by Anura Guruge
John Paul II Re-Interment, Post Beatification, Goes Against His Will — Again! April 24, 2011 post.
Relics associated with John Paul II (#265) were on display, already being venerated, and even being distributed in some cases well ahead of his May 1, 2011 beatification. Much of these relics appear to have been collected and disseminated by John Paul II’s longtime secretary Dziwisz — already notorious for not burning the pope’s personal papers, following his death, despite explicit written instructions, addressed to Dziwisz, to do so. Dziwisz, rightly, is being subjected to some criticism for introducing these relics since they appear to distract from the gravitas of the pope’s beatification and legacy.
Plus, John Paul II is not a saint as yet. So to have relic veneration at this stage borders on ‘cult practices’ — something frowned upon by the Church. When canonized (which is a given), the pope’s relics will be First- Second- and Third-Class Relics per Catholic notation.
That a reliquary with John Paul II’s blood was put on display during the beatification ceremony, and was even kissed by Pope Benedict XVI (#266), adds further confusion to this whole issue of relic worship. Refer to these New York Times photographs: photo 1 & photo 2. Also see below. [The reliquary, with the glass vial of blood, was carried by the French, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, whose testament that she was cured of Parkinson’s disease after praying to Pope John Paul II was the miracle used for the beatification. Carrying such a reliquary, obviously, was the ultimate test that she had been cured. [Disclosure: my mother had Parkinson’s.]] But, it has also been pointed out that John Paul II was a great worshiper of relics.
Per Catholic convention any body parts [including blood, internal organs, nails, hair] of the pope, once he is canonized, will be treasured First-Class Relics. Anything he wore, used [e.g., rosary, crucifix, pens, books] or even touched is a Second-Class Relic — once he is saint. Any object that comes into physical contact with a Second-Class Relic automatically becomes a Third-Class Relic. So, there will be thousands of relics associated with John Paul II. The Confraternity of Catholic Saints, a Philippines youth organization created in 2003 to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is already claiming that they possess 12 credible relics including a rosary and a papal seal.
The goal of this post is to try and compile an accurate list of all of the John Paul II relics (for future reference). Any and all help in keeping this list up to date will be greatly appreciated — and I will gladly include your name (or abbreviation) as the contributor, if you so wish.
- Remnants from cassocks (many or all provided by Dziwisz). These are ex indumentis (from the clothing) Second-Class relics. The Vicariate of Rome is already supplying these relics (along with a Holy Card), for free, though donations are gladly accepted. You can request a relic by mail, e-mail or fax. Use this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I suspected people have already started selling John Paul II relics, in particular cassock remains, on eBay. I found at least one this morning (May 4, 2011).
- Blood from the pope (as in the reliquary mentioned above). It appears that Dziwisz, at a minimum, kept two vials of John Paul II’s blood — supposedly taken during his last days (when he was gravely ill) by medical personnel. There are also claims, albeit as yet unverified, that Dziwisz also has blood from the time of the assassination attempt on the pope in 1981. [Reports are now emerging that Dziwisz, way prior to the beatification, was giving out John Paul II relics — such as to a Polish racing driver who was involved in a crash. See this AP article.]
Some of the blood will also be on display, at a newly constructed altar, at the Sanctuary of Our Lord’s Mercy in Krakow, Poland — John Paul II having associations with that historic city since 1938 (when he was 18) when he started attending the Jagiellonian University.
Bullet-holed, blood stained sash worn by Pope John Paul II on Wednesday, May 13, 1981, when Mehmet Ali Ağca fired 4 shots into the pope in St. Peter’s Square, on display at Jasna Góra Monastery, in Częstochowa, Poland’s most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary. Again, a ghoulish memento collected by Dziwisz — who, one has to grudgingly admit, really was thinking way ahead.For an AP picture of the sash.
- Blood-stained cassock Pope John Paul II was wearing at the time of the 1981 assassination attempt. Yes, Dziwisz kept it and it is expected to go on display in Krakow sometime in the future. The Philippines The Confraternity of Catholic Saints claim that they already have a piece of this cassock.
- Papal seals
I will, with luck, add to this list as we go along.
For more pictures of the beatification from the President of Poland click << here >>.