Anyone who is familiar with monotheistic religions like Catholicism is aware of the fact that the theology specifically dictates that followers "shalt have no other gods before [God]," which has, in turn, made the concept of Catholic relics a point of contention for many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Yet, beyond the debate around the use of relics is the fact that they are venerated by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people everyday and are nevertheless viewed as significant symbols within one of the largest religions in the world.
Oftentimes, many of these relics go beyond being just sheets of papyrus and bejeweled scepters; instead, they are made up of the very essence of the saints themselves. That means they are flesh and bone – and sometimes blood, preserved and cherished across the centuries.
Many of the sacred relics honored by Catholics are made up of the preserved remains of the religion's most significant saints; however, the truth surrounding just how these churches came to possess such well-preserved pieces of history (and whether or not the items are even real) is often both hotly debated and tacitly ignored. And the very fact that Catholicism encourages the praise of "bits and pieces of human corpses as the holiest of the holy" remains puzzling for many, including Meghan MacRae who wrote about her fascination with the concept in a piece for CVLT Nation.
In this collection of Catholic relic photographs you'll find everything from flesh and bone to blood and hair (and maybe a little papier mâché, but who can really say).