Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Extra: More creepy Catholic stuff ...

As I said... Catholics invented it.

Well, they didn't invent the macabre or scary - they celebrated it, they enshrined it, in a sense.  "O death!  Where is thy sting?"

Nothing to be afraid of then my pretty ...

Museum of the Holy Souls.

Fr. Z always writes about this one - but if you don't know what it's about, go here.


Perhaps the most famous ossuary chapel in the world is in Rome.
The Capuchin Crypt is a small space comprising several tiny chapels located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini in Rome, Italy. It contains the skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order.[ The Catholic order insists that the display is not meant to be macabre, but a silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth and our own mortality. 
Described by Frommer's as "one of the most horrifying images in all of Christendom", large numbers of the bones are nailed to the walls in intricate patterns, many are piled high among countless others, while others hang from the ceiling as light fixtures.

St. Catherine of Bologna

Body parts and incorrupt corpses.

I have a rather large collection of first class relics of saints and blessed - most are small pieces of bone.  The hearts of saints, the heads and other body parts of saints have been enshrined in ornate reliquaries for centuries.  Their bodies 'uncorrupt' or not, rest under altars for veneration.  All altars in Catholic churches contain relics of the saints - this goes back to the days of the first martyrs.

Some corpses appear mummified - like St. Catherine's shown above.  Age has done that.  At one time she was as fresh looking and pretty as the day when they first exhumed her body.  Even some Catholics get freaked out by things like this.  I don't - but some people do.

Heart of St. John Vianney
The head of St. Catherine of Siena.
(The Dominicans in Rome have her body.)
See how fun it is to be  Catholic?
Now capes are scary. 


  1. The scary pomposity of a black cape truly is something to be me the willies just thinking about it on All Hallows Eve. ;p

    I know relics are important but I never left any specific attraction to them. I have been in the presence of St. Anthony Mary Claret and St. Maximillian Kolbe and the little beauty, St. Therese of Lisuex though and asked them to pray for my family and me. ^^

    I took a few Kit Kats from the candy tray and will savor them later tonight...around midnight...the witching hour....booooooo! Haha!

  2. That right there might be my favorite photograph ever! It is by the great Alfred Eisenstadt. It is a priest on the steps of the Milan Cathedral and I think was taken in the early 1930s.

  3. Jane - thanks for the info - it is indeed a great photo.

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  5. See how keywords work? You put the information in your post and people respond to it. Because every crypt of bones needs an orthopedic surgeon to put them back together again. Or was that Humpty Dumpty?

  6. That's funny Nan - I will keep the Delhi comment just for that.


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