Im on vacation and travelling. I visited a catholic church today in which there is, enshrined in a glass box on a plinth, the head of Oliver Plunket, a catholic marthyr.
I lit a candle and said a special prayer for someone here as I promised them I would.
But yikes, a head !!!
I have to admit I found it a bit, well, weird.
It may be because Ive had to deal with headless bodies in the past and there is something profoundly degrading about beheading someone. Picking up the pieces is macabre to put it mildly. He was drawn, quatered and beheaded apparently and some woman grabbed his head and hid it.
So, can someone explain this to me. I dont really get it. Someone told me they used to parade this head around the town on a certain day, but I dont think they do that anymore.
Would it not be better and more dignified for Oliver Plunket to be buried and a shrine marking the spot or something, rather than having a human head on display as a shrine.
Im trying to understand this part of catholicism. Catholics pray for the dead. I cant imagine any priest, or civil authority for that matter, saying it would be acceptable for a family to have in their livingroom the head of a dead relative. That’s the stuff of nightmares.
Yet here is one in a church. Openly on display and being prayed to.
I’d appreciate any good links to help me understand why catholics do this.