Pope: Bones Found in Rome Tomb Belong to Apostle Paul

Pope Benedict XVI says bone fragments found in a tomb beneath the floor of Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside-The-Walls are probably remains of the Apostle Paul.

The pontiff announced Sunday that carbon dating tests run on the fragments, which were found inside a stone sarcophagus discovered beneath the floor of the basilica, confirm that they date from first or second century.

“This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul,” Benedict said, speaking Sunday at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-The-Walls.

Christians have traditionally believed St. Paul was buried beneath the main altar of the basilica, which was built in the late fourth century. The 8-foot-long sarcophagus containing the bone fragments was discovered in 2002.

The pope’s announcement came on the eve of the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul, a major feast day for the Roman Catholic Church.

Paul and Peter are regarded by the faithful as the greatest early Christian missionaries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Basilica bones are St Paul’s, Pope declares after carbon dating tests

I’m sure the Pope was misquoted if that is what it is claimed he said. Dating the bones to the time period in which Paul lived is helpful of course, but in no way “proves” them to be Paul’s. I don’t know if that is scientifically possible.

In any case, I heard in passing that there were some writings also found. Anyone heard of this? And what they might contain? Odd that no one spoke about this find for 7 years too.

I hadn’t heard about additional writings. The tomb the bones were found in has been secured in an area that historical documents pointed to being Paul’s sarcophagus. Also, the inside of the tomb included a fresco painting of St Paul and the sarcophagus itself was labelled with the apostle’s name. Furthermore, the bone fragments contained in St Paul’s gold bust in the basillica of St John Lateran (the Cathedra of Rome). All in all, the dating method here is just one more confirmation of several links to St Paul, and appears to be VERY valid when taken in context with that.

He actually said that it corroborates the “unanimous and uncontested” understanding that those relics are, in fact, the bones of St. Paul the Apostle.

Ack, I meant the above to be: Furthermore, the bone fragments match those fragments contained in St Paul’s gold bust in the basillica of St John Lateran (the Cathedra of Rome).

Clearly, they are waiting for dental records and a DNA sample to confirm.

Thanks for all the additional information. As you say, there is good linkage. I don’t know what you mean by very valid. The dating is what it is, stating that the bones are within the appropriate time frame for when we believe Paul died. Nothing more can be said.

Yes, it does agree with the tradition, It doesn’t refute it, and that is a very positive thing.

Well, I think if Pope Benedict went to the trouble of saying they are Paul’s bones, and said it on the record, I am going to believe they are indeed Paul’s bones. the Church really does not like to make statements that the press pick up and run with that later appear to be mistakes. I won’t say it hasn’t happened. But no one wants to be proven wrong in the public eye, and certainly His Holiness would not wish that.

IN what sense do they match? Are you saying that bone fragments actually “fit together” with some from the bust? That would be news indeed. If something other than that, please explain further.

Dental records? Are you claiming that there are existing dental records of Paul? I’m not sure I ever heard of there being dentists in the first century. And DNA, if extracted has to be compared to a known sample. I don’t think they have that. I don’t actually think that any DNA will be able to prove much of anything but perhaps an age range, and sex. Still that would be helpful wouldn’t it?

I have no idea if there are any teeth, or any bones intact such that DNA might be extractable. I think usually they can get it from the morrow, but I might be wrong.

Spiritmeadow theres a lot the Catholic Church doesn’treveal to just everybody. Of course we have Paul’s dental records and dna on file. Would you expect otherwise from the Vatican???:rotfl:

Tee hee! A lot of folks make that mistake. It happens with fingerprints. Find a print at a crime scene and some folks think the case is solved. If you don’t have a print on file already there is nothing to match it to. Same with DNA unfortunately. It doesn’t pop out a name! lol…

And why is it that so many miss the conditional word in what the pope said? “Probably”

From the link to The Times

*]“This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that these are the mortal remains of Paul the Apostle.”
[/LIST]Maybe they are - & the find may well be consistent with the tradition; but can one really go any further than that ? “Seems” was a wise choice of words; it’s regrettable that the papers allow themselves to be more definite in their headlines, because those are what will be noticed.

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