Definition: Artifacts of Jesus and the Saints that supply spiritual benefits to those who venerate them. A first class relic is a body part of a saint or an instrument related to the crucifixion of Jesus. A second class relic is an article that was used by a saint, such as a piece of clothing or a rosary. A third class relic is an article that has touched either a first or second class relic. Many pieces of the cross (allegedly discovered by the mother of Constantine in 330) are in circulation. Seamless garments worn by Jesus can be viewed at churches in France and Germany. The crown of thorns that Jesus wore is kept in a beautiful reliquary at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. All Catholic altars must first be consecrated. This requires the insertion of relics (normally the bones of saints) into a cavity in the altar. The opening is then covered over with cement. While popular in earlier times, the purchase and private use of relics is now discouraged by the Church.
Discussion: The use and veneration of relics is gross idolatry and superstition. The exhumation of long-dead saints in order to check for corruption or to obtain bones for veneration is a despicable practice that dishonors the one exhumed. The veneration of relics is a symptom of a false religious system that depends on human effort for salvation. Human bones were used to desecrate an altar, not to consecrate one (2 Kgs. 23:16).
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