Religious Relics

Religious Relics

NOTE: On 5 November 2009, the relic of “Saint Mary Magdalene’s” tibia (shinbone) was displayed at my college’s Catholic student center in Lafayette, Louisiana. I went to see the exhibit in order to witness to some local Catholic onlookers. The following is a series of letters that I submitted to my local newspapers, a priest’s article on relics that was also published in our newspaper, a letter that a reader published in response to my letters, and my two rebuttals to his letter.

Relic is a Clear Religious Fallacy
by Shawn Brasseaux

Published in The (Opelousas, Louisiana) Daily World on 6 November 2009

Recently the purported tibia (shin bone) of Mary Magdalene was displayed here in Acadiana. In religion, relic fallacies are commonplace, and this is clearly one of them. Religious authorities concoct nonsensical stories that play on people’s emotions, thereby gaining gullible followers and funds. If we aren’t Berean Bible students actively studying God’s word, we too will be deceived and “tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine” (Acts. 17:10-11; Eph. 4:14)

The devil has had several millennia to plan it all The Bible says that the spiritual warfare between good and evil begins in the denominational leadership (Eph. 6:12). Many theologians and seminary graduates do not serve the Lord; rather, they use their degrees to impress people, mislead people and hinder God’s work. If Satan can pollute the seminaries, the heresy will then trickle down to common people in the churches. I must say, he’s deceived most people and intimidated many to the point of silence, but there are precious few who know the truth of the Bible and aren’t ashamed to stand up for the Lord.

There’s so much spiritual immaturity and confusion because many pastors and Bible teachers are neglecting their responsibility (Eph. 4:11-13). Very few people, even church members, are interested in seeking sound doctrine because they don’t know sound doctrine in the first place. People want emotional highs in worship service, but they have no interest in studying God’s word. What a sad state of affairs, even in the midst of professing Christian brethren! But all those people guilty of embracing lies and deceiving others to an eternal doom are not going to get off scot-free.

If you have access to an Authorized Version King James Bible, I encourage you to study it. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation — relying exclusively on his bloodshed, death, burial and resurrection — and then study His Word. This is your only hope at not falling prey to the fallacies and heresies being promoted in most churches today.

 

Thanks Expressed to Community
The “Very Rev.” Msgr. J. Ruben Romero, V.E. Pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church Episcopal Vicar
North Region/Diocese of Lafayette
Published in The (Opelousas, Louisiana) Daily World on 11 November 2009

With the visit of the tibia bone (shin bone) of St. Mary Magdalene on Friday, I express appreciation to the many thousands (6,000-plus) who venerated this relic of St. Mary Magdalene at St. Landry Catholic Church. This is a great blessing for all of us. Young and old, black and white, Protestant and Catholic came. We who have come to Jesus as our Lord and Savior appreciate the witness of discipleship seen in the life of St. Mary Magdalene. The petitions left by visitors were placed at the foot of the altar. We prayed for all people who came and for their needs during Sunday’s masses.

We came with the attitude of St. Jerome [who died on Sept. 30, 420] tells us, “We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are.” Our coming to the relic of St. Mary Magdalene and to any relic of a saint is a time we focus on God himself who is seen in the life of the saint whose relic we venerate.

Let us follow St. Mary Magdalene in a greater discipleship of Jesus Christ by coming to Jesus (1) wanting to see and to attend to Jesus Christ, (2) experiencing the joy and surprise of witnessing Jesus Christ in our lives, and (3) responding to Jesus’ instruction to tell others of Jesus Christ.

Mr. Richard Borgman’s reflection is a good challenge for us, “This tibia knelt before the crucified and resurrected Christ. Imagine that your life is lived in such holiness that 2,000 years after your death your bones are still bringing people to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our challenge is to be this holy so that God is seen in every detail of our life. Would not our world be a better place maybe a touch of heaven on earth!

Remember the Lord said to Mary Magdalene: “Go and tell my brothers that I shall ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.” (John 20:17) Let us keep St. Mary Magdalene’s visit fresh in our hearts by praying the following prayer often: “Father, your Son first entrusted to Mary Magdalene the joyful news of his resurrection. By her prayers and examples may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord and one day see him in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Sprit, one God, for ever and even Amen.” [From the Roman Sacramentary, July 22nd] St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

Once again, thank you for your openness and your surrendering to God’s will.

