Body Revealed

Forty years after death, the body of Padre Pio is exhumed–I didn’t know they had a liturgy for that. Aware of my own bishop’s concerns on the local Bodies Revealed exhibit, I see more in common with the attempt to preserve a partially-decayed corpse. From CNS:

In a statement released March 3, the archbishop said the exhumation and subsequent procedures would guarantee the “prolonged preservation of the body of our saint to allow generations to come the possibility of venerating and safeguarding his relics.”

Technicians will use chemicals to prepare the body for long-term preservation. The body will be placed in a new glass coffin and is scheduled to be in place for public viewing beginning April 24.

Over the staff lunch table, Bodies Revealed was discussed. At $24.50 a ticket, nobody seemed excited about going. Heck, I’d rather renew our family zoo membership and still have $8.50 left over for ice cream.

There’s no question that the traveling exhibit and Union Station, the venue, each want to make a profit off this. The same might be said of the pilgrimage locations in San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio’s shrine is located. Chemical preservation under glass for the purpose of creating relics? That sounds creepy on a similar scale to me.

But what do you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Body Revealed

  1. JPaul says:

    silence of the lambs??

  2. Freder1ck says:

    I had about dismissed this post until I participated in a conversation after religious ed class last night. I blogged about it over at Cahiers Peguy. Enjoy!

  3. Todd says:

    Good post, Freder1ck, and thanks for the links. I do realize there’s a certain difference in context on these two events.

    I’m not sure Bodies is all about entertainment. I think the profit motive behind it is more bothersome to me–kind of like carnival shows of old: the exploitation of the human body. In those cases it was living people.

    I doubt today’s culture is any better or worse on that count.

    But I do think on one level there’s a fascination with the beauty of nature, of how God has made the human body. I wouldn’t discount the wonderment of that for some visitors.

  4. Freder1ck says:

    You’re right that there’s a genuine fascination with the human body in these exhibits that’s simply human. And even a freak show can’t obliterate the fear and fascination and awe of the body (as Ray Bradbury and Flannery O’Connor have described).

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