St. Peter's Bones - 11/12/13
I'm just not quite sure how I feel about this. While perusing the news headlines, I saw where the Vatican is going to display the bones of St. Peter to the public for the first time.
The Saint is certainly worthy of the basilica that bears his name, but his bones? Do we really need to see them? How will they display them? In human form laid out in the shape of his body, or in a pile? Just how does one respectfully display bones of a disciple in a respectful, reverent way? His bones were apparently discovered during excavations in the 40's, but they've never been seen by the public. Instead, they've been stored away for safe keeping in a tomb which I've had the opportunity to see in person. I was satisfied with that and am not real sure that if given the opportunity, I would even want to look at his skeleton. Am I alone in wondering why they're going to haul out St. Peter's bones and line them up now?
This announcement of the impending bone attraction has sparked quite the debate on the internet. Many skeptics are declaring that they aren't really his bones anyway. They're demanding DNA proof and an interpretation of the DNA be on display with his remains. It is true that archeological testing convinced Pope Paul VI that the skeleton belonged to St. Peter, but the church has never officially authenticated that. Still other online critics call the planned presentation a money ploy... one more way to attract even more visitors to this historic spot. Millions already make the pilgrimage annually.
Don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for Catholicism and for the Vatican. St. Peter's Square & the Basilica are a treasured trove. When I was on assignment in Rome as a correspondent for CBS News, I spent all of my time working at St. Peter's Basilica. I was in awe of my surroundings and that's why I'm a little surprised about the bone decision. You see, the Vatican was even very strict about how we correspondents dressed. While anywhere in the vicinity of St. Peter's Square in an official capacity, I had to have on all black while covering the pope. All black, down to the shoes. My legs had to be covered as well. It was a requirement designed to evoke respect. I understand the care and attention given to this sacred place. That's why the bone thing seems a little counterintuitive. Dare I say, uncharacteristically irreverent? I couldn't even show my legs and you're going to show me bones?