Definition: An area of the Catholic altar that contains a box of relics. Before the initial “sacrifice” of Jesus on an altar, a consecration ceremony is performed whereby relics of two martyrs are placed inside a small box and cemented into the altar. In Catholic teaching, relics often have special powers, and are venerated. Relics (a form of sacramental) are deemed able to convey grace to the faithful, though in a lesser manner than the sacraments.
Discussion: Human remains were used by King Josiah to desecrate an altar (2 Kings 23:6), not consecrate one. Veneration of relics is a form of idolatry that is condemned in the Scriptures (Ex. 20:4-6). The sacrifice of Jesus was sufficient for all time, and He is now in heaven interceding for His people (Heb. 10:28, Heb. 8:1-6). He does not come down to the altar to be sacrificed again.
Articles & Viewpoints:
- Info from Catholic Online – Relics in the Altar