Joan Carroll Cruz
Since the early days of the Church, the remains of a saint or holy person were called relics (from the Latin Reliquiae, meaning remains).
The Veneration of relics is practiced by Christians and non-Christians alike. It is in no way restricted to the Catholic religion but is, to some extent, a primitive instinct with origins that predate Christianity. It is known that relics of Buddha were distributed soon after his death. The relics of Confucius have been venerated by the people of Asia since the year 195 B.C., and the relics of Mohammed, who died in A.D. 632, are similarly revered. In the Old Testament the relics of the prophet Elisha are mentioned (2 Kings 13:20-21), and the New Testament notes the relics of the Apostle Paul and the wonders the Lord worked through them (Acts 19:11-12).
From early Church history there was no extravagance or abuse in honoring relics and, indeed, the practice was taken for granted by writers such as St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom and other great doctors of the Church without exception.
In Relics, Joan Carroll Cruz, author of the bestseller The Incorruptibles, describes in vivid detail the stories, history, and theology of Catholic belief surrounding the veneration of many of the major and active relics that are revered by the Catholic Church - the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, the Blood of Januarius, the relics of the Blessed Mother, and many more. The role of relics in Catholic life and what the Church teaches about them are revealed and carefully documented in this unique and engrossing account.