Can someone tell us about "incorrupt" relics?

Recently I read something about the “incorrupt” bodies of saints and how the bodies have either decomposed little,slowly or not at all (…I…I) dont know how to say this but seeing that and esp.after reading the part about cuases where it says that one of the causes of this is* "*[t]he argument for a spiritual cause may include a belief that the pious nature of the individual in some way permeated the flesh (a metaphysical cause having a physical effect)" I think “strenghtened (?) my faith” personally and in Catholicism.Again I dont know how to say this but can someone explain this phenomena more?.Thank very much for your time and happy new year to all.

There is no such phenomenon. The bodies involved have all decayed to some extend, and quick Google will find you lots of other religions claiming the same thing, with their own dried-out bodies. when you find one that has been lying at the bottom of a river for a millennium or two, and not in an extremely dry cathedral, then I’ll look again.

I recommend the book The Incorruptibles by Joan Carroll Cruz.

Also from the Modern Catholic Dictiotionary:

INCORRUPTIBILITY. Incapacity of decay or destruction. This may be absolute, as God, who is wholly unchangeable by nature; or natural, as the angels and souls, which, being spirits, cannot disintegrate by decomposition; or substantial, as in physical nature, whose elements can be variously recombined but in their ultimate constituents are not destroyed.

Just pointing out that this person is an atheist.

The link in this sentence is a good page to read up on relics and incorruptibles.

I do not call myself an atheist. But I am not a believer. But why point it out? It is on the top of every post I make? Am I welcome here and able to make observations or not? And I would have thought tht the fact or otherwise of whether something showed signs of death does not require belief or non-belief - just the usual powers of observation, and commonsense. My observations are not that a micacle is impossible, or could not happen - just that in these cases, since the phenomenon is so easily replicated, that one has not happened. A supposed observable fact which requires faith to see it is not a fact.

Actually a body can remain in a completely preserved state in many instances, and not just in a church.

And even where a body does mummify, generally the body does not remain in good condition for long, as things like hair and nails may drop, skin cracks or drops off completely etc.

But I’ve seen for myself one such incorruptible, and this was not the case. The body looked as though she had died yesterday.

And had the body been touched up or treated in any way? If you believe not, is there evidence to this effect?

Certainly there are efforts to ensure that the body is given the due reverence and care due to it, and this may include some efforts towards stablizing the body’s form and shape, but as to preservation, I don’t know.

Why do I point it out? Because you are spewing insult about a catholic belief on a catholic forum. This person was interested in knowing more about the phenomena, because of interest, not whether it isn’t real. You aren’t answering her question at all and certainly not from her perspective. She is interested in learning the catholic perspective, not the non believer one.

I think you know quite well what you were trying to do.

You might be interested in reading the about Saint Lucy.

I had thought this was a forum about Catholic belief, not of Catholic belief. The OP in posting on a forum ‘open to all’ as it says on the home page, can expect the views of all.

For the record, I have also read many, many links about incorruptibles, and I have to agree with Hokomai.

Most incorruptibles have been preserved in some manner - wax is a very common substance used to create a mask. So you are actually viewing a very well created mask for the face, not the actual face itself. Also, chemicals have been injected into the veins of many corpses, thereby actually embalming them.

There are also well preserved Buddhist monk corpses, mostly due to the fact that the climate they died in was very dry.

We have to realize that incorruption is a less than one in a million thing and that the bodies are thoroughly examined. One argument for incorruption can be St. Francis Xavier who was covered in lime to actually speed up the decomposition process, yet was still incorrupt.

As for the Buddhist monks, there is a lot of evidence that human intervention slowed down the decomposition process.

I also found this

How about one who was buried in quick lime?

Jacinta’s Tears

Jacinta was buried in Ourem in 1920. She was buried in quick lime because they did not want the Spanish influenza to spread. In 1935 her body was exhumed to be transferred to the cemetery in Fatima and when they opened her tomb, they found that she was incorrupt. Her body was hardly changed at all. Her flesh, skin and hair all still intact.

Blessed Jacinta of Fatima and her incorrupt body

This link contains the most astounding claims, viz:

Incorruptibles are typically found lifelike, moist, flexible, and contain a sweet scent that many say smells like roses or other flowers, for years after death.
*] Incorruptibles are almost never embalmed or treated in any way due to the religious order’s beliefs that the person came from.
*] Incorruptibles remain free of decay, some for centuries, despite circumstances which normally cause decay such as being exposed to air, moisture, other decaying bodies, or other variables such as quicklime, which is typically applied to a corpse to accelerate decomposition.
*] Incorruptibles many times contain clear, flowing oils, perspiration, and flowing blood for years after death, where accidental or deliberately preserved bodies have never been recorded to have such characteristics.
*] Other partial incorruptibles have been found throughout the centuries where certain parts of the body decay normally, while other parts such as the heart or tongue remain perfectly free of decomposition.
There is, of course, no evidence, let alone the extraordinary evidence that would be required. Flowing blood!

:blush:Um,actually DihydrogenOxide for your information (and everyone else’s) I’m a guy.:o

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit