Only relics that have been certified as authentic can be exposed for veneration by the faithful, said a new Vatican instruction.
Published on 16th December in Italian by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the instruction clarifies and details the canonical procedures to be followed by local bishops in an effort to verify the authenticity of relics and the mortal remains of saints and blesseds, as well as better guarantee a relic’s preservation, approve and track its movements, and promote its veneration.
The instruction replaces the appendix, “Canonical Recognition of the Mortal Remains of the Servant of God,” included with “Sanctorum Mater,” the congregation’s “Instruction for Conducting Diocesan or Eparchal Inquiries in the Causes of Saints,” released in 2007.
The new instruction outlined the specific procedures and personnel necessary for the canonical recognition of the authenticity of the relics or remains of a saint or anyone on the path to sainthood. It also specified that any action taken regarding the relics or remains must also conform with local government laws and have the consent of the saints’ congregation and the person recognised as the deceased’s “heir.”
Picture: A woman venerates a relic of St Jacinta Marto prior to a vigil Mass on 12th October celebrated in honour of Our Lady of Fatima at St Vincent Ferrer Church in New York City. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz).