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21 September 2009 @ 07:27 pm
While cycling to the station this morning (past the detritus on the Curry Mile which showed all the hallmarks of having hosted a large street party where many soft drinks were consumed - not to mention a lot of Kansas Fried Chicken*) I was taken aback to find the University portion of Oxford Road dominated by posters for St. Theresa's Relics which, it would appear, are on tour and can be seen at the Catholic Chaplaincy next weekend.

Despite being an atheist and having been raised by atheists, I surprised myself to discover a strong streak of disapproval of relics in particular and anything that smacked of show-biz when related to religion in general. I'm trying to decide if this is some heretofore undiscovered conditioning sneaked in by my Methodist grandparents or just that Martin Luther and the 95 theses nailed to the church door in Wittenberg cast a long shadow over the UK education system.

* Manchester appears to have a large number of Fried Chicken establishments whose names begin with K. Very few of them are actually Kentucky Fried Chicken.
MysteriousAliWays: Ali the Dancermysteriousaliwz on September 21st, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Apparently her relics are visiting Newcastle as well, so I might wander past and pay them a visit. I've read her autobiography (translated as 'The Story of a Soul') and found it very interesting - for someone who led such a short and cloistered life, she's had a huge influence on the church.

Coming from a Catholic background, I expect I have a different perspective from yours :) When I was growing up I always found the Catholic outlook more colourful, tactile, grounded in the senses (all the statues, incense, gold leaf and transubstantiation) than all the calvinistic/presbyterian churches that were the norm in the area I come from, which seemed rather dour in comparison.
louisedennislouisedennis on September 22nd, 2009 08:53 am (UTC)
I remember being very struck the first time I entered a Catholic Church on the continent at how luxurious it all was - very different from the churches I remembered as a child which I'd never particularly considered dull - CofE churches (which all the ones my schools seemed to end up using were) seem quite fond of their statues and stained glass, but looking at them now I can see they nevertheless have quite a spartan quality.
the_fetketthe_fetket on September 22nd, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Just to cover credentials: Raised in Church of Scotland small village by a pair of Atheists (one of whom likes church music), married to a woman of faith and currently agnostic.

I've always had a problem with relics and reliquaries, partly because I found out that a cathedral in Spain claimed to have Jesus's arm, as a child, 14 churches claimed to have his foreskin over the middle ages and now countless claims have been made for his post crucifixion bones, even though he's supposed to have risen directly to heaven, intact.

Mostly because they strike me as snake oil salesmanship to raise money. Why are they always accompanied by a contribution box, and sometimes an admittance charge. If these are holy relics then they should surely by free. And I dislike the idea of profiting from faith, it seems disrespectful. Yes, I know that churches need money, but Relics have always seemed to me to be the American, Televangelist, buy-your-way-into-heaven-by-giving-us-all-your-money side of religion, rather than faith.

Mind you that's probably because of the vast history of fakes.
louisedennislouisedennis on September 22nd, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)
I think St. Therese's relics are pretty genuine, she seems to be recent enough that the Counter-Reformation reforms should affect her.

As an atheist I mostly try not to get involved in inter-faith differences since it's really none of my business. Which is one of the reasons my essentially Protestant reaction surprised me. In the grand scheme of things (Protestant prejudices about what is a seemly way for a religion to conduct itself aside) I can't see much difference between Church collection, Church jumble sales, Relics and TV evangelism as money-raising methods.