I can't get my protestant brain wrapped around this

Okay, so there is another person who posted this and I stole the link to post in here.

I’m suspecting this has to veneration of saints but this, seriously, is something that I can’t make sense of. My protestant self wants to immediately go to “idol worship” but I’m sure my Catholic friends can maybe help me make sense of this?

To help you along - I totally understand where you come from with praying to saints and Mary - not there with you yet, though. But the adoration of relics is something I haven’t come across in here in any of the posts that I’ve read, anyways.

Okay, let me post the link I’ll let you all “discuss” this…

see catholicsentinel.org/main…rticleID=28489

The link didn’t work for me, Rita.

Your link does not work…but you mentioned relics…it is very OT…and Jewish in roots…and remember st. Paul’s handkerchief…anyway, here is a link that gets you tomits jewish roots and early christian practice…and it was actually the pagans who abhorred the early Christians for believing inrelics…calledtocommunion.com/2012/08/relics-saints-and-the-assumption-of-mary/

Cut the URL back to the root catholicsentinel.org. I think the referenced article is on the first page.


Okay, I edited it. It should work now!! Sorry!

Thanks, Pablope! I’ll check it out in the morning!!

It is “veneration” not “adoration”. Adoration belongs to God alone.

Perhaps this quote, containing 2 important points from the catechism, will also help:*CCC#2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.*:o

Okay, maybe I’m being too particular but this is talking about images…I guess what I’m trying to understand is a vial containing blood of a person.

Admittedly, I have not read the information provided for in the links. I will do that in the morning…I just popped on here before I went to bed.

Thanks for sharing!


The main thing is that it’s not being worshiped. Veneration of relics has occurred since the early Church.

That one scripture quote about the bones of - Elisha, is it? - is a great example from the OT.

2 Kings 13:21 I believe…

And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

relics of saints are holy reminders

catholics don’t worship chips of bone or anything like that

try to be be more open-minded

catholics worship the Holy Trinity pure & simple

Brian, I think that’s what I have been doing here. I have the utmost respect for Catholics - I am here to learn and I can’t learn without asking questions. I’ve met some fabulous people who have taught me a lot. This is the first time I have ever read about veneration of Saint’s relics…I’m 58…that’s a lot of years being a Baptist/congregationalist and almost 40 years LCMS…hard to break down those ideas.

Whether I will end up agreeing with you on some of your beliefs that remains to be seen but in the meantime, as long as people “can stand me around” I will continue to hang around, ask questions and learn.

Thanks for your response!



Exactly. Why would anyone believe that we worship “things”? :confused:

As a convert, I understand where you’re coming from.

I have to admit at first, I thought "you’re kidding me right?, “I need to pray in front of this bone chip?”, but, since I am a lover of history, it helped me understand it better.

When I am near a relic of a Saint, it makes me think a few different things. Like, wow, that person is/was real, and not just some made up story. That person did this or that with their faith. Maybe it is a relic of a Martyr, and they died for their faith.

With that in mind, and the relic in front of me, I have found that it really helps me focus my prayer, and not just go through the motions.

If I were to be in front of a relic of St. Padre Pio, I would think of all of the suffering he went through with the Stigmata, or the miraculous gifts he used for God’s work. That might help me focus my prayers on those suffering around me.

I could go on and on with a list of Saints, but, I hope you get my drift from this example.

Keep up the good questions. That’s the only way you will learn, and a great way for us to share.

As a newly minted Protestant (although Lutherans in the US have a problem with the label “Protestant”- that discussion for a different time) it goes something like this: the saints are “your friends”. It is like when you are trying to influence some powerful person who knows somebody whom you are close friends with. Praying to the saints is not to recognize your friends as the powerful guy, rather, to ask your friends for help getting favors from the powerful guy.

I know that in the Protestant mind this notion that you can influence God through prayers -let alone by getting other people ask the favor for you- is a bit strange, but that’s how Catholics see it.

I think it helps put things into perspective. Real people, real events, real suffering, real miracles all going back 2000 plus years. This is not just some fad or passing fancy. Historically God has not spoken against his people venerating physical things that help us focus on him. Looking to his faithful servants over the ages for inspiration and guidance on our journey towards eternal bliss with the one true God is good not bad. We all need a path to follow.

But the **adoration **of relics is something I haven’t come across in here in any of the posts that I’ve read, anyways.

:slight_smile: nor should you come across such a posting. Catholic Christians do not “Adore” anyone or anything except our Lord Christ.
The relics fall under the concept of Sacramentals, Holy Items, and Holy Images (as noted earlier). These items are intended to help us to be better disposed towards properly receiving the Sacraments.

Perhaps a different angle on the concept you’re working with:

Vatican - English - Catechism of the Catholic Church - SACRAMENTALS
(I like the feel of a book in hand; thus, I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of the CCC from your local Catholic Bookstore. A paperback version is usually fairly cheap. Often the answers to your questions can be found therein; however, you can follow the above link to the online version. You might also find a copy of the YOUCAT which is the CCC aimed at teenagers; however, I’ve found it to be helpful when trying to explain things to my younger children and Religious Ed Class)

Popular piety

1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the **forms of piety **and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals,180 etc.

1675 These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. They "should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them."181

1676 Pastoral discernment is needed to sustain and support popular piety and, if necessary, to purify and correct the religious sense which underlies these devotions so that the faithful may advance in knowledge of the mystery of Christ.182 Their exercise is subject to the care and judgment of the bishops and to the general norms of the Church.

[INDENT]At its core the piety of the people is a storehouse of values that offers answers of Christian wisdom to the great questions of life. The Catholic wisdom of the people is capable of fashioning a vital synthesis. . . . It creatively combines the divine and the human, Christ and Mary, spirit and body, communion and institution, person and community, faith and homeland, intelligence and emotion. This wisdom is a Christian humanism that radically affirms the dignity of every person as a child of God, establishes a basic fraternity, teaches people to encounter nature and understand work, provides reasons for joy and humor even in the midst of a very hard life. For the people this wisdom is also a principle of discernment and an evangelical instinct through which they spontaneously sense when the Gospel is served in the Church and when it is emptied of its content and stifled by other interests.181 


1677 Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.

1678 Among the sacramentals blessings occupy an important place. They include both praise of God for his works and gifts, and the Church’s intercession for men that they may be able to use God’s gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel.

1679 In addition to the liturgy, Christian life is nourished by various forms of popular piety, rooted in the different cultures. While carefully clarifying them in the light of faith, the Church fosters the forms of popular piety that express an evangelical instinct and a human wisdom and that enrich Christian life.


I am with you. I can’t get my catholic brain wrapped around it either. I would guess that a great many faithful Catholics don’t get it either.

Does it even matter whether one calls it adoration or veneration? Either way, I just don’t understand how it could be right to have such an attachment to, and pay so much attention to, a vial of blood of any mortal man.

It's easier to relate to if you're a sports fan or film buff & have been, say, to a Hall of Fame or film studio where they display historic items. These might inspire a feeling of natural awe akin to the veneration for a relic, but of a lesser kind. In many of the Church's practices we find these kinds of similarities between the natural and the transcendent order. And in most cases, the puzzling practice becomes clearer when we think of it under the aspect.of the Incarnation - because the saint was so near Christ, his physical effects retain Jesus' glory in miniature.
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