This column knows what you’re thinking. “About time. Next to global warming, nuclear-armed North Korea, and all things Trump, the anarchy in the relic markets was causing me the most intense angst.”
Others of you may be asking, “What’s a relic?” We are happy to explain confidently. Our boyhood in the One True Church makes us an authority on all things Catholic. A relic is a bit of a dead saint’s body. No, not that part, you dirty-minded bastards. Usually it is a bit of bone, encased in glass, which is passed around reverently by the faithful, in hopes that surplus holiness will seep out of it and attach itself to them. It may be kept in an altar. It should not be kept in the medicine cabinet. Apart from that, there were hardly any rules concerning relics. The Pope is fixing that, because while relics have been around a long time, EBay has not.
Relics, in fact, have been around ever since saints started dying, which was almost immediately after the Church got into business. One of the biggest and least gross of the relic categories are bits of the True Cross, which are scattered all across the Catholic world. Cynics have noted that if all the splinters that are venerated as pieces of the True Cross were gathered together in one place, it would form a pile of lumber bigger than the one at your local Home Depot.
We have personally handled relics here. More reverent Catholics provided one to us in our long-ago youth, thinking (incorrectly) that it would improve our adherence to the faith. The relic was a bit of grayish matter, encased in glass to preserve it, and it was advertised as something like The Ankle Bone of St. Myrna the Chaste. Saint Myrna endured martyrdom by being lowered slowly into a vat of boiling urine, rather than lose her virginity to a pagan king.
And now you are thinking Why would she do something like that that? The fact is, a lot of saints had poor decision-making skills. It was almost a requirement.
The Pope is straightening the out the relic markets. No longer will you be able to sell the hair, teeth and hands of the departed faithful on the Internet. Especially the hair, because some people were knitting the locks of the saints into ghoulish little rosary baskets, which they then hawked on Etsy.
He also forbade them to be used in sacrilegious ceremonies, so notice here is given to all of you practitioners of the black arts who are trying to summon Satan using bits of dead Catholics you have dug out of the graveyard at midnight. If you hear a knock at the door, don’t answer it.
It could be the Relic Police.