My Catholic faith is secure, as is my belief in all that it teaches. That said, I was excited to learn, recently, about the displayed body of Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette (sp?), and others. To me, it was the icing on the cake - a bonus affirmation of Catholicism as the true faith. However, I’ve run across sites claiming that preservatives are used in these cases - carbonic acid in the case of Laboure (as well as wax hands because hers decayed). Any feedback on this would be appreciated. The criticisms didn’t come from sources with much in the way of credentials, and of course there is bias at work there. Yet, while I don’t need scientific documentation that Chritianity is true, I would like to have some more background on the validity of contemporary incorruptables before I share these miracles with my protestant friends. I’d had to have the pie in the face of having there be real documentation out there to disprove this phenomenon, which would unfairly make the Catholic faith look like a slight-of-hand trick to skeptics. Any help with this?
[quote=awfulthings9]However, I’ve run across sites claiming that preservatives are used in these cases - carbonic acid in the case of Laboure (as well as wax hands because hers decayed).
Here is my understanding of incorruptibles. At the time of their death until the time their bodies were exhummed, there was no evidence of natural decay. In some cases many many years had passed. This defies science. In some cases the flesh was still pink and even aeromatic, like roses.
I think the point of the incorrputible is the lack of decay when they were buried naturally. If the body has been buried and remains untouched - therein lies the miracle, not after it has been exposed to the air for ever. Of course God can make any miracle possible and never have sign of decay.
I also read that many of the wax casts for faces and hands are made for asthetic reasons only - for the comfort of the public. Logic being that the public viewing the saint could not handle looking at more of a mumified skin appearance - and sunken eyes.
This web site has some pictures.
I recently read that Pope John XXIII was found to be incorrupt…is that true? If so…I wonder if that helps dispel any doubts to those who feel him bringing about Vatican was evil.
Also…was there any word on the state of Padre Pios body? I dont recall hearing anything one way or the other.
I’ve heard Blessed John XXIII was, in fact, embalmed. They did this because Pius XII was in such bad shape after several days of exposition before he was buried. I may have my popes confused, though.
No…you’re right…I just the story that they had Johns body EXTREMELY well preserved and there is no evidence of incorruption…the Vatican even states this. However, I read that a miracle IS being claimed in his name…so again…I wonder what the anti Vatican II crowd has to say about his lack of holiness?
I’ve got his biography. Just haven’t had time to read it.
Peace be with you!
Although I cannot provide any sources at this moment…I have done some study on this in the past. What they discovered is that some of the incorruptibles had things done to their bodies in order to preserve them better. But note that I say “some” and not all. There are still a great number of incorrupt saints that science has found no way to explain. Take St. Francis Xavier for example…when he died, they put lime on his body so that it would decay even faster so his body wouldn’t smell when they shipped his body back. Lime is known to help the decaying process. Yet, he is incorrupt and his body let out a pleasant odor to the surprise of all.
One can also look at what the Communists did with Lenin’s body. In a sense mocking the Church, the Communists tried to preserve Lenin’s body and display him in a manner saints are displayed. Using many doctors, many different chemicals and putting him in airtight containers to stop the decay process they tried to keep his body incorrupt but apparently he does not look at all like the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette! Science cannot do what God can.
[quote=Faithful 2 Rome]No…you’re right…I just the story that they had Johns body EXTREMELY well preserved and there is no evidence of incorruption…the Vatican even states this. However, I read that a miracle IS being claimed in his name…so again…I wonder what the anti Vatican II crowd has to say about his lack of holiness?
== Simple - they will do what Catholics usually do with inconvenient miracles, and say they are the work of satan; or, are purely natural
And then they will go back to pointing out what they see, rightly or wrongly, as the theological inadequacies of V2, or accusing him of being a Freemason or Modernist or both.
People don’t change their minds because of miracles - they change them, if they do, because they are ready to do so. Because whatever is inconvenient, can always be explained away.
Fortunately, it is not going be too easy to disown V2 - the Church has committed herself to it too unambiguously to disown it without looking very flip-floppy if she is tempted to think of doing so. It would be very bad PR ==
I agree… if unexplained Miracles truly meant something to people, then we wouldnt have atheists or agnostics.
Regarding Lenin…Juan Peron did the same thing with Evita’s body…I dont know if they have kept up the process though.
[quote=johnq]This web site has some pictures.
Thanks for the link. My roommate’s an athiest who says he used to be an athiest, but now he’s a buddhist athiest. Same thing really. Philosophically speaking, panthiesm = athiesm.
Anyhow, does anybody have like an official church link on this topic with more photos or a list of all the incoruptibles?
The term “incorrupt” only means that the saint’s body has not or did not decay as it naturally should have. The body can still look “corrupt” (as in the case of St. Rita or others) but it isn’t decayed as normally happens.
As for preservative things being done to the bodies–yes, that happens but that doesn’t mean the body is no longer incorrupt.
Regarding an official Church website–i don’t know. Doing a search on the topic would yield something, I’m sure. The book “The Incorruptibles” by Joan Carroll Cruz is a good resource.