Church Documented "Representative" Relics

Legal Deception? You decide!

Above is pictured a relic "ex capillis" of the Blessed Virgin Mary that recently sold for in excess of $1800.00 on eBay. It came with the authentic prepared by a prelate in Belgium and, as far as the Church is concerned, it is an authentic relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, there is better than a 90% chance that it is not. The same can be said for "ex velo" relics of the BVM that show up for sale. Few, if any, of these ever touched the head of the Blessed Virgin. Where did they come from then? Nearly all of these hair and veil "relics" came from a wig or veil that adorned a 'miraculous' statue of Mary in some church or chapel somewhere in Europe. They are called 'representative' relics as they 'represent' the real thing. I, personally, consider this to be a deceptive practice as there is nothing on the document that mentions that the relic may not be the real thing. It is quite possible that the original recipient of the relic knew the precise origin of the relic. However, once the theca and document passed on to the heir, that information was eventually forever lost.

I know that the Church began this practice to satisfy the demand for relics starting back in the 19th century (perhaps even sooner) because the actual items were quickly being devoured by the demand for relics. However, rubrics state that no relic known to not be genuine should ever be used for public veneration (under pain of excommunication) and any relic discovered to be false should be discreetly removed from public view.

How is this to be justified? Perhaps someone in the know could enlighten me on the Relic Forum and I can pass the information along.


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