Private veneration of relics


#1

Hello CAF people!

After my Baptism last Easter, I had really wanted to have a relic of a saint, and after much prayer and sending a few requests to monasteries, convents, etc… I managed to acquire a few. I have a small list of their feast days so I can be sure to give special veneration to that saint, but I found on some websites that they said something like “The Holy See discourages individuals from possessing relics” and other things that relics should only be made available to churches for public veneration, while some others have said that it’s fine for individuals to possess relics for private veneration.

So which one is correct? I assumed that if the religious orders were willing to give me one, then it would be permitted. I just want to know because I don’t want to ‘hoard’ relics.

Thanks and God bless!

:slight_smile:


#2

What class of relics do you own? If you don’t know what that means, please look it up or describe your relics to me.


#3

I have never come across that kind of idea. If relics are categorized in “classes”, it is interesting to know more about that. I will search for myself on regulations regarding holy relics. I do know that most Church altars in my diocese have relics of saints enclosed in a piece of marble plate. Other ideas than that, I do not know any at all. This is interesting as I never thought such idea of possession by an individual christian who wishes to have for veneration of an admired saint.


#4

What relics do you have? There are three classes.

First class relics are parts of a saints body.
Second class relics are items worn or used by the saint.
A third class relic is traditionally an item which has touched a first class relic only (but because so many people want a relic this has been watered down to be almost meaningless and there is no Church document on this to stop it).

When you say you managed to “acquire” a few relics I assume you mean obtained for free because it is forbidden to buy a relic (with the possible exception of buying to rescue a relic and then give it to the Church).
You may be able to get a relic from a religious order but if a donation is required then that is essentially a sale. If a donation is voluntary that is different.

When it comes to relics Canon law does not differentiate classes so when it says the sale of relics is forbidden that means all.

Can. 1190 §1 It is absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.

§2 Distinguished relics, and others which are held in great veneration by the people, may not validly be in any way alienated nor transferred on a permanent basis, without the permission of the Apostolic See.

§3 The provision of §2 applies to images which are greatly venerated in any church by the people.


#5

Hi everyone,

To answer your question, it’s both first and second class. Some orders sent me a second class while some sent me a first class, but only the tiny little specs that you commonly see in thecas rather than large pieces of bone, hair, etc… I was just wondering about the current regulations in the Church about individuals having them.

Thanks

EDIT: To answer thistles’ question, I received them for free. There was no cost involved, but I did send them out of my own free will a donation to pay for the shipping.


#6

[quote="thistle, post:4, topic:316666"]

Can. 1190 §1 It is absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.

§2 Distinguished relics, and others which are held in great veneration by the people, may not validly be in any way alienated nor transferred on a permanent basis, without the permission of the Apostolic See.

§3 The provision of §2 applies to images which are greatly venerated in any church by the people.

[/quote]

One thing to keep in mind about C 1190 is that it is viewed as applying to well known relics.

For example, the Bishop of Turin could not permanantely transfer the Shroud of Turin to another diocese with Papal Approval. Likewise with relics that are associated with a specific church or location.

It would not prohibit a diocese or monastery from transferring, say a bone chip from St. Maria Goretti, or a few hairs from Mother Theresa, to a parish, or even a member of the Faithful.

If material goods are transferred along with the relic, such as a valuable reliquary, then material compensation for the reliquary could be asked for. As well as things like shipping costs.


#7

[quote="thistle, post:4, topic:316666"]
What relics do you have? There are three classes.

First class relics are parts of a saints body.
Second class relics are items worn or used by the saint.
A third class relic is traditionally an item which has touched a first class relic only (but because so many people want a relic this has been watered down to be almost meaningless and there is no Church document on this to stop it).

Thanks for the clarifications. Can I ask where did you get this 'classifications'? I read canon law last night but did not find any specifications on the classes. Since there is no code indicated to have these holy relics by an individual, I assume (not with certainty) that it is okay to have them for veneration. Maybe it is also wise to inform your parish priest about it. It is also clear that it is not to be sold.

[/quote]


#8

[quote="Brendan, post:6, topic:316666"]
One thing to keep in mind about C 1190 is that it is viewed as applying to well known relics.

For example, the Bishop of Turin could not permanantely transfer the Shroud of Turin to another diocese with Papal Approval. Likewise with relics that are associated with a specific church or location.

It would not prohibit a diocese or monastery from transferring, say a bone chip from St. Maria Goretti, or a few hairs from Mother Theresa, to a parish, or even a member of the Faithful.

If material goods are transferred along with the relic, such as a valuable reliquary, then material compensation for the reliquary could be asked for. As well as things like shipping costs.

[/quote]

That is not the case and Canon Law would specify such if it were correct.
Canon Law does NOT differenciate the classes of relic.
People insert their own opinions to try to get round canon law.

Also selling a reliquary with the relic free does not fool anyone. That is simply a sale by another name.


#9

[quote="frjohnmaryt, post:7, topic:316666"]

For classes of relic we simply have to go by tradition because the Church has no official document on this.

Here is one source - Father John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary:

RELIC. An object connected with a saint, e.g., part of the body or clothing or something the person had used or touched. Authentic relics are venerated with the Church's warm approbation. They may not be bought or sold. Those of a martyr are placed in the altar stone at the consecration of an altar. Relics are of three classes: the first is part of the saint's body and is the type placed in the altar stone; the second is part of the clothing or anything used during the saint's life; and the third is any other object, such as a piece of cloth, that has been touched to a first-class relic. (Etym. Latin reliquiae, remains.)
[/quote]


#10

I've a brown scapular that was gicen to me by a friend. It has been touched to 27 first class relics making it a 3rd class relic. Two questions here: 1) How is the purchase of such a scapular not simony?
2) When touching an item to a 1st class relic under glass, does the glass prevent tje making of a 3rd class? In other words does it need direct contact with say, bone?


#11
  1. I’m not sure… I know that lots of good Catholic book stores have holy cards with cloths touched to the relics of a saint, and I wouldn’t think that they would sell them if it was forbidden by canon law… :confused: dunno… But I know it’s wrong to sell first and second class relics.

  2. I sometimes give away cloths that I touched to the theca with the relic of the saint that I have. It just touches the glass. I don’t think it really matters if it actually touches the relic itself or not, rather the intention and proximity matter… This is just a guess :stuck_out_tongue: I’m no canon lawyer or expert in stuff like this; that’s why I started this thread: to ask a question :smiley:


#12

#13

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