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Letter: Not an honour, but more an outrageous desecration.

Byline: Rev Fr Peter Macleod-Miller

Dear Editor, Those gaining Olympic Gold medals may regret the lack of privacy that their success will have won them, but there is a form of celebrity where the hunt continues well beyond the finishing line .

Premature burial is the stuff of which nightmares are made, similarly interfering with bodies of the deceased, yet the latter is frequently sanctioned in the name of both honour and punishment .

Oliver Cromwell's body was dug up, tried, condemned and decapitated, Galileo's finger was removed from his body as a trophy and Napoleon's manhood was souvenired by a clerical collector Thomas Hardy's body was the subject of a tug of war between his family and admirers, Benny Hill and Sammy Davis Junior were both dug up for their jewellery, Charlie Chaplain's and Maria Callas' remains were stolen and held to ransom and Both Abraham Lincoln and chief Sitting Bull had concrete poured over their resting places so they would not be disturbed Many saints however, rest in pieces rather than in peace .

Dismembering the remains of saints and harvesting relics to be placed like mobile phone antennas all over Christendom is what most of them can look forward to, irrespective of their own wishes or that of their loved ones .

Bodyparts of St Francis Xavier and St Catherine of Siena have been scattered like distributing a dinner service among family members and there has been considerable controversy about the sale of saint's fingernails on Ebay.

Tuesday 19th August 2008 marks the 118th anniversary of the laying to rest of John Henry Newman and he is about to be dug up and relics harvested in preparation for being made a saint.

This special treatment, hailed as a "great honour " by the Vatican is an affront to the man and his memory and an outrageous and superstitious desecration .

Cardinal Newman's specific wish was for his body to rest beside that of his companion Ambrose St John and not content with removing some of his bones the Vatican commits a far more serious act of grave robbing in separating the bodies of these friends regardless of the ultimate intended destination for the purposes of veneration .

Rev Fr Peter Macleod-Miller

Minor Canon St Edmundsbury Cathedral Rector Barrow, Risby, Great and Little Saxham and Denham Suffolk


Cardinal Newman
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 20, 2008
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