Clearly, notes the author, “early Christians had prayed to Peter here, in the presence of the actual relics.” And the surroundings were precisely as expected by ancient descriptions of how he was buried.
Moreover, when forensic tests were conducted on pieces of cranium, jaw, tooth, vertebrae, pelvis, legs, arms, and hands, what was further learned was further astounding.
The bones, which were very close to that incredible inscription “Peter is here,” were of a sixty-to-seventy-year-old robust male — “approximately Peter’s supposed age when he died,” writes O’Neill.
More amazing, it was determined that they once had been reinterred and covered with an early purple and gold cloth “whose dye was of a type only used by Imperial Romans of the first to third centuries.”
The remains also were consistent with a person crucified upside-down. The feet had been viciously cut off — as Romans did because it was quicker than removing nails…
By this time Pius XII was dead, and the matter was in the hands of Pope Paul VI, who likewise was courageously in his pursuit of the truth, even if it led to proof that Peter was not under the basilica.
The inscriptions and bones proved it.
The announcement was made in 1968 — and ignored by much of the world, especially Protestants, who literally interpret Scripture and who would be troubled by the passage about Christ and how He would build His Church on the Rock of Peter.
Right there under the greatest church on earth.