Looking at Saint Therese’s Box

I see the Holy Knuckle of Lisieux is back.

Do you remember it? The touring relic of Saint Therese, condemned like Vanderdecken forever to sail the seas beaming holiness at the Faithful. I last wrote about it here.

Well, it’s back, and it’s on tour again.

What is it? Oh, it’s a bit of Saint Therese, the Little Flower.

That’s right. A bit of somebody, in a box. Why? Because it’s a Catholic thing, that’s why. They’re nuts.

It isn’t the whole skeleton or anything now, you understand – just a single knuckle. They keep it in a box, called a reliquary, which is very heavy and lined with lead because the knuckle is highly radioactive and unstable. In fact, if the box contained anything more than a knuckle – two fingers for instance – it would reach critical mass and the whole thing could explode.

You can’t see it, this blessed knuckle. There’s no window in Saint Therese’s Box for the faithful to behold the Holy Finger-Joint. They have to just believe that the knuckle is inside it, which is hard for me to do, not being a believer. For all I know, the box might contain Schrödinger’s cat, both dead and alive. Or it might be a highly decorative, lead-lined beer cooler, for booze made with heavy water. Or it might contain a hip-joint instead of a knuckle. Or an eye-socket. Or the ears of Nosferatu. Or the head of Alfredo Garcia.

Who knows?

They’re obsessed with hands and bits of hands and fingers. Here we have assorted parts of the Little Flower touring the planet, and it only seems like yesterday that there were thousands of Padre Pio gloves in every kitchen drawer, ready to cure cancer or banish leprosy at the first emergency call from a grateful mayor and chief of police.

I think saint-worship has a great future in branding.

Padre Pio kitchen gloves, and Padre Pio aprons. Padre Pio work-boots.

Padre Pio cordless drills for making holes in your hands.

Mother Teresa mittens. Mother Teresa budget rusty used hypodermic needles. The Mother Teresa Private Clinic.

Anyway, enough of this rambling. The knuckle is back for another tour, and this time I might go out and do what I said I would. Make a fortune selling things to the crowds as they wait to see Saint Therese’s Box. While the flower-sellers make money peddling roses and daffodils stolen from the Park, I’ll flog them my extra-special Saint Therese’s Freeze-Packed Barbecue Spare Ribs. Saint-in-a-bucket. Genuine Class One Relics in a delicious honey and cider sauce.


Also on Bock:

Padre Pio The Silicon Saint

Dem bones dem bones

Di and Dodi Done Down in Dastardly Deed

Mother Teresa, the crook

31 thoughts on “Looking at Saint Therese’s Box

  1. Bock.. I’m sure that if the ‘holiest of everything else holy’ knuckle could find the strength to position itself within the confines of it’s lead lined box, it would prostrate itself in your direction.

    Now.. about these extra-special Saint Therese’s Freeze-Packed Barbecue Spare Ribs.

    Can I refreeze them?

  2. Mr Bastard — You can refreeze them in a specially-adapted pair of nun’s knickers.

    Pimp — Lucky they no longer tour with St Peter’s penis.

  3. Some of these saints must have had dozens of fingers and toes, the amount of their relics that are on the go. Ah well, I suppose it’s a holy miracle an’ that, the multiplying of the loaves and the fishes and the holy fucking knuckles.

    You never hear of holy pelvic bones, do you? Of course, that’s our filthiest bone. I expect real saints didn’t even have pelvic bones. Just some sort of shark-like cartilage.

  4. Interesting you should say that. All saints were born covered in shark skin, making them very suitable for handbag manufacture.

  5. It’s a bit of the actual body. Usually a bit of bone.

    It is certified by the Vatican as far as I remember but I don’t have my cert to hand at the moment.

    There are generally more first class relics than there were body parts in the first place. Remind you of the loaves and fishes.

    Can’t be dogmatic in relation to St. Theresa, but there are bits of her all over the place.

  6. Excellent. Certified by the Vatican.

    Now we’re making progress.

    Two more questions for you, Benny.

    First, do we know what techniques the Vatican uses to determine whether or not the body part belongs to its putative owner?

    And second, what is a saint?

  7. “There are generally more first class relics than there were body parts in the first place”

    Haha! True. But what about the internal organs, Benny, did you think of those? And what about all those little snippets of skin? Or, what about those skin cells that are shed every day?

    And the second class relics. Isn’t that anything that touched the body? So, we have all their clothes and personal belongings. But did you ever think about the people who shook hands with them? LOTS more body parts for second class relics! Lots and lots and lots of relics, and all with miraculous powers. Might as well be quantitative easing for the Church.

  8. Oh look. You know what? The Bank of England has overtaken the Vatican for insane thinking.

    Quantitative easing

    Print more money and we’ll call it something smart-sounding.

    You have to love these British civil servants for coming up with utterly deranged concepts. It rivals economical with the truth for administrative brilliance. No wonder they ruled the world.

  9. Isn’t it great? And did you read the piece about “consumer sentiment” being “down” a few days ago? Despite “pent up” demand in January? TV presenters are repeating this stuff like it’s English or something. Goes with “blue on blue” and “collateral damage” and all that jazz …

    Sorry, OT.

  10. Ah, for gods sake, won’t someone put us out of our misery and make a comment about it not being the first time the knuckle was in Saint Therese’s box.



    Oh, yeah, sorry.

  11. @Bock

    Vatican technology: haven’t a clue. Any analysis of the extent of first class relics in circulation must surely suggest it is closer to the loaves and fishes variety than the forensic standards required by today’s unbelievers (sorry, agnostics even).

    Saint: this is a very interesting concept. Another type of certification. Saints are definitely in Heaven (the Pope said so) and they can be used to purchase influence with the personal Deity which oversees our daily lives. In this transaction brown envelopes are replaced with Holy Pictures. Some Saints though, prefer cash on the nail. I know. I was stung many times in my youth.

  12. @Nora

    Quantitative easing expresses it entirely. I had not forgotten about the the derivative classes of relics. I was simply sticking to Bock’s terms of reference.

    As you say, bits of skin all over the place, and some of it, no doubt, incorruptible. They have the same problem with host crumbs and I am not aware of them having any solution. Perhaps we could have automatic reverse-transubstantiation for crumbs. They have automated excommunication in certain cases, automating a few crumbs shouldn’t be beyond them.

  13. This thread is heading for the angels on a pin-head scenario!

    And to put the ‘BOX on Tour’ in perspective, the last time it toured Ireland it visited a few jails. The jails it failed to visit have since been shut down!!

    Lets hope the visits are restricted to church buildings this time around.

  14. “automatic reverse-transubstantiation”–Benny

    You try explaining that to a seven-year-old before First Communion.

  15. Oddly enough although not a great believer in religion . A few years ago I thought it a good idea to see the reliquary of St. Theresa . I did not bother to do it. Strange as it may be , I was standing at a bus stop when the reliquary complete with , escort passed me by. This incident has had some influence on my thinking . I am no doubt an idiot .However there “are more things in heaven and earth than we can not think of”

  16. If it is the irrefutable case that there is no God no Heaven and no Hell. Then we are surely at liberty to indulge ourselves in rape, pillage ,and plundering to our hearts content? I am not that certain . Perhaps I am a fool. However I was amazed that the reliquary came to visit me rather than the other way around.. Who knows? Perhaps Hitler, Stalin ,and all the rest of them have got away Scott free. Somehow I do not think so . I may very well be wrong. .

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