“Do Some Research on Relics” (Version 1)
by Shawn Brasseaux
Submitted to The (Lafayette, Louisiana) Daily Advertiser on 12 November 2009

I’d like to address the most recent letter in regards to relics. Firstly, I went to see the supposed tibia of Mary Magdalene, for the sole purpose of trying to warn these desperate people in love.

These poor, sincere souls are confused, blinded by the devil. This charade had the form of godliness, but denied the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5). It upsets me that people were taken advantage of, spiritually and financially. In a time when people are struggling in life, someone plays on their emotions with false hope.

We have God’s Word, preserved in the King James Bible, as our sole authority. These modern relic fallacies are the devil’s counterfeit version of God’s miracles in time past with Israel. Paul never received physical healing, despite praying three times (2 Cor. 12:7-10). There was no healing for Trophimus or Timothy (1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20). Israel has been set aside nationally, while God deals with the Gentiles, so the Israeli signs and wonders program has been set aside too.

We don’t need intercession from saints or relics. We can receive God’s grace through Christ, without sacraments, relics, or prayers. Christ is our sole mediator to God.

Catholics don’t see relics as ‘magical’
by E. Comeaux
Published in The (Lafayette, Louisiana) Daily Advertiser on 12 November 2009

In response to a letter regarding relics, Catholics do not see relics as some sort of “magic item,” but we do recognize that sometimes God chooses to join the spiritual with the material.

The use of the bones of Elisha brought a dead man to life (2 Kings 13:20-21). This is an unequivocal biblical example of a miracle being performed by God through contact with the relics of a saint!

Similar are the cases of the woman cured of a hemorrhage by touching the hem of Christ’s cloak (Matthew 9:20-22) and the sick who were healed when Peter’s shadow passed over them (Acts 5:14-16), or the use of handkerchiefs touched by Paul to cure disease and cast out evil spirits (Acts 19:11-12).

If these aren’t examples of the use of relics, what are? In the case of Elisha, a Lazarus-like return from the dead was brought about through the prophet’s bones. In the New Testament cases, physical things (the cloak, the shadow, and handkerchiefs) were used to affect cures. There is a perfect congruity between present-day Catholic practice and ancient practice. If you reject all Catholic relics today as frauds, you also should reject these biblical accounts as frauds.

My Reply to Mr. Comeaux
by Shawn Brasseaux

Published in The (Lafayette, Louisiana) Daily Advertiser on 15 November 2009

Recently, Mr. E. Comeaux’s letter appeared in the Daily Advertiser (Nov. 13). Mr. Comeaux, I’m appalled that you plagiarized http://www.catholic.com’s article on relics. Copy and paste writing is unacceptable.

I’d like to comment on relics. Relic fallacies are common in religion; people are confusing God’s legitimate miracles in the Scriptures given to the nation Israel with present-day, man-made stories used to generate funds. I was there when the relic was displayed at UL Lafayette’s Catholic Student Center; these poor souls were so desperate. I could hear in their voices as I spoke to them. I urge you to be careful; don’t be deceived by religion or tradition (Col. 2:8; 2 Tim. 3:5; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God’s doing something different. Paul lost his apostolic ability to heal; the signs and wonders program has ceased in the Body of Christ. We don’t need relics or sacraments to be catalysts for God’s grace; grace has already been given to us via the Lord Jesus Christ and His crosswork.

“Do Some Research on Relics” (Version 2)
by Shawn Brasseaux

Published in The (Lafayette, Louisiana) Daily Advertiser on 27 December 2009

Regarding the recent relic controversy, I can confidently write that all religious relics are phony, including that supposed tibia of Mary Magdalene, and the Shroud of Turin that the Vatican hides in a vault, never commenting on its authenticity.

I’d like to inform those reading to research a book entitled Catholicism Against Itself, written by O. C. Lambert. In it, the author quotes directly from official (and self-condemning) Roman Catholic documents. Look at The Spirit of Catholicism with the imprimatur of the late Cardinal Hayes; also see Catholic Facts, 27.

“She” doesn’t want you to know those things, but I’d rather let you see the truth for yourself. Don’t take my word for it; research the matter. She is just as phony as the relics she promotes.

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