[quote="Okanenich, post:1, topic:208707"]
This has given me a few headaches about my faith. It appears that a few of the "inccoruptible bodies" have wax or silicon masks, or else mummuies partially decayed. See depletedcranium.com/a-skeptical-look-at-incorruptibility for a sceptics explanation of mummification, natural processes causing slow decay, not really incorrupt but decayed often with wax masks etc.
Can someone give a counterexplanation?
Thanks in advance for any help.
I think I can help you. I consider myself a bit of an expert on the subject, in fact. ;)
I have read J.C. Cruz' book on it, and have seen many incorrupt saints' bodies in person around the world - some with masks on them, and some not.
First of all, the Church does not declare anybody officially to be incorrupt - does that make sense? The Church says nothing about it one way or the other. Many people, though, including me, are free to believe that certain cases of bodies not decomposing are miraculous, but that's our own opinion; it is a private judgment. Saints bodies are often placed in visible reliquaries in churches, including St. Peter's in Rome, but this is not a statement about whether or not they are incorrupt. Some have masks on them - realistic ones or not - and some do not. Some saints skeletons are put on display, too, etc. It is not ever used as a miracle for a canonization, etc. etc. So there is no problem from a faith point of view.
Many bodies you see on websites listed as "incorrupt" on websites are not, in fact. They are lifesize dolls - representations of the saints - that have the bones inside of them (whether for modesty, artistic reasons, or whatever other reason).
Some saints are only partially incorrupt, and some were once incorrupt but no longer are (i.e. St. John Neumann, St. Camillus de Lellis).
A silicon mask was placed over the face of St. Padre Pio when he was put on display for veneration, though. I was a little concerned about that because people thought it was really his face. We have to be careful about these things, that people are not confused, and that Catholics don't appear to be trying to deceive anybody (I don't think that was anybody's intention at all, though - they said he was "partially" incorrupt upon opening the tomb). The more unrealistic masks are sometimes placed just for modesty, since sometimes seeing dead bodies can make people uncomfortable.
I have, though, seen at least a couple of incorrupt saints' bodies that are amazing, and like I said, clearly miraculous (having no scientific explanation).