Why collect relics

Can someone explain why the Church is collecting relics of JPII and John XXIII? Blood and a patch of skin, respectively? This was mentioned in a few news outlets and some non-Catholic friends are scratching their heads. I understand that the Church has relics from times past, but I hope to have a tidy explanation. My friends might think it a segue to idolatry.

Thanks!

Dear friend,

I have been a priest for forty-six years and have yet to know any Catholic who has worshiped a relic. How many people spend great amounts of money for articles that belonged to movie stars or were used as props in famous movies? No one suggests that the people who buy them are just a step away from worshiping them.

While I would take exception to perishable items like skin and blood, most of us have souvenirs of people we have loved and respected.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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