Via Crux News
ROME – In what Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople described as a “brave and bold” gesture, Pope Francis gave the patriarch a famous reliquary containing bone fragments believed to belong to St. Peter.
The only time the bronze reliquary has been displayed publicly was in November 2013, when Francis had it present for public veneration as he celebrated the closing Mass for the Year of Faith, opened by Pope Benedict XVI.
The bronze case contains nine of the bone fragments discovered during excavations of the necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica that began in the 1940s.
In the 1960s, archaeologist Margherita Guarducci published a paper asserting that she had found St. Peter’s bones near the site identified as his tomb.
Then, the archbishop recounted, Francis asked him to wait for him because he had a gift for his “brother” Bartholomew. The pope came back and led the archbishop to his little blue Ford Focus and they were driven to the Apostolic Palace.
They entered the chapel of the old papal apartment, where Francis chose not to live, and “the pope took the reliquary that his predecessor Paul VI had placed in the little chapel and offered it to his guest,” according to _Vatican News_.
“For us, this was an extraordinary and unexpected event that we could not have hoped for,” _Vatican News_ quoted the archbishop as saying.
I’ve seen some outrage online about this and Pope Francis giving away relics of St. Peter.
I think it is because they have not grasped the long game Pope Francis has. I see this as the Trojan Relic. The Patriach of Constantinople takes it back with him and the first Pope starts working to bring them back into full communion with Rome. Plus we get the relic back went they are once again in full communion.
Now I would have preferred that he give one of the fragments to each of the Patriarchs. Yet, maybe one at a time is best if they don’t catch on to this plot.
Of course, this post is firmly tongue-in-cheek, but I like my theory. I remember hearing previously that when St. John Paul II was shot that he requested they bring him a reliquary containing the bones of St. Peter. Couldn’t verify that story with a quick search.