD and DH both R.C, we saw this on the news the other evening, dd completely got the wrong end of the stick and decided it was unkind because 'the poor saint wouldn't be able to breathe in that glass case'. Maybe she was too young to do her first communion last year if she can't even understand the fundamentals of idolatry.
Kreecher - a total atheist who raises eyebrows at this sort of nonsense but supports dh and dd's right to believe cobblers.

acorntree Fri 09-Oct-09 09:49:24

I took my dd to see this before school (at 6.45am!). St.Teresa is one of dd’s favourite saints, she is an easy saint for children to relate to (a young girl from the late 19th century is easier to relate to than an old man with a strange name from the 3rd). There was a wonderful atmosphere in the church, reverent, peaceful, prayerful and happy. Everyone was smiling. The church was full of light from all the candles. There were rose petals everywhere. There were lots of families with children in school uniform, like us, visiting before school (dd thought a pilgrimage before breakfast was a great way to start the day although I suspect she would start to object if we did it every day!). The relics were in a beautiful reliquary in front of the altar. People filed past silently and each spent a few moments kneeling at the reliquary before spending time quietly in the church to pray. It is about being close to someone who is important to you, and inspirational. It is more than that too, but even in secular life there are plenty of places or things that become important because of their association with a special person and this is like that plus more.

onagar Fri 09-Oct-09 10:48:32

If you pray to the bones (it only works if you actually go there and make a donation on the way in) but as I was saying... if you pray to the bones of a saint - (doesn't work just praying to people who were just really good all their life)

Where was I? Oh yes. if you pray to someone who is dead who was nominated to be a saint by a committee (not by god) then you get special favours above and beyond what other people get. (A bit like MPs helping out with their nannies passport application.)

For example a loved will get better in hospital while that one in the next bed won't. They may be christian, but they didn't kiss the toe bone of St Percy The Hapless.

Your local saint will hear your prayer even though god is obviously too busy watching out for falling sparrows. They will then go to god and say "look me old mate. Help me out with a miracle here."
"I've got an image to maintain so have to do something"
"Just a little one will do. You don't have to cure them or anything this time."
"If you can make the little box rattle that will do the trick and they will all go home chanting 'praise be to god and St Percy"

acorntree Fri 09-Oct-09 11:32:49

Onagar, I do know people who have that attitude to the saints relics, but Christianity, at it’s core, is, or should be, about doing and giving, not demanding and getting. That is hard and we all need a little bit of support and inspiration. I’m as sceptical as anyone about the whole ‘touch a relic and you will be cured’ thing and a few years ago would have had nothing to do with it, but my understanding has changed and developed so now I see it more as a mirror or lens that reflects or focuses aspects of God’s love. Clearly there is a whole lot of faith and belief involved in that, I wouldn’t expect an atheist to get it at all – all they would see is a pretty box – but had they been there the other day they would also have seen a whole lot of joyful people drawn together by a shared culture and a happy event – is that such a bad thing?

onagar Fri 09-Oct-09 13:54:58

I agree aboout the sharing part as it goes. This may seem like a strange comparison, but I remarked the other day to my DP that it would be better if we didn't have aired TV at all, but just downloaded what we wanted to watch from a database/catalog.

She pointed out quite rightly that you'd lose that thing where you say "did you see Easter Enders/That film/Big Brother/ last night?. Wasn't it good!"

In other words something simple that people can all share/feel a part of.

We have lost the whole 'our village/tribe' thing so there is a gap/need to be filled. So I don't really begrudge people joining in things and making pretty ceremonies out of them, whether it's churches or morris dancing.

On the other hand we'd probably ban East Enders and the like (despite any unifying effect they might have)if we got a lot of people who believed they were real and started basing their real life decisions on it, as that would hardly be healthy.

Not to mention the likely motives of those in charge who organise such things.

acorntree Fri 09-Oct-09 14:12:41

But the whole point of the Archers initially was to get messages across to people (farmers at first) so they were supposed to base aspects of their decision making on stories from a soap opera – so whether we would ban East Enders would depend on the message that they were trying to get across.

I’m not sure the analogy works too well anyway, because the saints are real people, who wrote and taught real things, not fictional creations.

madlentileater Sat 10-Oct-09 16:31:47

asked a colleague about this, who is quite seriously RC, he rolled his eyes and said ,' wierd, very wierd'

tomkitten Sun 11-Oct-09 20:37:57

A large group went from our parish, they seemed to get a lot out of it...

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